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Gamification, Sustainability and Feeding a Local Community

Designers Chacha Sikes and programmer Anselm Hook created an exciting online application during the Creative Currency hackathon in San Francisco recently. Called Lemonopoly, the concept is that people can locate lemon trees in their community on a map.

The idea is to involve the community is various ways. It may be to help people look after the trees, to be able to share the fruit with other people in the community or perhaps the opportunity for people to sell their lemons. This could work nicely here with organic fruit in conjunction with Giapo, who would of course pay for them in Giapo dollars that people can redeem for their wonderful ice creams and gelato.

A story in Springwise says “Users score points for their team when they add a tree to the map, add a tree that produces edible fruit, share lemons from a tree they own, offer to teach others how to aid lemon distribution and team up with a grocery willing to sell local fruit. ”

People can also win points by offering services such as picking and pruning, making marmalade etc.

This is a great way for people to be motivated to get more involved in their local community and the gamification aspects make it attractive, tying people in to the concept. We would love to support local initiatives in developing concepts like this using GeoSmart web map and development tools across New Zealand and Australia. We offer free Developer Agreements and flexible commercial models for developers. Something like this would make a brilliant mobile application supporting local communities.

 

May 23, 2012 Posted by | Australia, Gamification, geosmart, gps, location based services, new zealand, Social Media, Sustainability, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Trust Crowd Sourced Recommendations?

We often hear businesses express concern about people rating products, services and premises on location based applications or web sites. There have been allegations from time to time that comments or ratings may be made by competitors or disgruntled customers, where perhaps the customer’s expectations were unreasonable.

Any of these may happen, but there is more to this situation, in fact several.

1. People are probably talking about your brand online now. The worst thing would be to not be aware of the conversation and not have the opportunity to engage one way or another. It could be to thank people for their positive feedback. It could be to address a concern they have. It is also an opportunity to share those with staff and colleagues. Often positive messages don’t get to those who need it.

2. People trust people they feel are like themselves. Generally they distrust advertising. Why? Because often advertising over-promises. I don’t need to give you examples. Next time you watch TV, study the first five adverts you see and decide whether the information is accurate. if you want underarm deoderant, would you be more likely to trust a TVC, or a friend? If you want to buy insurance or go on a holiday, same question.

3. What can you do about crowd sourced applications and the comments people leave on them? One thing you can do is develop one yourself, or with a group of businesses you are associated with. Another is to join in the conversation and have your voice heard. Another is to offer the sort of service you would like to enjoy if you were the customer, get buy in from your team and encourage your clients to share feedback.

Why

Here is an example from an applications developer called Springwise. Their mobile application has a bar code reader and the ability to scan a bar code, see what other people have said about it and why they think it is a good or not so good product. It also allows people to rate the comments or the person who left the comment. One thing I really like is that they have elements in it where you can click on an icon to explain why you gave the rating or comment, for example the product may or may not be sustainable. This one doesn’t currently have a location based element in it, but there’s an opportunity perhaps for a local developer to do something similar and get us to help.

Another application is being tested in Spain at present designed to allow people to share what appears to be a common problem there, which is where the drink you order may be substituted with cheaper quality or priced ingredients.

The bottom line is that people are talking about your brand or product. Why not get involved with our development partners and encourage the features in applications that you would like to see. Talk to your loyalty card program partners or your business association, or perhaps your mainstreet asssociation. It’s easier than you think. Talk to us:)

February 26, 2012 Posted by | geosmart, iphone, location based services, Loyalty Card, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Socialisation – Loyalty Cards and Gamification

Ultimately if you want people to use your loyalty card, visit and spend lots of money enjoying your service, products and services, wouldn’t you rather they bring their friends and family, or encourage them to come and join them. There are gender differences here of course. Shopping for women is often a social activity, something to be enjoyed with friends and is an outing in itself. For guys that might be the case for specific things like food and beverage, electronics and sporting gear (I am generalising and there are of course exceptions:) but in general terms a fun group outing is more likely to be going to a bar, a sporting match etc. Of course hospitality, entertainment, attractions etc are all most enjoyed if done with friends.

Foursquare in its points structure will give you more points if you log into a location at the same time as your buddies. Tap City uses Foursquare Points of Interest and has a game element where you can take ownership of a location by attacking it and getting your buddies to join you in the attack, turning it into a real game, but one that requires that you do check in to places to complete certain activities.

