IMA Circle of Excellence Awards names five firms for successful incentive campaigns

Cisco, IBM, Lumo Energy, The Cheesecake Factory, Wesco Distribution earn prestigious award

Aug 05, 2015, 09:15 ET from Incentive Marketing Association

ROSEMONT, Ill., Aug. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five companies, each facing challenges to engage and motivate their employees and sales teams, creatively used incentive campaigns to achieve successful results, winning the Incentive Marketing Association's (IMA) 2015 Circle of Excellence Awards, presented at the association's 16th Annual Executive Summit in Nashville.

This year's award winners are Cisco Systems, San Jose, Calif.; IBM, Armonk, N.Y.; Lumo Energy, Melbourne, Australia; The Cheesecake Factory, Calabasas Hills, Calif.; and Wesco Distribution, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Launched in 2000, the Circle of Excellence Awards identifies and recognizes outstanding examples of successful customer and employee incentive programs designed to help drive business. Both the company and the incentive marketing partner are recognized.

"Now, more than ever, we need to position incentive and recognition programs as effective tools to drive business," said IMA Executive Director Donna Chrobak. "IMA's Circle of Excellence Award does just that by honoring organizations for effectively designing and implementing incentive and recognition programs that create an engaged workforce, improve employee performance, and build customer loyalty."

Here is a summary of the five winning programs and their successful results:

The Cheesecake Factory partnered with CashStar to "take the cake" in the Circle of Excellence category of Consumer Offer, Branding and Customer Loyalty Program, with their "e-Slice 2014 Holiday" e-gift card awareness and loyalty program. The fourth quarter program was designed to create and test an incentive that engages the company's core demographics, which ranges from young adults to older adults, to purchase a gift card or e-gift card and drive consumers into their restaurants, and to adoption of their e-gift card. At the end of the year, the program had successfully driven adoption, sales and visibility of e-gift cards and gift cards. Initial reporting shows that it drove more than the incremental sales expected from the promotion, and resulted in a high yield incentive that created high visibility without discounting the premium product.

Wesco Distribution WOWs their distributor channel with their "VIP Passport" program! Venice! Greece! Costa Rica! That's how Dittman Incentive Marketing helped Wesco "WOW" their distribution channel to increased loyalty to the Wesco brand, and exceed projected sales revenue. This year's winner of the Circle of Excellence in the category of Dealer Distributor Incentive, Wesco and Dittman created a program that increased revenue across all of the enrolled participants (not just those who won), created a reported increased level of engagement from enrolled customers, as well as a higher level of interest in future programs from non-enrolled customers, who were not eligible for this year's program, as well as significant incremental revenue that resulted in a program ROI of over 300%. As an added bonus, Wesco senior executives gained the all-too-important face time with their customers, creating an even stronger relationship.

Cisco Systems and Maritz Travel create the "Sales Champion Winners Circle" employee recognition program. Winner of the Circle of Excellence Award in the category of Employee Recognition, Cisco believes the more people are recognized, the more they will be engaged and loyal to the company. This would ultimately lead to better retention among high achieving and relevant sellers, and increased sales and revenue for the company. Maritz Travel knew that Cisco has, for many years, built a great reputation for rewarding and recognizing its sales people. Fueled by this knowledge and the metrics they were able to collect from the previous year's program, Cisco and Maritz designed a program that, upon completion of the recognition program period, engaged approximately 80% of eligible employees in the program, and met or exceeded Cisco's strategic goals and expectations.

How well do you "Know Your IBM"? Thanks to Motivforce Marketing & Incentives, the IBM sales channel knows their IBM very well! Winner of the Circle of Excellence Award in the category of Sales Incentive, IBM worked with Australia-based Motivforce to build a sales incentive program that was centered on increasing sales through product training. Using a 3-tiered model that targeted various groups of sales people, and various levels of training, Motivforce and IBM achieved a 90% program participation rate, a 20% increase in education modules completed, a more than 38% increase in certifications, and showed a return on investment of 86:1. The program also provided IBM with a unique opportunity to reach individual sales personnel in channel partner organizations via a responsive medium with which to communicate and reach the channel community, which resulted in building relationships and establishing higher levels of satisfaction and expectation.

Lumo Energy, one of Australia's largest energy companies, rewards its employees for being "Awesome"! Winner of the Circle of Excellence Recognition Award, Lumo Energy and Power2Motivate created "Luminosity – Rewarding Awesomeness," an enterprise-wide employee engagement and recognition program. Power2Motivate (no stranger to the Circle of Excellence Award), designed a program that would actively engage Lumo employees with the new company values. The "Luminosity" program also rewards "awesomeness" in a number of different ways, including length of service, birthdays, and value-driven awards. It is also used by specific departments for more targeted recognition and engagement, and employees are encouraged to suggest and come up with new ways that the program can be used. With an initial participation rate of 100% during the first month of the program, month-to-month participation continues to average 92%, Lumo Energy has far exceeded its expected engagement rate.

About the Circle of Excellence Awards - Past Circle of Excellence Award winners have included noted companies such as GE Financial Services, GlaxoSmithKline, Kohler, Kraft Foods, Purina, Microsoft Corp., and Sprint Communications. The growing archive of Circle of Excellence Award case studies illustrates the power of incentives, setting even higher standards for the incentive marketplace. Judging criteria includes overall success in meeting program objectives, program originality/creativity, appropriate incentive selection, perceived value of the incentive, and effectiveness of communication strategy and promotional materials.

About the Incentive Marketing Association

Business improves when employees and customers are recognized, rewarded, and engaged through effectively structured programs with defined goals and proven returns. The Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) is comprised of the companies who are leaders in the incentive industry.  IMA provides education, resources and research to promote the use of incentive programs to the business community and is the umbrella organization for the Global Incentive Council (GIC), the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC), the Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance (IMRA), the Incentive Travel Council (ITC), the Performance Improvement Council (PIC), the Recognition Council (RC), IMA-Canada Council and IMA-Europe Council.

More information about IMA and the incentive marketplace is available at

Available Topic Expert: For information on the listed expert, click appropriate link.
Donna Chrobak
ProfNet -

Press Contacts: 
Donna Chrobak 847.447.1711 
Sue Voyles 734.667.2005


SOURCE Incentive Marketing Association