The final chapter of our blog details the launch day of Titans and what engagement has looked like with this community in practice.
We launched Titans on Monday, February 22nd and prepared resources to go live on the day.
We published a Blog Post which we had pre-written that announced the program launch to the entire community. This was shared on LinkedIn by members of the program team and Customer Organization to spread the word.
All of the inaugural Titans were privately messaged through Atlas with a personalized note congratulating and thanking them for their engagement with Khoros and looking forward to more involvement together.
Our Community team flipped the switch for the Titans and Mount Olympus Group Hubs to go live so our users would have seamless access to these spaces from launch day.
Titan Engagement Opportunities
Since launch, we’ve been encouraging Titans to participate in Customer Roundtable events where our Titans can meet to discuss product focused topics. We’ve structured these with a discussion topic and assigned time to break out into small groups to learn more about how Titans have faced and solved challenges in their space.
We’re lucky our Titans have organically been engaging with each other - starting posts and asking questions - and we have weekly posts to spark discussion and new ideas.
We’ve also partnered with Titans on Product Webinars and Podcast opportunities, the first of many ways we are showcasing the knowledge within Titans and giving our users the opportunity to be recognized by their peers.
Growth of the Titans
Since Launch Day, we’ve added 40 Titans to the program and 23 Titans have leveled-up.
We’ve continued to develop ideas and strategies to increase not only the quantity of Titans, but more importantly, the quality of engagement opportunities for our current Titans. We see this as a space for professional development and connection, and want to further enhance the overall experience for our most engaged and valued users.
While we continue to see engagement increase across Atlas as a whole, the interaction on Titan-dedicated spaces (Titans and Mount Olympus Group Hubs) has been in the Top 5 most utilized spaces on Atlas consistently since launch.
Since Launch Day, 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 plan your time efficiently to perform all activities within a set window of time. For us, this was about a 4 hour window on launch day. One of the greatest time savers that we'd recommend you implement is scheduling all blog posts and informative messaging in advance to go live within this window. This will free you up from that manual task and allow you to focus on sending personalized invitations or support in troubleshooting.
Additionally, we suggest that you utilize an email template tool with an HTML export feature for the personalized invitations. This will enable you to create a nicely formatted invitation design that you can then use within Atlas private messaging or email.
One thing we’d suggest you don’t do is w ait until launch day to coordinate a dedicated communication space for launch activities. In the weeks leading up to launch day, prepare your Community team supporting with “flipping the switch” with a timeline of the day and when each task needs to be executed, along with a method of connecting on troubleshooting.
Thank you for reading our 3 part series on how we built the Titans program! Please let us know any thoughts or questions you have. If you are interested in becoming a Titan please contact @AryannaK on Atlas who can assist you.
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This blog chapter covers how we approached the specific tasks we needed to undertake to take Titans live.
Once we’d finalized the concept, the requirements and the reward structure, we focused on the tasks required to launch Titans seamlessly. We split tasks into:
Above and Beyond: Mount Olympus and Legendary Award
Designs: Icons, Badges, Glyphs
Above and Beyond: Mount Olympus and Legendary Award
Our requirements were verified with our users but we wanted to add a couple of special flourishes to the program: we thought it would be valuable to have a second Group Hub for more technical product conversations. We intended Titans to be the best place for general conversation, sharing vision ideas and networking, and so we created a dedicated place for more technical product discussions. We named this “Mount Olympus” as a nod to the pinnacle of product knowledge and intended it for Uncommon and up Titans.
We also wanted our top level Titans to be a significant reward. The Legendary Titan award is our way of saying thank you to leaders in our Community. These users are committed to helping others in Atlas and support thought leadership in the industry, which are contributions of significant impact. We created a nomination process for selected Legendary Titans, encouraging Khoros users and employees to recognize these with deep technical ability and a willingness to go above and beyond to help others.
We were lucky to have the support of our Marketing and Design team to support us on creating Group Hub logos, badges and icons for Titans. On vague instructions, they saw our vision and helped us create the following examples for the Titans and Mount Olympus Group Hubs; user Badges and Glyphs:
Group Hub Avatars
Restructure of Atlas
The Community team worked through the process of sunsetting our legacy recognition program board, moving the valuable threads to Product boards, and setting up the Titans Hubs to be flipped on ready for Launch Day. They created a landing page at http://titans.khoros.com/ to host the details of levels and qualifications.
Our Community team also trained us, the program coordinators, on Group Hub and Event best practices, individual role and rank changes, and how best to track community data needed for Titans level evaluations. This team has been integral to the smooth launch and ongoing success of the Titans program.
Communicating the program launch and the users we’d be welcoming as Titans was high on our priority list. There was excitement for a program that would recognize and reward loyal Khoros users, and we were conscious there was a duty on us to deliver consistent communication. Internal alignment is crucial to a positive user experience; we kept account teams and product experts up to date with what was coming and when. We confirmed users’ Titan level with our internal teams and introduced the process of nominating a Legendary Titan. This internal communication happened around 2 weeks before launch - at this point we’d finalized levels and internal systems and were ready to share the details externally!
We've been able to reflect back on the experience of getting ready for launch, and want to share a few suggestions of the dos and don’ts we’ve determined were the most crucial learnings during this time.
One thing we’d suggest you do is treat this program launch as an event. It’s likely this program has taken a large chunk of your time and attention to create, so you want everyone to be well informed on all important details. Assume the internal communications you send out will be seen and bookmarked by some, but not all (as happens for most events). We recommend sending out regular reminders of the upcoming launch day with important details on where to find crucial information, and follow up with key team members that interact directly with your users who may receive questions on or around launch day.
It’s also helpful to have a single space available for all internal staff to ask questions and refer to the previously shared resources. We used community articles to keep information in one place and allow team members to see previous Q&A in the comments. If you create a community space, be sure to include the link to it in those regular reminders.
One thing we’d suggest you don’t do is start too late on planning for any images, badges, or icons if using a design team, as they will need extra time for any rework. If you plan to have all designs completed several weeks before launch day, it will allow you to have a window of time to finalize any testing in a sandbox environment and complete internal reviews. If done, this aspect of launch day will go flawlessly.
We hope this has been a helpful insight to the preparation for going live. In the next blog, we detail what launch day looked like and what Khoros-led and organic engagement has looked like.
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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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This thread has great information that others in the wider Atlas community might benefit from. Would anyone be opposed to my sharing it on the Communities Product Discussions board? I hope to do so early next week, so please let me know either here or via PM.
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