Here at Corporate Innovations we have been working closely with clients for 20 years now rewarding audiences that are important to them. For many years the de facto currency of the reward industry was the high street paper voucher. While the mechanic was simple, "You've done well, so here’s a fistful of thank-yous that you can spend in a store of my choosing", the complexity surrounding reporting, accounting, fulfilment and ensuring the rewards ended up in the right hands proved more complicated.

Allied to a lack of choice in redemption outlets, the process became cumbersome and clients have long been looking for alternate options. Experiences, prize trips, points programmes, prepaid plastic rewards have all featured high in the past few years, however we are now seeing a greater appetite for all-new, more innovative forms of reward, that dovetail better with our lifestyles and personal preferences.

Fuelling this is the relentless immersion of digital technology in every facet of our existence. We live in a real-time, connected world where we are surrounded by rich content, one where the Internet Advertising Bureau is forecasting that smartphones will achieve 75% penetration within the UK in 2014. The technology isn’t just capable of hounding us 24/7 to keep on top of the work emails or engage with friends on social media, it can also help complement, improve and enrich our lives.

So with this in mind, for the past few years we've been focusing on integrating digital and rewards. The know-how isn't so new; for example we've long aligned offline physical rewards with online platforms to earn and record the reward. Now we are seeing the full cycle of reward and redemption being completed online in a fully digital experience. For example we recently completed the pan-EMEA multi-lingual launch of a new cloud software product, where the audience was driven electronically to an elearning platform, watched videos about the product, answered a quiz then played an online scratchcard to win digital content ranging from music, videos, Apps, games and eBooks.

The entire brand encounter was completed online; from introduction to the product to the reward fulfilment. Engagement was higher than we would see in many offline campaigns with 30% of participants returning more than five times over the 35 day promotional period. The simplicity of the proposition was the key factor in enabling such high response, as the all-digital mechanic removed many barriers normally associated with a programme that only involved a partial digital experience. Of course, content is just one of rewards that can be fulfilled and redeemed digitally; there's others too, from voucher codes redeemable at online ecommerce platforms, points that are redeemed into consumer loyalty programmes, direct deposits into personal PayPal accounts or the digital fulfilment of an open-loop prepaid card.

The critical factor in the success of the digital reward is its instant fulfilment, ability to eliminate the gap between reward and reward provision, alignment with personal lifestyle preferences and ensuring the right person is rewarded. Brands benefit too, with the offline costly process of reward fulfilment eliminated (particularly important when fulfilling overseas!), reducing customer services queries and typically reducing the management costs associated with running the programme - all this while providing a better brand experience and drive improved ROI.

What’s not to like about the digital age?