* Company: Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa

* Event: 1999 Synergy Incentive Meeting

* Site: Hyatt Regency Kauai, Hawaii

* Dates: March 17 to 21, 1999

* Qualification Period: January 1, 1998 through December 31, 1998

* Qualifying Attendees: 270 (projected)

* Total Attendees: 600 (projected)

* Theme: Lokahi ("unity" in Hawaiian)

* Design: Delta Design

Promotion Budget: $50,000

Savings Ideas: With the meeting combining three divisions for the first time this year, even greater economies of scale were achieved with the purchase of items like posters and brochures. "We split the cost of doing things all three of us would have done anyway," says Cheri Johnson.

Departments Involved: Individual Communications (recognition and meeting team); Corporate Travel & Meetings; Principal Residential Mortgage Marketing Communication Department; Principal International Sales and Marketing Department

Articles in the company magazine promoted the 1999 Synergy Incentive Meeting in Hawaii as well as Premier Club, the second-tier agent incentive meeting, to be held next year in Charleston, S.C.

* A "magic cube" was sent to all agents and agency managers in September, along with an inspirational letter from the vice president.

* A video promoting the meeting and the site was sent as part of the kickoff package. Agency managers were also given suggestions on when to show it and how to use it as a motivational tool.

* The kickoff package included posters for agents to hang in their offices and for managers to hang up around the agency. Some agencies, notes Cheri Johnson, have agents sign the poster as a visual representation of their commitment to reaching the qualification level.

* The 100 top agents receive personalized postcards quarterly telling them where they are production-wise, where they should be if they are on track, and what their year-end goals are.

* A kickoff brochure with the qualification rules was sent to every potential qualifier in the field in December 1997. This announcement presented one of the first challenges of promoting to three different groups accustomed to three different ways of doing things. "We announce the site right before the holidays, but some of the other business units don't roll it out until January or February. We had to negotiate how to do this because we couldn't announce it to one part of the company and not the other," says Cheri Johnson.

* Company officers send monthly inspirational letters to agents and managers who are on track to qualify. All letters--and other communications during the qualification period--go out on Lokahi ("unity") letterhead.