For the last five years, gamification and badgification have become buzzwords in the incentive industry. For many, I’m guessing that the two are synonymous. For me, however, they are not. So let’s start by defining our terms.

Badgification for Sales Incentives

The main concept of badgification is recognition, without the transmission of an actual financial or point reward. The badge, in other words, is an end in itself – a trophy to self-esteem and achievement.

One example might be the use of a chevron or trophy image to show goal based achievement. The first badge shows you’ve begun your journey and attained your first goal. The second, a more notable achievement and the third is an indication of achieving mastery. As a former Boy Scout, it seems that this is not terribly different than getting merit badges. Those badges are worn on a sash at scouting events. They are skill-based achievements in a variety of different areas. Upon reaching five merit badges, one becomes a Star Scout. At 10, one becomes a Life Scout. 21 merit badges qualify a scout as an Eagle Scout, considered quite an honor in the scouting community.

Another take on this idea would be to implement a peer recognition system, where perhaps a Guiding Principles program can be created, featuring a list of behaviors or actions that contribute to the organizations success. Then, whenever one team member catches another doing something great in harmony with the GP’s, they can “throw them a star”, which would then appear on their program dashboard. A global dashboard can illuminate with the “real stars” in the organization based on peer review. It’s a catchy idea that can really drive great behavior and results.

To implement a badgification program, it is necessary to quantify goals and achievement, define a badge system to convey that achievement, and utilize a software platform that supports badgification.

However, badgification is different from gamification.  How so?

Gamification for Sales Incentives

Sales incentives are an entirely different animal. It may well be that badgification has a value in a sales incentive system, but there is so much more that can be done. Think of the games that you enjoyed as a child. Think of the computer games that are played by millions. The ideas are endless. And they are a lot of fun!

At the core of the ideas we are about to present, is the ability of a software system to utilize database driven, achievement driven animations. It has been possible to do this type of system for at least 20 years, starting with the earliest versions of (Shockwave) Flash, and now with HTML 5. Any given achievement can trigger an animation or a series of animations. Here are some examples:

Take the Road to Paradise


The Proxima “Take the Road to Paradise” Promotion was conceived as a way to deliver a travel based plateaued reward system inspired by “The Game of Life”.  Points were accrued for sales performance, and great Ritz-Carlton travel prizes and AA flights were accrued as achievement progressed. This concept is then webified so that the participant can login and his current standings trigger a clever animation of the colored squares, stopping on the current achievement level. After points are redeemed, when the participant logs in next, they then see an adjusted achievement level and they can rededicate themselves to climbing the game board again.

With a little imagination, you can see how this same platform capability can become Chutes and Ladders, Mouse Trap, or some other engaging motif.

Gamification, Example 2

Another client wanted to develop a promotion around an athletic event them, a pentathalon. This highly successful promotion featured the pole vault, high hurdles, javelin throw, and 2 other events. Each event had an animation that ran reflecting goal achievement by product category. Each event was separate but sequential. Upon login, the participant saw their achievement enacted on screen, event by event. When they achieved 100% in 3 events, they received a bronze medal ceremony, at 4 events a silver medal and at 5 a gold. Of course there was a dazzling fireworks display upon achievement of all 5 goals. The program was a great success.

Bottom Line

If you are trying to drive participant engagement in either a recognition way or a sales way, badgification and gamification can really further your goals. The question is… does your incentive partner have the creativity and software expertise to pull this off?