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Guest Post: Bluewolf Goes Social - 4 Keys to Gamification Success

Guest Post: Bluewolf Goes Social - 4 Keys to Gamification Success

Ross Warnlof


By Ross Warnlof, Marketing Manager, Bluewolf

The year was 2011. Bluewolf was looking for a way to engage employees internally and to harness their knowledge for thought leadership. We had a global workforce — subject-matter experts spread out across countries, continents, and hemispheres. In light of the era’s social media revolution, a question soon arose: “How could we turn this diverse and dispersed organization into a unified group of social collaborators?” The answer was gamification.

After a period of incubation, the #GoingSocial program was born. By leveraging Salesforce Chatter, we built a successful gamification initiative to spur collaboration, communication, and knowledge sharing — both internally and externally. Now, after three years of continual innovation, the program is still facilitating collaboration across the organization to drive business results.

Below are four tips gleaned from our experience to help you craft a successful gamification program:

Define Clear Goals

What are the objectives of your behavior modification program? High-level goals must be supported by tangible and measurable objectives. Whether it be sales/service effectiveness, social collaboration, or adoption of new technologies, these initiatives are ambiguous without quantitative backing. Metrics are something that can garner executive endorsement. Keep this in mind when developing your key initiatives and their measurement criteria.

In the case of #GoingSocial, we translated our overarching goals into definite actions on a microlevel. For example:

  • Encourage Sharing & Knowledge Capture
    • Number of overall Salesforce Chatter posts
    • Number of articles uploaded to Salesforce Content
    • Number of blogs produced
    • Web traffic and lead capture from subsequent content
  • Enable Action
    • Number of new features/functionality each quarter
    • Number of employees ‘engaged’ in Chatter and peripheral programs
  • Empower Employees
    • Amount of content produced (ie, blogs, Twitter chat, webcast participation)
    • Recognition internally & externally

Choose the right team

Much like a sports team, there are positions, roles, and personalities that help drive success. When selecting your gamification team, here are a few recommendations:

  • Project Manager: Whether this person be from HR, Marketing, Sales, or elsewhere, you will need a project owner. Primary roles include: tracking of program performance, analysis of users needs, execution of deliverables, liaison between team members, and the main POC for employees.
  • Technical Resource: This can be the same person as the project manager, but if your PM lacks technical know-how (like myself), you will need a backend resource for occasional integrations, implementations, and systems maintenance. It is important to set expectations internally about the amount time this resource will dedicate towards your gamification initiative.
  • Executive Endorser: Who in the C-Suite will champion this program? Typically, the head of Marketing, HR, or Sales will have brought in the program, so it is natural that they help drive the program’s momentum. The executive endorser should be consulted regularly on the health of the program and used as a sounding board for new ideas. Their continual endorsement within the organization is fundamental to success. For #GoingSocial, our biggest endorser is our CEO!
  • Client Support staff: These will be provided for you. It’s in your best interest to develop relationships with your account manager and all technical resources who will maintain your instance — be sure to utilize them for assistance and recommendations.

Focus on Communication

I cannot stress this enough.

Expect that employees will only see and read 25-50% of the communications you send out, so be multi-channel and persistent. Best practice is to develop a regular cadence so that  employees can expect updates and announcements periodically on specified channels. Focus on organization-wide channels that receive the most attention. At Bluewolf, here’s what we leverage:

  • Daily: #Goingsocial Chatter Group, containing all employees
  • Weekly: Marketing Update email, correspondence from the marketing team to all of Bluewolf highlighting marketing activities
  • Monthly: All-Hands Call, our regular “State of the Union” moderated by the CEO

Governance & Innovation

Don’t let things get stale. What worked for your program six months ago may not work anymore. There must be an imperative to keep your initiative fresh by adding new features and functionality. Analyze the performance of your objectives, listen to your employees’ feedback, and think creatively to deliver new features that target your goals and engage your organization.

Using your governance group (PM, technical resource, executive endorser) to determine a realistic structure for regular updates to the program.

Things to consider:

  • How often will you release a new feature/functionality? Yearly, quarterly, monthly, etc.
  • What strategic, technical, and communicational components must be realized to execute new functionality?
  • How are you collecting feedback about current programs to inform future developments?

Gamification is great. Utilizing game mechanics to modify behaviour is a fascinating and rewarding process. Constructing “win-win” scenarios, wherein both management and employees are mutually happy should be the end goal. However, arriving at this result takes strategic planning, execution, communication, and continual innovation. Join myself and Bunchball CEO, Rajat Paharia, at Dreamforce to learn how we successfully created and maintained our gamification program, #GoingSocial.

Register for the session, The Power of Chatter: How Bluewolf Used Gamification to Build its Social Network and Increase Brand Awareness.

Haven’t registered for Dreamforce yet? Grab your free expo pass here

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