Tag Archives: silicone wristbands

Guide to Student Rewards and Incentives

Student rewards and incentives are a central area of focus and discussion in schools across Australia. As a parent myself with two children attending primary school, I have seen first hand how much emphasis is currently being placed on rewarding and incentivising students to achieve goals and to improve behaviour.

But to what extent are student reward programs working, and what types of rewards are achieving the best results? Today we will review some of the literature available that has studied these areas and provide a guide of sorts to student rewards and incentives.

Student rewards are not new

As far back as 1820, New York City (source) began offering financial rewards for students who achieved certain grades. This began what has become known as “token economies” in schools. Rewards in schools have taken many forms over the years, with the definitive solution to motivating students still up for debate.

It comes as no surprise to anyone that education is a crucial part of our society. Better educated students tend to obtain better jobs. People with better jobs tend to be paid more and are able to contribute more to an innovative and forward thinking economy. Additionally, well employed people are less dependent on government assistance.

As such, the education industry has, for years, searched for ways to improve academic performance, student behaviour and results. More teachers, smaller classrooms, better qualified teachers, more investment. All of these things have improved over the past 40 years but with limited effect.

  • In 1961, 24% of teachers has masters degree. In 2005 it was 65%
  • In 1970, the student to teacher ratio was 22:1. In 2005 it was 16:1
  • In 1970 schools spent an average of $5,200 per student. In 2005 it was $12,000


Despite these obvious improvements to the structure of schools and the teaching experience, results have either remained constant or improved only marginally.

Reward and incentives

School Reward Programs

School Reward Programs

At the same time, rewards and incentives of many kinds have been attempted. Rewards and incentives can be structured in a variety of ways, with the three main categories as below:

Input vs Output

Rewards can be targeted to inputs or outputs. Inputs are activities and behaviours that lead to outputs such as better academic performance. It is an important decision for schools to determine which of these will result in more improvements.

The Power and Pitfalls of Education Incentives” found that rewarding inputs resulted in better results than rewarding outputs. The primary reason being that students, younger ones especially, did not know how to improve their own performance in most subjects. Sure, a reward could be offered for moving from a C to a B, but without being provided the right tools to achieve this, students can be de-incentivised. However, by rewarding the behaviours and activities that lead to improvement, results can be improved. This might include rewards for completing homework, for behaving well in school or for following school rules.

Long term vs short term

Students respond better to short term rewards and incentives. Offering a grade 9 student a financial incentive for graduating high school may seem like a good idea, but asking that student to work harder today to achieve an incentive that will be paid in 4 years is unlikely to result in a positive result. It’s just too far away. The effect of short term incentives is even greater on younger students, as those of us with young children know!

Financial vs Non Financial

The issue of WHAT to reward students with is also important. In US states where there are high proportions of economically disadvantaged students, financial incentives have been used to improve attendance, behaviour and academic results. For example, in Houston 5th graders (and their parents) were offered $2 for every math objective they achieved throughout the year. Those that were incentivised in this way achieved 125% more objectives that those that were not, with the average student earning $228.72, and the biggest earner enjoying a $1,392 windfall! The cost to the City of Houston was a touch under $900,000.

In Washington, 6th-8th graders were offered financial incentives for attendance. At a cost to the city of $3.8m the average student incentivised in this way earned over $500. Attendance during this time did improve but interestingly, not one student achieved the total reward value on offer. This is an example of rewarding an “input” behaviour.

School Promotional products

School Promotional products

Non financial student rewards often used in Australia include silicone wristbands and branded merchandise such as pencil cases, bounce balls and water bottles. In addition, especially at early primary school stage there are ‘in classroom’ behavioural (input) mini rewards. This includes running a red, orange, green, silver, gold chart in class which is updated live as children perform well or poorly. Everyone starts on green and progressing up (to silver and gold) or down (to orange and red) depending on how they have behaved during the day.

Other methods such as reward stamps for good behaviour also offers a low cost way to incentivise students. For example, the top five students in each class (who have earned the most behaviour stamps) might attend a “fun day” at the end of term.

Implementation of student rewards and incentive programs

Whilst the types of rewards can vary, one element of reward programs are constant – the implementation. Without a thorough plan of implementation, any reward program will fall flat. Total buy in is required across the entire school, with teachers, administrators and students all on the same page. In addition, the program must be actioned without fail at every available opportunity. If students see their efforts not being rewarded as promised by the program, then the effect of the program will be non existent.


Student rewards and incentive programs offer schools a way to improve the behaviour of students and, in turn, the academic performance of those students. Reward programs must be managed carefully, with thought put in to what is rewarded, how it is rewarded and then how the program is implemented. Of course, once a program has run for a period of time, it also needs to be reviewed and improved wherever possible.

