It has been a year of highs and lows for everyone. Neon started the year with a bang with back to back travel incentives… and then Covid struck and scuppered all of our plans. We brushed ourselves off and turned our sights to alternative rewards and engagement techniques, with Performance Improvement very much at the heart of what we do. Although it has been a challenge, as a business we are all so proud of what we have achieved this year.
Here’s a look at what we have been up to with some Neon sparkle and Christmas cheer from the team.
The events team hit the ground running in January with the first of (what we expected to be) many wonderful incentive events! The top performers of our 6-month incentive campaign for a leading automotive client were whisked away on an incredible 4-night Arabian Adventure to Abu Dhabi. The programme, which we hosted on a bespoke App, enabled us to track sales, effectively communicate key messages and ultimately drive sales performance and engagement – and its success saw over 50% of the users achieve or exceed their sales target.
The carefully crafted programme provided two incredible experiences for the group; the glamour of the city at the 5* Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and the adventure and enchantment of the flame-coloured desert at the luxury Qasr al Sarab.
From dune bashing, swanky beach clubs and sought after restaurants to poolside daybeds, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Ferrari World, the contrasts of the programme and the fascinating destination left the attendees feeling celebrated, rewarded and motivated. The resonating message in the feedback was that they wanted to push themselves as hard as they could to guarantee a place on the next one!
In February Rhys took 15 of our client’s top sales performers on a 3-night/4-day trip to Chamonix filled with breath-taking views from the summit of Aiguille du Midi with a close-up of Mont Blanc. The highlight activity of the trip for him was Paret sledging down the slopes of which we had exclusive use. This was closely followed by the snow activity afternoon that included husky sledding and human curling on inflatable rings! The great news was that the sales mix % more than doubled for the users that completed their learning modules to qualify for the trip during the vendor incentivised month.
It was a busy month as we also took our first Agricultural group to Finland on a customer trip. For 5 years we have run a new prospect campaign inviting customers to visit the local factory and enjoy a 3-day trip with an immersive brand experience. This year we achieved 94% positive feedback and a 28% uplift in sales. Sadly, it was cut short, but we hope to revisit next year!
Lockdown… the word we all dread! As we were getting ready to pack our bags to Singapore on another incentive, Coronavirus was on the rise and it was deeply unnerving for us all. The time had come to halt all travel plans, stay at home, and most importantly keep our loved ones safe. We knew we needed to be there for our clients, as their doors were closing, and we wanted to help in any way that we could. We started to hatch plans to relaunch one of our major clients' incentive programmes. They wanted a better way to communicate with their audience, something that became key to this year. New communication tools and ways to reward and recognise everyone whilst we could no longer be face to face was our next objective. It was also the start of ‘virtual’ challenges for Neon socials and (here comes the cheesy part) even though we were kept apart, it definitely brought us all closer together!
In April, lockdown continued but we started working on some exciting new projects directed by our Head of Product and Ops, Gary. For one of our clients we re-launched one of our recognition platforms into 5 different languages covering 94% of the languages spoken across the different offices in 16 different countries. Communication is key and an essential tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships at all levels of an organisation. We are so happy that we have managed to reach out and recognise the entire audience of our client. A simple “thank you”, “great piece of work” or “you’re doing a great job” can go a long way and in these uncertain times, it can mean even more.
As well as communication, learning also became a centric focus. At Neon, lockdown gave us some time to improve on our own skills or specific topic areas. Learning stimulates the brain and creates ideas for improvement, change and development. We use many different learning methods and work with many different sectors to help companies find a solution that works best for their employees. So, in May, we were busy re-launching another one of our incentive Apps with a shiny new learning tool. 81% of the users completed their learning modules within a week of the new App being live and went on to sell 3x more than those who did not engage with learning. Great results achieved so far!
