If one of the goals of your business event is to engage your attendees (of course it is!), then gamification is one of the best techniques that you can utilize. Studies are revealing more and more proof that games—and the gamification of business goals—are excellent at increasing interaction, retention, and attendee satisfaction. It’s an all-around win!
Simply put, there are basic and fundamental reasons why gamification increases interaction at business events, meetings, trade show exhibits, training sessions, and more. Consider these reasons:
Games are fun—whenever and wherever people gather for recreation and socializing, games are present. From darts, billiards, and pinball, to bingo, bridge, and poker, games are the ideal way to pass the time, entertaining ourselves while engaging with the people around us. No matter whether you win or lose, what matters is that you PLAY!
People love a challenge—while it’s easy to say that it’s not about winning, it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t rise to the challenge! The moment we step “up to the plate” (or table, or board, or screen) we immediately begin to dream of winning it all—BIG TIME! While the competitive nature certainly varies from person to person, it’s hard to find someone that just can’t wait to come in . . . last. Our brains, our senses become heightened the moment that we discover our reputation is on the line.
No one likes to be left out—it’s impossible not to be drawn to a group of people who are laughing and exclaiming over their triumphs and failures as they all strive toward a common goal. Maybe we don’t have the skills to be actually competing on the field at the professional level or have the courage to risk it all when the stakes are high—but you CAN bet that we’re fascinated by people that DO have the skills and the courage. There’s a reason that reality competition TV shows are so popular. Even when we’re not in the running, a good game is too much fun to ignore!
Games run on participation—a video game without players is just a frozen image. Without players, packs of cards or board games are just pieces of cardboard and paper. The human element is what brings games “to life”—and conversely, games bring life to us!
CRE Rentals has the computer servers, iPad rentals, audience response systems, and touchscreen monitors that can help you bring the excitement and energy of gamification to your next corporate event!
Your team has spent months (or years!) developing the newest product. There’s been research and development—drawing boards and debates. At last, it’s time for the big reveal! How can gamification help your audience connect with your product? We’ll move forward with a simple series of questions.
Who is the Audience?
Although it may seem like gamification is a technique better suited for the younger demographics, studies show that video games are relevant for all ages.1 Rest assured, there is a game that’s perfect for your target audience, one that can help spread the news and enthusiasm about your product.
What is the Product?
It may be easy to assume that gamification only makes sense at product launches if your product is technology-based—such as apps or software; however, gamification is affecting and enhancing nearly EVERY industry, from healthcare and education, to car manufacturing and hospitality. Games for product launches can be simple, generalized, fun arcade games that improve interaction and lead into your product, or they can be customized—created specifically to encourage interest and help show your audience how the product can be used. “For marketers, gamification is a very effective and genuine way to get consumers to interact and build relationships with a brand.”2
How is it Launching?
For trade events and consumer events, the games presented can be offered in kiosks, on touchscreens, or through video wall displays where interaction and the gaming challenge enhance the event and create additional interest. For the follow-up to your product launch event, gamification is just as easily applied to email campaigns, websites, landing pages, and through newsletters—and don’t forget Facebook! Combining social media games with your product launch is a smart decision for expanding your reach and getting the word out about your product in a “viral” fashion.
What Style of Game is Best?
Many product families naturally pair with certain game styles. For instance, racing game apps are an ideal match for car manufacturers. Simulation games work well for the health and beauty industries. However, brands can still get a significant reaction from gamification as simple as a puzzle, arcade, or maze that is paired with the product logo and slogan.
We end with this suggestion for overall success in gamification:
“Users should understand . . . up front, how things work, what they need to do and what to expect in return. Information and calls to action should be delivered in small usable chunks with minimal friction and with a clear progression. When designing a program . . . keep it simple, keep it engaging, and to the best of your ability deliver an experience that tells a story of personal or professional growth.”3
If you had a chance to read April Moore’s interviews with IntoMotion President, Jack Cardinal, then you’ve already read a lot of excellent advice on gamification for training sessions. While all business events strive for audience engagement, training sessions have an even more pressing need to keep an audience’s attention. Training sessions take money and work hours, and a company certainly wants to make the most out of those expenditures. More importantly, training sessions MUST bring valuable information to the work team; it is essential that the information is passed on, understood, processed, and remembered. Training sessions directly impact a company’s success rate—but only if the learning process is a success.
