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Showing posts from July, 2012

Motivation Show joining the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas

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The BRAND section of the January PPAI Expo has increased in prominence after being introduced only a few years ago. The show is the nation's largest promotional product show and BRAND reflects the growing trend for distributors to provide retail brands for their customer's business gifts and incentive programs.

The Motivation Show announced they will be produce a combined exhibit hall with BRAND, sponsored by the Incentive Marketing Association, launching in 2013. The event, called The Motivation Show Las Vegas, will be open to all users and resellers of incentive and recognition products and services.

Pete Erickson, Managing Director of The Motivation Show said, “We’re very excited about this opportunity to co-locate a new event with PPAI’s highly successful brand. We’re anxious to provide the distributor community with an opportunity to learn more about how incentives can help them expand their product offering and capture new corporate business.” He continued, “We also se…

Why do employers give gift cards?

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Incentive planners know that cash is a poor motivator but you can't deny the convenience. Gift cards are a good alternative and are available in three formats, open, closed or restricted. Open being the most similar to cash.

Sales and Marketing Management magazine's July issue presented research from the Incentive Research Foundation on why employers gift gift cards to their employees.

43% of respondents felt gift cards were perceived as cash while 57% felt that gift cards were more thoughtful and personal or reflected the recipients's interests.

Either way, the IRS considers gift cards to be the same as cash, subject to tracking, reporting and tax withholding. The take away is that gift cards can be more personal, and thus have a higher perceived value, but don't forget to keep careful records.

Using Gamification for Training - Webinar from Training Network

Next Thursday, August 2nd, join my webinar on the topic of gamification and specifically how it can be used to improve training and education. I'll review how specific game mechanics influence behavior and how you can add them to your own training programs. 
This webinar is hosted by Training magazine, a 48-year-old professional development magazine that advocates training and workforce development as a business tool.

Learning ObjectivesIntroduction to gamification and how it has penetrated society as well as current business practices.Overview of game design and game mechanics.Investigate why game mechanics such as points, quests and levels influence behavior.Explore techniques and resources to use gamification for your own training programs. Sign up for the free webinar Gamify Your Training: Use Gamification to Increase Employee Engagement and Improve Feedback

Find Gamification examples on gBASE

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Looking for great examples of gamification? The Gamification Corporation just launched gBASE - a growing database of gamified apps, services, products and the people and companies who make them.

I'd like to see the Enterprise category broken out into categories such as sales, customer support, training and employee wellness.

Visit the gBASE or go right to one of these categories:
AutomotiveDesignEducationEnterpriseEventsGovernmentHealthInnovationLoyaltyMarketingMediaNotable PeopleProductivityResearchRetail/eCommerceSocial GoodSocial NetworkingSustainabilityConsumer AppsFinance
Every day new examples of gamification are being introduced and you can help contribute to our shared knowledge. Visit the GBase Submission Form to add your own examples of gamification.

Chinese economic slowdown shifts focus to job retention

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As economic growth slows in China greater emphasis is being placed on hiring more qualified workers and employee retention. June 2011 the National Bureau of Statistics reported industrial production growth was 15.1% while June 2012 growth slowed to 9.5%.
Premier Wen Jiabao said that job growth and improved living standards are two of his administrations top priorities. 
The government's efforts will focus on tax cuts while companies are focussed on employee retention. The tighter job market will certainly create greater demand for highly qualified employees. Unfortunately for employers, this usually favors people who are already employed. 
KPMG, an international accounting firm, has implemented a Reward System which focusses on retaining their best performers, reducing turnover, increasing employee motivation and reinforces the company's reputation as an employeer of choice.
China has already started to transition from their exploding industrial job market to an increasingly te…

6 reasons for the social enterprise

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Social media for business can be broken down into two categories, outward and inward. Outward is everything you do to promote your business publicly and garner feedback. Internal social media is for employees only. The latter is often referred to as the social enterprise.

Gamification solutions often leverage the social media channels used internally to motivate employees. Rarely is this discussed any further than the public benefits of announcing your achievements.

Forbes magazine just posted the article The 6 People You Need in Your Corner. This is the first time I've seen someone break down the types of people who could be reading your social enterprise posts and how this can benefit employees.