AAC ID Solutions supplies schools in Australia with school reward products like silicone wristbands, pencil cases, rulers, bounce balls and water bottles. Talk to the AAC team about how we might assist your school to maximise the effects on a reward program. Contact us at [email protected] or 1300 797 478

Silicone wristbands

Silicone Wristbands vs Slapbands

Not-for-profits, charities, campaigns, causes; all have been part of the silicone wristband craze that has engulfed the world over the past 15 years. But for the first time, a new product threatens to topple silicone wristbands as the primary “cause wristband”, and for good reason. Today, we’ll be looking at the feud, the war, the battle that is silicone wristbands vs slapbands! Those with a gentle disposition, look away now because this could get ugly.

Silicone wristbands or Slapbands… Pick your side!



It’s an interesting choice. Whilst silicone wristbands are the traditional favourite, primarily due to the fact that they are easily recognisable and cost effective, slapbands are growing in popularity at an incredible rate. Below, we’ll present cases for the two antagonists and announce a winner, based on 4 core functions; price, effectiveness of communicating a message, memorability and the all important ‘cool factor’.

Round 1 – Ding Ding: Price

Many causes and non for profits are incredibly cost conscious. While some have exceptionally high budgets due to long term and well managed campaigning and fundraising, most do not. Look at the current ice water bucked challenge that is sweeping the world, with everyone from Barrack Obama to David Beckham taking part. Either way, as with any decision regarding spending in business, cost must be considered a primary factor in decision making.

Silicone wristbands are very cost effective, especially in large quantities. The larger campaigns in Australia and around the world, where upwards of 1,000,000 silicone wristbands may be acquired, pay as little as 10-12c per wristband. Even in small quantities, commonly purchased by schools and local community fund raisers, are extremely cost effective and allow causes to utilise the common practice of handing out silicone wristbands along with a small donation.

Slapbands cost more than silicone wristbands. They are larger and the manufacturing process has more stages, resulting in this extra cost. It is common for a slapband to cost 20-100% more than a silicone wristband, depending on quantity purchases, artwork, turnaround times etc (all the usual production questions you are no doubt familiar with!).

Winner: Silicone wristbands (comfortably)

Round 2 – Ding Ding: Effective of communicating a message

When looking at this category, there are two factors to consider:

1. How well the message is presented on the wristband

2. How likely is it that the wristband will be worn, and for how long

3. Design capabilities on the wristband

Silicone wristbands provide an area of 202mm length x 12mm in height, a total branding space of 2,424 square millimetres. A slapband, by comparison will usually measure 300mm in length x 25mm in width, providing a total branding space of 7,500 square millimetres, more than three times the space.

This is really important. Many causes and charities involve partners and sponsors, who in most cases are donating time and money to the cause in exchange for publicity. The opportunity to allow them space to include a message of their own for their logo/website/message, is a considerable selling point. Even just for the cause itself, the extra space can be used to provide more information about the cause.

In terms of wear-ability, a silicone wristband is likely to be worn for longer than a slapband. A silicone wristband, being smaller, is less conspicuous than a slapband and more acceptable amongst adults in day to day like.

Design wise, a slapband provide far more capabilities. Whilst a silicone wristband can be printed in various colours, this method of customisation does not last as long as debossing the wristband and then adding an ink-infill to the debossed message. A slapband on the other hand, specifically a PVC slapband, allows a full colour, digital-quality print, along the entirety of the wristband. This, again, allows for a greater scope of design, which makes thew wristband more attractive to potential wearers and better represents the brand of the cause.

Winner: Slapbands

Round 3 – Ding Ding: Memorability

This round really comes down to the factors above. If you saw someone wearing a silicone wristband on one wrist and a slapband on the other wrist, which will you remember? yes, this can come down to the design of each one (a fantastic silicone wristband design may be more noticeable and recognisable than a plain slapband design), but really, a slapband will be noticed far more easily than a silicone wristband.

The extra size, the design capabilities, the fact that PVC slapbands actually provide a type of “reflection” to light… all these factors ensure that slapbands are more memorable than silicone wristbands.

Winner: Slapbands

Round 4 – Ding Ding: The ‘Cool” Factor

Now we get to the X factor. Which of the two wristbands are the coolest? This is important. In the world of business, NFP or for-profit, the brand is crucial. The last thing a business wants to do is position itself as unfashionable amongst its target markets.

In this way it is tough to split the wristbands, so let’s get highly analytical and try to determine what makes something ‘cool’. Whilst I, as a 34 year old man, may have very different opinions to my 5 year old daughter on this matter, there are certain factors to consider.

How original is the product? Slapbands are relatively new. Silicone wristbands have been used for two decades and really don’t represent anything unique any more. What’s original about them? Not a lot.

How desirable is the product? As above, silicone wristbands are a dime a dozen in 2014, with some people proclaiming their association with several causes all at once. Slapbands are unique and have a far greater chance of becoming desirable.

Of course, the factors above are heavily influenced by the other brand awareness and marketing strategies that a cause is implementing. A brilliant social media campaign that goes viral will raise the ‘cool’ factor of a silicone wristbands associated with their cause immeasurably. And likewise, a boring, stale campaign run by a cause that then uses slapbands to raise awareness will mean the products becomes highly undesirable.

Winner: Slapbands (just)

The final word

While the choice of a wristband is important, there are far more factors at play in the world of raising awareness through promotional wristbands. For a greater effect, just in terms of the product itself, go with slapbands, especially if you feel that you want to ‘mix it up’ a little. For cost effectiveness, especially for new causes, go with silicone wristbands.

