Social to the Core!! @HavasLifeNYC @SMWNYC

Last week marked Social Media Week’s (SMW) 5th anniversary in NYC. For those of you who aren’t familiar, SMW is one entire week devoted to celebrating social media trends and featured social thought leaders/speakers, panels, interactive workshops, case studies and best practices for brands, advertisers and agencies to partake in.

Why HLNY attended SMW

Although not all events at SMW are health or pharma related, here at HLNY we pride ourselves on striving to be ahead of the pack. Our secret? Looking toward the future. We do this by gaining inspiration from macro consumer trends, cutting edge social platforms and ever-changing customer touchpoints.

SMW provided us with an opportunity to garner new insights about what’s gaining traction in the world of social/tech, and how we can best utilize those insights with the brands we work at our agency to build meaningful health & wellness experiences.

Events/sessions we attended

My colleague Jess Seilheimer and I were able to attend a variety of SMW’s top events which included:

Although all the events held differentiating value, my favorite session by far was GsummitX.  My experience at the session is worth sharing!


GsummitX: Gamification in NYC

A lot of people talk about gamification being a hot trend right now.  And while countless articles and speakers continue to tell you how great it is, many are still not focusing on the actual steps it takes to create a successful gamified solution.

SEGWAY—GsummitX to the rescue!!

With the perfect mix of both didactic & active learning, this event focused on actionable steps for evoking behavioral shifts through gamified solutions. In the “didactic ” portion of the event, speaker Gabe Zichermann talked about examples of brands that do gamification right, rewards that win, and ultimately how and when to build a gamified solution to generate the most success.  

Successful examples:

  • Viggle: an app that uses both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to make watching live TV a more engaging experience
  • Foursquare: an app that rewards you for getting out and trying new places
  • Nike+: a platform that incentives you to work towards better health with running and exercise

Rewards that win: (beyond just monetary incentives)

  • Rewards have to be treated similar to the structure of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; (in other words, treated as a funneled engagement)
  •  If you want to provide the right rewards/incentives they should touch on the topics below:
    • STATUS
    • ACCESS
    • POWER
    • STUFF
  • A good example of a brand that uses an “ACCESS” incentivized rewards is Gilt
    • Looking to build on their loyalty fan base, Gilt gave the top 10% of their fans access to Gilt daily sales 15min before everyone else
    • Why is this good?  It gave their loyal fans special treatment (red carpet treatment in the ecommerce world) for being their biggest spenders

When to build a gamified solution:

  • When you have a well thought out product/service
  • If you are trying to increase user engagement
  • When you want your target to shift behaviors for how they interact with your product/service


During the “active learning” part of the event we did a hands-on gamestorming workshop called “Play for a Cause” where we needed to utilize what we heard earlier to create a solution that would help to build awareness for the crowdfunding company Accion.  To give you a brief background of Accion, they are a global non-profit dedicated to creating economic opportunities.  They do this by connecting people to financial tools needed start businesses and improve their lives.

Breakdown of workshop:

  • 3 MINUTES: write down aspects of the problem individually
  • 12 MINUTES: get into a group of 2-3, pick one aspect and come up with solutions for it
  • 8 MINUTES: present ideas in groups of 8 and then choose the best solution
  • A FEW MINUTES: present final ideas to everyone

My team’s final idea:

(1)  A referral program that incentivized entrepreneurs (who used the Accion platform to fund their products)--to refer other new entrepreneurs to also use Accion.

(2)  In turn they would be connected with an Accion mentor/partner (i.e. Tori Burch) or someone relevant from their particular industry vertical who could provide them with tips and advice on how to successfully run a startup.

Whose idea rose to the top?

While our idea generated a lot of votes, it was group 3 with “crowd-voted community ideas” that generated the most. Essentially, the winning idea encouraged the entrepreneurs in the Accion community to submit business venture ideas to Accion, and the community would vote on them. The idea that generated the most likes/votes would be chosen and funded by Accion. 

Why the gamification trend is important for Pharma, Health & Wellness and HLNY:

When it comes to health, interest for elements of gamification is starting to pick up and be adopted by Health Care Professionals. Take for instance DocTango,a product from WorldOne Interactive, whom has capitalized on insights such as “80% of MDs are interested in online health games” by creating custom online health games for brands.  Because of their gamified solutions, they now have a growing network of 1.8 million global HCPs who participate in their games regularly. --per Michael Marett, WorldOne Interactive

Gamified solutions give us the opportunity to provide edutainment to our HCP target, as well as utilize their feedback to develop more targeted brand messaging/marketing.  If built correctly, we can help to foster a fun, collaborative, competitive, and engaging way for HCPs to compete with their peers and be exposed to marketing in the process.

SMW has proved to be very informative. As a digital strategist, I am ecstatic to use what I have learned to inform my own strategic approach to social experience design and assess what clients can benefit from social touchpoints as well share knowledge with my internal teams. 

You can check out the hashtag #SMWNYC and my twitter feed at @CassieBrains and my Instagram feed Cassietaylor17 to see all my social inspiration from the past week.