Last summer, I wrote an article called “Rewarding Brand Loyalty: Artist Fan Clubs Meet Enterprise Gamification” on the Pop of Colour blog, inspired by a brief business article I read that gave a name to the phenomenon I’d been seeing in other businesses for years. Little did I know this article would change my life.
In the aftermath of publishing my thoughts on the internet, I met lots of incredible people, was offered multiple jobs, was interviewed for an upcoming music business book, and even got a phone call from a Silicone Valley tech guru, asking to pick my brain! So here I am, back to deliver a second helping, as the last few months of muling over this concept and how the ideas could be applied to the music industry have given me more clarity, and new ideas to discuss with you.
Level 1: What is Enterprise Gamification and How Is It Useful?
Enterprise Gamification is when a company takes its customer loyalty program and adds some fun, interactive elements in an effort to reward repeat business from new customers, and keep even their regulars on their toes.
Level 2: Where Can I See It In Action?
Many large companies use bits and pieces of enterprise gamification in their fan loyalty programs – you can see it in discounts, point gathering, prize giveaways, and so on. Here are two examples you can see with real-life places of business, Tim Hortons and Starbucks:
Tim Hortons: this coffee chain hosts a Cross-Canada prize giveaway about once a year called Roll Up The Rim. Basically, if I go into a location right now and order a hot drink, I can roll up the top rim of their disposable coffee cups (they’ve recently introduced an app version to encourage reusable drinkware) and maybe my cup is a randomly printed winner.
Like a lottery scratch card, the chances are high that I need to try again next time, extremely low that I win a new vehicle, and somewhere in-between there’s a statistical shot I might win a new bicycle, or a free donut.
It’s a brilliant PR move on Tim Hortons’ part, as they turn this annual giveaway into a full-blown event, with local feel-good stories going viral, reigniting the Canadian working class’ patriotic, warm and fuzzy feelings towards a corporation whose coffee hasn’t tasted the same since being bought out by a large American fast food conglomerate years ago 😉
Tim Hortons uses their Roll Up The Rim giveaway to both thank their loyal customers who stop their every morning, and draw in their competition’ regulars, enticing them with the potential prize winnings.
Starbucks: while on the topic of coffee competition, here’s a worldwide chain that brings enterprise gamification into mobile world. Unlike Tim Hortons, one can participate in their loyalty program 365 days a year, just by downloading their Star Rewards app on their phone.
It starts by loading up their digital gift card (meaning now you have to spend it there) which can be scanned at the cash register. Every dollar spent at Starbucks earns a certain number of “stars” (their point system). Upon reaching 150 stars, customers receive a coupon for a free drink or food item of their choice. Pretty standard customer loyalty program up until now.
Where the gamification element comes into play is when customers get a push notification to their phone announcing that today is a double star day, or that they’ve been given a challenge – purchasing three different items (one latte, one sandwich, one tea) within the next three days for a reward of bonus stars.
Other companies whose enterprise gamification strategies I admire are Sephora (high-end beauty products) and Shoppers Drug Mart (a general store), who resemble Starbucks’ apps and points structure but in retail form.
Humans are built for problem-solving, and large companies have cracked the code of how to light up those parts of our brain in order to get us to open our wallets to them.
Level 3: How Can Musicians Use Enterprise Gamification?
One of the big methodologies in use at Pop of Colour is that we take a look at what innovative ideas companies outside the music space are doing, and add all the colour and personality that comes with the world creative artists. I, for one, believe that the Enterprise Gamification theory is a clear solution to revitalizing the old school artist fan club for the digital age.
As artists, we’re spread across the internet and real world, despite our best efforts to keep things together. We got our official website, our email list software, every single place our music is available for stream or sale, multiple social media accounts, our ticket sales software, accounting system, CRM, merch inventory tracking… The list goes on and on. Imagine if all these accounts and things to track were streamlined on the backend for the artist and their team.
How much money has this fan spent on you since you’ve entered their world? (how likely are they to be VIP donors in your next crowdfunding campaign?)
How many times has this fan seen you play live? (10 shows = free band shirt?)
Has this fan added your new single to one of their little Spotify playlists? (can you call them on the phone and surprise them with a personal thank you?)
It would be so easy to look at their actions and reward them accordingly, and potentially make it a two-way street that shows your fans how much they matter to you.
As of writing this article, no tech app with these capabilities has taken the music world by storm, leaving us to engineer our own individual patchwork systems together. Cheers to whoever builds a good one. Game on.