Departments - November/December 2012

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Celebrating the Circle of Excellence
Clothing Retailer, Auto Dealer Among Award Recipients

By Deborah L. Vence

The success of four companies' loyalty and incentive campaigns earned them the Incentive Marketing Association's Circle of Excellence Award, which was presented at the annual Motivation Show in October in Chicago.

The prestigious award was given to the following companies and their incentive marketing partners: Aéropostale, New York (Cashstar); Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Pty Ltd. (Synchro Marketing Australia); Assurant Specialty Property, Atlanta (Anderson Performance Improvement); and Huntington National Bank, Columbus, Ohio (Dittman Incentive Marketing).

"IMA created the Circle of Excellence Award program to recognize outstanding examples of incentive programs that are successfully implemented to reach and surpass stated business objectives. Ultimately, the goal of the COE program is to illustrate that incentive programs help to drive business," said Karen Renk, CAE, executive director of the IMA, an organization that provides education, resources and research to promote the use of incentive programs to the business community.

Submissions are judged based on creativity, appropriate award selection, communication strategy effectiveness as well as measureable results.

"This year's COE award winning programs clearly demonstrate that an organization can use an incentive program to address business challenges and attain pre-determined goals, including increased sales, increased market share, and increased customer and employee engagement," Renk said.

The Circle of Excellence Awards identifies and recognizes outstanding examples of successful customer and employee incentive programs designed to help drive business. Both the company and the incentive marketing partner are recognized.

To go into more detail about this year's four winning programs and their results, here is a brief synopsis on each:

  • For young adult casual clothing retailer Aéropostale, the company wanted to drive increased online sales, lock in future sales and drive pre-holiday purchases. So, together with Cashstar, a digital gifting and incentives company, they designed and executed a promotion which offered customers, for every $100 purchase, a free $25 e-gift card, that was redeemable online or at the brick-and-mortar stores. The two-day flash promotion was featured on the Aé homepage, and was communicated through a targeted e-mail campaign as well as the brand's social media channels.

    The program originally was launched during the 2011 holiday season, and was repeated three more times, generating increases in online and in-store sales. The program resulted in online sales increasing immediately, an uplift in subsequent sales tracked to the Free eGift Card promotion and an increase in pre-holiday sales.