Delightfully, games are an excellent way to distribute new information and to ensure that the audience understands it. Whether your training session focuses on learning a new skill, mastering a specific task, or improving a broader function, you can guarantee that a gamified training app can simulate and stimulate—simulating the conditions to which workers will need to adapt, while stimulating their creativity, their competitive nature, and their willingness to learn!
Simulations – taking note of the popularity of games like “The Sims” and “Farmville,” people find addictive challenges in games that put them in virtual management roles. Supporters and researchers suggest that simulations help put the user into a completely new environment—one that is seen, heard, and manipulated rather than simply “listened to.”
Information, alone, rarely makes people change their minds, but personal experience often does. Role-playing, like any good inquiry approach, transforms the content of education from information into experience.
Tests and Quizzes – tests and quizzes have been a part of education since education began. The only way to truly know if an individual understands a new concept is to ask them to explain it fully to you or to demonstrate its use. What’s changing is the idea that tests and quizzes need to continue to be boring pencil and paper ordeals. Gamification infuses testing with all the sights and sounds of games—it drives test-takers further and rewards them for their efforts.
Competitions- deep inside us all, we have the instinct to survive through competition. Gamified training sessions help tap into this competitive nature. Whether you use individual competition, team competition, or timed competition, nothing pushes people harder than the secret (or not so secret) desire to win.
Scoreboards and Leaderboards – be sure to encourage trainees through scoreboards and leaderboards. Not only are they an excellent way to promote engagement and a healthy spirit of competition, but trainees also view them as a reward for their hard work and accomplishments. Everyone likes to be recognized for their efforts!
By now, Event Planners (and everyone else) have realized that social media affects everything we do. In events, we have two choices: either ignore social media and hope for the best, or use social media platforms to enhance our event culture. The same principle applies to events and gaming! In our series on event gamification, this post will address the connection between social media and games. We’ll discuss some ideas to use when incorporating the two, as well as discussing some of the particular ways that social media gaming can make events more fun, while also helping to achieve business goals.
What defines a “Social Media Game”?
Social media gaming can seem similar to online gaming, and there are certainly overlapping qualities; however, a social media game is defined by three main characteristics:
A Social Network – it makes sense, social games are distributed through social networks, and many elements of the game depend upon making connections rather than simply playing alone. Furthermore, social media games offer the chance to incorporate a participant’s profile of revealed preferences—such as friends, demographics, outside interests and lifestyle information.
Shorter Playing Times – rather than more advanced interactive entertainment—such as role-playing games—social media games have a shorter playing time, but they have a focus that encourages repeated visits.
No Cost – social media gaming is usually free to play.
It’s easy to see how these three elements work well for business events. Obviously, event gaming would be free for participants—event planners would provide it through the social networking in an event app as a way to encourage a livelier event culture. Also, a shorter playing time injects energy and fun into an event, while not taking away too much valuable time—still allowing attendees to focus on the conference, trade show, or meeting at hand. Best of all, with social media gaming naturally pulling gamers together through a social channel or platform, it is a great way to broaden networking connections—encouraging people to work together for common goals.
Social media games fall into four basic categories:
Resource Management and Simulation
Of these four, the resource management and simulation games category is the most fertile ground for business events. While care-taking, gambling, and arcade games can still offer networking and team building potential by offering light-hearted fun and even (in some cases) relevant content for some industries, resource management and simulation games provide the most advanced opportunities for teamwork, goal-setting, and work-related challenges.
Social media gaming enhances business events by maximizing social networking and tapping existing relationships with other users, through invite systems, news feed postings, and user-to-user notifications—creating unique content and characters by tapping into a player’s existing social network.
Employee relationships and team productivity are critical factors in the success of nearly every business, so it should come as no surprise that many business events strive to encourage team building. Whether team building is the sole, primary goal of an event or a hopeful secondary outcome, most corporate events seek to encourage employees to know each other better and to work together in a positive and productive way. Employees may work side-by-side on a daily basis, or they may manage teams from opposite sides of the globe—either way, employees need healthy working relationships.
