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Links we Love: Sept 19 - 25

Published on by Romeo Maione.

Don’t let summer’s transition into fall get you all melancholy. Read some of the articles we passed around this week instead! These are articles that examine the intersection of gamification and learning. I’d say that’s smack in the middle of our wheelhouse...

First, Information Age posted an awesome article on gamification being used as an HR tool across North America and Europe. The conclusion sums up the article in 9 words: “Gamification leads to better quality hires, and ultimately, retention.”

Huffington Post published a rundown of “Seven Learning Styles to Up Your Management Game” It says gamification is perfect for spatial learners, which is true! But we’d add that any type of learner can retain more from a gamified training program. It just needs to be done well! 

1to1 Media gave 5 tips for employee engagement and unsurprisingly suggested a gamified awards system. We’d call that a pretty good first step. 

CBC reported on the growing trend of gamifying early childhood education. Little known fact: employees are just grown up babies. Adults learn better with games too! 

Finally FutureGov ran a report/case study of a college in Canada which saw student engagement rates soar when a gamified learning program was instituted. 

Fun is the new work! - Brought to you by Cheesy Corporate Slogans Inc. 

Speaking of cheesy

Speaking of cheesy

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How to Train Millennials in 3 Easy Steps

Published on by Romeo Maione.

I’ll start this post by establishing my #millennial cred

-Born during the H.W. Bush administration

-Never more than 15 inches from an iPhone

-Watches tons of TV but doesn’t pay for cable

-Has SnapChatted twice since starting this post

-Never enjoys anything without a detached sense of ironic superiority

Jeez, if that doesn’t make you wanna puke...

Real human connection is for Baby Boomers

Real human connection is for Baby Boomers

Generation X doesn’t like millennials all that much. 

Fair enough!

We’re hard to manage, entitled, over-educated and in love with our vacation days. 

We’re also a tough crew to train but since we make up 36% of the workforce, Gen Xers should probably figure out how to deal with us. Lucky for them, this wise-ass kid is about to explain how in three easy steps! 

Be digital

Yep, this one is no longer optional. Millennials would rather call in with a mysterious illness than attend an out-of-office training workshop. I can feel the fake sniffles creeping up just thinking about listening to a two hour speech at a corporate retreat. Millennials spend upwards of 8 hours a day online and we need training that speaks our language (binary). Unless you run an oil rig and need the hands-on learning, ditch your old-school and expensive instructor-led training programs and trade up for digital. 

Be fun

Millennials are used to having fun. We’ve got video games, twitter, Netflix, live streaming sports and unlimited free (ish) music. Call it entitlement, but we don’t see why the fun has to stop just because we’re at the office. The upside to having a staff predisposed to having fun is that gamifying your training will increase results across the board. Heck, even your older staff will learn better when you incorporate game tactics into your training modules! It doesn’t feel like work when you’re earning points, reaching new levels and getting to the top of the leaderboard. Check out this link for some tips on making training fun! 

Be competitive

There’s a perception that millennials are lazy cynics, but it isn’t true! We can be aggressive capitalists just like you Gen Xers! Millennials aren’t so different from their slightly more grey counterparts, we still love to compete. There’s something primal and thrilling about besting a peer in a contest and our generation is just as much of a sucker for it as Gen Xers and Boomers. 

Incorporating competition into your workplace can be a delicate maneuver, as you want to make sure it doesn’t create hostility and decrease morale. Millennials like to distinguish themselves from their coworkers, but we also generally like a cool and friendly workplace. The trick is that when the competition is lighthearted and varied, employees are less likely to become upset with the results. 

Lessons From the Movies: Do not use Alec Baldwin to motivate your staff

Lessons From the Movies: Do not use Alec Baldwin to motivate your staff

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Links we Love: Sept 12 - 18

Published on by Romeo Maione.

When we weren’t reading about the potential of Scottish independence this week, we passed around some hot new articles about gamification.

Check ‘em out! 

Successful Meetings’ blog spelled out some great dos and don’ts for gamification. In short: Understand your user and have a plan! 

A Forbes article got down and dirty with the various uses for a gamified strategy. Employee training, healthcare and brand loyalty oh my! 

Innovation excellence talked about using gamification to encourage innovative solutions in the workplace. 

The Business Journals posted an *awesome* infographic that details how gamification helps customers and employees alike. Definitely worth a look! 

Finally Fast Company posted a list of pros and cons about gamifying work for your employees. I’m pretty sure all their cons can be solved by “Doing gamification right!” 

Enjoy your weekend! 

Please note this image is neither an endorsement of Scottish independence nor Mel Gibson

Please note this image is neither an endorsement of Scottish independence nor Mel Gibson

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Don't Just Advertise, Educate!

Published on by John Findlay.

Wanna Sell More Stuff?  Don’t Just Advertise, Educate!

There’s an old saying that goes; “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”.  Well, this fall I need to buy a new grill so I’ve been comparing features and reading online reviews in an attempt to avoid making the mistake I made last time.  

Fours years ago I stupidly bought the cheap grill thinking I’d save a few shekels.  What’s worse is that I bought a big one because we entertain quite frequently and I wanted to be able to cook lots of food at the same time.  So first of all, don’t ever buy a cheap big grill.  The stupid thing was so flimsy and underpowered that you couldn’t really cook anything on cold nights.  Turns out BTUs (whatever the hell those are) are a big deal.  

While disappointed with my purchase I’m sufficiently thrifty (my wife calls it “cheap”) that I resolved to use the damn thing until such time as I needed a new one.  

