Meet the Super Forum 2021 Award Winners!
3, 2, 1…Liftoff! Award
The winners of this award put together a stunningly successful community launch, exceeding expectations. Learn more about each of them:
MURAL is a digital workspace designed to support creative visual collaboration. Beth Vanderkolk joined MURAL in January 2021, after a long career creating new content and communities. At MURAL, Beth set out to support, educate, and empower the rapidly expanding community by connecting members with peers, partners, and experts. And boy, has she accomplished those goals and then some!
In April 2021, with her rockstar team of Lindsay Olson, Amanda Petersen, and Kerri Ratcliffe, they launched early access to https://community.mural.co, an inclusive and engaging space for MURAL enthusiasts to connect, share, and inspire one another. What made this team so successful? Amanda and Lindsay made it their full-time job to ensure people were heard and connected to the community through responses, private messages, cards, etc. They awarded their early access crew a badge and a beautiful, special swag kit. Beth and her team also work cross-functionally internally, escalating customer concerns and sentiment, and encouraging her colleagues across product, design, engineering, and marketing to respond personally to members in the community. It wouldn’t be a launch award without some stellar statistics! Before the team moved out of beta testing, they made sure MURAL members knew about the community and how to use it. They launched a unique bingo activity that successfully increased new member acquisition by 31% in just one week. They also saw a 152% increase in discussions and a 119% increase in comments. To date, MURAL’s Community has gone from 480 to about 34,000 page-views per month. And this is just the beginning! Beth and her team are caring for an infant community with some very real tender, loving care as it grows. Going forward, they are focused on executing community strategy, delighting customers, hitting milestones, and sticking to the roadmap. Learn more about Beth and her team in this webinar.
While launching a new brand new community for any organization presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, implementing such a change for the “Association of Change Management Professionals” added an extra wrinkle: The team, led by community manager Michelle Lowry, was introducing a significant organizational change for members who are (literally!) professionals at managing significant organizational changes. The association didn’t take this lightly – they knew they had to nail it, and they knew they had to get key members involved in the process early and often. Taking a page from their members’ playbooks, they started their online community planning by developing a comprehensive change management plan with collaboration from cross-functional staff, board and committee members, and volunteers. After a long period of research, discussion, and strategizing, the ACMP team recruited volunteers who could help them test the site during a beta period, and another group who would be community champions and help them drive engagement right out of the gate. At about 35 days in, they launched an automation rule email to those that had logged in more than once but hadn’t posted – this email highlighted the (exclusive and totally awesome!) Early Adopter badge, letting them know it could only be earned when they made at least one post within the first 90 days. This email sparked a 22% increase in unique contributors in the first 90 days. By the 90-day mark, about 37% of the membership had logged in. They received this feedback from one of their members:
“I would like to congratulate you for this fantastic work and thank you from the bottom of my heart! This is a feature which I was missing for so long and I love it already. You surely have gained already a lifetime-member with this. All the functions which the membership offered so far were already so great, but with this you have surpassed yourself. I will contribute a lot to the lively exchange.”
Way to go, ACMP team:
- Michelle Lowry, Community Manager
- Sylvie Charbonneau, Board Member, Former Interim CEO
- Amanda Pastermack, Chief Operating Officer
- Liz Buttner, Membership & Volunteer Coordinator
- Ashley Wilson, Communications & Marketing Coordinator
- Hayley Landingham, Education & Meetings Manager
- Jackie Padilla, Membership & Operations Coordinator
- Shannon Runyon, Communications & Marketing Events Coordinator
Our automation architects run some of the best automation campaigns around, from using automation rules in their communities or email campaigns in their marketing automation tool.
David Andrews, Head of Customer Advocacy at Rocket Software
When a community member visits the Rocket Forum community, they see a dynamic, personalized dashboard with 9 buttons – each of these buttons are created using automation rules. Thanks to this personalized & automated engagement experience, people are more engaged in the community, and automation rules like “add a picture to your member profile!” are working well. Automations also guide new members to join the appropriate sub-forums as well as onboard members to private sub-forums with exclusive terms to which they must agree to enter. We love the innovation here!
