Gamification — the application of game-design elements in non-gaming contexts — is a great opportunity for energy utilities to engage customers. Games facilitate our natural desire for socializing, learning, competition and achievement, not to mention fun and play. The latter may sound frivolous but serves as a powerful engagement tool.
In 2010, Google released their first-ever gamified Doodle (a temporary alteration of the company’s logo) to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man. In the following two days, consumers spent more than 4.82 million hours playing with Google’s Pac-Man logo.
This is not the only time Google has gamified its applications. On April Fool’s Day in 2015 and 2017, the search giant overlaid playable Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man maps over Google Maps. These events generated countless news articles, tutorials and hours of customer engagement.
How does gamification work?
By adding interactive elements to marketing messages, educational resources or other content, gamification makes that information more appealing and more memorable.
How does it work? Gamification leverages three elements to achieve high levels of engagement:
Mechanics: Most games are built around a core mechanic that must be performed to progress. In other words, the mechanic is the set of rules. The mechanic does not have to be complicated to make the game entertaining.
Dynamics: This is essentially the game play, whether building a contraption, smashing moles or collecting widgets. Game dynamics act as the vehicle to progress and receive a reward.
Reward: This is achieved by the payoff. This could be a high score, medal or new piece of information. An engaging experience provides some measurement of progression for consumers as they try to reach their reward.
Fun and games with energy content
There are many types of games to engage and entertain your audience, including classic crossword puzzles, old-school video games and trivia. These interactive content pieces can be used in an eNewsletter, on your energy utility’s website or social media sites to drive engagement. You can also leverage continuity by turning your gamified content into a series to boost engagement.
These Questline interactive games are great examples of how you can gamify energy-related content:
POWER PLAY: Energy Crossword Puzzle: This is a crossword puzzle with energy-inspired themes. In this case, the rules are the same as any crossword puzzle with the player working toward completion.
Who Wants to Be an Energy Expert?: This series of multiple-choice quizzes is presented like a TV gameshow. There are simple rules to follow with additional elements such as a “phone an expert” option that provides additional educational touchpoints.
Hazard Hunt: Home Electrical Safety: This game lets the player search for common hazards found in everyday life. The player navigates each room and hovers over the potential hazard to reveal a useful tip.
Gamification is an increasingly popular tactic to drive engagement and educate customers about energy topics and technology. In the age of “infotainment,” creating a truly engaging customer experience requires great content and a stimulating way to consume it.