Cracking the Code of Festive Gamification Inside Scoop.

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Gamification Insider Inside Scoop!

What is the Inside Scoop?

A monthly deep-dive into an organisation, product or service and how they are using gamification in their business.

We’ll talk about the specific gamification techniques used, explain what they are, why we think that business is using them and give you some ideas as to how those tools can be used by small businesses.

This issue of the Inside Scoop will be discussed in more detail at our monthly Codebreaker Club, available to Codebreaker level members and higher at 1pm on 6th December 2023. 

Cracking the Code of Festive Gamification

This is where we would normally talk about the focus of our one case study for the month, but for December we’re mixing it up and showcasing not one, not two but three smaller examples with a festive theme!

We’ll still talk about the techniques they’re using, why, and how they can be useful to your business so let’s get started!

Claire's Accessories | Catch the snowflake game.

According to Wikipedia “Claire’s is an American retailer of accessories, jewelry, and toys primarily aimed toward tween and teen girls. It was founded in 1961 and is based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

What have they gamified?

They’ve created a festive game on their website where you can catch a snowflake to win a holiday offer.

The game is very simple; on the screen, some snowflakes bounce around and if you click on them, you get a special offer. 

However, before they give you the offer they take your details and ask you a few questions…

What techniques are they using here and why are they using them?

Random Rewards | Gamification technique 1

The user has no idea what the reward will be as a result of their actions, and there’s something inherently intriguing about that!

This is one of the reasons slot machines and scratch cards are so popular. 

Where do you see Random Rewards in the game world?

These are seen in video games where there is a mystery box you get for taking action. In mobile games, you might receive mystery rewards for logging in each day (to reinforce this behaviour).

How does Claire’s Accessories use Random Rewards and why?

By clicking a snowflake you get a random reward. They don’t even hint at what the rewards could be so it’s a complete mystery!

Why do they do this? Two reasons:

  1. To capture your email so that they can market more things to you (revenue generation)
  2. For market research, to understand why you are there and what you are looking to buy so that they can use:
    • Personalisation to promote relevant products and offers to you (for further revenue generation)

Could you apply Random Rewards to your business?

You can use this as part of any competitions you run to add a bit of extra mystery and anticipation for anyone playing. This might increase the number of people who want to take part in your competition!

You could also use this to motivate yourself to take action on larger projects. Let’s say that you have three big projects you need to complete this week, it’s going to be a tight squeeze but you must do it!

Rather than simply rewarding yourself a specific thing for achieving each task you could gamify it! Get yourself three envelopes, pop three different rewards in each and shuffle them. You then get to pick a reward each time you complete one of your projects, but you don’t know what it will be.

For added novelty, why not ask someone who knows you well to pick a reward to put into one of the envelopes for you, then you get a little surprise to look forward to as well!

We’ll discuss more ideas in this month’s Codebreaker Club.

For Cardiff | Cardiff City Of Arcades Monopoly game

On 18th November 2023, a giant Monopoly-style game appeared outside Cardiff Central Station to celebrate City of Arcades Day. The game organised by For Cardiff showcased the city’s seven historic arcades and landmarks. People were invited to play along in person on the life-sized monopoly board for chances to win prizes. You win prizes by landing on certain things. At the end of the game, you get to choose your prizes, which are a mystery until that moment! 

Novelty | Gamification technique 2

Wait? Didn’t we cover this in a previous Inside Scoop? Yep! There will sometimes be repeats in the Inside Scoop as organisations use the same techniques. It’s always a good thing to see more examples of how different businesses use the same technique, or how they use it differently. Here’s a refresher:  

Novelty is an important gamification technique. It doesn’t matter how exciting or interesting something is, after a while, the novelty will wear off.

Let’s use some business examples, a new social media platform opens and you rush over there to join in the hype. A few days in and it’s already become boring despite being the newest and most interesting social media platform around, you’re already bored of it. (Think Clubhouse and Threads)

Have you ever found yourself getting into a great new consistent routine of scheduling posts, or getting to inbox zero every day or engaging on social media, but then… you just… stop? Once again, the novelty has worn off.

This is because when you do the same thing over and over and over again you get bored. Even if you do something fun or novel to keep yourself engaged you are going to get bored of that thing eventually because you become accustomed to it.

This is called habituation. The idea of habituation comes from studies of the animal kingdom. Initially, an organism responds a certain way to a new stimulus or change in its environment. We’ve evolved to notice and react to things that could be a threat. However, if the same stimulus is repeated over time, as we get used to it, it no longer causes the same reaction in our nervous system and so we stop paying so much attention. This is my very brief summary however and I encourage you to have a quick Google if you’d like to learn more.

This is where you need to add Novelty, to reignite that attention!

Where do you see Novelty in the game world?

Using a dice to decide how many spaces to move on a board game, shuffling cards to randomise the pack, adding in hidden rooms in video games and so much more!

How does the For Cardiff use Novelty and why?

This game is situated right outside the biggest train station in Cardiff. Prime position for many people to see it. It’s something that isn’t normally there, it’s big so you can’t miss it and it’s definitely novel! 

They invited Wynne Evans (who you may recognise from the Go Compare adverts) to run an initial game for journalists and influencers to promote the event and attract people to the city to see this unusual event and play along.

They used large inflatable dice, and some inflatables as board pieces, as well as actors dressed up to distribute cards and take people to jail. All of this is quite unusual outside Cardiff Central Station (though you could argue that you might see the odd person dressed up or carrying inflatables on a Saturday night, it’s not as normal in the daytime!)

