Club Penguin is cool both in front of and behind the scenes, in large part because the people who work there are dedicated and committed to creating something amazing for kids and to community.
The ABCs of the Club Penguin community – from a behind the scenes perspective – are great rules to apply to everyday life as well:
Accept each member of the Community for where they’re at
Allow every person to Belong within the community
Each player is Capable of making the world a better place
Since Club Penguin’s inception 200,000,000 penguins have been created in 190 countries and spanning five different languages. With a 50/50 split between boys and girls in the Club Penguin playground, the focus is not about being cool, it’s about being you and about accessorizing and creating in whichever way makes you happy. Kids can be kids and hold on to their “kidliness”.
As a safe start to social Club Penguin allows users to chat, “like” each other’s igloos (you can also keep your igloo private if you’d prefer), and in addition to the games that are part of Club Penguin, kids will gather together to create their own games such as musical chairs or express themselves around things that impact their lives in real ways – think Hurricane Sandy, breast cancer or the Super Bowl.
Kids drive what happens behind the scenes at Club Penguin in endless different ways. The monthly Club Penguin parties for example can be based on what’s buzzing in pop culture and recurring seasonal events like Halloween, but no matter what the inspiration behind them they always have to be new and interactive.
And for those of you whose children are Club Penguin aficionados already you may have heard of the lore or the Rainbow Puffle. Puffles are pets you can acquire with your Club Penguin coins and through tasks and they come in a variety of colours with myriad personalities. Like regular pets they need to be fed, walked and taken care of. Both boys and girls get into Puffle care (my daughter has a whole compliment of Puffles in every colour) and generations of kids have passed down the lore of the existence of the elusive Rainbow Puffle so recently at Club Penguin HQ they created a Rainbow Puffle. They believe that ideas generated by the kids are more exciting than anything they could come up with. Which is why you have to keep your eyes open for the possibility of tipping an iceberg – a reference that may be lost on all but the most ardent of Club Penguin fans.
The only limit to the CP community is imagination and there’s heaps of that to be found at the CP offices. Think artwork sent in by fans, the artwork adorning the walls, the conversational spaces throughout the office which are just perfect for brainstorming (check out the Puffle pod below) and so much more.
I suspect the kids driving what happens behind the scenes – from their focus on safety to rainbow Puffles to the great artwork the kids send in – translating to what happens in the community as your kids play is the huge (not so) secret to Club Penguin’s success. And it’s a lesson all businesses can learn from – after all it’s all well and good to create something you think people want but you have to listen to what they tell you they want. And at Club Penguin they do good listening.
No compensation was received for this post. I was invited to the Club Penguin Headquarters by Disney and provided travel/accommodations. All thoughts/opinions and the like are solely mine.