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Gamification Addiction - will banks get hooked on dopamine?

06 November 2013  |  6809 views  |  1

I seem to be finding a lot of articles relating to gamification nowadays.  I read this Forbes articles recently and it really resonated.   It is strange how gaming and entertainment, despite seeming trivial, have come to be seen as having the potential to make a profound impact on our work environment. 

However, as I read through his examination of how the top 2000 global organisations that use gamification internally, I felt there was much more to say on the use of gamification when companies- and specifically banks - are looking outward.  I am going to use some of Penenberg’s arguments to examine the landscape of gamification for banks looking to further engage with their customers.

As was described by Penenberg, the gaming trend has been ongoing for quite some time now with games making their presence seen everywhere.  Fortune 500 companies have been using games to train employees, improve productivity and enhance marketing functions.  Many  organisations are now using gamification to interact with their customers.

As we complete tasks in a game we receive rewards and we beat other competitors.   Due to dopamine hormones released during such achievements, our ‘animal sides’ finds completing these games gratifying.   Penenberg’s article actually compares good games to addictive drugs, suggesting that we will always return to get the same feeling over and over again.

With games being able to tap into such behaviours, I think it is imperative for banks to capitalize on them.   Using games, banks can make the most of customer behaviour to deliver marketing and sales messages.  Banks can use gamification to continuously engage customers, by giving those customers regular fresh challenges to complete. Customers in return will reveal more of their preferences and needs and provide a wealth of data. Through the use of analytics, that data can assist , in indentifying and accurately targeting customer groups with different product and service offerings.

Let me provide two examples of financial services companies using gamification today:

http://www.iamfam.com/ - iAMFAM is a real-time simulation game where players create, manage and grow a virtual family. The game involves the player in managing a family household while keeping family members happy and healthy.  The player would be asked to make decisions based on events and to encouraging family members to grow and prosper.

https://www.bbva.es/particulares/subhome/bbvagame/bbvagame.jsp - BBVA Game was developed in BBVA bank's Innovation Department, which is responsible in analysing opportunities beyond the boundaries of the FS business. As Javier Borderías, Manager of the Joy and Enjoy frame explains, “We analyzed entertainment trends and realized that gaming was a very powerful force, so we decided to look into it in greater depth and thought about using the gaming mechanisms in some of the bank's areas”.

There are currently over 172,000 active games on the iTunes app store, and gaming is by far the largest and most popular app category.   Leveraging gamification can drive growth in the organisation not only by assisting in targeted marketing, but by driving customers to continuously return for more satisfaction.   After all, an addict will always be an addict.


TagsMobile & onlineInnovation

Comments: (1)

Colin Weir
Colin Weir - Moroku - Sydney | 12 November, 2013, 09:54

From a biological and evolutionary point of view, social animals have been hard wired for play for millions of years. This is not a new phenomenon but rather an incredibly ancient one that is being rediscovered as we enter the new age of social media.

It is an age that Maslow predicted when he so accurately pointed out that peoples need to connect is greater than their need to compete and one that we should have got a sense of in 2003 when, as a species, we spent 9 billion hours playing Windows Solitaire.

Let the games begin.

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