Team building games can be applied across the work spectrum—from newly hired trainees, through to management and leadership teams. Team building is an excellent way to recharge long-term employees—improving the engagement, work satisfaction and success rates of seasoned company veterans. Best of all, with digital team building games, apps, and gamification, companies can get all of the benefits of team building games, without necessarily bringing employees together physically!
Heightened Employee Collaboration
Enriched Corporate Culture
Augmented Support and Encouragement
Better Sharing and Corrective Feedback
Greater Social and Emotional Rewards
In team building, the first step is always to identify the desired goal. Most exercises focus on communication, problem-solving, or trust-building, but they can also be striving to simply give employees a shared, fun experience that revitalizes their workforce and improves the culture on the job (the workplace equivalent of a “Field Day!”).
The second step for team building is to determine whether the activity will be in-person, remotely accessed, or a hybrid combination of the two. Obviously, for remote access teaming, all activities need to be Virtual; however, for in-person or hybrid events, use your event app, iPad rentals, or ARS keypads to host the games, and feel free to mix virtual games with physical games. Keep long-distance participants present with digital leaderboards and video chat feeds.
From team competitions and scavenger hunts, to casino games and giant board games, there’s no end to the potential examples of challenges that can help bring a team together. The following two resources provide roughly 120 unique examples of virtual, digital gaming that can take your team building across the planet and into the 21st Century!
Corporate events have a purpose. Events may be facilitating business relationships between companies or within companies, they may be promoting products, easing the exchange of ideas, breaking new ground, or celebrating past accomplishments. Whatever the purpose of your business event, it’s extremely likely that you can . . .
Make it Better by Making It a Game
Events can be overwhelming for attendees. Gamification can help your guests cut through the noise and get to the task at hand. Networking games accomplish goals, help attendees relax, and break the ice—all in one! Consider these networking game families as the beginning (or beginning, middle, and end) of your next meeting, trade show exhibit, or corporate event:
Arcade Games—although arcade games may not have an academic reputation, there are many good reasons why they’re so popular. They’re engaging and accessible since the rules are easy to understand and follow, yet they’re compelling and challenging in their own right. They’re also relaxing and exciting—somehow at the same time. Use this to your advantage by offering an arcade game in your event app—you’ll set the mood for fun and help put guests at ease. Be certain to tie game players into a live leaderboard, show player names and profiles, offer prizes relevant to your event, or possibly provide a gamer-tech lounge as ways to pull attendees together into a common experience.
Trivia and Quizzes—trivia night has been popular at restaurants and pubs for years, and for good reasons. This style of gaming takes absolutely NO explanation, so anyone who can read is competition ready. As an extra bonus, quizzes and trivia can cover any topic, so it’s easy to make this gaming educational and relevant. For networking and event purposes, consider personal trivia regarding speakers, company or industry leaders, or team members—such as “Which team member served in the Peace Corps in Mongolia?”—giving interesting topics to start conversations.
Puzzles—although more solitary and less active than other game forms, puzzles appeal strongly to many types of people. Puzzles such as picture scrambles, word games, and code-breaking can still be event-themed. Live leaderboards can display winners by profiles and fastest times, and consider offering prizes at a common gathering area where like-minded people can meet.
Getting-to-Know-You Games—your event comes with a new and fascinating group of people. Traditional icebreaker and introduction games can be run through your app, established as forums, or even hosted the traditional way—in person–with your app sending out the message, “Icebreaker Games in the Green Room at 5pm.”
Quests and Scavenger Hunts—always an excellent and easy way to get people moving, exploring new territory and meeting new people, quests and scavenger hunts can easily get people into the spirit of adventure. For event relevant content, have participants search for facts, clues, or for location-specific iBeacons that offer great networking potential as participants, inevitably, meet other people on “the quest.”
Next week we’ll discuss gamification for team building!
Sponsorships are a major part of events! As if your event app wasn’t doing enough already—your app provides a number of new and unique sponsorship opportunities that can bring in advertisers and their campaign budgets! Consider these options as you look to increase your sponsorship revenue.
App Sponsor – your event app will arguably be the most universally utilized feature of your event. Whether for a conference, a meeting, a corporate event, a trade show or a conference, every attendee, facilitator, speaker, vendor, educator, executive, and exhibitor will use your app for one purpose or another. Therefore, your app sponsorship is prime-time advertising—holding the potential to repeatedly reach the eyes, ears, and minds of every single participant in your event! An app sponsorship comes with high-visibility.
