We’ve all been to exhibitions, conferences, seminars and brand activations where there wasn’t much else to do apart from just sitting and listening or perhaps roaming the event space. These are the type of events where the planners did not care much for attendee engagement.
Today, attendee engagement is paramount at events and modern event managers ensure their event excites and engages attendees with a view to form a lasting relationship with the brand. An increasing number of event planners now rely on event gamification as a concept and practice that is highly effective in increasing engagement levels at events.
Gamification, by definition, means application of game principles, theories and mechanisms to non-game environments. Although not a new concept in the events industry, gamification has become immensely popular in the last few years owing to the rapid advances in social media, technology and wireless communication.
A gamified event not only educates and empowers the attendee, but also rewards and entertains in new and exciting ways, creating positive engagement which can lead to high levels of brand loyalty.
So, how do savvy event managers gamify events for greater engagement?
Social Media and Mobile Apps: A key element in gamification is to have an avenue where the engagement drivers are available to everyone. Social media is one such avenue and the integration with the world of event apps has meant new ways to connect, interact and exchange ideas at events. A social media contest, a live tweet Q&A, a hashtag conversation, a VR presentation and a number of other applications of social media elements in corporate events are ensuring greater participation from attendees and higher levels of engagement. Example: RFID technology in wristbands allowed us to reward attendees who had visited all 6 key section of an exhibition for our client.
Gamified Icebreakers: Icebreakers are not a new concept, but the new and innovative ways in which gamified icebreakers like Live Polls via mobile app, virtual reality problem solving games and Q&A using Lego are taking over the corporate seminars and exhibitions is very refreshing and highly engaging for the attendees.
Rewards: An important element of the gamification is the rewards and recognition part, which helps in keeping the attendees motivated. If you want to draw maximum participation from the attendees, keep the rewards relevant and attractive. A client of ours recently offered international calling credit as a reward for answers during the Q&A session at their annual conference. Since the delegates were mostly from overseas, the reward was highly relevant and proved very motivating.
Social Program: Every corporate event must have a strong social program. This is the sum of all the teambuilding and icebreaking activities and represents the core of gamification within the event. Lunches, sightseeing, night parties, hiking, wine tasting and other traditional social programs are increasingly being replaced by activities like interactive workshops, musical instrument training, virtual reality experience, relaxation time and networking games, all with a view to create a more positive and long-lasting experience which turns customers and potential customers into brand ambassadors.