Can gamification enliven offline communications campaigns?

Communicators should consider using game concepts, or gamification, as a means of enlivening and communicating subjects which are considered dull and with which employees are notoriously difficult to engage.

Wikipedia defines the term gamification as “the integration of game mechanics or game dynamics into a website, service, community, campaign, or application in order to drive participation and engagement.”

While the majority of organisations opt for online solutions, gamification can be used in offline communications campaigns as an equally effective alternative, particularly for non-IT enabled audiences. Invigorating a communications programme with interactive learning sessions targeting small groups or specific departments is an effective way of achieving the buzz which creates interest and engagement.

Risky business

Generating excitement around a serious corporate matter such as information security may not appear to be an obvious or even achievable solution, but is worth pursuing as a means of raising awareness of security policies. Employees that are not on the front line of business, but are integral nonetheless, may feel that such policies are not relevant to them, and perhaps do not understand them. It is therefore even more important to engage this group in the most effective ways possible.

Expect the unexpected

Conveying the message in an unusual and unexpected way such as gamification helps to fix it in the memory of the audience, thereby enabling employees to remember those mundane but essential messages that we often struggle to communicate. Supporting collaterals are a good method for further reinforcing your message and sustaining awareness levels.

Finely tuned

Analyse and assess your target audience to gain maximum understanding of key stimulators that will appeal to them and use these to your advantage. Play on employees’ competitive instincts to conjure a belief in and advocacy of a particular subject and reward participants for their vocal contributions. Understanding the profile of your audience will enable you to better connect with them, and assist in their adopting your message as ingrained and habitual behaviour.

Associative learning is at the core of nearly every marketing communication, particularly in the use of viral messages. Those communicators unfamiliar with such methods can be reassured by the regular success associative methods attain; delivering a security message is not limited to the use of traditional images such as padlocks and keys. If your audience are motivated by sport, use this as your vehicle to communicate an important message.

One year on, it’s more than likely that your use of game thinking rather than the monotonous e-learning and tedious training sessions traditionally endured, will resonate with the employees who participated in your campaign.

Bernadette Palmer MA ICM, Dip ICM has been with The Security Company (TSC) for five years as Senior Communications Consultant. Bernadette’s in-depth understanding of the communications environment and the role of security awareness within organisations has been an invaluable asset for TSC in winning business from a wide range of companies. Before working for TSC, Bernadette was the Senior Employee Communications Manager for BT Major Business, BT Business and BT Products and Services; where she managed a team of communication specialists delivering a suite of services to internal clients. Prior to this Bernadette worked as the Security Awareness Manager for BT Security for six years where she gained an invaluable insight into the world of security within organisations.