As attendees register for your event online, you have 90 seconds to engage them—100 if you’re lucky. How do you draw attendees in from the beginning? Looking out mid-event, the crowd appears to be losing interest. How do you re-inspire a distracted audience? Appeal to your attendees’ competitive streak and gamify your next event or meeting.
Gamification incorporates play and competition into an event. We’ve all experienced the adrenaline rush to reach the next level, beat the Jeopardy contestants or buy Boardwalk in Monopoly. What if you could harness that healthy competitive spirit at your event? During a recent Visit Alexandria webinar, industry experts David Haas, director of digital marketing services for Freeman, and Elizabeth Jean Poston, senior director of business development at Helios Interactive, shared the latest trends in gamification.
Here are three ways you can benefit by adding gamification to your event:
Promote and Educate
First and foremost, game experiences let you show your brand at its best and impart brand-specific information. Participants won’t even realizing they’re learning as they play. Your company’s mission statement could even be embedded into the competition. At one of its live events, Freeman utilized Alexa smart speakers in a four-person, buzz-in trivia game that included company-related questions. Participants connected with one another, relaxed and walked away with a deeper understanding of the company.
At its best, gamification maximizes return on investments for the event producer while ensuring attendees feel like the winners. Nespresso did this by commissioning Helios for a large-scale installation in Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall. Consenting passersby completed a touch-screen personality quiz to find out their inner “Grand Cru” coffee flavor. Minutes later, they were sipping their customized blend.
“They thought that they were winning,” Poston said, “getting a taste of [Grand Cru coffee] in return for their time.” Yet Nespresso also walked away winners with valuable customer insight. The simple lifestyle questions yielded seven data points on each person in addition to brand ambassador survey results. The pop-up was so much fun, style guru Tim Gunn and actress Allison Williams participated on their way through Grand Central.
Why simply retain event attendees when you can entertain them? International Sign Association’s (ISA) “Dare to Be Different” expo campaign gamified the often-tedious registration process to hook attendees from the start. Freeman developed a three-level “spot-the-difference” game using ISA’s images. Those quickest to identify the differences won free expo tickets, weaving attendance incentives into the competition. Strategic marketing via Google Ad Words made sure the “free pass campaign” reached the widest possible audience, which paid dividends when the ISA Sign Expo saw hundreds of new attendees.
Image Credit: M. Enriquez for Visit Alexandria
Customizable Gamification Experiences
Gamification experiences are tailor-made and make an impact across industries and regardless of the scale to which the experience is executed. “All of these [experiences] are deeply rooted in a strategy process that begins before we write a line of code,” Haas explained. “[Generating ideas] is a process born not just of Freeman, but the clients we work with as well.”
If you don’t have the hardware, budget or footprint for a 17-foot touch screen installation, consider the core concept. “The experience itself should stand on its own, whatever that [technology] form factor is,” Poston added. A winning experience is always adaptable, and experts can work out the exact application of the game you have in mind.
The Future of Event Gamification
With experts like Freeman working around the clock to leverage technology for their clients’ goals, there’s no foreseeable limit to event gamification. Wondering what ideas are in the works? In the not-too-distant future, the artificial intelligence technology used in facial recognition could be harnessed in event spaces to “read the room.” If attendees appear confused, experts planted in the crowd could answer their questions. If faces look unhappy, event producers know to roll out the coffee and cookies. With technology-powered gamification, you can build more immersive, curated and engaging events that motivate stakeholders to action. Plus, you’ll have a lot of fun along the way.
To learn more about gamification and how to incorporate it into your next event, watch Visit Alexandria’s webinar with David Haas of Freeman and Elizabeth Jean Poston of Helios Interactive. Discover inspiring case studies by visiting Freeman’s and Helios Interactive’s websites.
Header Image Credit: Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash