Maybe you play the Candy Crush Saga and can hear those satisfying voices in your head. Maybe you've only been invited to the match-three puzzle video game from your Facebook friends.
Either way, the 97 million people who've downloaded the free app crave the vibrant candy world every day-so much so that 100 million active daily users play more than 1 billion games every day. One of them is IBM's Sandy Carter, who presented at The Social Shake-Up 2014. The General Manager Ecosystem Development and Social Business Evangelist shared six social business leadership lessons from Candy Crush, comparing how it both guides players through the customer lifecycle and draws on the power of community.
Lesson No. 1: You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
The simple premise of the game is to line up three candies, causing them to explode and bring more candies cascading from the top. There are no wrong moves, and every swipe of the screen is rewarded with a pleasant dash of color and a whimsical sound.
"Acknowledging that there are positive rewards in store, users then begin to work harder in order to achieve their rewards," said Carter, who is at level 23 (of 500) in Candy Crush since playing it for the past month. "Gaming does promote better work from your team because you give rewards. There are things that you don't expect. You can surprise somebody in Candy Crush. As a leader, think about how you reward people, how you use some of those gamification techniques. Do you surprise them with acknowledgement of what they've done for your organization, for your team, for the industry?"
Carter's case in point is Honda's employee recognition system with KangoGift. It engages employees with instant feedback, and it uses public vs. one-on-one recognition.
"You won't provide a great customer experience if your employees are disengaged," she said. "Honda installed a mobile social game to recognize employees. As a result, its employee engagement went up exponentially."
With Honda's previous recognition system, only 20 percent of managers were recognizing employees. This was because it was a difficult six-to-seven step process. When Honda switched to the KangoGift recognition system, its employee recognition by managers skyrocketed up to 80 percent usage. A year and a half after implementing it, Honda reassessed the use of the recognition system and found 80 percent of managers were continuing to utilize it to recognize their employees.
Lesson 2: Get help to get it done by sharing expertise.
"When you don't make it through a Candy Crush level, "You failed,'" Carter said. "You can pay money for an extra life. If you don't pay or give up, the other option is to ask for help. You can reach out to Facebook friends for extra lives. This is another form of community. Businesses lose per employee one day out of five looking for information they know exists but can't find."
A few real-life examples using social to find expertise include Japan-based Berlitz Corporation. Using IBM solutions, the industry-leading provider of language services built an enterprise-wide intranet for its instructors to share knowledge and best practices globally. IBM SmartCamps identifies early stage entrepreneurs who are developing business ventures that align with IBM. Another one is the Streetline smartphone app, which helps residents and visitors find available metered spaces in Venice Beach.
Lesson 3: Community is the tie that binds.
"If you think about Candy Crush, they do something very unique," said Carter. "They don't match your score against any player throughout the world. You actually link into your social networks, and they judge you based on your friends. By being compared with friends' scores at every level, it brings people together. Healthy competition breeds a healthy community."
This not only makes it personal, the audience chimed in, but it's also motivating, makes it seem possible, and gives players a better benchmark vs. being compared to professional gamers or programmers. This also adds to the feeling of being part of a community, which the City of Honolulu demonstrates beautifully with its Can-Do-Honolulu.gov website.
Honolulu wanted to improve government transparency and efficiency while also increasing civic involvement. So the city opened up access to years' worth of municipal data and provided a development platform that allows citizens and partners to create and deploy new applications to improve the city's quality of life.
While the data is free for citizens to use, any work done with it must be given to the government for free for public use. Despite some believing it wouldn't work due to time constraints and no pay, the opposite happened.
"Organizations should realize community is a strong motivator, especially for millennials," said Carter. "Millennials care more about making a difference than just a paycheck."
A few creations from CAN-Do Honolulu include a bus schedule app with real-time arrival data, and an app that allows citizens to report locations and share photos of broken streetlights, abandoned vehicles, and other problems.
IBM "drinks its own champagne," as Carter said, and taps the power of community, too, with its Technical Rock Star Program. Any IBMers using BlueMix RapidApps can build a sample app and write about it to be rewarded.
Lesson No. 4: Opportunities are everywhere but few have eyes to see them.
"At every level of Candy Crush," Carter explained, "there are different things to do. Naturally, we look for old patterns that we're used to. One moment we're moving along well, then the rules change, such as donuts with sprinkles or a fortune cookie are thrown in. This is important not just for social but also for the fast-moving world of today. It's not about the world today but where it's going. You've got to open your eyes to opportunities that exist that aren't the same as before."
For instance, the Miami Dolphins approached IBM to help them integrate analytics into Sun Life Stadium to enhance the overall experience for event goers. "They wanted to make people choose events because of the stadium," Carter said. "We drove around and around to see no parking and long lines. Then we pulled together a social app for them similar to the Streetline parking app, asking fans for advice. Millions of people gave ideas on how they could improve the stadium.
As a result, officials can gain real immediate insight into all stadium operations including visitor traffic, fan spending preferences, and weather patterns, as well as social media sentiment, allowing them to predict and adjust accordingly based on real-time events.
Lesson 5: The wise man forfeits his fortune when he does not trust the data.
I lost more than 32,000 Candy Crush points when I failed to watch how many more moves I had. More disappointing was that I had two lollipop hammers that I could have used to smash the remaining jellies.
What can you do with your brand's social data and insights? In this YouTube video, Carter explains how IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center analyzed 200 tweets to reveal 52 personality traits. With them, IBM determined that there are elements of it that you can use and leverage in your business.
Lesson 6: Don't wait too long-now is the time.
Unfortunately, I had to leave Carter's presentation at this point to catch my flight home from Atlanta. If I had waited too long, I would have missed the plane. However, I drew some of my own lessons. Like when I attempted my third try at level 10. I was first given the opportunity to share lives with 10 of my Facebook friends. So I did. I'm sure I'll need to reach out to one of them for a Candy Crush life down the road. When I do, I'll be glad I contributed to our Facebook relationship. At the end of the presentation, Carter reminded the audience to keep in mind social and tech, when used properly, is about people. Social is not a technology, it is a relationship.
You can see tweetable tweets on Storify and #socbizshakeup. Plus learn other social business lessons from Candy Crush on Carter's blog. Special thanks goes to Tom Teicholz for moderating the entertaining session at the #socialshakeup. Also, I owe a Candy Crush life to Carter for tempting me to try the game with her fun presentation. While I toggled back and forth between the game, and researching and writing this, I found out it lowers stress besides offer social business lessons.