According to the Incentive Research Foundation, 27% of companies this year have shifted their travel incentive budget to branded merchandise and gift cards. The other 73% have canceled it altogether. We helped a technology company fit into the 27% of that statistic and keep their incentive program alive and exciting for their team. The challenge for us was: how were we going to replace an extravagant trip to Italy with a virtual reward experience?
Our team came up with the idea to experience high-adventure items for their President’s Award. Our goal was to spark a new hobby, reignite an old passion, but most importantly, provide an unforgettable experience. The experiences ranged from exploring health & wellness with a new Peloton bike to embarking on an outdoor adventure with all new North Face camping gear. One of our favorites was Experience Flavor, which focused on the art of cooking. While the recipient waited for the main experience to arrive, they received branded boxes filled with goodies such as a branded apron, a meat thermometer, and grill mitts. All participants got together, virtually, for a hands-on cooking class guided by a top chef. The final piece of the Experience Flavor reward package was a choice of a Big Green Egg grill or 10-piece set of Le Creuset cookware.
Another reward option was Experience Rock n Roll – we hoped to get people to try something new and get out of their comfort zone. They were able to choose from a Fender Electric Guitar, an acoustic guitar, and the Billie Eilish ukulele. While they waited for their big prize to arrive in the mail, they received a teaser box to get them ready to roll. It included branded guitar picks, branded guitar straps, and a six-month Fender Play subscription for guitar lessons. Members from all over the world got together to attend a virtual event with a leading product developer for Fender Guitars. In the end, they all got together for a virtual jam session, and it rocked!
The grand finale for these experiences was the virtual award ceremony, yet another opportunity to continue to show appreciation for the tech company’s top talent, even amidst the challenges of a global pandemic. The final gift was the ultimate party in a box, including wine glasses, snacks, and a customized crystal award with the recipient’s name. The greatest takeaway from all these virtual experiences was that winners from around the world got together to show their gifts on camera, introduce their family members, share their overall experience, and still create that exact lasting memory that the travel incentive normally delivered — but this time through the various possibilities that branded merchandise offers.
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