Feature Article - November/December 2016

Building Up

Changes Strengthen IMA Brand & Operations

By Deborah L. Vence


Circle of Excellence

The IMA Circle of Excellence Awards, launched in 2000, identify and recognize outstanding examples of successful customer and employee incentive programs designed to help improve business. Both the company and the incentive marketing partner are recognized.

Five IMA member companies and their incentive partners took home awards this year for outstanding successful customer and employee incentive programs designed to help drive business. The Circle of Excellence Awards were presented at the IMA's Annual Summit in July in Houston.

"If you look at the results of this year's winning programs, it's not just the right incentive it's the entire program that contributed to their success. This includes engaging company leaders, developing strategies targeted to the demographics of the employees or sales force and creating a program that offers rewards that are meaningful to the employees and customers," said Joe Zanone, the 2016 Circle of Excellence Awards chair and president of Zanone Sales, Movado Group/Zanone Sales.

"The IMA Circle of Excellence Awards program is one of the strongest ways the IMA conveys the value and importance of well-designed incentive programs."

— Joe Zanone,
2016 Circle of Excellence
Awards chair

"The IMA Circle of Excellence Awards program is one of the strongest ways the IMA conveys the value and importance of well-designed incentive programs," he said. "The competition allows members to be recognized by their peers for use of best practices and developing outstanding programs that help customers achieve measurable results. It also creates awareness with businesses that IMA members are the best resources to help them succeed."

This year, several changes were incorporated to enhance the value of the program to participants and members.

"We revamped the awards ceremony and introduced a new award statue, designed and contributed by Crystal D. The elegant new statue reflects the growing importance of the expertise and experience IMA members provide to customers," Zanone said. "For next year we are looking at ways to increase the shared learning with new forums for winners to share their best practices with members and consumers."

The 2016 IMA Circle of Excellence Award Winners are: Power2Motivate, Fusion Marketing, Corporate Rewards, Ciloyalty and Solterbeck.

Power2Motivate with Brother International Australia

Consumer Offer/Branding Program/Customer Loyalty Power2Motivate was asked to provide an "out of this world" idea for Brother International Australia's key back-to-school high sales period.

The Brother $100K Prize Giveaway! Program exceeded all goals for sales, participation, engagement and usage. The program, which increased sales by 28 percent over the previous year, was targeted to printer and hardware resellers across Australia. Travel incentives were selected for the top prizes because of the demographics and location of the business owners, who may not vacation often. For each minimum monthly purchase of Brother hardware, resellers earned points toward a travel grand prize. Additional points and instant wins also were earned through a "Spin to Win" game of chance where resellers earned instant points toward a wide range of rewards.

Fusion Marketing with Sprint

Dealer Distributor Incentive Participation in the "Sprint Rewards Me" dealer channel incentive program had dwindled to 30 percent since the program's inception in 2008. In 2014, Fusion Marketing was asked to refresh and rebrand the program, which was relaunched in early 2015. Designed to appeal to Sprint's primarily millennial dealer demographic, the program was intended to make them feel personally rewarded and featured significant promotions throughout the year. Sales reps were able to redeem points for cash, via a re-loadable Visa debit card, and merchandise via third-party integration with a rewards partner. Participation in the revitalized program grew to 78 percent with active, enrolled reps outselling non-enrolled reps three to one. Replacing the outdated technology with new, more sophisticated technology, created many efficiencies, which enhanced the overall success of the program.

Corporate Rewards with Wincanton–Recognition Program

After introducing a new company vision, mission and core values, Wincanton brought in Corporate Rewards to develop and launch a program to engage employees in the new company culture. Historically, recognition had been inconsistent and employee surveys highlighted the need for change. Corporate Rewards engaged company leaders in defining program goals and involved them in training and communication throughout the development and launch of the online employee engagement system called "Your Recognition".

The new program enabled every employee to send an e-card to an employee who demonstrated one of the company values. A sporting theme incorporated images of sports medals to convey achievements and performance. Senders awarded points to the recipient by selecting a bronze, silver or gold level reward. The successful program exceeded all goals including more than 25 percent more thank you's sent.

Solterbeck/Sensis–Sales Incentive Program and Employee Incentive Program (2 awards)

Sensis brought in Solterbeck to help boost employee engagement and drive revenue growth across multiple product lines after the company was acquired by a private equity firm.

The existing incentive program, which offered 40 rewards, was often maxed out well before year end, thereby not offering the same chance of reward to all sales staff. Sensis was seeking a fresh approach that focused on performance throughout the year. Solterbeck created "Performance First". Eligible sales team members participate in six different "Sales Sprints", receive recognition and have their sales commissions calculated for each Sprint. The program offered large travel, medium and small rewards. The sophisticated program relied on three, fully-integrated software solutions that allowed Sensis to provide a single source for all sales and reward activity information in one place. Sensis significantly increased revenue and program participation while greatly reducing costs, and they received many supportive and appreciative comments from sales team members.

Ciloyalty with Bupa Australia – Recognition Program

Bupa, a large health insurance and care-home provider with more than 80,000 employees, asked Ciloyalty to help restructure and rebrand its aging "Bupa Sales Academy". Staff surveys and focus groups had identified that personal recognition was more valued than prizes. The new "Bupa Boost" program focused on creating a culture of recognition and providing a morale boost to Bupa's employees who work hard to look after the health of others. While the Academy focused on revenue goals, the Boost program put customers first by encouraging better outcomes for clients through smart business practices and strong customer service.

Depending on their roles, employees are rewarded monthly, quarterly and yearly. The Boost Reward Team also runs discretionary programs that complement the monthly and quarterly incentives, creating competitions that fill the gaps identified in the business' capability or performance. Participation in Bupa Boost far surpassed the Academy with more than double the number of participants.