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Smart Play for Workers and Customers

  1. Play the Game
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    Play the Game

    Companies are taking some tips from video-game designers to create more alluring products and advertising. Doritos (PEP) and Hilton's Embassy Suites are enticing customers to play games in marketing and branding campaigns. Nike (NKE) and Nissan (7201:JP) are using elements of game play to make their products more compelling. Google (GOOG), Target (TGT), and other companies use game elements such as scoring and rewards to make mundane tasks more interesting for workers. Read on to see how it's done.
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  2. Cold Stone Creamery
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    Cold Stone Creamery

    Cold Stone Creamery commissioned a training game from Persuasive Games to teach frontline employees about ice cream portions and how it affects profitability. Players serve ice cream during different shift scenarios.
    Persuasive Games LLC
  3. Doritos
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    Doritos

    In December 2010, the Doritos Unlock Xbox contest invited gaming enthusiasts in the U.S. to create a game for Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox system. Fans played the games and voted for their favorites. Jill Robertson created a game called Doritos Crash Course and won $50,000 and a six-month gig as a game consultant for Doritos, a brand of PepsiCo's (PEP) Frito-Lay North America unit.
    Frito-Lay North America, Inc.
  4. Google
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    Google

    Google (GOOG) takes a unique approach to expense reporting. Employees are given guidelines about what management would like employees to spend per day on hotels and other travel costs, said Jordan Newman, a spokesman for the company. If they spend less, they can decide what to do with the savings—donate to charity or save to splurge on a nicer hotel during a later trip. The options, similar to what might be found in a video game, give workers incentives to save money on expenses.
    Bloomberg
  5. Hilton
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    Hilton

    Embassy Suites, a hotel chain in the Hilton Worldwide family, tested a customer-loyalty marketing campaign with 10 different communications methods, including direct mail, e-mail, and an e-mail that asked its most loyal guests to play a game. The game drew the best response, with almost half of 5,000 targeted customers opening the e-mail, says Christian Kuhn, director of brand marketing for Embassy Suites. Game players went on to spend an additional $200,000 with the hotel, he says.
    Hilton Hospitality, Inc.
  6. IBM
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    IBM

    In October 2010, IBM (IBM) released a game called CityOne, an interactive simulation designed to help corporate and civic leaders discover how to solve business, environmental, and logistical problems that face cities.
    PR Newswire
  7. Nike
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    Nike

    Nike+ (NKE) is a system that records a runner's distance, time, calories burned, and pace via a sensor worn in a sneaker. The device communicates wirelessly with Apple (AAPL) iPods or iPhones, uploading the data to a special website at which runners can compete with one another.
    Nike
  8. Nissan Motor
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    Nissan Motor

    The new Nissan (7201:JP) Leaf electric car has a telematics system called Carwings that constantly updates to show vehicle and battery status. Drivers have personal portals and can monitor past trips and energy consumption from smartphones and computers. They can also see how their driving efficiency compares with other drivers in the region and win virtual bronze, silver, and gold trophies for eco-friendly driving.
    Bloomberg
  9. SAP
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    SAP

    SAP (SAP) recently created an experimental iPad golf game application to give sales managers an incentive to assign leads to sales reps. The app works with back office customer-relationship management systems. SAP showed it to sales reps at an annual sales meeting and it got rave reviews, says Reuven Gorsht, the company's senior director of strategy and global presales.
    SAP AG / Stephan Pfützner
  10. Siemens
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    Siemens

    Last month, Siemens (SI) released a game called Plantville that simulates the experience of being a plant manager. The game was created to help customers and employees understand the range of products Siemens offers for use in manufacturing plants. The game can be downloaded.
    Siemens Corporation
  11. Target
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    Target

    Cashiers at Target (TGT) receive a score based on a transaction's speed each time they check out a customer. The checkout system also calculates the cashier's success rate over multiple transactions.
    Target.com