Gamifying Banking: What banks can learn from the recent revolution in gaming | |

Gamifying Banking: What banks can learn from the recent revolution in gaming

Written on June 24, 2011 by Kris Hansen in Banking Technology, Strategy

Gamification is about creating an engaging user experience that is centered on providing feedback and rewards for interaction and engagement.  Great games have a goal, some challenge and some reward.

While I believe that feedback and intrinsic rewards for investing, making loan payments, having great credit scores, and saving are all part of the banking ‘gamification’ future — there is also insight that can be gained from the advances of gaming itself.

Simple games succeed:  A recent trend in gaming is the introduction of the simple mobile game.  Many of these games started as small straightforward applications with great game play and turned into major brands and franchises.

Relevance for banks:  It is easier to start simply and build a franchise than start with complexity and simplify.  Many of these apps that have succeeded were created by small adept teams on small budgets — great results don’t necessarily require massive budgets.

Frictionless Payments: According to my credit card statements, this has been the year of the in-app purchase.  What a great concept – get customers that are already engaged and increase wallet share in a seamless manner by adding value and easily taking payment.

In the banking space a parallel can be seen in how products are positioned, offered, and purchased.  The key is ‘seamlessness’ and ensuring that the customer understands and desires the value.

Immediate Feedback: When you do something good in a game, the feedback is immediate.

Too much feedback in banking comes after a batch cycle.  Getting to real time becomes more important in the context of providing feedback on current activities.

Everything is a platform: Gaming companies don’t view emerging technologies and platforms as challenges they see them as new opportunities to extend their brand and franchise.  As an example, in this video Mari Baker from PlayFirst Inc. describes Facebook as a platform amongst PC, iPad, iPod and Android — and discusses how her product (Diner Dash) remains consistent yet differentiated across these platforms.

Consumers make platform choices and will engage with products on their terms and in their space.  Going to them and providing a consistent yet differentiated experience is how gaming companies build their franchise.

Cost of entry: PC and console games are $40-60, downloaded PC games sell for $4.99 or $2.99, mobile games sell for $.99 or are free.  The ease of entry into the branch or franchise for $.99 or free games is amazing.  What a great way to build a brand – invite it’s use and amaze the customer.

For games pricing is aligned to the distribution channel, when the distribution becomes easier prices are decreased and volumes increase — similar concepts can be applied to the distribution of banking products and services.

I am looking forward to seeing how the banking industry evolves as games become more a part of peoples lives and expectations shift from the web experience to the “Angry Birds” experience.  Banking transformation is about preparing for these changes in expectations and enabling the banking core to adapt and evolve as consumers shift and change at increasing speed.

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