Spending a million dollars on a sales incentive program? I bet you know the ROI. But do you know how much you should be investing to brand and communicate the program? Half to one percent of the total budget is a small price to pay to get the most out of your team.
For a travel program, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and romance of the exotic destination. But a strategic communications plan can multiply the effectiveness by increasing the number of active participants, and encouraging them to push the limits of the program.
Create an Identity
A strong theme or visual branding will get the program off to a running start – Chairman’s Circle or Top Performers creates a sense of belonging to an exclusive club, reserved only for the best of the best. Travel programs can easily play off the destination, such as RockStars for Las Vegas, or The Magic of Monaco for the French Riviera. Or a values-related theme can emphasize the core of the corporate brand, such as Five Star Service for a retailer.
Communications for a channel rewards program can also be a recruitment tool for new sales agents or customers. In these cases, use a theme that highlights the value of the channel – Agents of Excellence or Distributors of Distinction.
Multimedia, Multiple Touch-points
Consistent messaging throughout the program will give participants a nudge to reengage. Choose a strong visual motif, and pull that imagery through all of the touch-points.
- Launch. Send a direct mailer to announce the destination, followed by a video highlighting the resort and activities.
- Ongoing. Host a promo website, with all the details of the program. Send regular ecard updates with bold images evoking the trip, and showcasing activities, to keep the program top-of-mind.
- Last-chance. A dimensional mailer, containing a locally-sourced item – Kona coffee for a Hawaii program, biscotti for Italy – sent to the home address, to make sure the spouse is giving some last-minute encouragement to reach the goal.
- Registration. A fully branded website to collect the winners’ travel preferences and details.
- Pre-trip. Vivid, branded packages with travel details, logo’d luggage tags, and other trip materials.
- Welcome. On arrival, present the winners with branded name badges, program of events and guest lists.
Here’s an example to excite the team for a RockStars program to the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana:
Look for unusual opportunities to imprint your brand on the program. For a beach location, build branded sand sculptures or give participants flipflops with the company logo. In Napa, design a custom label for the wines poured at dinner. An evening event at AT&T Park might end with a gift of company-branded baseballs to take home.
Leave Them Wanting More
Don’t forget the post-event communications. Remind the winners of the fun they had, and show everyone what they could experience next year…if they can just achieve a little more.
It could be a video at the next sales meeting, a photo album sent to the participants, or one final ecard showing the final night gala event. Whichever you choose, make sure the sense of excitement and exclusivity is felt by everyone eligible to win next year.