Luci Blodgett, Online Communities Manager at The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Luci set up a 4-part welcome message for new members to welcome them to the association, while introducing them to various aspects of their online member community. The first message is a General Welcome, and goes out on Day 2. In the month of August, they saw a 13% conversion rate. Message 2 is the local section overview, and it goes out on Day 30. Message 3 reviews their digest settings, and members receive this on day 60. Each email is customized and personalized – members frequently respond to these emails directly as if they’ve just received a personal email from Luci, and it makes for such a different experience than the typical onboarding emails that go out through marketing. We love this timed, segmented approach to getting members more involved and invested in the association and the community! Congratulations, Luci!
Community of the Year
We couldn’t pick just ONE community of the year – so we picked two. These communities are the cream of the crop! We all know how much time and energy goes into creating and nurturing a five-star community. Meet the winners:
National Association of Productivity & Organization Professionals’ Member Connect community, the community that all 3,200+ Professional Organizers and Productivity Consultants are part of, has organically developed a new member benefit for NAPO: organizer referrals. When they speak with members who are starting their organizing businesses and ask how they can gain clients, they are able to point them in the direction of their large Higher Logic community to keep an eye out for other organizers who are looking for help in their area. It’s built an organic job board! Congrats to Gina Garriott, NAPO Operations Coordinator, and the NAPO team.
CPA Australia’s community, CPA Member Connect, launched on September 15, 2020. It’s an opt-in community, and their goal for new members in the first year was 6,000 members – a little over a year later, and they have blown past this goal with a whopping 14,171 members. Their engagement has been high and remains consistent. Here are a few stats:
The Daily Digest open rates hover between 24% to 27% each month
Discussion posts average between 195 to 359 per month
New threads range between 39 to 73 each month
They’ve also created some unique assets & widgets for their regular monthly tactics, such as:
Monthly Wrap which includes a high-level overview of the previous month’s engagement
Monthly Member Spotlight where they used an automation rule and got over 40 replies from members who wanted to participate
We love to hear this. Keep up the good work, CPA Australia team:
Lauren Mandato, Social Media Team Lead
Kristina Tseprailidis, Content and Social Media Executive
Harrison Costello, Content and Social Media Coordinator
Annie Vereker, Content and Social Media Executive
Lisa Agic, Community Manager at Higher Logic
Design Magician (Marketing Automation)
For this award, we’re highlighting two fantastic teams with beautifully written, stylishly designed, and attention-grabbing emails.
“We recently redesigned the branding for the Sweets & Snacks Expo to include exciting, bold and bright colors; a new accent font; and striking iconography and product photography. Because the Sweets & Snacks Expo was the first in-person expo in Indianapolis since the beginning of the pandemic, we wanted to convey excitement about our new venue, ensure our attendees felt safe at the event and demonstrate that attendees would still get the same value from the show that they’ve come to expect by including testimonials from high-powered attendees and exhibitors.
While one email alone in this campaign is well-designed and pleasing to the eye, the unified design and style of all the emails across the campaign speak to the cohesion and the power of the design.
These emails were designed to generate excitement and enthusiasm for the Sweets & Snacks Expo and attract attendees. While the show’s attendance goals were reduced due to the pandemic, we were still able to exceed our attendance goals for the show by one percent.
We also beat our attendance conversion rate goal by one percent, despite the show’s attendance conversion rate already sitting at the upper range of the industry benchmark.
Lastly, our new outreach methods and show branding brought in a record number of new attendees. While we had multiple attendee acquisition marketing strategies, our consistent and exciting branding played a part in exceeding our goals for the year.” Such good stuff! Congrats to the team:
Paul Kissin, Director of Marketing and Web Technology
Amy Buglass, Senior Manager of Web Technology
James Gleason, Content Manager & Copywriter
Joy Phifer, Manager of Graphic Design
Next up for the design magician award is:
The entire marketing team at ePay had a hand on the overall design and objectives. They leveraged their Higher Logic coach, Sara, to help guide their thinking to create something beautiful, easy to manage, and easy for their readers to digest! To get started, Sara showed them newsletter samples other organizations had found successful. In addition, they receive many emails internally from various industries and platforms being in the marketing department, so they started to review the ones they liked, and met regularly with internal stakeholders to determine what readers needed most. They knew they needed something visually interesting, easy to scroll through, and navigate. They created a consistent look and feel, regularly scheduled weekly mailing, with flexibility for them to change it week to week without losing the brand and overall design intentions.
