Nina Simon‘s post about incentive punch cards got me thinking. It’s a core need of young RenGen to feel like they belong. Nina points out, “There is no such thing as a town square for faceless individuals. When you are treated like a ‘regular,’ that connotes special value.”
The special value she’s talking about derives from a sense of community.
Community gets created when people interact. The humble punch card is an interactive tool. Better yet, it’s lovely analogue if handled creatively. As Guy Kawasaki preaches, never underestimate the power of good analogue! The emotional payoff is a sense of belonging.
We’ve just completed a field study on young creatives. The sense of belonging, it turns out, is more powerful than the value of rugged individualism. Self-reliance is still important, but not at the expense of community. That’s a shift from Gen X creatives who wanted to stand out more than fit in.
The photo above is a shot of the punch card system at Tina, We Salute You coffee bar in London. Loyal customers tally their purchases on the wall. It not only creates a cool visual, it kicks the sense of belonging up a couple of notches. Patrons can see and be seen on the wall. Powerful.
So, what’s your idea for creating community through your organization? Will we “belong” to brands? Or will brands be left behind if they can’t instill a sense of community.
It begins with the interactive solution: getting people to leave their mark on the experience. The coffee shop in London is on to something.
Hat tip to Nina Simon.