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