QR Codes And Gamification
There was a time in the past when games were synonymous with kid stuff, an immature pursuit, something not indulged in by grown-ups. “Do you think I’m playing games here?” was a rhetorical question thrown at someone who was apparently not taking something as seriously as they should.
Games and QR codes are a sound marketing strategy when merged together
But that was then, this is now. Games are a big part of today’s culture as the Age of the Geek continues its mighty rule. Consequently, gamification, which is the process of using game mechanics and gaming attitudes in order to engage users, is a thing today. Thanks to the advent of QR codes, more businesses and industries are turning to gamification as a means of creating higher levels of engagement, and that even applies to academia.
Learning As A Game?
When you play a game, you interact with it. When you achieve certain goals, you are rewarded for your efforts. Thus, gaming offers participation and fast gratification. Games offer challenges, and if you’re not careful you may learn something, which means it comes as no surprise when we hear how online college courses are using gamification as a means of challenging students and keeping them interested.
By turning gaming activities into the means of teaching academic lessons, institutions of learning can keep users’ interests while also sharpening the students’ soft skills in such areas as critical thinking or teamwork.
Gamifying Your Coke Habit
One of the most prominent examples of business gamification is Coca-Cola’s “Happiness Quest” that debuted in Japan in 2011. Customers use their smartphones to scan QR codes on Coke machines and create a virtual vending machine avatar. Users are then encouraged to check in on Coke machines regularly, gaining points that can be used to customize their designated machine. Loyal customers can earn badges by finding certain machines or scanning during certain times, such as holidays. In return, customers get up to date news on new campaigns and promotions, as well as in-game rewards.
Leveling Up With Discounts
Although there are pundits out there that dismiss QR codes as a fad or overrated, the reality is that QR codes make gamification easy by providing an efficient medium to display relevant information. Companies hold scavenger hunts as promotions using QR codes, for instance. The reward for checking in could be points that increase the user’s levels, and thus opening up new deals, promotions, and bargains. Square Enix, the publishers of the Deus Ex role-playing video game, successfully used a scavenger hunt to promote Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the third game in the series.
Gamification Makes Good Marketing Sense
Seriously, now … what’s your knee-jerk reaction when you’re faced with a commercial, be it on television, a pop-up ad, or those annoying commercials tacked onto the front of a YouTube video? It’s probably eye-rolling, followed by an intense desire to somehow blow past it and get to the good stuff. Optionally, if it’s a terrible commercial, that desire is also accompanied by the wish to strangle the people responsible for unleashing it on an unsuspecting public. But hey, we live in an imperfect world, right?
Ah, but what’s your initial reaction when given an opportunity to play a game? More often than not, safe to say, it’s curiosity followed by the desire to at least give it a shot. That’s engagement. That’s what marketers want.
If games can be used to teach things, and a commercial is simply a way of teaching (e.g. imparting information to) the consumer about what the company offers, then the marriage of gamification and advertisement is a sound strategy that stands a better than average chance of yielding positive results.
Byline: John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1985. He feels that choosing between sitting through yet another annoying commercial or playing a video game is a no-brainer.