Why should you pay attention to Design? After all, hasn’t design already happened before my program participants begin their reward experience? Yes it has, and to the extent you can be there in those conversations, you’ll create better reward experiences and better results for your clients.

First of all, think of design as an ongoing process. Incentive program design actually begins before your participants have received their boarding passes. It makes sense for you to be helping your client think about the “incentive” part of their incentive travel experiences.

Here are the top 10 reasons why Incentive Design can help to improve a clients’ incentive and recognition programs:

  1. Design begins with people. User-centered design puts people first and looks at the entire program through the eyes of the participants. Design thinking is a new lens that looks at “participants” as people.
  2. Design creates better experiences. Because you are looking at the program and the rewards experience through another person’s eyes, you are able to spot insights into the experience you might have otherwise missed, and to create a better end-to-end experience for them.
  3. Incentive Design creates better outcomes for everyone. If your client is only rewarding the top 10%, they will quickly figure out the same people win every year, and the rest of the population realizes they don’t have a chance and are not engaged. Incentive Design is a way to get more people in the game.
  4. Incentive Design identifies the drivers of performance. Rather than just focusing on outcomes, incentive design focuses on the behaviors of the best few and helps reinforce those behaviors to the rest of the population.
  5. Incentive Design applies data and insights to measure performance. Having the right data and asking the right questions can help a client better understand their audience and the impact on their performance of a performance program.
  6. Incentive Design can help improve ROI. Once you’ve asked for data and understand the segments within the population, it’s easier to design a program that will motivate different audiences with different messages, structures and rewards. “One size fits all” usually only fits a part of the audience.
  7. Incentive Design can create a self-funding program. Once you’ve demonstrated the value of the program and can point to incremental growth generated by the program, the feared “we need to cut the budget” conversation should never happen again.
  8. Incentive Design can lead to deeper connections with selling and service partners. Once you’ve created a memorable reward experience and know some of the behaviors that can help sustain winning performance, you have the key tools to build deeper levels of connection to your client’s brand. And that connection, not just the “do this, get that” incentive, is what will keep them coming back…and keep unique reward experiences in the conversation.
  9. Incentive Design can elevate your relationships with your client. Design helps you have a strategic conversation with a client. It’s not just “where do you want to go next year?” but “what can I do to help you solve your business challenges?” Design conversations help you rise from a partner to a trusted advisor.
  10. Incentive Design opens doors to new opportunities. Incentive Design begins with an Assessment, which usually identifies “what’s missing” and gives you first shot at upgrading the program with services that create more memorable experiences, and reinforce your client relationships.

Remember, you are a designer of experiences! These experiences don’t begin when someone gets their winner letter. There is a whole journey that precedes this moment. The more you know about that journey, the more personalized and memorable you can make the reward experience.

Are you ready to have a conversation on better incentive design principles with your clients? Contact your sales leader and let’s talk about how we get started!