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Engagement, Rewards, and Snicker Wrappers

We firmly believe that rewards when delivered strategically can change behavior. We see this across all the programs we have the opportunity to participate in.  And, while there is quite a bit of debate on whether monetary rewards work, there is no question from our experience that an enticing reward will drive the results businesses desire.

A long, long time ago, in Newton MA, when I was 11, I used to bike down to the local convenience store to buy candy and gum (often on my way to school and with my parents unaware). Since I had a paper route I had my own discretionary spending budget – which had room for an occasional $.25 treat.

On one trip I noticed that there was a promotion running on Snickers bars. If you mailed in 50 Snicker Bar wrappers they’d reward you with $5.00. An offer bordering on a real fortune! Right then and there I decided to do it – it was going to be all Snickers all the time. I dedicated that summer to the quest of rounding up 50 wrappers. I asked my parents, my friends, my friends parents, everyone I knew to give me their Snicker wrappers. Slowly, they came trickling in. Now that I think back – I bet my parents ate a few more Snickers than they intended in order to help with the project (thanks Mom and Dad).

Snickers_wrapped

The pile was growing in my room … I counted that pile every day. Can you imagine how long it took to round up 50 wrappers? One day I met the goal, put a rubber band around the massive stack, packed and mailed them off to some distant office. I checked our mailbox every day for the next 4 to 6 weeks, waiting for my $5. One day it arrived – in the form of a check (a dud reward for an 11 year old – but still there it was)…five whole dollars! My dad traded me the check for a five dollar bill – and I was instantly independently wealthy (compared to my friends at least). All the hard work paid off. The promise of $5 changed my behavior for the entire summer. As a side note, I have become a lifelong enthusiast of Snickers as a result of that experience – and not just because they taste awesome, they paid me $5.00!

Today, loyalty programs and promotions are far more modern – but the basic fact still remains: Integrate the right reward in your program and you’ll see results. Some of us will do quite a bit for a reward.

One Response to “Engagement, Rewards, and Snicker Wrappers”

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