Gamification for law firms – FTW!

I won a prize for tweeting at an event! See for yourself:

The event was One North Interactive’s Experience Lab – a thought-provoking day of conversation about the future of digital marketing in law firms – sure to inform many of my future posts. The challenge was to use the event hashtag #1NLab12 to achieve the highest outreach and/or influence.

The One North team used a Kred Leaderboard to track the hashtag and tweeples throughout the day. Here is a grab of the leaderboard from the end of the day, showing me as the winner in “outreach.” That means I tweeted and retweeted the most 🙂

Click for full size

As the day progressed, Candace Graham @candygram16 posted updates on who was winning – here’s an example.

It dovetailed very nicely with Candace’s talk entitled “Marketing Under the Influence” which dealt with the future of “influence” in legal marketing.

Google+ Profile Completion Meter

Google+ Profile Completion Meter

The Kred leaderboard is an example of gamification – “the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts.” Gamification increases engagement by giving rewards and tapping our natural competitive tendencies.  It certainly worked on me. As soon as I heard about the challenge, I wanted to win! The leaderboard and hashtag kept me engaged throughout the day as well, not only in the content of the program, but virtually and in real life, with the other attendees.  

Gamification is pervasive in social media, from Foursquare’s check in badges to LinkedIn’s profile completion meter.  In fact, Google+ just added a profile completion meter to inspire users to add more personal information.  Gamification is going mainstream too. Gartner predicts that  more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014. To learn about the four principle means of driving engagement via gamification, read the recent Gartner study.

Dutch law firm Houthoff Buruma has used gamification in an app targeted toward students and recruits that simulates what it’s like to work as a lawyer in their firm.  It caused quite a sensation in legal marketing circles on its release in 2011 – and the firm continues to update it by adding new challenges. From their app store page:

Houthoff Buruma App

An irate client gives you an assignment. Will you succeed?

 The game in HB The App is mission-based and for each completed mission you can compare your scores with other students around the world…You will enter a 360 degree world in which you can navigate around and encounter real people. At the onset, you will be presented with a task which needs to be solved within a certain time frame. There are several business dilemmas attached to this task and the client is waiting in the boardroom for your solutions. Along the way you will have to solve problems and talk to people in order to unlock what you need to complete your mission. Only the quickest thinkers, keenest eyes and management savviest players will succeed and end up on the high score list!

Wonder if the game winners end up with a job at Houthoff Buruma? (H/T to Ichizu of Helios Design for the screen shot.)

For law firms, gamification holds the most promise for internal communications and team building.

For example, PeopleLinx – a social business integration product and consulting service – uses many gamification techniques to engage internal teams in the use of  Linkedin. Built in leaderboards are a great way to leverage lawyers’ inherent competitiveness for the use of LinkedIn – for individual and firm marketing benefits.

And Ben Wightwick of HighQ (enterprise collaboration and publishing software) published a fantastic post on the promise of gamification with the legal industry earlier this year, focused primarily on the use of gamification for internal teams:

[Gamification] can provide shared vision and objectives for leaderless groups or groups spread across the globe. It will influence Legal IT vendors to design their software more intuitively and emphasise collaboration and ultimately humanise and empower staff. Generally when people think of gamification they think of achieving inconsequential ‘badges’ when tasks are complete, but it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Why not build out the concept of a virtual currency, which can be earned against a pre-defined set of tasks collected by a team or department, which in turn could be used against a corporate shopping list, whether that is a team lunch or a drinks trolley on a Friday evening?

Doesn’t that sound like fun?  Wightwick cautions that gamification is not a silver bullet – to that I say gamification FTW! (That’s “For The Win.”)

So, if 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application by 2014 – will your firm have one? At the very least, you should consider using Kred at your next live event.

Update: I found this blog post on the Economist via Ben Wightwick’s Twitter. Takes a dim view of gamification, but I agree with Ben’s assessment that “#gamification ‘lite’ can improve usability, encourage sharing & productivity.” It encouraged sharing at the One North event, that’s for sure.

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Molly Porter on Twitter

Molly Porter on LinkedIn

 

6 big digi-comms strategies for 2013 and beyond

This is an exciting time to be in legal industry digital communications. From Foley and Lardner’s embrace of forward-thinking UX on their website, to the explosive growth of content delivery platforms like JD Supra, it feels like we’re on the cusp of big things. Combined with advances in digital tools available to lawyers and marketers – such as blogs and social media – and the ever increasing reliance of our clients on the web for research and credential checking, digital communications is finally taking its rightful place at the center of the biglaw firm strategic marketing mix.