The six personalities are:

The Instigator Someone who pushes you to accomplish more.The Cheerleader If your mom came to work this would be her.The Doubter The devil's advocate keeps us grounded.The Taskmaster This person makes sure you meet your obligations.The Connector Finds a way …

Share to Google+ from your email

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I just noticed a new link in my gmail which allows me to share images directly to Google+. Another example of how Google+ is not just another social platform but is being integrated into everything you do on the internet.

The stream of data in Twitter was a novel concept because you could wade in and out of conversations on your own time, but, it may as well be exhaust out of the back of a car. Google+ gives you the same stream of data but it's clearly linked to my internet signals.

To We or not to We

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One of my early sales lessons was to use "we" as often as possible when speaking with a customer. Of course this can be overused but it makes sense that the right vocabulary can build inclusiveness. How about in marketing and advertising? Can "we" change the perception of your brand?

The Journal of Consumer Research ran experiments for banks and a health insurer and found that the use of pronouns that suggest a relationship do change attitudes, but not always as would be expected.
One results of the study found that the use of "we" did work well for brands which people want to have a relationship with, such as a bank. The opposite was true for brands which people don't expect to have a close relationship. By violating social norms, or expected relationships, the use of "we" becomes suspect.
In a test for Wells Fargo the text was the same for all participants with subtle differences. One version used the phrase "you and Wells Fargo"…

Amazon same day delivery coming soon

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Monday I wrote that Amazon's Kiva system means they could set up small distribution centers closer to home. Retailers have long complained that Amazon had an unfair advantage by not paying sales tax. Their wish is coming true. Haven't they heard the adage, "Be careful what you wish for?"

Amazon already collects sales tax in six states and in 2012 will begin collecting sales tax in California and Pennsylvania.

By paying sales tax Amazon doesn't price themselves out of the local retail game at all. On top of Amazon's already low prices consumers can receive additional discounts, and free shipping, when they sign up for the new Subscribe & Save program. Now that Amazon must pay sales tax they will begin to set up more distribution centers in the states where they collect sales tax.

Small Kiva system distribution centers could be set up locally and it won't be long before we receive same day orders.

I still like pick out my own vegetables and ask the but…

Box.com to implement Bunchball's Nitro for their sales team

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Box.com may seem like a place to store your things but it's actually a platform for mobility. Everything a company needs for it's employees, customers or vendors anywhere any time. It's no accident they offer the same scalable multi-tenant platform as SalesForce, many of the current employees came from SalesForce.

In a huge endorsement for Bunchball, Box.com is using Bunchball's Nitro to motivate their sales team. There's no question the leader board will be very busy as this new company battles it out with existing storage from Google Drive and Dropbox.

Choosing a destination management company

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Are you headed to a cool location for your next training or sales conference and need help with everything from decorations to gifts? Contact the DMC Network. It's a global consortium of premier destination management companies. 
The DMC Network has experts in 90 of the world's premier destinations but what I find most interesting about the group is what they call Institutional Memory. Once you have built a relationship with one member there's no need to start from scratch in a new location.
Learn more about the DMC Network

Eton makes a Bluetooth Rukus

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Eton joins the Bluetooth speaker bandwagon with a great twist - it's solar powered.

Bluetooth speakers are the way to go with sound now. No more wires to snap or tangle. Just turn on your speaker and listen to great sound.

I can't imagine the Rukus Solar will sound as good as the Bose SoundLink or the Big Jambox but solar panels make it a clear winner for all day sound outdoors.

The high efficiency solar panel charges a Li-ion battery. One charge plays for eight hours and it's good for the environment to stop using heavy batteries.

Made by Eton. Distributed for corporate markets through Lapine.

MSRP $149.99


Course Hero and Bunchball gamify learning

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Course Hero is an online tutor platform that helps college students improve their education. Today they announced they have added the Bunchball Nitro system to their platform to help students to become more engaged and share their achievements.

The gamified platform is focussed on three learning paths: entrepreneurship, business, and web programming. Game mechanics include badges, points, levels, a leaderboard and rewards.
As an example of gamification, after students add 10 documents to the site's learning tool library they receive a surfer themed "Hang 10" badge. In addition Course Hero donates a book to Books for Africa through it's Course Hero Knowledge Drive. To date they have donated more than 46,000 books.
Graduates of the business and web programming paths are eligible to enter a quarterly business plan competition and compete for a pitch meeting with angel investment firm SV Angel, and a $5,000 grand prize.

