Gamification Best Practices from 3 Leading Brands

Khoros Staff


To me, Gamification speaks to the best part of communities: the people who manage communities REALLY enjoy their work, because their job is making people happy! This is usually making people happy by answering questions and connecting people with peers, but Gamification directly increases happiness by recognizing them for their efforts with points, badges, ranks, and Swag!

The whole thing was really great, but here are my key takeways for those who think TL;DR.

Gamification is fun!


Like, really, really fun.  I just want to highlight a few of the ways people incentivize engagement in their communities. 

  • Literal karate belts with custom embroidering
  • Caricatures
  • Towels (but in a more fun way than you are thinking)
  • VIP Parties
  • Memorabilia
  • Special invitations
  • Cool badges
  • Ranks
  • Recognition

What are your favorite community ranks and rewards? Add some comments below. One of my favorites is National Instruments super users, AKA the Knights of Ni.


It works! 


When people feel recognized for their efforts - they do more. Chris Hemedinger at SAS has the largest community on the panel and a ton of SuperUsers - and they have amazing stats to back it up.

>60% of questions on their forum are answered within 1 HOUR!

It takes strategy, effort, and time


Gamification is the most direct representation of your culture in your community. Dani Weinstein at Domo talked a lot about how the ranks and badges are customized to match the Domo culture and philosophy.  Domo community members can go from Yellow Belt to Black Belt. When they achieve the top rank, they receive an embroidered physical belt and a framed certificate - great wall decoration for video conferencing. SAS uses inside jokes to rank their users as SuperUsers, PROCstars, or SuperFREQs (my favorite).  

You don’t have to create a comprehensive listing of badges and ranks with all the explanations behind them, but it does seem to help according to Videotron.

The way these guys talked about their programs definitely indicated it was time well spent.  All of them had special events in real life to meet their users, and you could literally hear their voices swell with pride and happiness. 

It is extremely cost-effective


The super-user program at Videotron increased registration and the number of super users by creating an aspirational goal for every community member - and people who have not joined yet. All it costs is a little budget for swag and events, but the payback is tremendous. For these big brands, it only takes one person to effectively manage a super-user program. 

And the payback goes way beyond answered questions; it comes in the form of community growth, feedback to increase innovation, and general advocacy. Although, the ROI for questions answered cannot be ignored.

Super users generate 15% of new topics but 60-80% of replies at Videotron!

Watch it now!


If you want to learn more about gamification from these three masters of...the game.  Click on this link to watch the video


Tags (1)
Khoros Staff

Thanks @JacobBo - that's a crazy statistic from SAS - one that I'll have to start referencing!

Honored Contributor

Thanks for shouting out the NI Community super users! :grinning_cat_face:

We even send the new Knights of NI a shrubbery, keeping in theme with the movie.


Honored Contributor

Love this blog post - thanks for summarizing the session, @JacobBo!

As far as rewards - We are pretty proud of our "All Star" trophy for our VIPs. It's a "perpetual" trophy to which we'll add a new layer each year that someone is an All-Star. And each layer looks kinda like the hardware products we make.

Take a look at this neat tweet about it from one of our All Stars:

Khoros Staff

@CarolineS    Love the trophy - great idea! 

Valued Contributor

I would also add that sometimes, it's even more fun to take the 'Surprise & Delight' route, rather than just strategic. A few moons back, the community I was managing had a user hit 40k posts (yup, I kid you not) and we sent him the most expensive bottle of Canadian Maple Syrup we could find (we based in Canada, he was in Alabama) and he absolutely loved it because it was such an unexpected gift for his milestone, but thoughtful as well. 

Khoros Staff

@Kerri touches on an important note.  When I was a superuser before I joined Lithium (now Khoros) in 2010, I got this great christmas card from @AdamN@BrianOblinger@MarkS, and @JonathanW.  It was such a great gesture and it inspired me to join the industry so long ago. 

It goes to show that little things like that really make a huge difference with users that spend the majority of their free time with you and your community.  It's important to take time out to appreciate their efforts!