Ew! Do You Have an STB?

[Editor’s Note: This article was originally written for Emerson Social Media]

Okay, so maybe it’s not as gross as it sounds. An STB, according to SCVNGR’s Nick Herbold is a Socially Transmitted Badge. SCVNGR has created the latest STB in its Zombie Badge – a badge that can only be received after performing a social check-in with someone who already has the badge.

Now that begs the question – how did the first person get the Zombie badge? Well, SCVNGR had the brilliant idea of planting the Zombie badge into the phones of ten lucky SCVNGR users and allowing it to spread virally. I was able to contract this viral badge from none other than IBM’s Eric Andersen, who many #ESM-ers met in Cambridge after the #BurritUp.

Upon having the Zombie badge, you don’t actually get any sort of reward. So why would SCVNGR want to implement this strategy? There are a variety of reasons. First of all, SCVNGR is a gaming company, and collecting badges is part of the game. By adding (not-so) secret badges, SCVNGR adds a “limited edition” type feel to its badge system. Users who contract this STB will likely feel like they are a special user, which draws them closer to the brand.

Furthermore, you can bet that SCVNGR has metrics tied into the Zombie badge. Yes, they will surely be tracking how many people have the badge, and how quickly the STB is spreading. These numbers are a great indicator for SCVNGR’s internal team as to how social and viral its game truly is.

So next time someone at the bar tells you they have an STB that they’d like to share with you, don’t go running for the door. Simply pull out your phone, and let the Zombie in.

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