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6 Top Tips when communicating your gamification initiative

Gamification initiatives need to be communicated in the right way. Gamification works best with a gentle balance of competition and fun –    to get this balance you need to communicate clearly right from the outset.

Here are my 6 top tips to consider when leaderboarding your community…

1. AWARENESS

awareness - making individuals aware of the leaderboard is critical. You should  communicate direct to each individual (“Hey John you’re #12 on the leaderboard this week”) or to the whole community. For the TechHub Noise Meter I write on the Yammer forum once a week and also put a copy on the members noticeboard at TechHub itself.

2. PREDICTIVE AND RETROSPECTIVE COMMS

Ongoing communication - a leaderboard is not a ‘one-off’ that is set in stone. A great leaderboard is volatile and changes each week. As leaderboard owner,  you need to build momentum from week to week. Take inspiration from the world of tennis journalists commenting on the latest ATP rankings or radio DJ’s counting down this week’s “top of the pops”.

Content ranges from predictive – who we think will do well when the leaderboard comes out, to retrospective – Bill did really well in the leaderboard this week.  This narrative around your leaderboard will bring it to life, increase engagement and make it all the more compelling.

3. INCLUSION

Inclusion - not everyone will like being gamified  - this means your leaderboard needs to be positioned as an optional extra or a fun add-on – this isn’t going to be about engaging 100% of people, its about offering the icing on top for those that want to see how they and others are really doing.

4. MYSTERY AND FEEDBACK

Mystery -  I’ve found that to begin with people don’t care how the leaderboard is calculated – that means it’s ok to have some mystery around it, you can either let people work out the system by trial and error (a Klout style hidden algorithm) or you can make it transparent but complex enough that people can’t be bothered to ‘game’ it (a Kred style transparent version).

Feedback on the other hand is the need for people to understand what you’re leaderboarding so they can modify their behaviour to do well on the leaderboard. Your communications should offer enough information so people know the general area to focus their efforts if they want to climb the leaderboard.

5. VISIBILITY

visibility - make sure the leaderboard is visible – put it somewhere prominent, at the front desk when people arrive, on a staff noticeboard, on the main screen at a large meeting.  This visibility of is part of what drives a successful gamification initiative – people love to see their public status shared with peers.

6. OWNERSHIP

ownership - over time your leaderboard will be owned by the community themselves. Witness the arguments the university community has over university leagues tables – not just about the points but the weighting and the way in which the points are calculated. This is healthy and should be encouraged in your communications to your community. A great leaderboard is community owned in the long term.

Have fun. You can get started with an ad-hoc gamification initiative at leaderboarded.com

Toby Beresford

Toby is a startup founder based in Google Campus, London, UK. He is a founder of Leaderboarded which you can use to create your own dynamic leaderboard. In the past he developed social games on Facebook for big brands, community software for small groups and enterprise web apps for massive corporations. Follow him on twitter @tobyberesford and Subscribe to this blog at Gamification Of Work blog feed

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