‘I’ve never won anything before’, is one of the most commonly exclaimed sentences from prize winners! And it’s one that I also had the good fortune to find myself saying late last year when I won a fabulous luxury weekend break to Scotland.
Having worked in the prize and incentives industry for over 15 years, I have notified thousands of unsuspecting competition winners of the fantastic news that they are indeed the lucky winner, and so can vouch that the majority will utter the very words, “I’ve never won anything before”! For that reason it’s the best part of the job for me, no matter what scale the prize; around the world trips, meet and greets with celebrities or a free cinema voucher, this gift can brighten up someone’s otherwise mundane day or even change their life.
As director of Cloud Nine Incentives, I am proud to have built a team centred around excellent prize winner management and, following my own experience, is why it’s a service I believe the industry needs to give equal (or arguably more) importance to than the promotion itself.
Last May I stumbled across a promo for a soft drinks brand to win a 5* trip to Scotland that featured in an online food magazine. It was a simple entry process so I clicked through, entered my details and to be honest forgot all about it as I too have never won anything before! That was until I received a call to inform me that I had won the holiday. I was thrilled, as well as intrigued to experience prize winning from the ‘other side’.
Being the prize winner is an exciting time and should feel like a seamless VIP experience. Even for a free cinema voucher, the winner has bothered to engage with the brand so the least they deserve is to receive the prize on time. My own winner journey was not seamless and I certainly didn’t feel like a VIP. For weeks I was passed between marketing and PR agencies to provide simple details of my Scottish holiday, then fed lies about the whereabouts of my holiday voucher and ultimately I felt like a nuisance for chasing it up. I eventually booked the trip and thanks to excellent hotel and staff, enjoyed a lovely stay and will most certainly be returning. However my view of the brand that facilitated the promo is now negative, not helped with the poor initial communications but also with no effort of brand experience on the trip, a missed opportunity for longer term brand loyalty.
People today are quick to share their negative reviews online for their friends, family and the entire world to read! It’s not worth the risk. On the flip side, I’ve seen first-hand what a positive experience can do for a brand. Last year we were lucky enough to manage an overseas meet and greet with a high-profile footballer. The promo was fast moving and the logistics fluid, but my team recognised the importance of hand holding the winners through the whole process as well as guiding them on the ground brand building experiences. The positive social reach and engagement was significant with subtle brand association peppered throughout the winners’ posts. The client was thrilled with so much earned social activity and now understands the value of both protecting their promotional investment and a happy prize winner. Happy winners equals a lot of free PR!
At Cloud Nine Incentives we know that by offering our clients a dedicated prize winner account manager we not only spare any potential embarrassment to the brand but also create magical memories that ensures you have brand loyalty forever.