In June it was ANOTHER launch! The fresh new look and feel of one of our client’s performance improvement Apps. The programme had been running for almost a year, so we wanted to give the App a makeover to keep it up to date with the brand’s identities as well as to ensure it was continually engaging and user friendly for the sales teams! Not only has the App seen an increase in engagement and participant performance, we have successfully managed to influence best behaviour and practice amongst employees. With a customer service tool on the App we have seen a 31% increase YOY in the number of automotive customers who score their salesperson a 10/10 when asked ‘would you recommend us to friends and family’. That’s what we call NPS success!
With Summer in full swing, we welcomed the newest member of the Neon juniors! Ashleigh had a beautiful baby boy Harry, making it six members of the next generation. We also returned to the office, socially distanced of course… but it was sooooo good to see each other’s faces again! And of course, for the boys to play some FIFA. We also had a record high month in sales for one of our Telco clients. We achieved 14x more products sold when we ran a month-long campaign in comparison to sales the month prior. Another take home message for the year - tactical campaigns really do have a positive impact on sales penetration.
The lovely Georgie and her very beautiful tree received their first live event brief since the end of lockdown. It was with great excitement that we could get thinking about events again, how we could meet up safely and bring staff together to recognise them face to face. We longed for it! BUT it didn’t last long, another blow from Covid and by September deadlines were extended and events dwindled once more. The industry has suffered so much this year and we continue to work with our partners and suppliers to get back to normal as soon as we can. We hope all of our fellow event profs out there are doing ok!
In August, we also lost our dear friend and colleague Tina Morris. Her voice still resonates with us all and we continue to drive our passion for events and maintain lasting relationships with clients just as she did.
As Autumn struck, the long anticipated and huge re-launch of our client’s incentive programme was finally live. With three different brands in one portal, Martin worked tirelessly to engage the audiences with each unique brand. Built in a modern and dynamic way, we can launch sales campaigns for different models and periods in a timely manner and thereby incentivise more salespeople. All housed within an easily accessible platform that would simplify sharing news and useful information with their dealers. In September alone we saw over 4x more logins compared to the previous website version. In its first month sales were up by 24% compared to last year – engaged employees are the best!
A big objective for us this year was to exceed our overall participant target of 80% and by October we were smashing it! With an active user base of over 9,726 employees we are very proud to hold an average of 88% engagement putting our programmes into the hands of participants. Furthermore, we hold 325,873 homepage App hits from one client alone! Maybe Neil’s tree pic will get this many ‘likes’?!
Well, lockdown struck us again… and this time it was winter and we were all feeling a little more deflated about it. Enter the wonderful Maisie who dug deep and rallied everyone together to create the Neon Running Club. It's safe to say we had no idea quite how competitive it would get! In fact, the banter continues today, so that’s a job well done, spirits lifted, and goals reached.
We set a target at the beginning of lockdown to run or walk 300 miles for charity before Christmas Eve. We’ve tracked our progress on the App, Strava and the leaderboard has spurred us all on to get out in the fresh air as much as possible - we smashed our target (in the first three weeks!) raising £300 for Age UK. The charity provides companionship and support to older people who need it most, especially in times of self-isolation and Christmas. Rallying around this single cause has already had a positive impact on our collaboration and teamwork as we work together towards this common goal. A message that resonates in our work with our clients for goal setting and behaviour change with their employees.
Ciaran is in charge of one of the last projects we’ll finish this year - a set of dashboards monitoring user engagement. They’ll offer our clients deep and meaningful insights into how their user base are interacting with their programme. It acts as the perfect jumping-off point for further developing the relationship between programme and user. We can’t wait to put some finishing touches to them and have them out with our first client just in time for 2021!
We have found new ways to communicate, engage and motivate our audiences. This has also had a great impact on us! We have all worked together to overcome the challenges thrown at us this year. We all pray 2021 won’t be a year of virtual meetings, socials and events, however we know we can get through anything now. We have become even more resourceful and driven to exceed our clients expectations. With new projects on the horizon and some exciting goals set for next year, you might want to stay tuned on our journey… 2021 could be the best yet!