Samsung is embracing a business trend called gamification, which takes elements from games and applies them to other settings. Companies like Recyclebank, for example, use game incentives, like points and rewards, to prompt consumers to perform eco-friendly activities. Other businesses offer awards like virtual badges to induce their employees to embrace corporate goals and increase productivity. Meanwhile, a number of well-known retailers and brands, including Samsung and Warner Brothers, are employing point reward systems as a way to engage customers more deeply.
For companies, the premise of gamification is that it engages people in the kind of reward-seeking behaviors that lead to increased brand loyalty, not to mention increased profits. By tracking the online activities of people who sign up for such programs, companies can also amass more detailed metrics about each user — the better to identify the most active customers.
“People use gamification to measure and influence user behavior to meet their business goals,” says Kris Duggan, the chief executive of Badgeville, which designs game-based programs for companies, including Samsung.
Game techniques, Mr. Duggan says, prompt consumers to spend more time on company Web sites, contribute more content and share more product information with Facebook and Twitter adherents. One of his clients, he says, uses a gamification program to collect information about 300 actions — like posting comments or sharing with a social network — performed by several million people.
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