Game On -- Leveraging Leaderboards & Badges for Loyalty Engagement
Flashback to 1978. A group of friends gathered around a Space Invaders machine, accidentally spilling Pepsi on the floor due to excitement.
Their buddy is about to get those last few points that will let him enter his three initials on screen. There it will be known that he is the best in town – he’s the guy to beat at Space Invaders.
And with this machine, leaderboards were born. Almost every arcade machine would soon have them, but it would go far beyond just arcade machines, and even newer and next-gen video games. Online services like Xbox Live, mobile games like Candy Crush, and even real-life games like Top Golf all have leaderboards to keep track of who is on top. Feeding quarters one after the other in pursuit of having your three initials shown to anyone else who played was just the start.
Who Are Your Gamers?
Not everyone is concerned with the recognition a leaderboard gives. In his article, HEARTS, CLUBS, DIAMONDS, SPADES: PLAYERS WHO SUIT MUDS, Richard Bartle, the father of multiplayer online games, grouped gamers into four key groups for gaming to help better understand their actions and play style. The four groups include:
- Achievers – those who are excited most about the points, the prizes, the awards, and other successes
- Explorers – those who play the game to look for boundaries and discover new things
- Socializers – those who just enjoy the fun casually, often interacting with others
- Killers – the most competitive – for them, it’s all about winning
It makes sense that leaderboards tie in well with gamer segments – it is an important part of gamification. Leaderboards may have appeal to most of these gamer types but resonate most with the Achievers and Killers.
You can drive greater loyalty engagement with your Achievers – they are looking for successes, and the leaderboard gives them an aspiration. You can also drive improved retention with your Killers – they will keep coming back to see if someone outranked them and do what it takes to regain their top position.
It Really Is A Competition
Peloton has done an excellent job of creating a leaderboard experience. For every available class or ride, there is a unique leaderboard. It shows everyone else on the current ride, which can be narrowed down even further by those riding at that moment or those who have ever taken that class. Riders compete in real-time throughout the ride to move up and down the ranks. They are also shown their own previous best times for the same length of ride, so while they try to catch up with “DavidnoGoliath”, they are also competing with their past self.
The ability to interact with the Peloton leaderboard by high-fiving others throughout the current ride list gives even further opportunity to engage groups like the Socializers. How well the leaderboards engage members is up to you and what you want to achieve.
Make Leaderboards Work Even Harder
Leaderboards work best when rankings are attainable. Resetting scores regularly for certain metrics make sense, or even offering a variety of leader metrics that can be ranked. Imagine you have a leaderboard for your coffee shop that shows who has the most loyalty check-ins or other visits. If this were a lifetime score, no new customers could win and whoever was in the top ten would likely remain indefinitely. This would be much better as a weekly or monthly score, allowing for new names to surface on the leaderboard. You want members to feel they have the ability to make the list. If it is always out of reach, they will become disinterested and disengage.
Historical leaderboard rankings also make great personalization content for your member monthly account status communications. How awesome would a member feel to see they were in the top 10 percent of customers for that month or that they had the longest purchase streak?
Consider how you can use a leaderboard to keep your members excited about the ongoing activities they have. Whether you are a coffee shop or an auto parts store, if you’re looking for ways to grow engagement or bump up your retention with some of your most passionate members even further, a leaderboard is a great start.
A Little More Recognition
Leaderboards provide powerful activity snapshots--a list of current or recent top metrics is genuinely a motivator for many. But let’s look at another form of gamification to keep your loyalty members excited, with a little more longevity for impact – Badges.
The idea of earning badges has been around a long time. The Boy Scouts started awarding their first 57 merit badges in 1911. They are a meaningful way to reward someone for activities, some that may be outside of their normal comfort zone.
To make this relevant in the context of our new, gamified engagements, we need to go back to Richard Bartle’s player types to understand which of our members will extract the most value from these. While it may be a no-brainer that Achievers would be excited about more prizes to earn in the form of badges, it is also a significant opportunity for your Explorers. They want to do more, so this is an amazing opportunity to nurture that.
