Editor's Desk - March/April 2013

Be an Advocate

About the only thing that everyone can agree on is that everyone is different. People have differing political views, wildly divergent opinions on what our economy most needs, myriad views on best business practices, a wide range of aesthetic tastes and so on and on. And, most of the time, most of us can agree to disagree, or we can even work to find compromise or to discover the areas where our views coincide.

But what happens when someone holds an opinion that is woefully misinformed? Sometimes, you just shrug and walk away. Other times, we recognize a need for advocacy, and we put on our teaching hats to educate people and help them gain awareness.

I'm thinking here about the critical importance of engagement—and all the programs, such as recognition, incentives, motivation and so on, that go along with it. Most of you reading these pages have likely seen the studies that show the dire effects of a lack of engagement—and even active disengagement. But just because you are in the know, that doesn't mean everyone is in the know.

This month, we've got a ton of stories that aim to help you become an advocate for what you do. First off, there are the internal discussions—with leadership, with your audience, with your peers.

You know that providing merchandise incentives and rewards is highly motivating. And you know that engagement initiatives help improve business. But is that message getting across to the people with their nose to the grindstone? What about the leaders who are steering the ship?

The more people in your organization who believe in this business of motivating from top to bottom and bottom to top, the more likely your initiatives will deliver the results you're looking for.

To help you make your case, we've got stories on everything from gaining leadership buy-in (page 30) to how to determine the right amount of choice and communicate the options to your audience (page 26). At the same time, we've got the connections to those with the smarts to help you make your case—and build an effective program—with our IMRA Directory, which you'll find inside. We also spoke with IMRA leaders about some of the top trends in merchandise incentives, which you can read more about on page 14.

Advocacy doesn't stop at the walls of your organization, though. The incentive and rewards business has been on the receiving end of negative press in recent years when various programs went wrong—and did so in a very public display of bad business. Unfortunately, this creates a negative first impression for many who never really understood what this business of motivating and rewarding is all about.

These folks—whether they're your neighbor or your congressman—could use a little education, too. That's where the Right to Recognize initiative, launched by the Incentive Federation, comes in. This is a grassroots initiative that aims to build awareness about the effectiveness of what you do. We've got a brief story providing an overview of the initiative on page 42.

Make it your business to shine a little light on this industry—and help build awareness of the power and effectiveness of engaging, recognizing and rewarding your employees, channel partners, sales people and customers. If you value these things, spread the word!

Be well,

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,