keeping incentive and recognition in line with your image and ethos
On and off-brand aren't new phrases, but they've definitely become buzzwords over the past few years – mostly because social media lets everyone cultivate their own personal brand. Having a brand isn't just for celebrities and companies anymore, and staying on brand is important – but it's much more important for businesses than it is for your average Instagram user!
Why? Well, because when companies go off-brand, it can be confusing for customers, clients and staff alike, to the point that it's off-putting. It looks undisciplined at best and hypocritical at worst. You're saying one thing and doing another, which isn't a good look for anyone.
Staying on-brand really just means making sure everything you do stays true to your company culture – the mission, vision and values that guide who you are, what you do, and how you interact with the world. It should extend to just about every corner of an organisation – going off-brand in the wrong area could see the whole culture start to unravel.
Incentives, recognition and rewards are key parts of any company culture, so staying on-brand here is really important – even if it's not visible to the outside world. Keeping things on-brand is important for your employees, too – they need to know that you're living up to your promises, and the image you project publicly, internally.
Here's our tips for making sure every element of your incentive and recognition strategy stays on-brand…
1. Internal culture, external image
Many companies across the world express one image to their customers, while having a very different culture internally. At its most extreme, it means preaching ethics while using unethical manufacturing practices, or benefiting from promoting equality while turning a blind eye to harassment and hostility within the workplace.
Similar, but less dramatic, faux pas include advertising campaigns that emphasise the importance of spending time with family, while insisting on overtime and holiday working internally.
When it comes to incentives and recognition, we're sure there won't be clashes this extreme, but it's still important to be aware of it. Companies that promote health and wellbeing publicly should use rewards that promote it for their employees too. If environmentalism is a core part of your brand, make sure your incentive or recognition schemes don't involve a whole lot of physical paperwork, or offer rewards that always require employees to hop in their cars.
It sounds obvious, but you might be surprised how many brands simply don't think about it!
2. make sure everything matches your values
It's imperative to keep thinking back to your company values – your mission, your vision, your ethos. Incentives and rewards should be tied into these values at every step of the way.
For example, people should be recognised or rewarded for meeting goals in line with a certain value. Take our values, for instance. They include "Putting People First", so people could be rewarded for selfless acts around the office, supporting newcomers, or going the extra mile with corporate and social responsibility activities.
"Collaboration" is also one of our values – so people could be rewarded for smashing team targets, or finding a creative solution to a problem by working with other departments in new and exciting ways.
Then we've got "Experiences Over Products" – the perfect value to reward amazing customer service from those people who make sure our clients have a great experience with us.
The same is true for incentives. Every business has a public goal or message and it's rare that anyone will still say it's purely to make a profit for the people at the top.
Great businesses today talk about the ways they improve the world – but if you're doing that while all of your incentives are about maximising sales at just about any cost, it's going to jar with employees.
3. Stay on-brand with (drumroll…) branded rewards
When it comes to the actual, physical reward that gets handed over, it becomes a bit easier to actually give people something completely on-brand. It can sometimes be as simple as giving someone a gift card printed up with the company logo to be used at a nearby bar or restaurant – the perfect on-brand gift for an organisation with a great social scene. What could be better than a night out approved and paid for by the boss?
Branded company merchandise, from pens to mugs to shirts, may feel like a bit of a cop-out at times, but they have their place too and can be a great affordable option for smaller rewards. For a slightly fresher approach, think outside the traditional box – travel mugs, power banks, phone cases, Bluetooth speakers… stuff that people want, will use every day, and will forever be tied to your brand.
But if you want to go big, then travel rewards can be a fantastic way to stay on-brand. Your team's done a fantastic job selling a new bit of tech? Send them on a trip to Japan to see where it's made!
Rewarding your best-performing team? Book them a paintball trip so they can let out all those built-up project frustrations!
There are endless possibilities for amazing, on-brand awards like this. It's just a case of finding that perfect idea.
4. don't forget your demographics
One last point, of course – the actual demographics of your organisation are a really important consideration to make to keep incentives and rewards on-brand and in-line with who you are as a business.
It's important not to stereotype, but keep in mind the differences in opinion of what makes a great night out, weekend activity, or trip away for people of different ages or backgrounds. There's nothing worse than a reward that excludes people. Full stop.
Need some ideas on how to find the perfect on-brand rewards? Get in touch with us today – we specialise in getting to know exactly what makes a company tick, and finding the perfect match in the world of incentive and recognition, designed just for you.