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Interview with Norman Cohn

Filed under: Education, General

Norman CohnPromoKitchen, a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the industry, recently sat down with our very own Norman Cohn, the chairman of ASI, for a 2-part podcast that covers everything from how ASI got its start to the challenges we face as an industry in 2015.

In this interview, conducted by “Chefs” Mark Graham and Dale Denham, Mr. Cohn goes in depth about the vision he had for ASI in 1962 and how it has been realized today. Some of the topics on which Mr. Cohn shares his thoughts:

  • The relationship between ASI and PPAI
  • Alibaba.com
  • What scares him about the future
  • What he would tell his 20-year-old self

If you have about an hour, I highly recommend these interviews with Norman Cohn. They’re informative and jam-packed with some great insight from “one of the most influential and dynamic people in our industry.” Enjoy!

  1. Listen to Part 1
  2. Listen to Part 2
–Vincent Driscoll

Top 10 Worst Passwords To Use

Filed under: Education, Fun, General, Tip of the Day

Data SecurityData breaches and security seem to be in the news a lot lately. LinkedIn and Target were recently hacked, and now Apple has come out and admitted a serious security flaw in its mobile operating system.

Now more than ever, distributors have to be absolutely sure that their customer information is protected. Counselor‘s cover story for March is all over data security and how you can protect yourself. Read on for more, and in the meantime here are the Top 10 worst passwords to use.

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. qwerty
  4. abc123
  5. 111111
  6. iloveyou
  7. adobe123
  8. admin
  9. letmein
  10. photoshop

How to Save a Life – ASI’s Christine Hutkin Knows How

Filed under: Education, General

Christine HutkinAn ASI employee used her CPR training to help save a life during an otherwise routine client dinner in Dallas. Christine Hutkin (at right), an exhibitor account manager for ASI Show, was leaving an Omni hotel restaurant when she saw a man fall flat on his face.

“Clearly, he’d passed out,” Christine recalled. “Someone said ‘He’s not breathing!'”

Christine, who began working at ASI in August, remembered the Red Cross CPR training she’d gotten while employed at the Bucks County Courier Times, and sprang into action.

“I did what anybody would do,” she said. “I didn’t think about it. I did what I remembered.”

Seconds later, the man sat up and began talking. The EMTs arrived a few minutes later.

Christine said she got certified because, “You never know when you’ll be in that situation.” And as the mother of three young children and a youth group church leader, she wanted to be sure she was ready.

For info on CPR classes, check your local Red Cross office. Certifications are good for two years.

–Dawn Marie

How’d They Do That? The Making Of Digitized Emblems

Filed under: Education, Fun

Buffalo Bisons Emblem

Ever wonder how emblem artwork is digitized for use on promotional apparel? Well wonder no more!

This month’s Advantages magazine strategy feature “How’d They Do That?” takes a visual look at how one supplier — Penn Emblem (asi/77120) — creates digitized emblems right from an artist’s original work. Check out the step-by-step feature, and in the meantime here’s a look at the finished emblem.

Top 10 Markets for Wearables

Filed under: Education, Wearables

Wearables Sales ForecastAccording to the recently released Wearables Sales Forecast, imprinted apparel is predicted to generate $6.7 billion in revenue in 2014. (That was billion with a ‘b’ just in case you were reading quickly.)

Representing roughly one-third of all sales for the ad specialty industry, I’d say promotional apparel is a pretty big hitter. And it’s only getting bigger.

Looking to score more wearables sales? Don’t miss the features “9 Things You Need to Know” and “Revenue Rev-Up,” and in the meantime here are the Top 10 markets for Wearables:

  1. Education/Schools
  2. Associations/Clubs
  3. Manufacturing
  4. Nonprofits
  5. Health Care
  6. Retail
  7. Restaurants/Travel/Lodging
  8. Other
  9. Technology
  10. Financial

How’d They Do That? Imprinted Nail Polish Bottles

Filed under: Education, Fun

Aside from a Halloween or two when I was in college, I’ve never had a need for nail polish. But now that I have a daughter who’s old enough to use it, it’s starting to become part of my life. “Daddy, I want that!” Who knew Barbie had her own line of nail polish, but there it is, the Barbie logo emblazoned on real bottles of nail polish.

And that brings me to today’s blog post topic: How *do* they get those logos imprinted on nail polish bottles? This primer from Advantages magazine shows you exactly how it’s done, courtesy of supplier Diamond Cosmetics (asi/49640).

How A T-Shirt May Save A Life – The Story of Haley Bellows

Filed under: Education, General, Wearables

Haley BellowsDuring last week’s college and professional football games I couldn’t help but notice the presence of the color pink. It seemed to be everywhere – on uniforms, penalty flags and even on the logos of some of the teams. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I knew what it all stood for, and I began to count my blessings. As a man in my forties, I have every reason to be thankful that this terrible disease known as cancer has had little effect on my friends and family throughout the years. At least, so far.

Then I read the October cover story of Wearables magazine, and I nearly lost it.

About a young college woman named Haley Bellows who, with the help of her friends and a tight-knit campus community, has taken cancer head-on, this is the kind of story that puts everything into perspective. Having a bad day because you forgot your umbrella and your hair got wet? Read about a normal day in Haley’s life and I guarantee your damp locks won’t seem that bad. The story describes in detail what Bellows went through upon being diagnosed, the joy of going into remission only to be squashed by a relapse, and how one T-shirt with the slogan “Eff Cancer” just might save her life.

This is a great read by C.J. Mittica and I recommend it highly. Kudos to Haley … keep fighting, girl! And Eff Cancer!

