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Instant coffee was invented in 1890 in New Zealand by a fellow named David Strang. But I give Starbucks the all the credit.

Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee is simply instant coffee. Sure it is really good and I can’t tell whether I am drinking brewed coffee or instant when I take a sip… But that is not why I am so impressed.

I am impressed with the way Starbucks launched this new product into the market, and how they did it so well.

Every morning, like millions of other folks worldwide, I look forward to stopping into my local neighborhood Starbucks for a cup of my favorite black coffee. The first time I laid eyes on VIA, it was placed at the checkout counter, but I didn’t think much more of it more than a curious, what’s that?

As I went to pay for my coffee, the barista asked me if I wanted to purchase a box of VIA. The barista’s smile was contagious and infectious. I couldn’t help returning the smile as she explained that VIA wasn’t like the usual instant coffee. This did not trigger me to purchase a box that day but I was intrigued.

Over the next few weeks, every morning it was the same routine. The barista, whichever one was taking my order that day, would ask me if I was interested in a box of VIA Instant Coffee. Each one of the baristas seemed genuinely excited about VIA and they obviously cared whether I bought it. They never missed an opportunity to ask.

One day I was on my way to meet a client and I stopped at Starbucks to get coffee for us. This time, I stopped at one of the other 21,000 Starbucks locations that was not my usual stomping grounds… Without missing a beat, the barista smiled and asked if I wanted a box of guess what? VIA Instant Coffee.

As I was waiting for our coffees, I noticed a dry erase board in the back room. You know this intrigued me, so I peeked around the corner and I was shocked when I read what was written. It said something to the effect of:

“Top Store In The Market For VIA Sales This Month Wins A Night Out To A Restaurant Of Its Choosing”

It was such a simple incentive, but it was working! I thought this was genius. Since VIA had launched in the stores I had yet to buy a single cup of coffee without being asked to purchase Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee.

They gamified it!

Starbucks had sold me. I bought VIA several times. Not just through its ad campaign and by putting VIA in front of me, but by overriding my preconceptions about instant coffee through the positive energy of the employees selling it to me, energy instilled in them through Gamification, with nothing more at stake than a night out to dinner.

Just in case you are not familiar with the term Gamification… Gamification is using game thinking or strategy in a non-game, real world settings to problem solve or increase user contributions.

If you know how to look for them, you’ll find games in all kinds of businesses. Think of that time you went to dinner and the server offered you a really fancy specific cocktail. Without a doubt they were playing a game behind the scenes. Most likely, the company offered a spiff (incentive) for the server who sold the most specific fancy cocktails that night, and I’d bet the the Top Dog each month also won a gift card, cash or a chance to walk out of work without doing any clean up or side work.

If you own a business, supervise a team, manage a restaurant, or if you are a sales manager Gamification will enable you to quickly become the leader you need to be to move mountains. Companies all over the world use Gamification to incentivize their employees, increase profits, and overall just make work more fun!

I want to help you get started with Gamification. I happen to have written a book on the subject and I have personally created dozens of games that I teach companies to play with their employees all over the world.

Want one of the games? One of my favorite games to really get my team going is Root Beer Pong. Sounds fun huh? That’s because it is, it’s a blast!

Here, you can have it.

On one condition though… Play it with your team!

I can’t wait to hear how much fun you had and how your team was fired up to get out and sell, perform and execute.

You can download the game here for free.

Get my Root Beer Pong Game Free Now

-Chris Collins

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