Leverage badges to get members to do the things you want them to do, and even personalize it with unique, targeted activities that get members out of their comfort zones. There are countless opportunities – having members try a variety of product lines or categories, making visits at a designated cadence within a certain timeframe, or even engaging with you in new channels. You can also award multiple badges or higher levels of the same badge for repeated activities. Rewarding these activities gets your brand the things you are looking for and gives members the recognition they are seeking.
Facebook has done an excellent job with this gamification tactic, even with small badges that show on a member’s posts – things they can earn for their activity.
New Member, Conversation Starter, and Rising Star are all badges members can earn next to their name when they post in Facebook groups. Members can feel more comfortable engaging when others know what they are known for and have in common. Your Conversation Starters will be more likely to continue making new conversations, and other members might be a bit nicer to your New Members. And those Rising Stars might work just a little harder to earn another badge later.
Just like leaderboards, these badges can be reset or refreshed on a regular cadence to help drive activity. For example, Facebook’s Top Fan badge is a temporary badge for members who have recently engaged at a high level, showing you the most brand loyalty. Facebook’s algorithm continuously updates the badges to award them to new Top Fans, keeping members engaged and offering to a greater audience.
Larger badges that can reside in a member’s profile or wallet for repeat are also valuable. This digital trophy case creates little souvenirs of the work they have done in the past. You want this array of badges to be attainable and meaningful, also with a variety of difficulty.
The Endowed Progress Effect shows that people will be more committed to continued effort to reach their goals if they feel they have made some progress. Offering members a few badges that are easy to earn, a few that are challenging, and a handful that require some long-term dedication will ensure you capture a broad range of engagement and members. Your Achievers will do what it takes to earn them all and your Explorers will branch out and endeavor to earn badges by exploring activities that are new to them. Even your Socializers will get excited as they interact and start to earn those easier initial badges.
Putting the Fun in Fitness
Apple has done a great job through their Activity platform, encouraging users to earn badges as they travel through their fitness journey. Setting a new personal record like their fastest outdoor run or completing an individual calorie-burn goal for a week can be an easy badge acquisition. Longer goals like a perfect month of workouts or Apple’s personalized monthly goals help drive further activity over time. Way out in the distance are awards for achieving your goals like 500, 1000, and even 2000 days of exercise. Talk about retention! To keep it fresh, Apple layers on badges for special event challenges like the New Year challenge and Earth Day challenges.
We Know Gamification
Leaderboards & badges are not a new concept. Both mechanics have been around for decades, used in a wide variety of ways. The exception lies in its integration into loyalty programs and digital engagement. These amazing, simple ways to push members further is still new in this world and has opened up for someone to be the leader and trailblazer in their industry. Why not let us help it be you?
At Brierley, we recognize the value of badges. Member badges are one of the many integrated features in our LoyaltyOnDemand platform. Our clients can configure badges to be awarded automatically to members as they complete specified tasks through our Gamification Schedule feature.
Our gamification subject matter experts can help you develop the right badges or leaderboard solution for your program. Let us set up an ideation workshop for you – your place or ours, or even virtually through Zoom.
We’ll help you to understand how you can create the right badges and/or the best use cases for a leaderboard to encourage your members to engage with you more and provide excellent value to your business. Either way, we think your members will enjoy it and so will your bottom line.
About Christopher Kopenec, Sr. Director Strategy
Christopher Kopenec joined the Strategy team at Brierley in 2015 after successfully designing and building an award-winning loyalty program for a top nationwide restaurant chain. The program was the first of its kind to extend the program across all channels – mobile, web, and even tabletop touchscreen kiosks. Christopher has nearly two decades of digital marketing experience across numerous verticals. Inspired by the ever-evolving world of business & technology, he gets excited about opportunities to lead brands with new ways to grow & advance through innovative solutions. His passion for data & analytics is the key to driving business performance for clients, resulting in both strong strategic development & tactical execution. Christopher attended the University of North Texas and has a BS in Business Administration and Marketing.
Brierley offers a range of F.A.S.T. Track Modules which deliver strategy and consumer insights that can help you in evaluating and enhancing your member experience. Our Strategy and CI Teams can help with projects such as CX Journey Mapping, Competitor Evaluations, Communication Audits, Loyalty Ideation Workshops and more to ensure you maximize every opportunity to drive engagement. To learn more, contact us.