6 January 2020 | 7 Comments
Thanks to my frequent trips to local coffee shops to treat my girlfriend to her morning brew, I’ve started to enjoy small doses of lattes on occasion. As a pleasant side effect, I’ve also discovered that several of these cafes offer rewards programs.
Before I go any further, I’m sorry for the completely random post about Watchmen yesterday that you may have seen in your inbox. That was intended for my personal blog, not my Stonemaier Games blog.
I’m particularly impressed by the gamification offered on the Starbucks Rewards app. For every dollar you spend on Starbucks, you earn 2 stars. If you accumulate enough stars, you can spend them to receive free coffee, handcrafted drinks, and merchandise.
The star system by itself is satisfying and motivating. But the Starbucks Rewards system is even more enticing because of the various challenges it offers to get extra stars. Two recent challenges were to order 2 lattes within a 5-day period to earn 30 bonus stars or to simply place 3 separate orders over the span of a few days to get 75 bonus stars. They’re completely manipulative…but they’re fun, and they work.
This system made me think about stretch goals on Kickstarter, which are another manipulative-yet-fun way of encouraging engagement, sharing, and overfunding. I think it would be interesting to see a campaign use this reward system for their stretch goals (note: I’ve seen projects use some of the methods described below, but not all of them in combination).
Here’s how I envision a “star stretch goal” system:
- Starting on launch day, explain how stars are earned (1 star per backer and 1 star per funding dollar). You could even reward extra stars for certain reward levels if you want to push backers towards them. Social media stars are also a possibility. To encourage day 1 backers, you could double all stars earned in the first 24 hours.
- Also on launch day, display around 5 stretch goals and their star costs. These should range from low star costs (in case launch day doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped) to high star costs (in case launch day goes way better than expected).
- Every day, update the stretch goal graphic to indicate the current number of earned stars. This number will fluctuate as stars are spent (see the next point). If the project needs a little boost, you could post a challenge specific to that day.
- Every 2 days, post a project update with a poll backers to determine their most desired stretch goal to spend stars on at that time. By spacing out the votes, you ensure that you’re not rushing through all stretch goals in the first week of the project. Post the results on the next project update and add a new star stretch goal option (potentially even something that backers have requested, even if you didn’t originally plan for it).
- In the final 48 hours, remove the limit of one stretch goal reward per poll. So if there are enough stars earned, all stretch goals could be unlocked.
I think this system checks pretty much every box I look for in stretch goals. The one thing that’s a little iffy to me is that it seems like backers would almost always be inclined to vote on the highest-star stretch goal reward. Though perhaps the most expensive stretch goal in terms of production isn’t always the most exciting stretch goal.
What do you think about this method? If you’re a Kickstarter creator who ends up using it, please share a link in the comments below!
Unrelated, if you have the chance, I’d highly recommend checking out the presentation on Unsettled’s Kickstarter page. I particularly admire the explanation of the framework and the planets.
This series features innovative strategies from non-Kickstarter, non-tabletop game businesses as they might apply to creators and entrepreneurs.
Also read: The Current State of Stretch Goals (2019)
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