Well over a year ago, Siemens Industry took an innovative approach to training employees, customers, and partners by effectively merging the worlds of corporate education and online gaming. On March 24, 2011, Siemens launched the online game Plantville, which provides an entirely new platform for information sharing and dispersal. This initiative has proven to be highly successful in promoting brand awareness and helping all better understand the scope and long-term view of the overall enterprise.
Plantville is played online on the company website and is essentially a simulation game, where the player gets to manipulate and explore the experience of being a plant manager. Players are challenged to keep their plant operations running smoothly while at the same time driving initiatives to improve productivity, efficiency, and the overall health of the facility.
Plantville was conceived and launched in response to a critical need to meet several different communication challenges. This included the building of brand awareness both on an internal and external scale, finding more effective means of engaging customers and prospects, facilitating a much stronger understanding amongst employees of the scope of the organization, boosting recruitment efforts in a tight engineer market, and showcasing the breadth and depth of those products and services being offered. Siemens Director of Marketing Communications, Catherine Derkosh, explains that to achieve these objectives, they decided to find a common meeting ground for the diverse sets of audiences they needed to reach: namely, the online community.
On the morning of the launch, the game was introduced to more than 60,000 Siemens employees who received a toolkit and underwent communication training about the program. Simultaneously, it was launched via the media as Siemens leveraged its social media platforms to spread the word. Today, over 23,000 regular gamers log onto Plantville on a consistent basis. This includes Siemens employees but also prospects and customers from more than 11,500 companies, engineering recruits from universities and colleges across the nation, and several government associations.
Plantville’s reach has extended beyond the virtual gaming environment. Within seven months of its launch, Plantville had 2,700 Facebook friends, 30,000 video views via YouTube, and 117 connections on linked in. Other companies have reported similar success with gamification efforts.
Johnson, Andrea. “Gamification: How Siemens Got 23,000 Engineers to Learn About Its Brand.” B2B Lead Roundtable Blog. 12/10/12.