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The other day, whilst happily presenting a HappyBox to our latest incentive winner for recommending a colleague to our services, I had the opportunity to reflect on the value of incentives and whether or not they work.

Delighted! Ali, our most recent HappyBox incentive winner

Incentives are woven into the very fabric of our industry and are pretty much ubiquitous. They come in all shapes and sizes, but despite their ubiquity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they all work all the time, so l took a moment to reflect on our own use of incentives at Image and whether they have worked for us.

As an Events company we have two main objectives in life; to deliver stunning and hugely successful events for our existing clients, and to win new clients. We like to use evidence of the former to win over the latter.

We are fortunate to work with a variety of well-known and highly respected companies across a wide number of sectors, and we are proud of the excellent relationship we have built with their senior management and event teams. Whilst we naturally value their repeat business, it is the long term relationship we have built with them that is far more important. Reputations are developed over many years, and word of mouth referral, when it comes from a long-standing client, is priceless. It is for that referral that we have traditionally offered an incentive.

Another Image Events Incentive Winner! Ann with her HappyBox

Not of course that any client is going to risk their integrity by referring a company simply on the strength of a low value incentive. No, the incentive acts as gentle reminder that if they felt it appropriate we would welcome the referral.

An incentive scheme is, at its simplest, an exchange, an unwritten and unspoken contract if you will, in which both parties must gain value from the exchange for the scheme to be a long-term success. We have now started to offer incentives to both new and existing clients.

For new clients we hope that the prospect of a small incentive will encourage them to explore our blend of innovative thinking, personalised approach and the meticulous attention to detail that we know makes for a successful event. Thereafter, they will judge us alongside our competitors, and if we win their event it will be for our expertise and fit rather than for the prospect of a small incentive at the end.

We also recognise that an incentive scheme has to be there for the long term, and that if it does pay dividends it may very well be at some point in the future. Whilst we do occasionally remind our clients of the existence of the incentive scheme, we understand that the opportunity to mention us to a colleague is not an everyday occurrence. Indeed many of our clients may never find themselves in that position, and that is fine – every new referral, however infrequent is an opportunity to delight the client and repay the trust shown by the referrer.

So, back to the question l posed at the beginning, do incentives work? We believe so, and our positive experience to date would support that belief. But what do you think about incentives? Have they worked for you, or have you yet to try them?

Whilst we have no commercial relationship with HappyBox we do really like their products. If you go to their website at happyboxlondon.com and use the code ‘Imagebox’ at checkout you will be entered into a special prize draw.