Aloha! I’m Alex Eckhart and welcome to the visual retrospective of my first year working on the Influitive platform.
For the decade leading up to this new chapter of my career, I was a freelance media professional in the following areas:
I was introduced to Influitive as a part of a Content Strategy consulting engagement with Autodesk Inc.
A few months into the project, it was such a great fit that I was offered the opportunity to come in-house and run their Influitive community program “The Big Room” full-time.
Working in Influitive allowed me to utilize my entire skillset, as well as flex my community building muscle, something inherent to who I am as a person, and was now able to leverage at work.
So let’s see how it went!
For a bit of context, “The Big Room” is a private user community open to 1mil+ monthly users of Autodesk’s Construction Cloud software suite.
“The Big Room” on an actual construction site is a large trailer or office where master plans, schedules, blueprints, and reference materials are stored. It’s the place where every kind of contractor or construction stakeholder meets…just like our Influitive hub.
Are you ready? Let’s peek inside the…
The Big Room is a private user community open to 1mil+ monthly users of Autodesk’s construction technology software suite.
The first thing I did was enthusiastically apply the Autodesk brand kit to all graphic assets, adhered more strictly to the color story, and upleveled existing content series templates.
An early win was improving the production value of all existing content series. Here are two examples:
Autodesk Expert Template Before
Autodesk Expert Template After
Member of the Month Template Before
Member of the Month Template After
I had a number of ideas for the Challenge Digest and it took some experimenting to achieve our desired outcomes.
Previously the weekly digest displayed a standard header and an auto-generated list of recent content.
Basic intro copy had been added a few months prior to my arrival, but we needed to make a SPLASH to move the needle.
2022 Example Weekly Digest
In April of 2023 I took full ownership of the Challenge Digest.
As an experiment, I committed to designing a custom header graphic each week related to the featured content.
I also spent time each week penning an eye-catching subject line with relevant emojis ⚡️🧠⚡️
I added large hyperlinked thumbnails in a strategic order, and a short commentary on what to expect from each featured challenge.
I wanted more clicks. We got more clicks.
As a direct result of these enhanced digests, I noticed many members returning who hadn’t been active for six months or more! It was clear our refreshed mailers were bringing advocates back into the community, and they were taking action!
With more members joining and older members reentering the community, I wanted to assure we had new value to offer.
With our existing content series now looking more on brand, I set off to create new series around Autodeskers and thought leaders that would not only be informative, but support a company-wide effort to lead with brand, giving them “Only in The Big Room” Autodesk access.
Hot Seat continues podcast conversations and cross-promotes Autodesk’s Digital Builder Podcast.
“Autodesk Wants to Know” features informal surveys directly from cross-functional ADSK teams.
I decided to step from behind the curtain and introduce myself, giving members direct access to the brand.
I was particularly proud of a new series I created around an industry expert with deep ties to The Big Room. With “Against the Grain”, we sparked Discussions around the more controversial topics in the industry…and made a pun 🪵.
With the growing popularity of “Autodesk Wants to Know”, I was able to quickly turn around 15+ responses to any Autodesker who submitted a survey question.
A few months later, following another bump in membership, I decided to create more new series and one-off challenges that were less brand/product focused, and more geared towards connecting members.
I featured the human side of being in the construction industry, evoking their imagination to think outside their everyday projects.
I also put an industry spin on the templated holiday activities so common in communities, and created the “Observe and Learn” series to educate our global members the reasons why their international colleagues are OOO on nationally observed holidays:
Doing my part to inform our global members that no, Canada Day is not July 4th celebrated a few days early.
Exploring the fascinating history behind the construction industry’s role in Labor Day.
Making our North American members jealous of official European summer construction breaks.
Following online trends and inspired by the series above, I decided to lean into movement trying, building up to one GIF challenge thumb a week.
Inspired by the Influitive + Khoros “Bounties” feature, I utilized the concept of incentivizing more answers within our own hub to resurface three organic member questions that remained unanswered after a full week.
