December 4, 2013
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).
October 11, 2013
During 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.
August 28, 2013
According 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:
July 29, 2013
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).
July 19, 2013
Grace 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.
July 18, 2013
From guest blogger and intern Samantha Phillips …
The first day I stepped into ASI, I felt like a fraud. I walked in, attempting to appear as the young, modern professional: donning my ironed pencil skirt and first lady inspired hairstyle. I was sure at any minute I was going to be found out. I was convinced that the intern supervisor would walk through the lobby, take one look at me, and have security guards fireman-carry me shamefully through the front doors shouting “Back to the restaurant business for you missy!”
But, the woman who came to greet me was not the terrifying business executive I expected with cold eyes and razorblade heels. Instead, Michele Bell wore leopard print stilettos and welcomed me warmly into her office, which appeared to be an eclectic shrine to the Rolling Stones. Michele was quirky, funny, and possessed a subtle snark that she often used to playfully poke fun at her office neighbor, Joe Haley.
And Michele was only one of the many characters I have grown to know and love over the course of my internship thus far. As a loyal, if only temporary, member of the editorial department, I am proud to be part of what I lovingly refer to as “The League of Extraordinary Editors”: a merry band of creative types who collaborate to create a staggering 50 print publications each year. Instead of the demanding and impossible-to-please superiors I had been expecting, my colleagues turned out to be my teachers, my mentors, and my friends. Instead of being ordered to make seven Starbucks runs in one day like some Devil Wears Prada nightmare, my assignments include helping with photoshoots, writing industry articles, participating in radio show broadcasts, and occasionally indulging in a cocktail from Michele’s office margarita machine. I am treated as an equal and a partner in the department’s mission to create informative, interesting, and well-designed publications.
Being an intern in an industry that is completely new to you is a job that commands you to face those inner demons that make you doubt your adequacy. There is no better place to do this than the editorial department at ASI, where encouragement and positive feedback are daily rituals. My editors and fellow writers have taught me an immeasurable amount about publication, the promotional products industry, and most importantly, how to take time to laugh amidst the hectic chaos of the publishing world. It’s hard to always be serious with a boss like Michele and colleagues that are just as concerned with getting everyone involved in kickball as they are dedicated to the amazing publications they help to create.
What is it like to be an editorial intern at ASI? Well, it’s kind of like learning to swim and finding out that you love the water. Scary at first, and a bit challenging. But then it’s fun, exciting and leaves you with an unmatched feeling of accomplishment. And to future editorial interns I’d say: come on in, the water is just fine … and the margaritas are delicious.
April 8, 2013
One of my favorite sections of Advantages magazine is the Strategy section titled “How’d They Do That?” where the making of promo products comes to visual life! This month’s product: A logoed lollipop.
Here’s the 7-step process, provided by Grumpe’s Specialties Inc. (asi/58480). Enjoy! (Click below for a larger pdf version to see all the sweet detail!)
Click here for a larger image (PDF).
October 11, 2012
I love infographics, particularly a recent “Number Crunch” feature by Counselor magazine. Focusing on the Top Markets for Ad Specialties, this visual works clockwise from strongest to weakest. If you’re looking to break ground in new markets, do yourself a favor and check this out! In the meantime, here are the Top 5 Markets for Ad Specialties:
July 17, 2012
As Tony Robbins winds down a day in which he shared eight full hours of motivation and inspiration with The ASI Show Chicago audience, he focused on the importance of branding. “If you’re really a great brand, people start using your name to explain the category,” Robbins said in the last hour of his presentation. “That’s when you own a market. A commodity becomes not a commodity when you’ve successfully branded your company or your product.”
It was that message that Robbins hammered home toward the end of a day of dancing, jumping, self-revelations, and inspiration. “To effectively brand yourself and your company, you have to do so much more than anybody else does that you dwarf them,” Robbins said. “Every person in this room could do it. You have to outwork people to build your brand.”
To enforce that, he told a story of a guy in Encino, CA, who was struggling to make it as a real estate agent. He was 21 years old and not offering anything special or different than other established agents were offering in the area. And, in his first year of business, he didn’t sell a single home. Then he saw a game-changing opportunity. There was a six-week long trash strike in Encino, and the trash was piling up on street corners, and owners of plush homes were getting antsy. This guy then hired a company to pick up all the trash – at great expense. “He couldn’t afford it, but he cared about the community, and wanted to build his company,” Robbins said.
He didn’t advertise the effort, but dumbfounded and happy home-owners began to find out that he was behind it. His phone started to ring off the hook, as locals offered to pay him back. He wouldn’t accept their payments, but he told them to think of him the next time they were looking to buy or sell a home. “In the next seven years, the guy made $2.8 million in commissions,” Robbins said. “There wasn’t a single home sold in Encino that didn’t go through him. What can you do that’s different and you can build around? What do you want to be known for? Why should clients do business with you versus anyone else? Go answer these questions now, and you’ll be successful.”
July 17, 2012
How would you describe life? Is it fun? Is it exciting? Is it completely, utterly lousy? Understanding how you feel about life AND how your customers feel about their lives can actually help you sell to them more effectively. “You can determine how people look at things very quickly, even in a few moments,” said Robbins. “To influence another human being, you must know what already influences them.”
The first step to improving business relationships, Robbins believes, is to figure out what makes YOU happy. If your answer is money, your happiness probably won’t last. “In 2006, at the highest financial level that we’ve seen recently, studies showed people were the most unhappy,” Robbins said. “When I go around and talk to people, my goal is to help them have a life that’s fulfilling. If you’re not happy in your life, this is all a waste of time.”
So what then is a formula to happiness? “Happiness is when your blueprint or core expectations in life match your present conditions,” Robbins said. “The formula for unhappiness is when your life conditions do not equal your blueprint. If you’re massively off of it, you’re going to be miserable. If you’re unhappy, you also tend to believe change is out of your control.”
When you determine the triggers of personal happiness, you then can turn your attention to making customers happy, Robbins said.