inspiration for continued inspirationEarlier this week, I realized that I had a blog post due. But I also recognized that I had hit a wall. I had nothing remotely interesting to say – or at least I didn’t think I did.  I needed inspiration, preferably from sources other than those I typically use. While those had been useful, I felt that I had relied on them too much, with the effect that my messages had gotten predictable.

Knowing that I couldn’t just blow off my assignment, I employed a tactic that has now become commonplace for most of us – I Googled “inspiration for writers.” I found a wealth of links, the most interesting of which was 31 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Writing . As you will see, it includes an excellent list of sources, many of which we encounter every day.

And while this article didn’t necessarily address my immediate problem, it did give me an idea. Here at QIC, we operate a wide range of programs for a large number of clients. They include customer and channel incentives as well as employee recognition and safety programs – all related, but all somewhat different as well.

However, one of the concerns common to the varied sponsors of these programs is how to keep them fresh and engaging for participants. When programs become stale and/or tired, they quickly lose their impact and the financial and emotional investments required to launch them are lost. So, just like good writers (or me), incentive and recognition programs require continued inspiration.

Hence, I offer here for your consideration a partial list of some the resources you might consider to keep your programs top-of-mind for your participants.

  • Other programs, especially those in different industries or with different objectives – For example, say you are running a B2B channel program with a heavy emphasis on activity collection. You might look at the B2C programs in which you participate to see if there are graphical and/or communication features that could make your program seem less utilitarian.
  • Your own business objectives – Priorities within companies change, yet many times the incentive programs born in another time don’t. Ask critical questions about whether the behaviors that you are incentivizing or recognizing still matter.
  • Your company’s publications – Make sure that you are regularly and comprehensively reading your company’s newsletters, blogs, annual reports, etc. You might be surprised to find that your recognition and/or incentive program is missing a key tie-in that could make it stronger and more relevant for participants.
  • Surveys – I receive a lot of survey requests, many from the loyalty and incentive programs in which I participate. Typically, the questions that they ask provide good ideas about possible program feature enhancements.
  • Your online browsing habits – What web sites do you visit regularly and why? Clearly, much of that has to do with your personal interests, but there may be other secondary (or subtle) things that attract you as well, such as the “voice” of the writing, the graphics, whether they have a “fun” factor, etc.

I could go on, but I’m sure that you get the idea. If your program has been running for a while and seems to be losing traction, there are number of resources that you can access for inspiration and stimulation. Please don’t hesitate to call on us to help you do just that.

At Quality Incentive Company, Rob is responsible for leading the company’s business development efforts in both the employee recognition and sales/channel arenas. He has more than 10 years of experience in the recognition and incentive industry, having served as president and CEO of Atlanta-based Loyaltyworks before joining QIC in 2011.

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