Gamification Expert &

Behavioral Designer

Creating Ecosystems Builds Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance

This article was written by Erik van Mechelen based on the Octalysis framework by Yu-kai Chou.

Ecosystem influence and convenience

Many are familiar with Amazon’s or Apple’s or Google’s exhaustive ecosystems and their network effects. Amazon’s product offering grows more robust by the day. Using Gmail/Chrome gains you refined experiences. Apple products sync across devices and services like iTunes.

These effects help to create Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance in the eyes and hearts of their consumers. If I leave, I’ll lose the entire ecosystem experience.

Non-intuitive brands like Nike play with this too when they introduced their fitness products: loyal Nike brand followers used their products instead of Fitbit’s offerings because Nike’s products worked with their Nike running shoes and gear. Samsung is doing similar with its camera and recording products.

Workplace messaging

Consider the competition for the workplace messaging space. Let’s hone in on Slack and its new competitors, Microsoft Teams and Facebook’s Workplace.

Interestingly, Microsoft’s product looks very similar to Slack’s. Why? Fundamentally, it wants to make it easier for people to switch. Not only does it sync with OneDrive and other Microsoft products and services.It looks and feels just like Slack, so you’ll have no worries and a better experience.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s Workplace will make sense to many businesses who already have a Facebook page and presence. Instead of logging in to a new experience on Slack, they can direct their teams and customers to their messaging solutions right there in Facebook.

From Slack’s perspective, they might do well to change the frame. Reacting to the big boys is tough though. If they keep their brand sense and elevate loyal companies and users (elitism) they could retain their footing.

Entering a market

Companies hoping to enter new markets should absolutely account for the context of competitors.

Almost any product by definition enters an existing market (there are very few untapped markets…and there is a good reason to enter existing markets, the primary reason being there are customers there already).

Consider Amazon’s latest market entrance: music. With Amazon Music Unlimited, they offer pretty much the same thing as Apple or Spotify but tout that a customer will save $40 over Apple or Spotify annually. Because the product is the same, they can directly appeal Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession and compete on price.

Not everyone is Amazon

Apple spent on Brand to make us “think different,” while UnderArmor showed how a small brand could elevate itself to compete with the big boys like Nike through creative emotional appeals to the underdog mentality, playing on Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment. Never underestimate the power of branding. People bought and buy UnderArmor because they believe that David can defeat Goliath sometimes, and they want to be that David.

Carving a place amongst the competition

Between direct and indirect competitors and alternative solutions for a given customer need, it is extremely difficult to create a niche or maintain a power position as an incumbent. By constantly analyzing the Core Drives at the heart of your product and service experiences, you can.

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