Since making the change, the ePay team has noticed that opens/clicks have increased now that members are used to this weekly digest. They also noticed readers liked the top section news articles over “marketing” items, which gave them the freedom to move away from a monthly newsletter to send “news” weekly now as part of this weekly email. We love the careful planning & use of audience data to make this decision – congrats, team:
Stephanie Tisch, VP, Marketing
Anne-Marie Leake, Director, Communications
Michael Morrell, Manager, Database and Digital Engagement
In the Lab: Data Scientist Award
The winners of this award are grounding their decisions in data to their advantage.
NSH’s team has a small staff – just 4 people! So they need to focus on making the user experience as easy and meaningful as possible, in order to save time. The NSH team uses qualitative and quantitative data from their online community search terms to help identify issues with the user experience. Here are a couple examples:
“In 2018, NSH members entered the search terms “Journal of Histotechnology/JOH/Journal” – or some variation 180+ times. This data, in combination with the support requests we received in our main email account suggested that this member resource was either difficult to access or difficult to find. So when we implemented a new AMS in 2020, we made sure to include easier access and visibility of our journal. Since that time, not only has the search term count been reduced to around 64, we have also seen a reduction in the variation of how the search term is entered. We used this data to ground our decision to invest in a new member dashboard and API.
We also use this simple data collection to help gauge member interest in specific topics related to the field of histotechnology, and include it in our educational programming. For example, we started seeing the word “prame” in our search term report(s), which had never previously appeared. We investigated a little further and realized that this was a newer and important concept in the field, so we were able to meet this member need and seriously consider and selecting this topic for the final program at our convention.”
Congrats to the team:
Alisha Yocum, Member Services
Aubrey Wanner, NSH Deputy Director
Connie Wildeman, Manager, Education and Events
Sharon Kneebone, Executive Director
David Breisch, Senior Director of Marketing, Destinations International
Let’s hear what Dave had to say about the way he used data: “We created a member re-engagement campaign that targeted all of our members with different types of email messages based on their level of engagement with the association. We used data from a combination of sources, including Higher Logic send and click history, Impexium (our AMS), and CommPartners (our LMS), to effectively segment our messaging based on whether the target was an active, inactive, bounced or suppressed member. We also used our data to manually reach out to members that were active with the association services and yet suppressed from the Higher Logic platform. At the end of the campaign, we were pleased to see a 19% increase in member contacts that had clicked on an email, an 8% increase in member contacts that actively engaged with an association webinar or event, as well as a 14% reduction in member contacts not receiving emails (bounced/suppressed contacts).” Congrats, David!
We awarded the Industry Innovator award to two customers who are advancing the industry strategy and use case of their Higher Logic instance by not only keeping the engine running, but finding creative solutions to boot.
The Community Team at Juniper Networks
Juniper Networks is a leading, global networking company with a wide range of products, from wi-fi and AI to routers to security. As a result, its customer base is highly varied and ranges from multi-national service providers to small school districts, along with everything in between. With that comes a challenge: how to build consistent but custom communities that engage all types of customers? Some NDA customers need behind-the-scenes, clearance access to product information and strategy. Others want to ask experienced users questions about product usage tips or best practices. Some require small-group interaction while others benefit from a large pool of input from global colleagues. As a company that deeply values the customer experience, Juniper Networks had to innovate to meet all these needs, plus consolidate to facilitate community management. Using Higher Logic, Juniper’s Customer Experience Team has developed 50+ communities (and the number is still growing) to support highly targeted collaboration and expert enablement. Each community delivers a custom experience to members, from virtual events and Ask the Expert chat sessions to Ambassador-led Lightning Talks to broad group discussions to private advisory councils. Juniper has successfully used this strategy to deliver on its “Driven by Experience” brand promise to create custom experiences for individuals, with 1:1 interaction, highly curated content/activities, and truly bespoke interactions – pleasing customers and ensuring their success. Plus, Juniper Networks now has infinitely more insight into what its customers want/need to help shape the company’s future direction. Congratulations to the Juniper Networks community team!