The thumbnail for a 3-stage “Bounties” Discussion Reply challenge
From 0 replies we went to double-digits on all three topics.
With Memes rising as a worldwide fascination, no industry is without its share of humorous depictions. As a personal superfan of the artform, I decided to double-down on Memes in the community and see if we could do something truly unique.
When I joined the hub, every Meme Challenge thumb looked like this. Memes were simply sourced from Google.
I began personalizing the meme challenge thumbs to foreshadow the humor that awaited.
Next I crowd-sourced memes our members thought were funny and had them vote on the funniest per batch. The Top 2 funniest received bonus points.
Then came the time to take our community Memes to the next level. I launched a meme campaign where over the course of three challenges, the community: made, voted on, and were awarded Funniest Memeber-Made Memes.
For our foray into the “memepool”, I utilized this popular meme as our example template. I had to assume that not all members were familiar with the medium, so there was a brief memeducation.
I set members up with a visual guide, Question Reply Challenge, and gathered over 20 meme content submissions.
I selected and created the Top 12 submissions that were actually funny. Members voted on their two favorites.
The Top 2 winners were announced and I then gathered feedback on which industry topic they’d like to make memes about next.
In case you were curious, this is the meme that received top honors.
It’s funny to them ok? 😆
It wasn’t long after our Diretor of CX sent me an article about “Community-Led Growth” that a member wrote me a direct message asking to collaborate on a series together.
He liked what I’d done with Nathan Wood’s “Against the Grain” and wanted to do something product-focused based on his thoughts.
Ariel would go on to write copy for six challenges covering the most important features of Autodesk Build, and together we launched “INSIGHTS”.
🥷🏼 I already have plans for our next community-led series “BIMja Dojo”, and will be pitching the members it was inspired by, this November.
With so much content being created, as a visual person it was becoming difficult for me to plan strategically without a graphic planning tool.
To scratch this itch, I built out a Figma template to visually display all upcoming and past content releases.
This helps me to:
I also created a template version any Influitive hub manager can use and make their own. Updated link with Elevate styling coming soon.
Having experience in WebDev, I insisted it was of pivotal importance we capitalize on “above the fold” real estate of our hub UI.
G2 Review Initiative
Construction Champions Nominations
Call for Autodesk University Speakers
AU Free Digital Pass Sign Ups
Women in BIM Panel Event Registrations
Early success promoting the Influitive G2 Integration encouraged me to continue utilizing custom headers.
Custom header + hub challenge + digest feature = winning campaign formula we have used a number of times now!
After months of configuration troubleshooting, with the assistance of the stellar Influitive Support Team, I was able to successfully enable Single-Sign On (SSO) as an option in our community hub.
Existing members and Autodesk users could now easily sign in using their product login credentials which made both signup and sign in easier across the board.
Challenge thumb encouraging members to sign in using SSO.
Excited to hear members’ thoughts on the updated Big Room experience, I ran a CSAT challenge.
A few quotes include:
“The Big Room seems to be getting better than it had been previously managed.”
“I think the platform has really stepped up its game since I originally joined.”
😊 Ah shucks y’all…
As a creative, I tend to focus on the qualitative, but at the end of Q2, I was asked to put together a recap of H1 in numbers.
Most notably, I was shocked and pleased to find a staggering increase in active members when comparing H1 2022 to H1 2023.
Not only were there more total members joining the community, but the community as whole was 90% more active compared with those the year prior.
Excerpt from H1 reporting
ADDITIONAL 2023 METRICS
As much as I’d love to believe our members are in it for the learning and connection…the tangible earned incentives are something I love about the program. I still remember when I received my Influitive mug…🥰
Though we have a generous rewards catalog of items, it’s important to me that we keep things fresh! After polling members on the kinds of new rewards they’d like to see, I developed the following Autodesk items ONLY available in The Big Room.
Our first reward developed to replace a tool used by our members at work, this 25ft tape measurer can be brought into the field or kept at home.
With jobsite safety in mind, this reward with bone-conduction tech enables ambient sound to be heard while listening to audio media.
Following Apple’s recent switch to USB-C, I wanted to provide our members with a branded charger that will power both old and new devices.
Hoping to encourage an active lifestyle during non-working hours, I jumped on the Pickleball craze to develop a branded set of racquets.
These items along with all existing rewards will be on display in “themed moments” at our user conference Autodesk University in Q4 of 2023.
I was able to take The Big Room on the road, and along with our booth team, enroll ~200 new members at the world’s largest construction event “ConExpo”.
If you thought what we did with Memes was cool, wait until you see what we’re doing with the popular series “Acronym Challenge”
For our annual user conference, Autodesk University, 10k attendees will join us for three days of education and connection with the brand.
For the Construction Community Booth, I wanted to bring an aspect of The Big Room to life on a “Big” screen. I chose the “Acronym Challenge” series to work with. Members currently complete a poll in the Discussion Reply challenge type:
My initial plan was to simply display our existing Acronym Challenge thumbs in a grid on a large vertical monitor.
But as I researched gameplay, I knew we had to take things to a more interactive level.
By utilizing a trivia game engine, I was able to incorporate more essential tenants of gaming: avatars, lives, levels, and bonuses.
I chose a “Galactic Construction” theme, and the points they earn in-game will be added to their Big Room account.
We’re developing in HTML5, so following the event, I can embed the game in a Custom Content page for all members to play.
In an effort to make Autodesk employees attending the show feel included whether or not they work on construction products, we will have two “levels” categories to choose from.
My secondary intention here to is to create buzz throughout the company around Influitive hubs that could be rolled out for different products suites. I would love to one day help lead a charge of greater Influitive adoption across Autodesk.
Though we don’t have many college students in The Big Room, we do have a few, and when one send me a message asking if an Autodesk Expert might come lead an introductory workshop at his school, I did everything in my power to make it happen.
These are future members of industry, experiencing the power of community.
One of the top highlights of my year was visiting two of our top members at their office while in San Francisco for an Autodesk offsite. We were able to cover so much ground and glean so many insights from even a short visit and informal interview.
I look forward to planning more member visits soon!
Standing with Jean & Ashish in their office’s “Big Room”
Our visit and informal conversation yielded many actionable ideas.
They of course wore their Autodesk socks redeemed through the Influitive hub.
Community Gold right here!
Autodesk has a grand total of 442 Khoros forums and boards across all products. The Autodesk Construction Cloud Forum will be the first and only Influitive integrated Khoros instance.
We plan to set the mark for what’s possible in a fully connected community and loyalty experience.
Soon to be launched ACC Idea Board
The Big Room Influitive hub patiently awaiting integration
Future ACC Khoros board featuring the challenge carousel and Bounties widget
Estimated time of launch: November 2023
Though I’m happy with the increased individual participation of community members, I’d like to continue focusing on the true interconnectedness of members and amount of networking that takes place.
To address this, we will be relaunching a monthly Virtual Construction Meetup series. I have already shared this news with our existing members and polled them about the topics they’d like meetups to be centered around.
Estimated time of launch: January 2024
Having taken the base Influitive feature-set to full throttle, I recently received approval to integrate Candu. I plan to implement a fully-customizable header, multiple sidebar widgets, pop-ups, and custom content pages galore.
Estimated time of launch: ASAP. Currently awaiting CANDU Script Installation
It’s with great excitement that I work with Brent Knibbe, my stellar Influitive rep, to ready our hub for Elevate. I’ve been looking forward to the faster load, clean UI, and immersive challenges since attending Influitive LIVE in January 23′.
Estimated time of launch: December 2023
Thank you for taking the time to read through my journey working in Influitive and running Autodesk’s “Big Room” community.