Editor's Desk - July/August 2011

Do New Things, But Keep the Old

There's nothing new under the sun, right? Despite advances—in technology, in business practices, and so on—every step forward is generally built on all of the steps that came before it.

And this is just as true of the business of incentives and rewards as it is of anything else.

Some practices are longstanding, and continue because they have been proven effective over time. There's a reason so many sales teams are rewarded when they reach specific goals. There's justification for business gifts. There's an explanation behind the most popular incentive items—especially those, like watches, that maintain their popularity over time.

At the same time, all of these practices shift and evolve, as well. New technology comes into play that provides a new way of doing things. Younger workers with different motivations enter the workforce, and companies need new strategies for engaging them. Old practices give way to new adaptations.

This issue is chock full of ideas that will help you continue with the tried-and-true while experimenting with the new:

  • You can learn more about the age-old practice of giving business gifts on page 18, and at the same time, you can find out about new trends toward more strategic gifting.
  • Find out more about one of the most enduring incentive merchandise items you can add to your program—watches—on page 28. And at the same time, you can learn about new trends toward offering greater accuracy than ever, as well as cycling trends that are bringing gold and two-tone watches back into focus.
  • Brands continue to be as important as ever, and putting the right face on your company is as critical to business success as it always has been, as you'll discover if you turn to page 38. But at the same time, there is a growing recognition that the face you show the outside world is under a spotlight that reveals any blemishes brought about on the inside. In other words, your brand reflects internal practices, and as such, you need to be sure those practices are aligned with your vision of what you want you company to be.
  • Read our feature on trends in sales incentives on page 44, and you'll discover that the practice of rewarding top sales performers—especially with travel and merchandise—is still going strong. But at the same time, you can learn about new practices—the addition of mobile applications to the process, as well as rewards that expand beyond the sales team to recognize the efforts of other employees who are driving growth.
  • And as always, we feature merchandise items that have been evolving themselves over time—from new tablet PCs that make the computers of the 1990s look like dinosaurs to crystal, housewares, fitness items and much more—all of which take changing customer demands and desires into account.

All in all, you've got to be ready to speed forward, taking advantage of the latest and greatest products, services, business practices and more. Otherwise, your organization will be stuck in park while the competition rolls to an easy win.

But at the same time, it's important to acknowledge the foundation all of the new trends are built upon. Otherwise, you'll quickly skid to a halt as you realize you've got no traction.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,


Ms. Jessica O'Mara from Menard Inc. won a Maui Jim Gift Card!