by Andrea Doyle | May 26, 2015

Let Sponsors Play, Too
At the Incentive Research Foundation's (IRF) 21st annual Incentive Invitation at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort in San Jose del Cabo on Mexico's Baja Peninsula, more than 300 professionals from the motivation, incentives, and rewards industries were taking selfies galore. Narcissism wasn't the issue. They were snapping away as part of a game created by QuickMobile.

"The theme of the IRF event was happiness, so we created a gamification program focused on happy behavior," says Endean of QuickMobile. For example, participants were instructed to snap pictures of themselves in front of their favorite spot at the resort. "The game encouraged people to express what makes them happy, and rewarded them for sharing," explains Endean.


Using a gamified event app helped
Spear One's Rudy Garza engage with
fellow atttendees, while satisfying
his competitive nature

This game may have focused on happiness but it also encouraged networking. "I'm one of those people who is the life of the party when I'm with friends but freezes up during networking events," says Rudy Garza, vice president of operations for Irving, TX-based Spear One, a third-party meetings and incentive provider. "This happiness game helped me network and engage with other people. I'm very competitive, and a game like this connects with me right away."

As a matter of a fact, Garza started playing on his flight to Los Cabos, trying to earn points to make his way up the leader board. Proudly, Garza says he won the game at the 2013 IRF Incentive Invitation, and came in third last year. Although the contacts he made as a result of the game have been invaluable, he says he's also won bragging rights by winning a badge for "VIT" (very important Tweeter). Last year, he won a prepaid Visa gift card.

One of the most beneficial parts of the game, Garza says, were the sponsor check-ins. "They challenged you to truly network with all of the key sponsors for this event, which is one key component of this annual gathering."

Subliminal Gamification
One of the benefits of video and online games being so ubiquitous is that it creates a wide landscape of gamification opportunities for marketers to keep their products top of mind with consumers. The gaming community is a tightknit one and inVNT, a global brand communications agency, kept that in mind when launching the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision GT Supercar. Social media appeals to this audience, and just like trying to target the right audience for your incentive programs, inVNT reached them using the channels they frequent.

Last June, inVNT's client, Nissan, asked the agency for help in launching the Nissan NC2020 in conjunction with a challenge the iconic racing video game, Gran Turismo, had issued to auto manufacturers -- to develop their visions of a GT car in the year 2020, which ultimately would be incorporated into the video game.

Research revealed that Nissan has great brand awareness in the gaming community, as there are three times more Nissans in the Grand Turismo than other vehicles.

A month-long campaign on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram featured a shadowy version of the Nissan concept. Intersecting the virtual world with the actual world, the sleek vehicle was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed held in West Sussex, England.

Nissan benefited by partnering with Gran Turismo and PlayStation to create this type of brand awareness. "Today's future car buyers are being inspired by video games," explains Detroit-based Jerry Deeney, inVNT's director of strategic accounts-global operations. "By inspiring them to race a Nissan in Gran Turismo, it's creating an emotional connection. They will remember that they loved Nissans in their video games and that connection, when the time is right, can influence their purchase decision when they form part of a larger gamification platform."