THE SOURCE for brand name merchandise incentives.

IMRA Quarterly Newsletter
3Q 2016

IMRA reps are your first stop for corporate merchandise needs

Part 3 of 4:
Brand Names Bring Better Results

By Incentive's Custom Media Team

This four-part series continues with a look at how brand name merchandise proves to be a better motivator. Subsequent topics will address different aspects of the incentive buying process, all with the goal of helping you succeed.

Incentive rewards are on the rise.  The Incentive Marketplace Estimate Research Study, conducted by St. Louis-based Intellective Group for the Incentive Federation Incorporated and published in July, found that 84% of U.S. businesses used non-cash rewards to recognize and reward key audiences in 2015—up 74% from 2013. Those same businesses spent $90 billion on these types of incentives, a significant increase from $77 billion in 2013.

But no matter how great a company’s use of incentives and no matter the dollar amount spent on them, incentives simply aren’t effective if they are not the right rewards.


Why brands? Why now?

Incentivizing employees, customers and partners with brand name merchandise has long been an effective and valuable method to motivate, reward and recognize these stakeholders for their contributions.

According to Ron Eliakim, vice president of strategic sales and partnerships at Montreal-based Rideau Recognition Solutions, brands are important because people are already familiar with them and so, a certain level of trust is already established when people see a recognizable household name or logo. “Brands are important because people want quality and in today’s world, I don’t think brands have ever been so prevalent because of the Internet and social media where comparative shopping is right at your fingertips,” he says.


Recognition is everything

Brand recognition also plays a role in the overall recognition experience and as Eliakim points out, that’s across all demographics. “If you don’t give a brand name incentive to someone who makes minimum wage, they’ll notice and if it’s a multi-millionaire and it’s not a brand, they’ll notice too,” he explains. “Everyone will respond well to a well-known, trusted brand because they know that it’s quality and they know they can call customer service.”

However, Eliakim also notes that brand name merchandise need not be top of the line in order to achieve the desired effects. Every industry offers a range of products at different price points so that companies that opt to purchase brand name merchandise as incentive giveaways don’t have to worry about breaking the budget.

“Mid-range brands can be very powerful, even though there are also outstanding brands that are much more expensive,” Eliakim says. “But all brand names hold the same quality and trust perceptions and that’s why they deliver more retail and brand equity, which go a long way into delivering a rich emotional experience for the recipient.”


Call to action

The Incentive Manufacturers and Representative Alliance (IMRA) comprises suppliers and independent manufacturer's sales representatives providing brand name merchandise to incentive program providers. To learn more about how best to utilize merchandise, contact industry representatives and suppliers by visiting

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Visit the Incentive/IMRA minisite for helpful information on different facets of the Incentive industry. It features the link to Newsletters 1Q and 2Q

Follow this link to access this valuable resource...

Learn more about these IMRA member brands
(just hover your cursor over the merchandise below)




Whether raising your game to SLR level the EOS 80D is your answer. Featuring a 45-point all cross-type AF system, 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF. With advanced operation are built-in wireless connectivity and Full HD 60p movies the EOS 80D is a dynamic SLR.

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PELUCIDA (Latin: Having the Property of Extraordinary Clarity)

With over 20 years of designing and producing both custom and classic Awards of Recognition that are uniquely geared to the individual recipient, we provide the industry a fresh and updated look of glass.

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The SEIKO Corporate Gift and Incentive program
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Brands Stand Out

For businesses offering employee incentive or recognition programs, branded merchandise clearly has a greater return on investment than do cash rewards.

“The power of brands as incentive merchandise is very strong,” says Ted Moravec, president of IMRA. “Part of the strength of the merchandise is that it’s memorable. If an employee receives a 55-inch TV as a reward for something they’ve done like winning a sales contest, he or she is likely to tell houseguests how they won it in a quarterly sales contest at work and that’s very powerful.”

It’s also important to know that offering branded merchandise as part of an incentive program doesn’t mean breaking the bank. Keep in mind that many suppliers of branded merchandise for employee reward and recognition programs are selling the goods at below retail or wholesale pricing.
Moravec attests that “there’s branded merchandise at any price tier, from $20 to $20,000 and a $25 Hamilton Beach blender is probably going to be perceived as more valuable than a generic blender that costs roughly the same.” 


Why Use Brands?

Learn How to Put the Power of Brand Name Merchandise Behind You... here for the full story...




A majority of merchandise-purchasing small businesses use merchandise of interest to reward their salespeople: 87% of these companies reward their salespeople with merchandise awards/gifts and/or logo’d brand name merchandise and/or premium symbolic awards/gifts.

Merchandise awards/gifts are most prevalent. 

(IMRA Small Business Merchandise Market Study)



A majority of merchandise-purchasing small businesses use merchandise of interest to reward their distributors: 83% of these companies reward their distributors with merchandise awards/gifts and/or logo’d brand name merchandise and/or premium symbolic awards/gifts.

Merchandise awards/gifts are most prevalent. 


(IMRA Small Business Merchandise Market Study)



Buyers prefer merchandise items that are practical, high quality, have a “wow” factor, and name brand. 


(IMRA Small Business Merchandise Market Study)


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"There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise."
—Mary Kay Ash,
founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics