Clorox: Gaming Mechanics in Social Networks — Live from BlogWell

4:30 — Andy Sernovitz introduces Clorox’s Social Network Architect, Greg Piche.

4:31 — Greg: My talk is going to be about gaming mechanics in social networks, and specifically how we use gaming mechanics to drive engagement.

4:32 — Greg shares a little bit of background around Clorox. He says they actually “went off the deep end” and created their own site — though they do have Facebook and Twitter accounts.

4:33 — Greg covers a few of the products they actually produce, and says it’s their diversity of brands that went into the thinking behind what they did in social media.

4:33 — Greg introduces his challenges:

  • Lots of brands, but small R&D force
  • Required to frequently offer new high-quality performing products (tough market)
  • Need a pipeline of innovative products

4:34 — Greg says their goal was to increase their virtual scale to improve innovation. They created CloroxConnects, a three sided network:

  • External to experts – help solve / innovate
  • Exteranal to consumers – helps consumers come in and share feedback
  • Internal to employees – tapping 8,300 employees to give R&D new product ideas

4:35 — Greg jokes that they’re going to sit back now and let the world help them. But that wasn’t the result. Greg says they’re still very new at this, and they saw there were some real challenges with engagement.

4:36 — Greg says in September and October they saw metrics going up, but in November, they saw a massive drop.

4:37 — More than traffic, Greg says engagement is what they want. So it was alarming when in November they saw visitors drop. And around this time, Greg went to a gaming mechanics seminar — which he explains as a video game where people will do all sorts of stuff, for nothing — points maybe, notoriety, but no financial value.

4:38 — Greg and his team came up with a plan where users could gain points to get users to get what they wanted you to do.

4:39 — Greg: This is nothing new, you’ve all seen this before. But it was new for us.

4:39 — Greg said they thought users of their sites would want to be visible — they thought this was the key. So, some of the rewards they give fall along that theme. Rewards include:

  • A personal blog for earning enough points
  • Becoming an innovation manager (which means you will evaluate ideas for further review)

4:40 — For non-employees, Greg says they offer:

  • Personal blogs
  • Guest appearances
  • Conference calls with Clorox’s tech brokers

4:41 — Greg takes us back to his charts, and says that sure enough, engagement has steadily gone up.

4:42 — Greg shares his tips from the experience:

  • Use leaderboards. Greg says some folks deter engagement because you get a few high scorers and there’s no way for anyone else to get on the leaderboard. But, Greg and his team’s goal was to give visibility, so they believe in them. They’ve also created a second leaderboard for “I was here” that people can gain visibility just by showing up.
  • Anonymity. Greg says they don’t allow anonymity because it doesn’t align with their “visibility” goals.
  • Use levels. Greg and his team have implemented lots of levels in the hopes users will try harder and regularly come back.
  • Rewards. Greg’s team went purely with rewards that don’t cost anything — while some are very real, like management titles and conference calls with technology brokers — but they didn’t have the budget for monetary rewards.

4:45 — Greg says one of his wants for the community in the future would be reputation-weighed responses, where users with more reputation had higher weight for their responses.

4:46 — Greg says in their culture, they’re trying to push for a “move it forward” culture. He talks about the idea of potentially allowing community members to invest in ideas and help them advance.


Q: What are community members saying about this?

A: There are some verbal comments. One member just yesterday said they were super excited she got 300 points and was excited about the guest blogging opportunity. Greg talks about the different incentives for different community members, where suppliers are excited about getting in the door with Clorox, while employees are typically interested in gaining visibility.

Q: Are you applying the rewards system to any other parts of the site, or just the social site? We have forums, I’m wondering if there’s a way we can universalize.

A: Right now, it’s only on our specific site. You have to actually join up with us so we can give you points. People on Facebook are not gaining points, but we do try and invite them over from that platform to engage with us.

Q: How are you advertising this site?

A: Right now, it’s only through our accounts on Twitter and Facebook. All our brands are in silos, so it’s a little hard to get a wide-range of buy-in.

Q: Since implementation, has there been any increase in innovation for the company?

A: To be honest, I can’t actually say, yeah, we’ve fixed 50% more of our problems today than we have before. But it’s just a gut feel. If people are on the site and ideating and sharing ideas, and it’s involving people that have never been involved before, it’s working.

Q: How do you keep people from gaming the site? And what resources should we look to to learn more?

A: The conference was called Engage Expo in San Jose — it’s a good place to go. As for gaming the site, we haven’t had that problem yet. I don’t really have a good answer for that. It’s a bit of a good problem to have. We’re dealing with a different set: Suppliers who don’t want to be viewed as spammy, and employees who don’t want to misbehave or cause problems.

Q: Is it the same site for all users? Can you give an example of a new innovation from it?

A: The site is all one site, and it’s all permission-based. If you’re a consumer, you only see one side. If you’re internal, you see everything. It’s all on one platform. A good example of a problem that was solved: Three months ago, the Hidden Valley Ranch folks asked about consultants who knew about foam emulsions, they got about five responses, and within that day, they found a candidate and brought him in to the development process by the end of the day. It was very fast, and that’s what actually helped get people to embrace an enterprise system.

Q: Jessica from the Gap asks: What is the communication plan to tell all employees about this? Also, about access, what about your line workers and accessing it?

A: The communication plan, prior to today, has all been me. It’s been me talking to R&D and the community. It hasn’t been a really concerted approach, it’s been very grassroots. As a result, we have a lot of advocates now — people that dig it. Super-users are now spread throughout the company. The site will now be rolled out to all of our sites, with help from the communications team.

The folks like line-workers and such… we haven’t really faced that. That’s a really good question, we don’t know at this point. Probably what’s going to happen is a cultural shift in the factories — that’s what we’re talking about. These points have a lot of experience building products and would be a huge asset for the community.

Q: How will this integrate with your overall communication approach in the future?

A: We don’t have a grand plan at this point. We’ve found something that really works well. From here, the next steps are to start rolling it out to the daily communications with employees.

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