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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How Starbucks is Crowdsourcing Through Gamification

By Taylor King

I am a loyal Starbucks coffee junkie. A gold-card-member-bearing-barista-knows-my-name-and-drink-when-I-walk-in-the-door kind of Starbucks junkie. My unwavering loyalty is largely due to the My Starbucks Rewards application that is often recognized in the gamification arena as a best-in-class use of gaming mechanics and rewards. Points, levels, goals, progress bar, status…a shining example of a great loyalty program. However, My Starbucks Rewards is not the only gamification platform that has been successful for Starbucks. .

Recently, I discovered a crowdsourcing platform started in 2008 allowing Starbucks enthusiasts to share, comment and vote on ideas in the hopes of creating an even better Starbucks experience for all. Crowdsourcing, utilizing the power of a passionate brand community to gather feedback and innovative ideas, has proven an effective and efficient method for generating content and ideas. The result for Starbucks Corp. has been an experience that has motivated customers to generate over 150,000 ideas to date. Here are three key gaming strategies that have served Starbucks well in leveraging their consumer to provide innovative ideas and insights while fostering a deeper level of engagement through their online community.

1.  Social Collaboration (Commenting/Voting/Liking)
Users have one goal, get ideas launched, but those ideas are not the result of one individual effort. Working together, users bring the best ideas to the top by commenting, liking and voting on ideas they are most interested in. The result is a collaborative effort behind a central idea that customers are passionate about. For Starbucks, this is an organic and engaging way to see what ideas are priorities to customers.  

        2.  Friendly Competition (Leaderboards/Points)
My Starbucks Idea Leaderboard displays the top 10 users who have generated the most conversation over the previous month. Users earn points by sharing ideas, receiving positive votes, commenting on other ideas and voting on the ideas of others. The point structure is a nice blend of quality and quantity reinforcement. Users are motivated to share quality ideas to earn votes that are gratifying to the user, but they are also being motivated to vote and comment at high volumes to earn additional points. Using points and leaderboards adds a layer of competition to the community it serves as a recognition tool for active participation, and allows Starbucks to track loyal brand advocates within the community.

        3.  Feedback (Idea Tracker)
Submitting ideas with My Starbucks Idea is a far cry from the good ole suggestion box. Starbucks has implemented an idea tracker that keeps the user informed on the status of their ideas. Users will see one of four badges: under review, reviewed, coming soon and launched. By creating these milestone achievements it provides positive reinforcement for the user’s progression towards the larger goal of getting an idea launched.

If you’re interested in hearing more about leveraging gaming strategies to engage your customers or employees, please contact Inward Strategic Consulting to arrange a gamification credentials presentation. We are bringing gamification to Fortune 500 companies and would love to help you utilize the power of gaming mechanics to drive engagement for your business.  

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