We present here 13 tips based on recommended best practices and the lessons we’ve learned while implementing location-based games, particularly the SCVNGR app.
SCVNGR is a simple game; you go places, do challenges, earn points and unlock rewards. SCVNGR is a very flexible platform that allows businesses and organizations to create challenges and offer rewards to their customers at specific locations. We used SCVNGR for a single large event, but you can create continuous challenges for many places like museums, zoos, restaurant chains, or neighborhoods.
We had the opportunity to use the SCVNGR app to create a location-based marketing game for the 63rd Israeli Independence Day event in Davie, FL.
The IID63 was organized by two of the largest Jewish community centers in South Florida. The event had numerous activities for kids and adults, a main stage with performances and a marketplace. The marketplace included vendors and organizations.
The main objectives we had in mind were to:
- Create something different and memorable for the participants.
- Augment the online social media efforts of the community centers.
- Drive traffic to specific vendors and organizations.
- Engage the public, create a dialog and deliver important messages from specific organizations (i.e. learn and spread the word about certain needs of participating groups).
We applied the three Ps of success (Prepare, Prepare and Prepare) and started creating the challenges many weeks before the event. We used all the challenge types available in SCVNGR, including closed questions, open questions, QR codes (short for Quick Response code, a type of barcode that can be scanned using a smartphone) and pictures
[alert color=”green”] 1: Create challenges that are appropriate for the objective you would like to fulfill at every single post. [/alert]
For vendors that offered art, clothing, jewelry and other accessories, the objective was to have the players to interact and promote their products. The challenge at those places required players to take a picture with an item from that booth.
There were many Jewish temples represented at the event. We wanted to generate traffic to their tables but we couldn’t create a different challenge for each one of them. Therefore, we made a generic challenge for all of their tables, where the player needed to scan a QR code. The QR code is, in this case, the icebreaker to start a conversation with a person that approached the table.
[alert color=”green”]2: Test every single challenge, particularly those that have a QR code involved, with different phones
3:Keep the QR Code response short to make the QR Code easy to read. Print large QR codes and make them identifiable as related to the challenge.[/alert]
For some non-profit organizations, the idea was to promote their activities, their needs and organization values. There, we implemented closed questions. For example, one of our questions was, “…Visit the Joseph Meyerhoff Senior Center/Southeast Focal Point and ask, ‘What is the most popular program at the Center?’” Valid answers were “bingo, monthly birthday parties, current events”. The player had to ask at the table what activities for seniors the center offers.
For other organizations it was more important to create a one-to-one conversation. In those cases, we used an open question. For example, “What is one of the biggest needs of Jewish Adoption & Foster Care Options today?” Here, the player had to approach the table and ask, “What are the biggest needs of your organization?” It allowed a powerful opening for a conversation with that player.
[alert color=”green”]4: Use the appropriate graphics to make a connection between a challenge and a location.[/alert]
We used SCVNGR’s media option to add the organizations’ logos and appropriate icons to depict the nature of the challenge (i.e. a diamond for jewelry places, a color palette for arts booths).
[alert color=”green”]5: Consider offering more points on challenges related to the locations you would most like people to visit.
6: Offer real prizes and rewards. Keep the number of points attainable – do not request to fulfill all of the challenges to get the reward.[/alert]
[alert color=”yellow”]7: Rewards require the approval of SCVNGR. The approval process can take some time. Do not wait until the day of the event to create the reward. Create the reward weeks in advance and try to use it.[/alert]
Before the event
[alert color=”green”]8: Promote and notify people about the game before and during the event through any possible channel.[/alert]
It is important to inform people coming to the event to be prepared and ready to play. We took care to have every single flier, press release, and letter to members contain a remainder about the game. Websites and newspapers publishing the event mentioned SCVNGR. The program for the event had an announcement about the game on the front page.
[alert color=”yellow”]9: Create a small leaflet with clear instructions on the game and what is expected from the vendors and organizations. Distribute it ahead of time and provide a point of contact to answer any questions. On the day of the event, visit each one of them and show them how it works on your device.[/alert]
Training is key in the success of the game. In our case, we met the vendors and organizations a few hours before the event. Bear in mind, they have their own problems setting up their tables and booths, and you need to explain to each one of them how the game works, what they need to do, what a QR code is and much more.
During the event
[alert color=”green”]10: Create a simple poster that explains the dynamics of the game. Keep in mind, the objective is to have them “up and running” in minimum time, not being an expert on the SCVNGR app.[/alert]
Expect people not to be completely familiar with the game. Have a table and make sure workers are available to help the public install it and understand how it works.
We prepared the material, posters, and had people to assist the public with installation and use of the app. One big inconvenience was that the weather changed and it started raining. The marketplace had to move indoors, and the setup and flowing of people changed. Although the table assisting people was directly on the main entrance, there were other doors to access the building because of the rain. The direct result was that many people entered through different points of the marketplace, and by the time they got to the game assistance table they didn’t want to walk the marketplace again just to play the game.
[alert color=”yellow”]11:If you provide on-site assistance, understand all traffic flow possibilities and try to cover every access. Make the workers who explain the game identifiable.[/alert]
[alert color=”green”]12: Encourage people and show them how to share their activities through other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter directly from the game.[/alert]
Conclusions and nice surprises
Many people participated in the game and had fun. The organizations were very pleased to have people coming over to ask questions, and vendors had the public interacting with their product.
One unexpected outcome was the involvement of children. We expected to have a majority of teenagers and young adults playing the game. But the fact that we had to move the marketplace indoors due to weather conditions transformed the SCVNGR challenges into a continuous activity for parents to keep their kids entertained while moving between different activities. Many parents installed the app and played the game with their children. This brings us to the last and most important tip of all…
[alert color=”green”]13: HAVE FUN![/alert]