Sarah-Lesway Ball, Senior Director, Global Experience Marketing
Kendra Walsh, Director, Community and Customer Advocacy
Melchior Aelmans, Consulting Engineer
Ellen MacDermid, Communications
Rachael Silvano, Manager, Community Programs, Pragmatic Institute
In the Pragmatic Alumni Community, Rachael and the Community Team are building their journey of learning that doesn’t stop when you leave the (virtual) classroom, supporting Pragmatic alumni no matter where their career takes them. A few ways they’ve accomplished this:
Leverage dozens of years of student data to make an innovative, comprehensive educational ecosystem for their alumni to take part in.
Use community best practices to develop and deploy complex and strategic programming and offering members chances to engage at any level.
Think about the member journey holistically and evangelize the power of Community throughout the organization.
Their organization had to do a major pivot due to COVID-19, transitioning from an exclusive in-person training partner to an entirely virtual one. The creation, success, and innovation of the Pragmatic Alumni Community became a market differentiator in their training offerings. The team knows that while you might be able to get product training elsewhere, you can’t get the Pragmatic Alumni Community in other places. Additionally, because of the community, they can provide valuable insight to their Sales and Marketing teams on what resources alumni are finding the most valuable, where they can build out future training, and share alumni feedback on courses. We love it! Congrats to both of our winners.
Jaw-Dropping Design (Online Community)
These communities are a sight to behold. Whether it’s the pleasing aesthetics or smooth navigation, the community design is top-tier and we thought they deserved a spot on the runway. And we couldn’t pick just two for this one – so we have three winners.
Reltio planned their online community’s design so that it would engage their users better and stand out from the competition. The community team has gotten to the “Oh wow! That looks amazing!” stage from their organization and users. Congrats to Community Program Manager Chris Detzel and the Reltio team!
Rocket Software had two design objectives for the Rocket Forum community: Membership and Engagement. The site shows two different states based on login status. Prospective members see different banners, buttons, and calls-to-action across the site to drive registration. The team designed the logged-in member state to drive action with dynamic content presented on a personalized dashboard. Finally, automation rules present different engagement options depending on what people have done or what Rocket Software wants them to do, all of which have contributed to a class-leading 42% engagement rate (members logging in in last 90 days).
We love the personalization here! Way to go, Rocket Software and team: David Andrews, Head of Customer Advocacy, Rocket Creative Services lead Mike Rubenstein, and partner eConverse Media.
The Blue Prism team picked their favorite design elements from various communities to create an exciting and colorful new mobile-friendly community. They spent hours documenting requirements and trialing mock-ups before developing the current iteration. They also tested design and usability internally before going live. Plus, the redesign was inspired by streamlined feedback they received from conducting 30+ member interviews and their Ideas Portal on the community. Both avenues provided multiple points of feedback which directly influenced the design. Thanks to the above, their new design includes cool new functionality like….
A new welcome dashboard which includes personalized prompts through automation rules and security groups to encourage behaviors that members haven’t completed, like updating their profile picture.
New surfaced gamification: Users see leaderboards that showcase the number of points they have on the homepage.
Enhanced personalization with a “Recommended for you” section which surfaces content to users based on Communities they’ve joined and security groups they’re in.
Cross-platform gamification program (Community Coins) leveraging Higher Logic’s volunteering tool.
They’ve seen great results, including: a 10 point increase in NPS, a 42% increase in idea creation, and tons of positive customer feedback, like: “The new website is wow. The redesign looks great! Really freshens things up.” And “Went on the community this morning and it looks AWESOME! you’ve done a smashing job.” We think so too! Congrats, Blue Prism team:
Norah Alsudani, Former Community Strategy Director
Melanie Giuliani, Community Manager
Kevin Barnes, Community Manager
Lorena Seco de Herrera, Community Manager
James Woods, Senior Programme Manager
MVCM (Most Valuable Community Manager)
A superstar community doesn’t run itself. We all know a great community manager can take a community to new heights. That’s why we’re awarding the Most Valuable Community Manager award to these two individuals: We had to share both of these nominations in their coworkers’ own words because you can just tell how much these two are making a difference!
