Incentive Trends 2018

Earlier this year the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) published their 2018 Trends Study, and while the report tends to apply mostly to the US, five of the ten trends are applicable in a global setting and should be considered when planning your next incentive programme.

1. Building a Brand-Asset Culture

While in previous years a company’s value was tied to something tangible – products, land, buildings; a growing trend is for that value to now be derived from intangibles – brand value, customer data, relationships, leadership quality. According to the Harvard Business Review, sustained competitive advantage has shifted from financial allocation to human capital management. Non-cash rewards are expected to grow as brand, culture and innovation become ever more intrinsic to business success.

2. Wellness

Aligned with the global trend of promoting health and wellness, more and more incentive professionals are adding this component to their programmes – the focus is on fitness, food and feelings of comfort. Millennials’ influence in this trend is particularly strong.

3. Unique Destinations

Unique and off the beaten track destinations are gaining in popularity. Whether this is driven by security fears – smaller communities are viewed as less targeted – or simply because people are seasoned travellers seeking something fresh; across the board, planners are looking into new and different sub-destinations.

4. Meaningful Merchandise Awards

For the fifth year in a row the market has seen a 20-30% growth in experience-related rewards, which highlights a key trend that it’s not about providing a greater choice of rewards, but rather more meaningful options. ‘For rewards to matter in a world where all things are varied, abundant, and accessible, the reward must, more than ever, have a personal meaning and a personalized delivery associated with it.’

5. Gift Cards

These continue to gain momentum as a key incentive option. In the US, within companies purchasing gift cards, over 90% of them are doing so for their employees, over 80% are doing it for their internal sales force; over 50% for their customers; and around 50% are doing it for channel partners.

The report makes for interesting reading and can be found in full here. For more on how to incorporate these trends and maximise your incentive programme, contact The Incentive Company today.

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