Social sharing is a great tool for feedback as wel…

Amazon becomes faster with Kiva

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Outlets and warehouses are found where land is cheap but we shop at retailers because they're convenient. This is easy to understand. We can't drive to a ranch every time we need milk.

Amazon has made an important change in this model with the acquisition of Kiva Systems for $775 million.

Traditional warehouses are people intensive and automated in a way that is efficient at moving a large volume of merchandise. The Kiva system scoots around the floor and brings shelves to the human pickers. Not only is this more efficient, and accurate, it allows for a more compact warehouse.

How will your shopping habits change if Amazon can build lots of small warehouses closer to your home?

Learn more about Kiva Systems.

Starbucks celebrates sweet 15

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More great feedback from Starbucks. They celebrate my purchases and reward me with something I want. They get an A+ for their loyalty program (it probably doesn't hurt that they make me feel like a teenager again).

Top 10 Vera Bradley styles June/July 2012

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Numbers from retail store sales June 28th, 2012 to July 4th, 2012 (Beginning of the back to campus and summer sale). The top selling item is the Zip ID Case and the top three colors overall are Plum Petals, Island Blooms and Viva la Vera.

Top 10 Vera Bradley Styles by Units10125 Zip ID Case10334 Mini Hipster11483 Carry It All Wristlet11102 Mints10489 All in One Wristlet11262 Hipster10816 Lanyard Eaches11496 Mini Hanging Organizer10385 Medium Cosmetic11885 Lunch Date Top 10 Vera Bradley Colors by Dollars117 Plum Petals120 Island Blooms109 Viva la Vera107 Watercolor106 Deco Daisy123 Lime's Up112 Safari Sunset122 Doodle Daisy069 Baroque063 Very Berry Pais

Department of Veterans' Affairs gamifies energy savings

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Wavelength 520 is level at which the human eye sees green. A clever name for the SPARC520 software designed to monitor energy consumption in real-time. Today it was announced that SPARC520 will be installed at VA headquarters.


SPARC520 was created in response to the VA’s Greening as a Service (GaaS) initiative. The software is available for consumer and enterprise solutions and leverages information technology as a tool to understand and manage energy consumption. Gamification techniques allow users to visualize savings and compete against themselves and as a team to reduce energy usage.

Read the press release from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Read the TechCrunch article Department Of Veterans Affairs Uses SaaS To Go Green

Learn more about SPARC520

Surprise! Data creates better loyalty programs

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A new report from SAS and Loyalty 360 found using customer analytics to be among the top two things that help loyalty programs. This is like saying the most successful restaurants serve wine and cook their food.

Cooking is not just a feature of restaurants, it's integral to what they are. I suppose the real wake up call is that, sadly, not enough people analyze the data collected in their loyalty programs and use those results to build greater engagement.

Research from the Incentive Federation often finds that while most people list ROI as one of the key priorities for any motivation or loyalty program, few track or analyse ROI. The report from SAS and Loyalty 360 highlights that analytics not only justifies the costs associated with a loyalty program, it will also ensure your program is successful.

According to Pamela Prentice, the chief research officer at SAS, the most important factor in a successful loyalty program was rewards. Social media and online communities were less s…

Gamification of IBM Connections

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IBM Connections allows sharing, or social behavior, between everyone in your professional network, from colleagues, to customers to partners. While people may spend hours happily learning how to use Facebook, when a platform is implemented by a company adoption can be much slower. The value of the solution is overshadowed by the forced nature of a work environment.