Simon Helton, Community Manager, Cayuse, LLC
“Connect Community by Cayuse was launched September 2020 with the goal to connect research professionals from around the world all year long to discuss industry trends and issues, share expertise, and learn from each other. Simon joined Cayuse on March 31st, 2021 as a Community Manager, and in a short period of time, he’s grown the community membership and engagement and added so much value. Here are a few of his achievements:
- Nearly doubled membership in the second quarter of 2021 compared to Q1
- Tripled discussions and engagement during that period
- Created a champions program to encourage engagement by helping members with seed questions
- Reached out to members of other industry org communities and encouraged them to post jobs in the Connect community. This created more awareness of our platform as well as increasing job posts by more than 12x
- Promoted product ideation to customers and managed the review and status update process with the product team
- Coordinated several private customer advisory boards communities
- Created a thorough three-year plan that will place the Connect community as the leader in the research industry
In addition, he restructured the site navigation and some page layouts to improve the user experience, refined the digital ribbons, created automation emails, reporting, and more. His passion for communities is obvious within and outside of Cayuse as he’s a very active contributor to the Higher Logic community.” Such good contributions – Congrats, Simon!
Janice Allen, Project Specialist, American Industrial Hygiene Association
“When Janice joined the AIHA team, she came with no background in managing an online community. In the 1.5 years she’s been nurturing the Catalyst community, the community has thrived, exceeding benchmarks monthly and annually. She was instrumental in getting the app launched and continues to grow the number of members utilizing the technology. This past year was exceedingly difficult managing members who were passionate in their beliefs and at times, hostile. She worked with senior leadership to develop a stronger code of conduct to ensure that the community’s reputation was not tarnished. She is always seeking continuous improvement, has earned the respect of members and the Board of Directors, is the go-to expert in all things online community, and uses the resources at her disposal to network with her peers via the HUG community. Janice deserves this award because she didn’t think she could do this when she first started and she has proven herself wrong and is a SUPER STAR with our members, elected leadership, staff, and peers.” Huge congrats to both Simon and Janice!
MVDM (Most Valuable Digital Marketer)
Marketing campaigns may seem like magic, but really, it’s all the work of these individuals’ genius digital marketing skills. When it comes to email communications, they leverage data and technology to deliver exceptional experiences for their audiences. Meet our winners:
Braden Hon, Digital Content Coordinator, Australian College of Nursing
Braden’s work at the Australian College of Nursing has made a big difference. Here are just a few of the things he’s accomplished:
- Reduced email fatigue by streamlining member e-communications
- Increased community post reach by directing email readers to online community threads
- Conducted consultation with random individuals from target audience to find out the optimal time to send out member e-communications
- Increased participation rate in programs and events through well-timed publicity on digital platforms
- Constantly exceeding industry benchmarks for open and click rates
Congrats on your achievement, Braden!
Melissa Kane, Digital Marketing Specialist, ISPOR
During her time at ISPOR, Melissa has spearheaded digital marketing processes and implemented data-driven decision-making for the team’s marketing purposes. In her first year, Melissa introduced A/B testing, and their email communication open rates improved by 2% and click-through rates improved by 4.9%. During this time, she also worked on implementing UTM tracking and Google Analytics integration. The marketing team was then able to segment communications for a greater audience reach and deploy digital ads for new audience introductions. When the association’s in-person events became virtual, she utilized the segmentation data to design a digital ad campaign that resulted in a 26% conversion rate. This ad campaign helped open the idea of utilizing digital ad space to further the reach for ISPOR’s mission. We love to hear it – way to go, Melissa!
