This is the second post in a series by Jordan Behan highlighting the successful marketing practices of Canadian startups. Behan is the Director of Marketing of Strutta and knows a thing or two about the topic.
The gang at Toronto's Rypple have figured out a smart way to tie a great marketing idea directly into their product experience. With a product that enables web-based team and project management, they created the "WorkPlace Hero" program to get the word out about it.
Started at SXSW 2009, the Workplace Hero program is centered around the idea of giving "kudos" to deserving team members as a reward for good work. At street level, the campaign involves stickers handed out as badges of honour to deserving staffers. Online, a points system tracks the receiving, giving and referring of kudos, qualifying people for prizes that include gadgets and even vacations.
I caught up with Marketing and Community guy Jay Goldman, who was very enthusiastic about the effectiveness of the campaign to date. "The program has been a big success!" said Goldman, adding that some people have just fallen in love with the idea. "The top Workplace Hero was Mike Beltzner, Director of Firefox for Mozilla, who accumulated nearly 900 points on his own." Not a small feat, considering points are collected in twos and fours.
Beltzner let his love be known in his comments to the Rypple team. "I'm totally addicted to sending kudos. I get back comments like 'this made my day' or 'I didn't think anyone noticed.' Great idea, great program."
Not surprisingly, all of this fun and recognition is good for business too, notes Goldman the tireless marketer. "A high number of the people who received kudos have since become Rypple users and customers, cementing their status as heroes in their workplaces."
As a response to many of the dialogues they had with participants about improving the workplace, they also recently created Make Work Meaningful, a place for a "collaborative discussion on the future of work." Goldman says that many Rypple advisors, partners and past Workplace Heroes like Beltzner have started contributing to this extension of the discussions that were started with Workplace hero. As a result, new ideas about work are being shared. "They believe strongly that work is changing: becoming more social, flatter and more fluid, continuous instead of batch, and focused on building skills, reputation, and meaning."
Just two weeks into this column, and I'm already seeing a pattern. Freshbooks' Supper Club and Rypple's Workplace Hero both share a genuine care and concern for the people that matter most to their businesses. Their "marketing" ideas are just another of showing that appreciation, and it seems to be a formula that works well for them.