Your website should transform based on your visitors’ location, interests, browsing history and device.

In light of the potential and with the 2013 planning season upon us, I put together this list of the top-of-mind strategies that legal industry digi-comms types should be thinking about. Many of these strategies represent multi-year commitments of time and resources, but are must-haves for law firms as our clients become more digitally savvy themselves.

If you’re not sure where to start, look at your firm’s Content Management System – a state of the art upgrade will provide many of the features and capabilities listed below.

Top 6 big digi-comms strategies for 2013 and beyond

Personalization – Implicit and explicit personalization allow your site to surface relevant content for your visitors, based on their browsing history or expressed preferences. This is a must-have for large sites and firms with multiple locations and service offerings. Personalization requires a best-of-breed CMS and, for explicit personalization, some means of logging in to the site. (I know that you know this requires cookies and as such will require a disclaimer on your site if you do business in the EU, so I won’t go into that here.)

To develop a personalization strategy, you should start by developing a set of personas. What are your site visitors looking for and what do they hope to accomplish during their visit?  Next, ask yourself –  What else do I want them to see while they’re here?  Personalization allows you do do more targeted cross-selling.

Good piece on Forbes.com about personalization and privacy

COPE – Create Once, Publish Everywhere – More and more, we are asked to deliver our content into external environments and websites – everything from firm-branded microsites to internal applications, client extranets and client-hosted intranets. Key to COPE is the deployment of a state-of-the-art CMS that can support content governance, workflow, production and promotion –  and easily integrate with other properties via web service or API.

Good piece on “divorcing content from form” on Content Marketing Institute

Mobile – Does your firm need a mobile site or a mobile app? Do you know the difference? I gotta confess – I’m still trying to master the distinction. One way to cover yourself – at least when it comes to people browsing via mobile devices – is to use responsive design on your main site. This will allow your site to look great across a variety of devices by dynamically reconfiguring the site layout based on the site visitor’s screen resolution. The downside is extensive up front design exploration and development of at least three versions of each major template on the site. The decision to build an application requires answering some questions: is internet required? What about device features such as camera and location? Got a lot of money? Willing to deal with having your app approved by the App Store?

For more information on making the mobile site versus app decision, see this recent infographic on Mashable.

Lead Generation – The number one question I get is whether or not the website and social channels have led to new business. Other than anecdotal evidence, I don’t have much to offer.  One easy way to get more concrete data would be to map site visitors against the new business development funnel by asking for email addresses at various points in the browsing and content consumption process. Easy peasy, right? Examples: request proposal button, click to chat, simple registration forms. For some reason, not many law firms are doing this, perhaps because of the investment that  processing and acting on this information requires. To get consensus, mine your traffic reports and social sharing stats for insights into how they affect new business development.

Check out this fun e-book 101 Examples of Effective Calls to Action for ideas on generating leads

Social media integration and management – I going to assume that you have share buttons on your content and that you’ve got your social media accounts prominently linked. I’m also going to assume you’ve got a social media calendar and you know how to run campaigns across your channels. What’s next? Enterprise wide social media management that will allow your lawyers and staff to tap into a library of content for their own accounts –  which can even be firm branded and centrally managed. For examples enterprise social media management, look at Socialware, Hearsay Social, Hootesuite Enterprise, Buddy Media (now part of SalesForce) and PeopleLinx.

A convenient list of social media policies and guidelines by Charlene Li of Altimeter Group, in case you’re still at that stage

Big beautiful brand – Dear law firms – it’s time to be more visually engaging! Again, look at what Foley and Larnder is doing with their site – unique long scrolling homepage with CSS3 features, responsive filtering in interior pages, big beautiful fonts for easy reading. For out of industry examples, I love GE.com, GoldmanSachs.com, Bain.com, and GM.com (although I loathe auto-play videos).

Top trend of 2012 – the “Visual Web”

So there are the 6 strategies to have on your radar. Some of you may have already implemented some or all of these. Let me hear about it in the comments!

written by 

Molly Porter on Twitter

Molly Porter on LinkedIn

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