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Billys Blog

Inspiration comes from everywhere--even a 23-year-old commercial

May 2nd 2012

Posted by Dave Claunch

We are in the business of helping clients build their brand, through a variety of promotional vehicles. One popular method is the use of incentive programs. So when we decided to upgrade our brand to Activate!, I thought we should practice what we preach. Our goal was to share the news of our brand upgrade to our customers in a personalized manner--not just through a mass email.

When discussing ideas of how to personalize our message, an old United Airlines commercial came to mind. For those of you over 40, you may remember the United commercial about a company being fired by their largest customer for lack of personal attention. At the time (1989), the CEO told his sales staff that they relied too heavily on faxing everything, and had lost that personal relationship with their clients. He gave them all airline tickets and instructed them to go out and visit each of their clients in person. The concept was so simplistic and poignant that we adopted the spirit of that idea and started "Operation United".

To share the news of our brand upgrade, we challenged our sales team to visit as many of their customers as possible. We incentivized the initiative, too: Whichever sales rep had the most visits won a $2500 travel voucher to be used anytime, anywhere. To document each meeting, the rep would take a photo with their customer holding our new Activate! logo. Since each rep was recently given an iPad at our January sales meeting, many reps took pictures of their customers holding the iPad with the Activate! logo.

To tally the scores, everyone sent their photos to the Charlotte office, where they were featured on a wall. I published a weekly update, displaying the running results. In the end, the incentive program was a huge success as you can see by our wall. The winner, with 58 photos, was Shannon McGaw. Great job, Shannon!

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