This past week in my social media class at SJSU, we had a guest speaker name G.I. Sanders (@gisanders)(thanks again for speaking to us G.I.!) who is a co-founder of a company call Fancorps. Fancorps (@Fancorps)  is “a technology based social media marketing service provider and a proprietary brand ambassador and fan engagement platform”. The concept of Fancorps is to bring “structure, performance tracking & actionable guidance to today’s stream of social media.” Upon listening to many many helpful things, one concept caught my eye the most. G.I. introduce our class to a project Fancorps is working on for their client Chili’s, called Chilihead Nation. Upon being introduce to this project, my professor, Michael Brito, introduced me to the concept of gamification. I am not a Chilihead or an employee of Fancorps, but this was the first time I have witness gamification being used by a company which interested me.

Gamification is when you apply gaming techniques, design and style to other activities to make it more fun. In return, it stimulates usage, engagement and interaction, which makes the consumer come back. Examples are companies like foursquare where you “check-in” to get special deals and become mayor of a place. When I was first introduce to this concept something clicked in my head. Finally, I thought to myself, people are beginning to realize the power of games. Being a gamer myself, I am addicted to all kinds of game. From first-person shooters to role-playing games to web-base games, I play it all. Some of the most addict games I have ever played we’re web-browser base games such as Mafia.Org, Utopia-games.com and Starkingdoms.com.

The concept used  in Chilihead Nation is very similar to these web-browser base games. In the end, your goal is to be the best and sit on top the rankings/leader boards. I don’t know about every one else, but getting to show who I can influence while eating at a place I love and earning free items and food while doing it, who wouldn’t jump on that opportunity. The rankings and leader boards are just the icing on the cake because well, who wouldn’t want to be acknowledged as being the number one? People might think that this is a masculinity point of view, but get this. Only a small percentage of Chilihead Nation members are male! Games are traditional viewed as a hobby created for men, but Chilihead Nation proves that women are responding the most. From this, it is scary to think what kind exposure companies can get when men jump on board.

Integrating business and the concept of gaming into one is genius because this keeps the loyal customers coming back for more while bringing in their friends and family. In the near future, I believe most companies will use gamification to boost their profits and sales. As my earlier blogs, a companies existing customers are their best friends. A company can spend million of dollars on advertisement and marketing, but nothing will compare to word of mouth marketing by satisfying customers. With the addicting nature of gaming, it is hard to see how this won’t be a focal point of companies in the future.

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