Bunchball developed a turnkey module for IBM Solutions using Nitro. Users learn how to use the platform by completing straightforward tasks or missions. After completing 20 missions the user “levels up”. This onboarding process is only the beginning. IBM Connect allows administrators to continually challenge users to add content, take on new missions and earn points redeemable in their own virtual economy.
Learn more about Nitro for IBM Connections.
It doesn't stop there. Today I came across an article from Luis Benitez Guaynabo that Badgeville and Kudos have also introduced gamification solutions. Read more in Gamifica…

Chamillionaire understands engagement better then you do

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At the 2012 Gamification Summit in San Francisco one of my favorite presenters was Chamillionaire. What's it like when a rap star stands up in front of a room filled with tech and business geeks? He stays in character. Immediately he started to throw his arms in the air and sway with music only he could hear while laying out his plan to gamify the Chamillitary Social Network.
From this statement on I knew Chamillionaire could leverage his social network in a way most marketing folks will never touch.  "How could Lil Wayne sell one million records his first week and there's nobody on his website? You know why? 'Cause there's a contact us page and nobody thinks they can get in touch with Lil Wayne." He then goes on to describe in great detail how his website drives people to interact with the site. I'd like to say this kind of passion can only be reserved for rock stars but in fact every brand has it's fans.
"Authenticity is knowing what people want …

Software advice for employee recognition programs

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Jennifer King, and HR analyst at Software Advice posted four great SaaS options for employee recognition. While she didn't say how she chose these four, or that they are her favorite, they are all excellent platforms. She has also categorized them by employee size which is a great way to start your research.

50 + Employees Rypple Recently acquired by SalesForce.com, Ryple is simple to implement if employees are already using SalesForce.

50-1,500 Employees Kudos Founded in 2007 and now available in English and Spanish. Kudos focuses heavily on employee social interaction. 
1,000 + Employees Achievers Formerly Canadian company I Love Rewards, Achievers is now based in San Francisco. Seemingly overnight this platform has become the go to solution for many global corporate programs.
National or Global Employee Programs Globoforce As the name implies this company has been running large global programs for some time. They are an excellent source for reports on trends in employee motivat…

Free Kleenex with your new car

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How's this for a consumer premium? A year's worth of free Kleenex with purchase of a new 1959 Pontiac.

I don't know which statement this makes more, "This car is as valuable as a box of tissue" or "You'll cry all the way home after buying a Pontiac".

Source JalopyJournal.com

Grilled Asparagus in Foil

The best veggies on the grill are steamed in foil. It doesn't take much longer then cooking your steak and keeps veggies crispy and nutritious.

Ingredients1 bunch of asparagus2 Tbs Italian DressingFoil
DirectionsTear out a square of foil and place half the bunch of asparagus on the foil.Pour 1 Tbs of dressing over the asparagus. Repeat for the second half of the bunch.Fold up the edges of the foil and create an envelope over the asparagus.Grill on indirect heat for 8-10 minutes.Remove from foil and plate.

IMA June Colleague Conversations - Gamification - Fad or Business Opportunity?

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Last week Michael Levy, Rob Purdy and myself held a panel discussion for IMA members on gamification and how we feel it will impact the incentive industry. Rob and Michael shared examples of how they are currently using gamifcation with their existing platforms. My approach was more about the current research and how I think gamification will specifically effect manufacturer's representatives.


June Colleague Conversation - Gamification: Fad or Business Opportunity? Wednesday, June 27
1:00 - 2:00 pm Central
Complimentary Webinar for IMA Members


Colleague Conversation Chair Alex Calicchio, C2 Consulting, invites you to join our June Colleague Conversation Webinar onGamification: Fad or Business Opportunity. Gamification savvy IMA colleagues Greg Greunke, President, Greunke, LLC, Michael Levy, President, Online Rewards, and Rob Purdy, The Carlton Group, will discuss this online trend and its application in loyalty, training and recognition programs.

Learn more about the Incenti…

Use gamification to fight passive participation

People are easily distracted and 30 seconds after landing on a new website we start to think about lunch plans, whether we should check email or wash our car this weekend. Web programmers and developers of sales incentive programs share a similar challenge - how do you turn a passive audience into a more engaged audience?

Regardless of your age there is one thing every sales person enjoys and that’s a good game. It doesn’t matter if you play Angry Birds, belong to a softball league or watch NASCAR on TV, games get our blood pumping while our brains actually relax and become more focused.

A new strategy has developed called Gamification. It’s the application of game mechanics and game thinking in non-game environments to increase fun and engagement.

Now when you visit websites look for these mechanics. I challenge you to add them to your own incentive programs this year.
Points are a running numerical value given for any action or combination of actions.Levels indicate status and are…