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May 25, 2016

Event production and planning agency Event Strategy Group has launched a standalone incentive arm to focus on rewards and motivation. Called ESG Incentives, the new company will leverage the Philadelphia-based agency's extensive experience in event production and ROI assessment to create incentive events and programs.

"We've been in business for 16 years, doing everything from trade shows to conferences to incentive programs, but we've found that incentives are really an industry all on their own," Renee Scullin, cofounder and vice president at ESG, as well as founder and president of ESG Incentives, told Incentive, M&C's sister publication. "There's a lot of the same elements to an incentive event as there are to a corporate event, but it's so specialized that it made sense to spin off into ESGI."

The new entity extends ESG's existing strategic approach to event design and delivery to focus more deeply on the incentive space, including rewards and recognition programs for employees, partners, and customers. This includes end-to-end design, destination sourcing, hotel contracting and production for incentive travel events. That said, ESGI is a full-service incentive firm, offering strategic planning and execution of merchandise- and gift-card-based programs, as well as consumer-loyalty programs.

"With an incentive program, the program becomes your brand -- everybody who touches that program is interacting with the company and its brand," said Jason McCallum, who will serve as managing director of ESGI. "ESG has a lot of rewards that are at our disposal, but it really is sitting down at the table and listening to our clients to see where they want to go, putting the strategy in place that will drive the behaviors to get them to their end goal. It might be a trip, or an online rewards program, but at the end of the day, we have to move that audience."

McCallum said that ESG's extensive experience in event production -- an area that can often be outsourced to third-party companies -- provides ESGI with advantages when it comes to reinforcing a company's brand in every aspect of an incentive trip. But he added that whatever the type of reward or whether the audience is employees, dealers, or consumers, the guiding principles for ESGI will be the same.

"What's important is brand interaction," said McCallum.