Feature Article - March/April 2019

Power Up Your Program

Make Your Incentive Program More Memorable

By Rick Dandes

Hinda initiated a 2018 study based on the different types of packaging that people receive, and the result was informative. "You can make a reward special just by sending it out, we found, in a white box with a thank you tape on it," said Neeley. "That gets to be a hugely memorable award and the recipient starts looking at your company differently because you sent the gift to them in that way.

"We found that if you sent the reward in a regular brown box with regular tape that makes it look like anything else, people really couldn't tell the difference from something they might have ordered from Amazon," he added. "So it doesn't seem to have as high a value on it, but packaging it in a white box, it becomes not just an award, but a gift. A big difference in their perception simply based on the outside packaging. And we're not talking about a huge expense either."

Delivering an award in a special box or packaging that includes a thank you card from an executive makes the experience memorable. A follow-up call from customer service to verify delivery and their satisfaction with their award helps remind the customer why they like doing business with a company that cares while promoting their continued support.

It always comes back to the issue of what people expect, explained Ryan—programs should respond to or appeal to the way people go about their work. They need to be available 24/7. They need to be available on whatever device a person is using. It is not uncommon in some organizations for people to be using multiple devices.

"Many organizations," Ryan said, "practice a bring-your-own-device-to-work philosophy, where one person can be using an Apple, another person has a Samsung, so it is important that the program be not only available to an individual participant, but it renders and appears the way it is supposed to render and appear effectively, no matter what device you are using."

"It is important that the program is built in what we call responsive design—how a program can stand out increasingly to a participant," Ryan explained.

"Sales people are getting younger and younger," he said, "and when you look at what appeals to younger workers, they want to be involved in companies that have 'cool technology.' It is important that your sales and incentive program reflects this. That it looks cool, it acts cool, it personalizes all the goals and objectives that the company is setting. And it is very accessible to people 24/7. Gen Z is used to being hard-working, focused and they want cool technology. They are used to it. They grew up that way and when it is not that way it raises an eyebrow."