See a video of Haley shaving her head as a reminder of how awful cancer is. And here are a few images of Haley and her friends.

Selling Pens – 4 Tips for Winning Against the Web

Filed under: Education, Tip of the Day

Sell More PensAccording to the 2013 Counselor Sate of the Industry, the top competitor threat to distributors are websites that sell promotional products, and that includes pens.

Good thing for you, though, there’s Counselor magazine!

In the September 2013 issue — the one devoted entirely to the writing instrument — there are some great articles about promotional pens and how to get the most out them. In the article “Black and Blue Battle,” writer Betsy Cummings goes in search of ways to combat the those Internet companies that sell so low. Check out that article now for some great advice, and in the meantime here are 4 great quick tips you can use to win vs. the web:

  • Tout Service Offerings: Online vendors may promise every service distributors offer, but it’s unlikely they offer the personal, individual attention to detail that marketing execs have come to expect from their distributors, not to mention insight into promotional product strategies. It’s important to remind clients about the limitations of online sellers.
  • Push Unique Products: Yes, many distributors sell the same products, but by working with preferred suppliers, they can partner to offer exclusive product offerings and decorating techniques, shutting out encroaching online firms.
  • Call Out the Competition: It may seem like the pen selling online for 10 cents less is an amazing bargain, but buyers be warned: Web-based companies offer low pricing one day and jacked up pricing the next. Or, they might have hidden charges such as multiple set up fees.
  • Don’t Cave: It may be easier said than done, but sometimes the best way to handle a client who keeps demanding cutthroat pricing, a la the Web, is to cut them loose. Match Internet pricing and you may be committed to those margins forever. Often clients who opt for companies they’ve found online come crawling back to distributors admitting the service and products were inferior.

How’d They Do That? The Making of an Etched Wine Bottle

Filed under: Education, Fun

Promotional products themselves can be quite clever, but sometimes the process of adding logos to a product can be just as clever. Case in point: an etched logo on a wine bottle.

The August issue of Advantages magazine contains a Strategy feature that explains in visual detail how a logo is etched onto a wine bottle. It’s not as easy as you would think, and there’s a lot involved, including sandblasting. Compliments of supplier A+ Wine Designs (asi/30223).

Etched Wine Bottle

Click here for a larger PDF.

Another Example of What It’s Like to Be An Editorial Intern At ASI

Filed under: Education, Fun

Grace BennettGrace Bennett is a full-time student in her senior year at Rowan University majoring in Writing Arts. When not writing for the school paper or riding for the equestrian team, you can find Grace listening to Michael Buble, drinking coffee or kicking butt in karate class as a first-degree black belt.

“It’s a fun business to be in. We’ve got crazy towels, electric guitars, and if you throw that monkey through the air, it screams. Welcome aboard!” As I sat across from Joe Haley, editor of The Counselor magazine, I remember thinking that I must have walked into some kind of dream that surely I would wake up from at any second. No internship is this fun, I told myself, and no employers are this cool. After about the first week of working here at ASI, I realized I had been wrong.

Getting to know the building, which is really more of a challenging rat maze (without the cheese prize upon arriving at your destination – well, maybe. You never know here) than an office space, and becoming familiar with the personalities of the editors and other fellow coworkers was nothing short of overwhelming, but it was most certainly an adventure worth having. It didn’t take me long to realize that all of the varying identities in the editorial department at ASI come together to form something of a successful, crazy and sometimes berserk-but-functioning family.  It’s a family of blue hair, vampire puppets, green fuzzy chairs and a lot of kickass talent. When my boss, Michele Bell, assigned Sam and me the task of writing these intern essays, she told us not to hold back. She encouraged us to throw in here the things we don’t like and aren’t exceptionally fond of; things like how the Starbucks barista always puts too much caramel in my coffee and how the pigeon outside the window next to my cubicle distracts me with its futile attempts to stay awake despite its exhaustion. Yeah, working here is a real pain.

Admittedly, the process of garnering information for articles can be somewhat trying. Contacts aren’t always chomping at the bit, eager to dish out all of their product information in online or phone interviews. Sometimes weeks will pass without hearing a single word, and we end up having to improvise. But to be fair, isn’t this the problem in many fields? Contacts are people, and people like to do things on their own terms…which could be at 5:58pm three days after your deadline. No biggie! My phobia of phone calls with strangers probably only added to my strife, but after the first few chats and a couple technicality mishaps – “I’m writing an article for Stitches magazine-“ “I thought it was Wearables magazine?” “…Yeah, that one.” – I found little more to fear.

Obviously, keeping the all of the five magazines straight was a task of its own, and learning the voice of each took some time, but not much. Soon enough, I was cranking out pieces from plain-Jane product captions to talky articles on pet apparel, which left me picturing my teacup boy Chihuahua in a hot pink fleece hoodie. How is that not fun?

Fun in the workplace might seem like the butt end of some bad joke to the general legal intern sweating it out in a rented tux as he scoots his broken rolly-chair towards a puttering fan in the corner of his tiny office window (excuse me while I pause to stretch my now cramped fingers), but it’s kind of a regular visitor in the editorial department of ASI. I had messaged a new employee a while back to introduce myself and to see how he liked working here. “Any company that lets its employees play kickball is alright in my book. I have no complaints,” he said. Truly, I wish I had more dirt to dish to level out the amount of sunshine-y descriptions in this essay of mine, but at this point, I honestly have no complaints, either. Come on…we have kickball tournaments.  Enough said.

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