Despite the growing uncertainty across the political climate and continued terror attacks around the globe, corporates are still eager to travel far and wide and harness the power of incentives to motivate their workforce.
“In this competitive climate, employees are looking for more than salary and a pat on the back when a job is well done,” says Livia Carrier, general manager, cievents Hong Kong. “They are looking for true rewards, motivation and experience – all things that a great incentive can deliver.”
While driving sales and improving staff retention are the outcomes that have traditionally been sought from incentive programmes, clients are now seeing the value in using reward and recognition trips to promote their brand story to their employees.
This is evident in the growing number of incentives that have been made available to non-sales staff, instead using them to reward those who best embody a company’s values over the course of the year. Callcredit Information Group opened up its annual ‘100 Plus Club’ staff incentive trip to non-sales people for the first time in 2016. The incentive had been for top sales staff, but Callcredit started a ‘wildcard’ campaign, to also include seven people from other areas of the company nominated by staff for their contribution to the team. “It was a huge success and a great way to engage the whole company,” reveals Callcredit events executive Charlie Burrow.
Incentives are proving to be just as valuable in telling a brand story as other forms of B2B marketing, such as conferences and company roadshows. Matthew Smith, director - performance improvement, MCI Group Asia Pacific, explains: “An incentive is part of their marketing tool kit and the messaging, branding and tone of the programme needs to tie back to the overall company philosophy, reflecting the values and direction the company wants to take.”
Smith says company culture is usually a focus of clients’ incentive programmes when they have been through a major directional change and a new team attitude needs to be reinforced.
“We had a project where two large corporate companies merged and our programme was designed to ensure four new key company pillars were communicated and lived by all the staff no matter what role they were in. Management did a great job creating the culture and we provided the programme structure and mechanics for a peer recognition style itinerary to be implemented.”
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives can also be an efficient way to tell brand stories in an inspiring way. Earlier this year, cievents managed a sales incentive trip for 80 top achievers, with a 12-month qualifying period leading up to a once-in-a-lifetime sailing cruise of Thailand and Penang. The agency implemented a CSR strategy to promote a ‘company that cares’ ethos.
Carrier says this made delegates feel like they were part of the company’s brand story. “We organised for a local Thai-based charity to be the chosen group charity for the incentive. A generous donation and the purchase of delegate bags used on the trip (which were made in the group’s sewing rooms, giving work and jobs to the local community) meant these employees not only experienced an amazing and rewarding incentive trip, but also contributed to a worthy cause.”