All of this draws new attention and a fresh feeling to the famous shopping arcades which have been around since the 1800s.

There are many small businesses and long-standing businesses that are based in the arcades and it’s good for the local economy to continue to attract visitors to spend money there.

They are keeping things fresh in the hope of generating revenue!

Is Novelty something you could apply to your business?

Consider adding the concept of novelty to your business strategy building on the suggestions previously mentioned in the Inside Scoop about Spotify,

Let’s take some learning directly from For Cardiff and think about anything you’ve had in your business for a while that might need a new lease of life. The arcades in Cardiff have been around since 1800s, and while word of mouth and regular visitors will keep the revenue flowing to some extent, you sometimes need new ideas and novel thinking to attract new visitors.

What area of your business has been the same for a long time and could do with a little refresh to add interest?

  • Could you add a new feature to your membership?
  • Could you try something different in your marketing?
  • Could you create a new lead magnet?
  • Could you repurpose something you already have into a new format to make it feel new and exciting?

To motivate yourself, could you add novelty by changing the location you do a task in, changing the software you use or changing it up in some other way?

There are so many ways to add a little novelty for motivation.

We’ll discuss more ideas in this month’s Codebreaker Club as well as discussing any other gamification techniques we think were used as part of this campaign.

Spar | Christmas Advent Calendar

Spar is a convenience store in the UK. This year they have created an advent calendar on their website by teaming up with their suppliers to offer prizes.

Each week you can click on a new ‘door’ and enter your details for a chance to win a prize.  

Torture Breaks | Gamification technique 3

A torture break is a name for an enforced cool-off or stopping period in a game. The idea is that being forced to stop, motivates you to want to play even more.

An example; I started writing this Inside Scoop and getting really into it, getting excited about writing each section and revealing new things to you all but secretly I knew I was putting off something I didn’t want to do.

When I went to make a cuppa I realised this and decided that I could only continue to write the Inside Scoop after I’d done the thing I was putting off.

I gave myself a torture break.

This is the concept of preventing yourself from doing something for an amount of time or until something else is completed.

Games do this all the time. A classic example is Wordle, you can only do it once a day, so the next day you’re gagging to play again! If you could play it endlessly the fun would wear off.

So – why does not allowing myself to complete the Inside Scoop until I’ve done the thing I’ve been putting off work so well?

For three reasons;

  1. As I’ve already said it’ll motivate me to do the thing I’ve been putting off so I can get back to the thing I want to do.
  2. The second thing is that taking a break from something that you’ve already started gives your brain time to process it and think through it more, so you’ll come back with even more ideas and are ready to go!
  3. Thirdly, motivation comes from momentum.

By starting the task and then stopping while you’ve still got loads of ideas, are motivated, and have momentum, you’ll be keen to get back to it and finish.

The torture break will help you to do the thing you’ve been putting off and help you to do the thing you want to do anyway even better.

Another common example you’ll see of a torture break is in a television series, where they leave you on a cliffhanger so you’ll make sure to tune in next time!


Where do you see torture breaks in the game world?

In games where you can only play once per day (Like Wordle), or you have a set number of hearts and you have to wait for them to refill, which you can only do by waiting or by buying new hearts, or watching an advert – the time element is a torture break, 

So how does Spar’s advent calendar use Torture Breaks and why?

Users can click on the current week to find out that week’s prize. If you want a chance to win you complete their form with your details and join their newsletter to be entered into the prize draw. However, the future weeks are covered by a “?” and the prizes are only revealed on specific dates, encouraging users to come back to check if it’s something they want to win. Rather than giving away one singular prize to encourage people to join their newsletter (which might not be attractive to everyone in their audience), Spar has cleverly found a way to use gamification to motivate their audience to check back on their site every week to see if the new prize is something that they want to win. This increases the number of people who might sign up for their mailing list enticed by different prizes and also improves brand awareness using the gamification technique of the sunk cost fallacy mentioned previously in the Inside Scoop about Amazon.

Is the technique of Torture Breaks something you could apply to your business?

You could recreate what Spar has done with their advent calendar very easily by creating a few web pages with sign-up forms. It’s an extremely simple way to gamify attracting people to join your email list! 

Other ways to use torture breaks; could be hinting in your marketing about at something new in your business but not revealing all until a certain date. We did this when we started working in gamification, we revealed clues weekly by email on the build-up to announcing what our ‘new thing’ was. People were desperate to know what it was, and so joined the list to guess the clues.

If you run a course or membership; at the end of a training session you could leave your students on a cliffhanger like in TV shows, by hinting at what they’ll see next time, to get them excited to come back and learn more!

To motivate yourself, you can do what I did in the explanation above. When you realise you’re enjoying a business task give yourself a torture break to do a business task you don’t enjoy so you’ll get it done and your reward is to go back to the task you were enjoying earlier!

We’ll discuss more ideas in this month’s Codebreaker Club.

Time to wrap this up!

Time to wrap this up! This issue of the Inside Scoop has been a little different, with three smaller case studies uncovering some of the gamification techniques they’ve used to increase revenue, increase footfall, increase brand awareness and motivate people to join their email lists. 

We’ve covered three gamification techniques; Random Rewards, Novelty and Torture Breaks.

We’ve also given you some ideas of how you could implement these in your business.

We will be discussing these techniques in more depth and workshopping how you could apply them in your business in the Codebreaker Club on 6th December.

In pursuit of truth,
Kimba 🔍 

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