Fast forward to a balmy evening last summer on which I was enjoying a delicious beer while cooking some steaks for a dinner party.   As I took an ice cold sip of my Dos Equis (if you must know, I do think it made me more interesting!)  I heard a loud noise from my grill.  Ay Caramba!  Turned out the bottom had fallen out of my crappy BBQ!  

Being someone who tries to learn from his mistakes (at least by the third time!), I resolved that unless I was buying paper clips I’d do a little research before throwing down the Chargex next time.  Figured I’d make fewer misteaks. (sorry, that was lame!) 

So what does this mean for marketers?  

EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE

Again, if you’re selling something banal like baking soda, educating consumers isn’t likely to impact your bottom line.  For most other product categories though, education is crucial.  If you’re selling food you should extoll its health benefits (unless it’s Pop Tarts in which case just man up and say “they’re terrible for ya, but man they’re good!).  Or, if it’s vacations, it’s probably better if people understand where they’re going, where they’re staying and what activities can save them from having to chat with their spouse for 7 days straight (ooops, did I say that?).  The bottom line is, the more people know about your product or service the more likely you are to be part of their consideration set, and even its frontrunner.

Don't believe me? Check this out: The more consumers know, the more likely they are to purchase! 

BUT THEY WON’T LISTEN!

Okay, so we know we need to educate them.  The trouble is consumers aren’t waiting with bated breath for your next video or tweet.  In fact, for the most part they couldn’t care less.  So the question is; “what’s in it for them?”.  If the answer is “nothing”, you bet consumers won’t be all that interested in your messaging.

So how do we add value so that consumers are willing to engage with our brands?  At Launchfire we use giveaways and gamification to prompt engagement but there are other tricks including tools, entertainment, exclusive content, etc.  The bottom line is you need to walk a mile in your target customers’ shoes so that you can identify things that would be valuable to them.  By creating valuable content into which you nest your key messaging you’ll attract, engage and educate consumers about why they should buy your stuff!

This post was brought to you by Dos Equis, well constructed BBQs and the American Dream. 

This post was brought to you by Dos Equis, well constructed BBQs and the American Dream. 


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Links we Love: Sept 5 - 11

Published on by Romeo Maione.

I’m looking forward to going somewhere exotic in February. That makes me a pretty typical North American travel consumer. 

This is a man who truly appreciates vacations

I also spend a lot of my free time doing research into travel marketing, which is a little less typical. Check out the links that got passed around our office this week! 

If you read only one link on the list, make it this one. It’s a fascinating look at how travel marketers have an opportunity to be innovative with their digital strategy. I’ll let the article do the rest of the talking: “Within a highly competitive industry, I believe that travel brands need to distinguish themselves and lead the way in user experience, accessibility and gamification.  This should be on top of a comprehensive organic and paid search campaign, content resource marketing including image and video optimisation, social media marketing and social media management / customer services.”

tnooz gives some tips on how to do effective brand content marketing in the travel industry. It’s a decent rundown with a good case study! 

B2C Magazine looked into why travel consumers are more likely to post videos and reviews than any other consumers. Good insights that point to running promotions that are heavily focused on user-gen content! 

tnooz also gave a checklist for travel marketers looking for SEO partners. It’s a good list which applies equally to picking promotional partners: “Marketers should look for transparent firms that can show a clear strategy, a history of open communication and a track record of success.” If a shop isn’t proud of their record, steer clear! 

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3 Reasons the Ice Bucket Challenge Went Viral

Published on by Romeo Maione.

Unless you spend the majority of your time on the moon, you’ve seen people pouring ice water on their head this summer and it wasn’t just to keep cool!

Yeah, we're using a picture of Justin Bieber to get your attention. Get over it. 

Yeah, we're using a picture of Justin Bieber to get your attention. Get over it. 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge encouraged participants to pour a bucket of ice water on their head and then nominate three people to do the same. It was created to raise awareness (and money) for ALS, and in that respect the campaign was aggressively successful. Everyone from your aunt Margie to former President George W. Bush got in on the action. ALS donations are at an all time high and everyone’s talking about the disease. 

In the wake of such a viral success, people inevitably ask why this campaign was a rousing successes while others failed. Though a lot of it comes down to timing and luck, the Ice Bucket Challenge did a few things that can teach us how to go viral. 

It was simple

Dumping a bucket of water on your head isn’t hard. It’s a little uncomfortable but it’s definitely within people’s comfort zone. The perfect formula for a viral campaign is to make sure what you’re asking of users is just wacky enough to be interesting without requiring too much work. Call it slacktivism, clicktivism or just good old fashioned laziness, but people aren’t gonna do too much. Keep it simple and you’ve got a shot at going as viral as an office cold. 

How not to go viral

How not to go viral

It was user-focused

While the Ice Bucket Challenge raised a lot of money for ALS, the campaign was definitely focused on the person posting the video. It gave participants an excuse to show off while doing something silly. Everybody likes attention but no one wants to seem narcissistic, so the secret sauce for going viral is to create a platform that lets people get the attention they’re looking for while making it seem like they’re doing something undesirable. That lets people have their cake and devour it simultaneously. 

It was self-propagating

The beauty of the Ice Bucket Challenge was that it incorporated a “Pay it Forward” scheme into each video. After you pour the water on your head, you’re supposed to nominate three other people to do the same. Research shows that when people are “called out” in a public forum they are significantly less likely to refuse participation. The best viral campaigns add an extra little hint of guilt and pressure to make joining in more attractive.  

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Launchfire Interactive Inc.

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