App Page Sponsors – if a single sponsor is willing to adopt the entire app sponsorship—that’s excellent news; however, it may be more profitable to break the app sponsorship into smaller segments, allowing for more opportunities and a larger profit overall. App page sponsorships also allow businesses to obtain advertising space and sponsorships that are targeted to their location, their service, or their ideal audience. Furthermore, your mobile event app has opportunities for embedded videos—giving your page sponsors the chance to run promotion and demonstration materials through video.
Game Sponsors – as one of the hottest new trends for improving networking, interaction, engagement and learning, gamification is taking the Event Industry by storm. Delightfully, there are hundreds of ideas for games that can enhance your event—and each game can have its own sponsor!
Branded Kiosk Sponsors – attendees should be able to access your app from their own mobile devices, but it’s an excellent idea to offer registration kiosks and information kiosks as well, and iPad rentals are a popular choice for universally accessing event apps at meetings and conferences. Kiosks and iPads (also cell phone charging stations) have external sponsorship potential in the form of wraps and other branding.
Digital Signage Sponsors – if you’re using interactive touch screens as a way to help distribute valuable information from your event app, this digital signage is another excellent chance to provide sponsorship opportunities. For example, envision a sponsorship for the video wall that is displaying social media activity gathered by your app.
Tech Lounge Sponsors – merge the virtual information and connections provided within your app, with a physical gathering place for accessing the app and having face-to-face networking, and you’ve got a Tech Lounge! Imagine the gratitude attendees will feel for the business that sponsors the comfy chairs, fast WiFi, and cell phone charging stations provided by this ideal app-accessing environment.
This concludes our series on event apps! Hopefully, we’ve helped you navigate through the staggering amount of potential that the technology can provide for your events!
CRE Rentals can provide the iPads, digital signage, interactive kiosks, WiFi arrays, and video wall rentals that can optimize your sponsorship potential! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725
We’ve been discussing some of the many ways that event apps can enhance your business event, meeting, trade show and more. This week, we look into the amazing reporting features and capabilities that your app can offer—helping you and your clients determine the overall success and the ROI of your event’s efforts!
Due to the miracle of digital technology, your event app will be able to capture virtually (sorry about the pun) any information that you need. Owing to the vast potential of data collection and the enormous quantity of information that you can receive, it’s best to really ask yourself what information you want. Use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year.
Your event app can gather nearly any data, but popular options include:
Tracking details—by location, volume, and attendees
Attendee profiles—who is attending and why
Attendee activity—by time, location, sessions, features
Social networking activity—the amount, platform, popular times for posting, hashtags used, and content shared
Poll and survey results—you’ve asked; they’ve answered
Registration details—overall number of guests, attendee demographics, registration preferences, attendance by day for multiple-day events
Lead scanning—detailed information on exhibit visitors and sales leads
Document requests—popularity of documents, attendee demographics for downloads
Customized analytics—reporting based on the precise data that you want to obtain
Engagement reports—popularity of speakers, sessions, meetings, and exhibits
Information retention—testing and quizzes measuring attendee learning
iBeacon and indoor positioning data—analyzing the overall success of your floor plan and more
Attendee satisfaction—the likely rate of return, perception of value for attendees
It’s easy to be both amazed and overwhelmed by what event app reporting and analytics can capture and illuminate. Once you recover from the massive amount of possibilities, start browsing through the options and select the data that is most relevant to your goals. Your event will be better for it!
Next week we’ll delve into Sponsorships—some of the ways that you can use your event app to bring in advertising and sponsorship revenue!
CRE Rentals can provide the Audience Response Systems, iPad rentals, and Interactive Kiosks that can help you track attendees and use valuable information to your advantage! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725
We’ve been discussing the remarkable power of event apps. One of the greatest benefits of app technology is the immediate feedback that you’re able to gather from your audience, guests, speakers, and exhibitors! Through the use of questionnaires, surveys, question and answer sessions, forums, ratings systems, and comment requests, you can gather the data that you need to make educated assessments on the successes and shortcomings of your event!
We break the ratings and feedback discussion into two parts, during and after the event.
