Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Company awards to customer rewards

Gamification. There I said that over-hyped superficial term, maybe it'll get me up the Google rankings just by having it in this post. Yes, individual gratification has its place in society but I think that the bulldozing of games into the workplace might be a bit of a square peg in a round hole.

For the workplace I prefer to think about old-school awards, the one's that you really needed to put in sustained effort to really be the best in your field. Some of the best rewards that you can achieve are ones that recognise group effort and company wide strategies that have been at work for months if not years.

I'm going way-back -- pre-digital -- to bring your the original awards individuals and businesses aspire to. Some of these are not here any more, some have always been around and always will be and other you might not even think are rewards - but to some people within some companies they're the best rewards they can aspire to.

Tech industry awards
The technology industry, with its service based pricing models and inherently intangible products relies heavily on peer recognition to convince potential buyers what they're buying is not just "vaporware". Check out Atlassian software and iiNet for two companies that proudly display their peer recognised achievements.

Financial services awards
Another intangible service industry where awards can create the recognition brands require to give consumers peace-of-mind when selecting between multiple features and variables across a crowded market-place.

Some examples of financial services peer reviewed awards
Travel and tourism
Travel and tourism has its share of peer recognised awards. The leading air travel industry awards are Skytrax, the service that monitors airlines and airports. The travel industry has also probably seen one of the greatest effects of the democratisation of rewards and recognition now that everyone that stays in a hotel can rate and review their stay. The leading consumer travel review site, Trip Advisor, has created their annual Traveler's Choice awards to take advantage of democratised recognition.

Consumer products

More tangible consumer products can generally sell themselves well with in-store display models and good salespeople. That's not to say that they don't need to be stacked up against each other, after all many consumer products can be just as mystifying as intagingle products. This is where Canstar has seen a gap in the market and developed its Canstar Blue ratings website differentiating from its financial products ratings.

For consumer products it is not only about the average Joe rating the performance of the latest product. Sometimes consumers want the satisfaction that a product has been peer reviewed too. For consumer products we can see this recognition come through in the various design awards given to exceptional products. Two such awards to be given to products include the Australian International Design Awards and the Good Design Award.

Engineers get a Guernsey too
Recognition can come in many forms. True, consumer choice awards can be seen as the ultimate recognition by those that end up buying the product, but then so can dollars in the till. An engineer might take heart to know in a small way they put into the customer satisfaction award, but just as likely the engineer would like to hang their hat on a 5 star water or energy efficiency rating. These energy ratings are also an important part of the consumer buying decision and therefore may be the highest recognition that an engineer would like to achieve.

The ultimate B2B peer recognised love-fest
And while they may be some of the most widely watched televised events in the world, entertainment industry awards like the Oscars are ultimately a B2B awards ceremony with peers of the industry voting on their counterparts. Us movie-goers might only be interested in Best Picture but as an industry and a team pulling together over long hours in often miserable conditions the award for Best Best Boy or Best Set Design will be just as highly placed as the Best Actor award.
So while individual recognition might be the hot thing in social media circles and while it might be bulldozing its way into the workplace, don't forget that some of the most rewarding recognition can come from peer recognised awards that require a whole-of-business approach to achieve.