FREE App Rugby2GO for Android and iPhone

Loyalty programs for single venues or large programs with many venues are all there to generate business for your destination premises. This opens up great opportunities for incentives. In many cases points and recognition are enough, but why not encourage people to not only participate but also to get their friends to sign up. For example, lets say we had a loyalty card for restaurants and entertainment. You could have a deal where if you bring a friend to a cafe, you get 2 points, or maybe a free muffin, but if your friend becomes a member of the loyalty program and joins you there, you get more. Its Rugby time in New Zealand with loads of tourists going to Fanzones and enjoying the restaurants, bars, concerts and shows that go with the World Cup. A lot of people have Smartphones and are enjoying FREE iPhone and Android applications like Rugby2GO which has all the Real New Zealand Festival locations on it complete with directions from wherever you happen to be.

These apps are great and are a perfect stepping point to creating social engagement. If they allow you to upload all of your friends from your various social networks in the way applications like Foursquare, Instagram, Layar, and countless others do, then you are already crowdsourcing for free. All you need to do now as an application host is encourage them not only to get their friends to your location using the gamification we have talked about in our other recent blogs, and then also get them to invite them to install the app and join, perhaps using a promo code that recognises that your friends have joined them and identified them as friends, which also of course helps with your profiling.

South Africa v Namibia

Profiling people into groups with similar interests is of course something that Google has introduced with its Google+ circles and we are starting to see this in applications. So if you own a bar or number of bars, are showing the Rugby on your big screens, wouldn’t you like to be able to encourage your loyalty program members to not only invite their friends, but have them sign up to the program, reward them for doing so, then give them a great time so they want to come back, with their friends. This is known as crowd sourcing and also plays a part in viral marketing.

As a footnote on viral marketing, a reminder that you do not do viral marketing, your customers, friends and program members do that. All you can do is facilitate it. Create an environment they want to be at and share and they will do it for you. Of course you have to deliver on your promise and make sure they really do enjoy themselves. There is so much more you can do once you get started and of course we are full of great ideas and desire to help you make it work for your loyalty program. Why not Contact Us and have a chat about it?

October 5, 2011 Posted by | AA Maps, Android, foursquare, geosmart, iphone, location based services, Loyalty Card, Mobile maps, proximity based marketing, Rugby, Rugby World Cup, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Socialisation Game Mechanics on Loyalty Cards

In our last blog I wrote about achievements such as points or rewards and the appointment dynamic. Another aspect that is very powerful is socialisation. There are many aspects to this including profiling, recommendations and forums and using the appointment dynamic to get more people in the same place.

There are many for and against aspects to profiling and it is happening from a Google level down to individual retailers. It is very important if you are profiling to correctly interpret information and to ensure that if you are doing it in a loyalty environment that the loyalty members understand what you are doing and that they have given their permission.

I have said on many occasions that done in the right way, combining educated opt in, location, interests and open to buy is very powerful. As I’ve said before, if Borders (I have  VIP Card on my key ring) sent me a notification saying that the new Stephen King Book 11/22/63 is in store and they will hold a copy for me with a special promotional offer for the next half hour, knowing that I am in the neighbourhood, I will probably go and buy it.

However, if they sent me the same message about the latest top 10 recommendations of a certain radio host were in stock, I would probably opt out of their service, even though I may at some stage have bought one of those books as a gift for my wife.

There are many ways to mine data about what people are buying and it doesn’t have to be down to product level, category level would be very powerful, and it amazes me that retailers don’t use this as a tool.

Profiling needs to be relatively smart and needs Business Analysts able to interpret information and look for trends and not make assumptions on the basis of one or two retail or other destination visits. Buying a hammer doesn’t make me a handyman, but buying tools on a regular basis would constitute a trend. Of course where someone lives can also be a valuable pointer and our new BIonaMAP application that I’ve blogged about before can provide valuable information in looking at trends from multiple people, especially when combined with data from the Department of Statistics Census which the application supports and Mesh Block and Area unit level.

Recommendations are powerful. In 2009 Nielsen’s released the results of a study that said that 90% of consumers trusted recommendations from people they know, 70% trusted recommendations from people who post them online and 24% trusted text ads that appeared on their mobiles. There are many ways to encourage people to comment on products or locations in a mobile environment. Some organisations worry about what people will say about them, but if that is the case, perhaps they have some work to do and better to know what they are saying and be able to engage with them, or as was agreed at the last Social Media Club meeting in Auckland, the common scenario is that if someone criticises a business in an online forum, others very quickly come to its defence. In a closed environment it is of course much easier to encourage the behaviour you are looking for from participants by providing them with the value they want. This can be done by rewards such as points for participation, bribes such as prizes and by engaging and showing an interest in them.