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Resort wristbands

Wristbands Helping All Inclusive Resorts

All inclusive resorts are growing in popularity world wide, and the use of wristbands at these resorts continues to grow also.

One of the major challenges posed by the all inclusive resort structure is that of how to ensure that only paying guests are obtaining the benefits available. Often this will be access to leisure facilities such as a pool, kids club, tennis courts, fitness centres, as well as restaurant and dining facilities.

With many resorts being beachfront, the possibility exists that non paying guests may enter the resort grounds and utilise the facilities free of charge, which is not only costing the resort money, but also will infuriate paying guests.

The solution that many resorts are turning to is wristbands. By supplying guests with a wristband at check-in, resort staff can effectively monitor who is allowed access to their facilities. With a rotating set of wristband colours, perhaps changing these on a weekly basis, resorts can also ensure that previous guests can’t return with their old wristbands and utilise the facilities free of charge again.

The benefit of all inclusive resorts are obvious for both the resort and the guests. It all comes down to cost efficiencies. Guests benefit from cheaper (and simpler) holidays because the resort has undertaken certain changes to reduce their costs; this often includes removing a la carte dining and replacing it with buffet dining. Whilst this is common at breakfast, replicating the structure at lunch and dinner greatly simplifies F&B operations whilst also reducing staff numbers, both in terms of service staff and kitchen staff.

Why wristbands?

There are numerous ways to identify paying guests, and resorts have looked at all of them in the past. ID cards are impracticable because they get lost, left in rooms etc. Lanyards are not functional because they get in the way when swimming and doing other activities. Wristbands are, by far, the more cost effective, logical and non-invasive method of identifying a large number of people like this.

  • They can be branded with the resort logo and also supplied in a variety of colours, allowing the resort to rotate the colours on a weekly basis over a 10 week period.
  • Silicone wristbands, the most popular type of wristband for this purpose, is soft, comfortable and does not disrupt the daily activities of the guest.
  • They can be kept on for several days without causing irritation
  • They are easily visible to resort staff in any situation
  • They can be kept as a memento of the holiday, providing on going branding benefits to the resort.
  • They are available in either transferable form (like a silicone wristband) or non transferable form (see Tyvek wristbands or plastic wristbands). The choice here comes down to a resort determining how likely it is that a guest might pass their wristband to a non paying guest who can then access the resort facilities.

Standard resorts using wristbands

It is not just all inclusive resorts using wristbands to identify their paying guests. Standard resorts in busy or easily accessible locations are also doing the same thing. This is especially true of resorts who features special or unique facilities like a kids water park or similar; something that will attract the attention of non paying guests. In these cases, resorts are also using wristbands to identify who should be allowed access.

Wristbands for kids clubs

Many resorts now run specialised kids clubs, with the goal of attracting families safe in the knowledge that for a few hours each day, the parents can enjoy some time to themselves. A key element of kids clubs (as well as child care centres around the world) is security and identification. At a resort, the key priorities for a kids club are:

1. Ensuring all staff are aware of allergies within the group

2. Ensuring that kids remain within the right age groups, in order to avoid inappropriate or unsuitable activities.

3. Ensuring that all children leave the kids club with the right parent or carer.

For the above cases, wristbands again provide to be the most cost effective and functional solution. But rather than silicone wristbands, most resorts turn to Tyvek wristbands, ideally with a detachable stub. The benefit here is that while the child wears the wristband, the parent takes the detachable stub. Both items have the same number printed on them for security purposes.

Additionally, Tyvek wristbands are non-transferable, so if the child attempts to remove the wristband, they will be unsuccessful. Different colours can be used for different age groups and a specific colour may be used to indicate that a child has an allergy of some kind. Additionally, these wristbands are waterproof, which is very useful for a kids club!

Wristbands for functions and conferences

Finally, for hotels and resorts with large conference and meeting facilities, wristbands are commonly used to differentiate between groups. This is a more cost effective solution than lanyards attached to ID wallets or cards.

With multiple groups utilising facilities at the same time, and with some groups also incorporating meals or snacks in to their packages, it is important to ensure that each group receives what they have paid for. A simple wristband system allows staff to differentiate between groups in this way.

Resort wristbands and RFID

We’ll explore this in more detail in a coming article, but RFID wristbands are proving increasingly popular at resorts because they serve two functions. Firstly, they provide a means of identification in the same way that the wristbands above do. But secondly, they can be programmed, in conjunction with the right kind of systems, to become guest access passes to their rooms, the elevator, the fitness centre and any other facilities that might be present.

Resorts can choose whether to use silicone RFID wristbands (which will be reusable) or plastic/vinyl RFID wristbands (which are designed for single time use only and need to be cut to be removed).

Wristbands are a simple and cost effective tool to identify patrons or guests at resorts and hotels. All-inclusive resorts especially are using them to ensure that only their paying guests are enjoying the facilities they have paid for. For more information, talk to AAC ID Solutions.

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