A lot has happened over the last two years. Whether the pandemic fundamentally changed these organizational strategy and priorities, these winners approached each challenge creatively. Meet the winners:
The Association for Institutional Research team launched AIR Hub in May 2020 amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. Knowing how important knowledge sharing and best practices are to their community, the AIR Hub community has helped institutional researchers at higher ed institutions share solutions and ideas at a time when their own landscapes and needs were changing dramatically. While idea-sharing was their initial and main goal, the AIR team also began to use the platform as a literal hub for online learning. They maximized their time by leveraging their Higher Logic community to offer a better learning experience for several of their new and existing professional development offerings. For example, they created a community for an 8-week course they had offered prior to the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, facilitating that interaction was challenging with their current platform and systems – and creating a community for this event better facilitated engagement. And with the integration already in place, this enhancement was seamless, adding no additional staff time for implementation. Through deep linking and UX-focused design, participants could easily move between the LMS and the Hub community. And, the team was able to use the same format to launch an additional course. Participants have been engaging in meaningful discussions, creating profiles, connecting with each other for longer-term networking, and also venturing outside of the course hub to engage in the broader AIR Hub community. Way to go, AIR team!
- Elaine Cappellino, Senior Manager of Education Operations & Data Stewardship
- Ashley Ivey, Product & Design Manager
SecureAuth launched their community on February 26, 2020, right on schedule. They were planning to use the community to replace their ZenDesk knowledge base and help customers self-serve, and planned to incrementally expand from there, starting with a rewards program. You know what happened next! A week later, they found themselves having to do everything virtually – and realized they needed to expand the community immediately to be an all-encompassing, central location for product content, networking and crowdsourcing, post-webinar recordings, best practices, latest news and events, etc. They started by launching the rewards program early with badges and ranks, and have continued to quickly evolved the community. Each quarter, they add another important category, like customer stories, a specialty badge, like 1-year anniversary and advocacy, and celebrate customer contributions. As the pandemic has continued, the team has noticed that customers rely on the community, more than ever, to access what they need to be successful in maintaining their investment with SecureAuth. SecureAuth has seen some amazing increases with their community since last December, including:
- 75+% increase in membership
- 980% increase in discussions from both customers and employees
- 700% increase in comments from both customers and employees
- 719% increase in page views
And they delivered on their original goal of self-service, too! In November of 2020, they measured how they did in helping the support team reduce the amount of time they took to answer “where is it” questions. They saw a:
- 5% reduction in tickets
- 35% reduction in overall response time, as the community freed up the support team’s time to focus on more pressing tickets
This is so great – Congrats to Nichole Devolites and the rest of the SecureAuth team!
Rookie of the Year
These rookies were new to either community management or marketing – but they’re seeing serious gains from their programs and campaigns. Meet the winners:
Scott Baldwin, Community Lead & Product Evangelist, Productboard
Before Scott began his full-time role, he was helping with community management on the side. Now, he works on the community full time, a role change that was driven by a combination of success and more focus on their customers. Since he moved into this role in late April, Scott has migrated them to a new platform, 5x’d their community membership, launched an Ambassadors program, and contributed to community thought leadership, including being featured in Common Room’s Rise of the Community Leader and a session with Higher Logic on How Product Teams can Leverage Community.
Tracy Vickers, WEM Customer Engagement Leader, Genesys
Tracy evolved into her role because of both her past experience as a subject matter expert in Workforce Engagement Management and her interest and participation in the Genesys online communities. Her title as WEM Customer Engagement Leader is new to Genesys and is the result of their business recognizing and emphasizing the value of community in new and interesting ways. Tracy was tasked with owning the new WEM Community which runs on Higher Logic’s community platform. Her leadership continues to increase membership and engagement as she crafts the WEM community to better serve Genesys customers. For example, she co-hosted a four-hour AMA on the WEM community which brought together a variety pack of industry experts and customers, during which all questions were answered and membership increased. Tracy’s work leading this community this year is not only supporting the community but reaching out to new customers and touting the benefits of this knowledge hub. Her community was the first to implement Higher Logic’s redesigned Library functionality at Genesys, and she’s pulling out all the stops with new events and contests. We loved this final quote about Tracy from her team: “Tracy is a poster child for making the community feel comfortable, welcome, safe, and valued.” Way to go to both our Rookies of the Year!
Congratulations to Our 2021 Super Forum Award Winners!
A huge congratulations to every single winner! You are doing awesome things. Thank you to everyone who submitted an award nomination and congrats to all of you for the great work you’ve been doing this year.