During the Event
Last week, we discussed how instant messaging can help you tailor the content of your sessions based on real-time comments from your audience. Be certain to allow interactive real-time feedback and questions during any lecture, presentation, training or educational session. Consider using an Audience Response System; the ARS keypads can be used for quizzes, ratings, and other interactive, information-gathering activities. Asking for audience feedback offers several advantages:
1. First, it keeps attendees actively engaged and listening, because they know that they’ll be called upon to participate.
2. Second, it’s an excellent, easy way to gauge how well your audience understands your material—the feedback helps ensure that the material is clear.
3. Third, most audiences contain a significant portion of introverts—these guests are unlikely to stop a presentation in its tracks with questions, or to go out of their way to offer knowledge and opinions that might enhance the session. Create an easy, streamlined way for attendees to contribute and collaborate by allowing real-time feedback, comments, and questions during sessions! Consider using the following techniques to promote open discussions regarding your event:
Live session comments
After the Event
Once your event is concluded, it’s the perfect time to ask your attendees for their thoughts, concerns, compliments, and advice on the event as a whole—as well as their ideas on what they’d like to see in future events. As you construct your surveys, consider the following five suggestions:
Keep your questions short and to the point. Even the most enthusiastic attendee has a limited amount of time to donate. Craft a survey that gets the information you need—quickly.
Ask yourself what you need to know. Since the general patience for surveys is limited, focus on the information that is most vital and design a survey that gets data on those points.
Avoid neutral options. If the majority of your attendees “neither agree nor disagree”—what have you actually learned? Offer answers that give YOU answers.
Encourage real thoughts. Why does a participant “strongly disagree”? Provide an area for open comments and encourage attendees to voice the reasons behind strong feelings.
Use incentives. If you need more advanced feedback, be prepared to offer something tangible in exchange for the time attendees donate to your questionnaire.
Next week we’ll delve into Reporting and ROI—some of the ways that you can use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year!
CRE Rentals can provide the audience response systems, iPad rentals, and touch screen rentals that can help you gather and display the interactive material gathered from your attendees! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725
We’ve been discussing the vast potential of event apps. Moving forward, we examine another remarkable benefit of this modern day event innovation—real time communication for attendees. In this day and age, we’re used to instant messaging; however, an event app can use instant contact to take your networking, event planning, scheduling, feedback, sessions, and social media to a higher level. Let’s look at all the ways that your event app can instantly connect and facilitate!
Individual notifications – one of the simplest ways that your event app can make life easier for your attendees is through individual notifications. These messages can help keep attendees on top of their personalized agenda, meetings, sessions, conversations and more. The world is a happier, less-stressful place when we know that we have an electronic assistant backing us up with gentle reminders about our commitments!
Virtual help desk – allow attendees to instantly get assistance from the event organizing staff! Rather than letting guests flounder in uncertainty or hunt through online resources—set up a clear, instant channel that allows your attendees to quickly ask questions from those in-the-know, and then get back to the business at hand.
Instant messaging – event networking and scheduling is infinitely easier with direct and instant messaging between attendees. If your event is about connecting people and businesses, allowing them to instantly contact other event participants is a clear winner. Your event app should offer attendees a chance to connect through their event specific profiles, eliminating the need for individuals’ emails and phone numbers to be exchanged prematurely.
Group messaging – one step sideways from instant messaging is group messaging—facilitating communication and conversation, while also promoting team-building and communities. This is also a great way to encourage (our next point) brainstorming.
Brainstorming and crowdsourcing – if your conference or meeting is looking to solve problems and move projects forward, brainstorming and crowdsourcing are excellent methods for gathering information and insight across a broad collection of experts and innovators. These can be the tools that let your event app help develop the next great idea!
Presentation customization – if your business goals revolve around decision-making, if you’re interested in gathering ideas from session attendees, or maybe you’d like to increase interest in your trade show booth or product line, using real-time communication for gathering ideas and content can give you instant material on which to base customized presentations. Instant messaging can be used to help tailor your presentation, AS YOU GIVE IT, to suit your audience precisely.
Question and answer sessions – at the end of a lecture or presentation, let your event app facilitate a truly helpful question and answer session—one that allows information and ideas to be exchanged freely.
Next week we’ll delve into ratings and feedback—some of the ways that you can use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year!
CRE Rentals can provide the iPad rentals, WiFi booster, digital signage, and laptops that can engage attendees and boost ROI! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725