In this Blog Series we describe the process of revamping Khoros’ user recognition program, Titans. We hope that by sharing the background and process we went through to build Titans, we’ll give you inspiration and tips for your own user recognition programs.
We have split this blog series into 3 chapters to explore each stage in depth: The Journey to Launch, Getting Reading for Launch, and Launch Day and subsequent Engagement Opportunities.
Let's start with the Journey to Launch, where we set the groundwork for the program.
The Journey to Launch
A revamp to Khoros’ user recognition program was front of mind since late 2020; the Stars program was in need of a refreshed space and a new purpose to revitalize our users. A new program needed to be on-brand for Khoros, recognize our current superusers, and create a valuable place for our users to share knowledge and network. Our goal was also to have a program that went beyond the traditional Community recognition system, although our framework can certainly be used for that purpose as well.
We began with getting buy-in from key departments and colleagues who would need to support the launch and maintenance of the program. We needed to align on the value of our efforts, the benefits it would deliver to our customers and define how it differed from other programs we had in place (such as the advocacy program, Khoros Core). We partnered with Core to ensure Titans would complement the strategic advocacy activities of the Core program, and give a place for networking and discussion for our product experts. The Roundtable events we’ve run so far have been open to Titans and Core members to allow both groups to participate and benefit in Khoros led sessions. Communicating the vision and expected timelines with our Marketing and Atlas community teams was helpful to raise our awareness to concepts we hadn't thought of and incorporate further perspectives into our ideation.
Getting Started: Names, Structures, Feats, Rewards
The creative bit - naming! In keeping with the Greek mythology theme that runs through Khoros and Atlas, we wanted something that sounded like a badge of honor and felt like a natural extension of the brand. The meaning of Titans worked well and was unanimously liked:
“Titans: one that is gigantic in size or power; one that stands out for greatness of achievement.”
We structured the program into 4 levels to allow for mobility through the ranks whilst simultaneously being straightforward to understand and administer.
We fleshed out the activities we wanted to encourage our users to participate in, with a focus on encouraging our users to engage with us in their preferred methods and channels. We called these “Feats”, and created a long-list of activities that Titans could participate in to qualify including attending our events and webinars, taking a Product Coaching session, posting, replying and receiving accepted solutions on Atlas, and partnerships with Khoros on blogs and case studies. During panel sessions that we ran with users to temperature check our plans, we interrogated these Feats and narrowed the number down.
We built rewards based on what would be valuable for our users. In Customer Experience interviews, we heard our users really wanted networking opportunities - being able to share challenges with peers and connecting to learn the perspectives of other organizations. We also heard that personal brand building was valuable - our community said they would like to be recognized with webinar, events and case study opportunities, and be rewarded with commercial discounts for event tickets. Physical rewards were also a consideration but needed to be useful and memorable.
Do These Ideas Resonate?
We ran these ideas through our community Strategists initially to get a best practice lens on what we’d ideated. This is the team that works with Khoros community partners to strategize new ideas and approaches to their communities so we were thrilled to tap into this resource inhouse. With their best practice, we ran User Input Panels. We invited users we knew were engaged with Khoros in the previous user recognition program or who’d been vocal on our platforms. We wanted the input of this group to sense check our thinking - did what we were planning resonate?
In these sessions we presented the proposed Titans program plan and asked for honest feedback. We received really valuable input on the naming structure: for example it should be obvious what order the levels are in which encouraged us to change the lofty “Immortal” Titan level to the more worldly “Legendary”.
We also got answers to what our users would be able to commit to within their organizational requirements - public reviews were possible but might need to be anonymous and no more than once a year. We also verified that swag was nice to have, but true recognition and connection opportunities outweighed a branded t-shirt.
Don’t Forget the Data!
Simultaneously, we began pulling the data and compiling the list of inaugural Titans. We created custom datasets from Community Analytics and our CRM to see which Khoros users met the program level requirements which we’d finalized during the input panels. We set a monthly cadence to review this data to move Titans up the levels and welcome new Titans who'd newly qualified.
After preparing to launch the Titans program, we’ve been able to reflect back on the experience and want to share a few suggestions of the dos and don’ts we’ve determined were the most crucial learnings.
One thing we’d suggest you do is think long and hard about the data. Friendly advice: If you are embarking on a superuser program structure and launch, please do not underestimate this part! We found it also took time and collaboration to understand what data we could easily track and access, and what required more build to pull out from our systems. Our advice would be to build the program based on what data you have readily available and easily accessible - building complex connectors from other tools will only make it harder to administrate.
One thing we’d suggest you don’t do is go too extreme with naming. With any program, you typically want the naming to be fun and engaging, but keep in mind that it needs to make sense and be reflective of it being a user recognition program. With the Greek mythology theme inspiring Titans, the names we came across are all inherently grand. One of the things that was front of mind for us was that we wanted to keep this down to earth, and find something special in name, but not too difficult to live up to or achieve. For example, we chose to use Epic and Legendary Titan instead of Immortal and Olympian. Our approach has been that building in compelling rewards is the value of the program and the titles don’t need to be too bombastic to be validating.
This has been our first chapter detailing our journey to launch. We will cover the activities we undertook taking the program live in the next installment. Please let us know any thoughts or questions in the meantime.
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