Gabe Zichermann is the name behind the world-renowned Gamification Summit – held in New York and San Francisco. He believes that Gamification is a dynamic industry that brings together mechanics and marketing to create engagement and solve problems. Gabe is an entrepreneur, author of the popular book ‘Game-Based Marketing‘, and is a highly regarded public speaker and gamification thought leader. Heavy Chef got the chance to talk to Gabe about his passion and where Gamification is headed.
Your book entitled “Game-Based Marketing” looks at the use of gaming integration into business and life. Can you explain this concept to us?
Gamification is the use of game thinking, game mechanics, and game principles to solve problems in the real world – from education and business to healthcare and marketing. For instance, adding leaderboards and achievements to an office collaboration suite is a way to gamify the enterprise and spur productivity and engagement in employees. In marketing, it means adding feedback loops, badge systems and more to your website to make it more engaging and stickier for visitors and potential customers.
Do you think the development of games over the last decade has hindered or helped the youth, with regards to socialisation?
I think there’s some evidence on both sides of the argument about games and their effect on socialization. One reality is for certain: digital games aren’t going anywhere, so social changes we observe are likely to be long term, and eventually from the ‘new normal’.
Do you think applying games to advertising is beneficial for all brands? Or is there a specific market?
I think gamification is a powerful tool for creating engagement, regardless of the industry or focus. Because gamification doesn’t always mean making something into an actual game, we can address a wide array of business cases with the techniques.
What is the 2012 G-Summit focused on, and what were some key pointers for business owners to take away from that?
Broadly, GSummit 2012 is about helping companies use gamification as a strategy to engage customers and employees. We have exciting talks from the marketing and enterprise categories, with leading thinkers from media, loyalty, sustainability, education, venture capital, design and more. Keynote speakers include Krishnan Saranathan from United Airlines Mileage Plus, and JP Rangaswami, Chief Scientist of Salesforce. They’re joined by over 40 other speakers from companies like NBC Universal, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Zynga, Ogilvy, United Healthcare, and more.
Can you give us your favourite example of gamification used brilliantly for marketing purposes?
One of the most interesting examples was T-Mobile creating a live-action Angry Birds game controlled by an android device in Barcelona. People got to actually play the popular game live and in-person. Another great example is the way Nike has used Nike Fit/Nike+ to engage runners across the world to beat their personal bests. The program has put Nike back on the map as a serious running brand.
Where do you see gamification heading in the next few years?
I think that gamification is well on its way to being the most disruptive trend in the marketing industry since social networking. With the explosive growth and amazing results of early gamification examples, the approach is going to transform a wide range of companies. In addition, gamification can be a powerful tool for transforming education, healthcare, government and our environment. Many of the most exciting examples in these categories will be featured prominently at GSummit 2012 in San Francisco.
And lastly, what is your favourite game of all time?
Civilization is the game I love the most and have played most extensively in my life. I’m also a big fan of Plants vs Zombies – probably the game I’ve played the most since Civilization.