It has been expressed to me that social media requires additional resources and expertise often not available within destination businesses, particularly retail. Yes it does, the key cost is time and you do need someone who knows what they are doing, but what does traditional advertising cost. If you buy a reasonable sized advertisement in a newspaper, or get an agency to generate letter box mail, what does it cost for creative, artwork, printing and distribution? How many hours of a person’s time would that buy? It’s just another tool and the great thing is that to test the market using services like Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter is that you can try them for free. Add location in an app or mobile web site does involve cost, but done well the return can be huge.

Socialisation offers many more exciting opportunities, but to find out what I am talking about, you will have to come back for the next blog. Please feel free to add your comments in the meantime.

September 27, 2011 Posted by | Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Mining, Loyalty Card, proximity based marketing, Retail, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Location is Going Places

Obviously we would love to be writing more blogs about how our clients and partners are writing location-based apps using GeoSmart Maps API’s and Web Services and how we are helping the discover new ways to use location for proximity based marketing, location-based games (read future proximity based marketing), location-based education and  much more.The good news is that there are many new projects happening and more announcements to come next week from our camp.

There are companies who automatically go to global map providers because they perceive there is no difference and maps are pretty much all the same. To those people I say, go and have a look at the new Upper Harbour Motorway on AA Maps (one of our clients) using GeoSmart Maps and then check any other map provider on the web or on a mobile application. It’s only one of many locations we update as they happen because we are local and we care about providing the best data to our clients and to New Zealand motorists, but it is pretty major if you travel between west and north Auckland.

So this blog is for those of you who are wanting to develop applications using quality maps and location-based data, because we want to keep you informed and share great ideas with you and help you achieve your goals, whatever your business models and budgets may be.

One of the areas that I think is huge is proximity based marketing. If you are running loyalty programs, you really need to think about what you are doing. If they are working well, then we say they could be working much better, if they are not performing the way you would like, you should talk to us about how we can help, because location is our bread and butter.

As we have discussed before, the marriage of social media and location is really going places. I’d like to mention a couple of recent developments relevant to the many blogs here.

Foursquare

Now obviously Foursquare is global and needs more than the excellent New Zealand and Australian Maps we provide, but they are really showing the way to develop successful check in software. Want to know more about check ins and Foursquare have a look at more of the blogs on this site.

One of the things that people have been asking about is how to push a message to people based on their proximity. In effect, rather than have people open up Foursquare and look for deals and promotions near you, what people have been asking me about almost daily is how do we push an alert to people, rather than have them stumble on opportunities.

Now Foursquare has their own very popular application and I hope to hear that their latest announcement appears on their own application as well as the API’s they offer to developers. The Foursquare global hackathon starts tomorrow and it has een whispered on many sites around the world that one of the new features to be launched there is a Push API.

What does this mean? Well effectively it is an opportunity for developers to look at ways to send push messages to people using their applications using the Foursquare API’s. During the hackathon there will be competitions to see who can come up with the best applications using this functionality over the week. It could be almost anything and I’m hoping that this will provide our local New Zealand developers with ideas as to what they can do using these concepts. A few ideas being floated include:

  • Your mobile shopping list reminds you that you haven’t bought the milk and you are passing your local grocery store.
  • You are at a bar or restaurant and your app tells you that you have friends nearby. You can notify them where you are and get them to join you.
  • Your restaurant has empty seats and you have loyalty customers nearby, send them an invitation with tonight’s specials
  • Your loyalty card has double points today and you are about to pass your favourite Petrol Station, DIY, Clothing, Consumer Electronics store

Obviously we have much cooler ideas in our treasure chest to share with our clients, but you get the idea I hope. This is one of the missing links and is going to turn the concept of check-ins on its ear in my humble opinion. Now you don’t need to use Foursquare for this, although I’m not saying you shouldn’t. Personally I’d like to see these sorts of things being developed and proven locally in the way good Kiwi entrepreneurs do, with support from GeoSmart and then shipped overseas generating export revenues.

We have clever and passionate people here and sometimes it frustrates me that companies developing applications around locality instantly go to American or other map providers who aren’t passionate about New Zealand aren’t keeping their maps up to date and don’t have local resources to help. OK, I’m off my soap box people.

September 15, 2011 Posted by | AA Maps, Auckland, Australia, Australia Maps, channel partner, Check Ins, competition, competitions, foursquare, geosmart, gps, ICT, Indoor Navigation, iphone, lbs, lbs games, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, Social Media, social networking, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment