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An Editorial Intern’s Summer at ASI

Filed under: Fun, General

Editorial Intern and guest blogger Alexandra Steel discusses her time at ASI

Alex and TimHere’s me, with ASI’s president/CEO, Tim Andrews!

After graduating in December, I went through the common thoughts that a recent college graduate has – the ones filled with utter confusion trying to figure out what to do next. I was sitting at my computer day in and day out applying to jobs I wanted (and even those I didn’t), as well as trying to network with as many people as I could. When I first heard about ASI, I immediately checked to see what openings they had and ended up applying for a temporary job. Thanks to a fellow Bloomsburg Husky, I was able to get my resume directly to HR. However, the positions were filled and I was back to square one. About a month later, I received the email from Michele Bell about ASI’s Editorial internship. I knew I couldn’t have found a better opportunity and was so thankful all those other jobs I had applied to didn’t work out.

When I was told I would be spending a week – prior to me starting at ASI — in New York being trained by the Dow Jones News Fund for business journalism, I was thrilled. I knew this would be an experience I’d never forget and take with me into my career. I stayed in the NYU dorms with about 15 other students from all over (as far as Hawaii), with a beautiful view looking over Manhattan. It was a non-stop week filled with various assignments, guest speakers and lectures, and tours to The New York Stock Exchange and The Metropolitan Museum of Art for an “Empty Met” tour, as well as numerous other experiences. I left with a much greater knowledge of business and what it takes to work in media.

On my first day at ASI, I was very nervous (naturally); I’d never been in a major work environment before and didn’t know much about the promotional product industry. However, I fell into place quickly, and after asking Sara Lavenduski – a former Editorial intern who’s now a full-time staffer — an infinite number of questions, got the hang of things. I was given many assignments during the tenure of my internship, such as trend articles, product descriptions, and even assisting with the big fashion photoshoot for Stitches and Wearables. Having a love for all things fashion and always dreaming of helping behind the scenes, the photoshoot was by far my favorite assignment. I was given a lot of responsibility to order clothes and accessories and keep everything organized. With all of our early preparation, the shoot went very smoothly producing amazing photos. (See a behind-the-scene video shoot here.)

The entire Editorial department works incredibly hard and their work shows in the award-winning magazines … not to mention they have the most fun. Shout out to the designers who kept me laughing day in and day out back in our little art annex! I was also able to participate in Editorial’s summer outing, where we went to Parx Casino to watch live horse races. Not many people can say they got to call that a workday! ASI is truly one of the best places to work, hands down.

My time at ASI has left me with more experience than I could have imagined. I feel much more confident continuing on into my career with the knowledge I gained during my three months here. A huge thank you to Michele for giving me the chance to show everyone what I can do – this has been a terrific summer for me. If you’re lucky, you might even get a chance to be on the cover of one of the magazines, like I was!

Alex on Wearables Cover


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

Sales Tip of the Week – Connecting with Clients

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

boredWhat do you do when you are talking to someone and realize you’ve “lost” them?  Advantages magazine says it takes one simple question to bring them back.

If she’s fidgeting, she’s stopped asking questions — maybe she’s sneaking glances at the clock—ask this question: “What is the most important thing we should be discussing today?” You will instantly connect with what really matters to her—and the conversation that ensues will help her see you as relevant and valuable.


Sales Tip of the Week – Success Stories

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

successAdvantages magazine says there’s a limit to how many bold claims you can make about your company and product results, but there is no limit to the words of praise you can put in the mouths of your delighted clients.

Use case histories of your clients’ success stories about the benefits they received from your service or product. When you are using their actual dialogue, you can say much more glowing things about yourself and your company than you could if the words were your own.


Prepared for the Future – An Intern Reflects On Her Time at ASI

Filed under: Fun, General

Rachel AbrahamBy Rachel Abraham

I have had some time to reflect on the opportunities and accomplishments I have made at ASI. It has been such a rewarding and an invaluable experience. I was not familiar with the promotional products industry at all prior to interning here, but I was eager to learn and expand my writing. I was definitely nervous about starting this new endeavor, but it turned out just fine — better than fine. The guidance, colleagues and assignments made this summer enjoyable.

I never had a full time position as a writer before interning here, but I had taken on a few online internships while working as a cashier after graduating college. It seemed I would never find something truly satisfying, but then came the email notification from ASI. When I first came across the application for the editorial intern position, I knew this is what I needed to get my foot in the door and to get hands on experience in writing. It was the ideal position for me because I majored in print journalism.

The internship included a free week trip to New York City and housing at NYU where I had a fantastic view of Manhattan! I received training from the Dow Jones News Fund in business journalism. It was an intense and exciting week with guest speakers, quizzes on current events and article writing. While in New York I visited news media, such as: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NBC Nightly News. Bonuses included the chance to be a tourist and explore the city by trying different restaurants visiting Times Square, and visiting the September 11th Museum.

I went through mixed emotions my first day at ASI, but I quickly became relaxed by the way I was treated. Michele Bell and the other members of the Editorial department helped me get acclimated to the new work environment. Sara Lavenduski, my fellow colleague and a former Editorial intern, was always available to help if I had any questions and gave me some great pointers. I have written for ASI’s award winning magazines and have had to meet deadlines. For example, I contributed to Trend Alerts for Wearables. I also profiled designers and their fashion and covered Fall/Winter trends for Stitches that I just saw in the newest publication. Check it out!

There have also been many perks. It did not hurt that there was an on-site Starbucks that helped with those afternoon cravings. But aside from that, I have had the chance to assist with fashion photo shoots, and see the behind the scenes of how models prep. It was fascinating to see the collaborative effort that was made to create those outstanding shots. I also attended a Phillies game for Joe Haley’s 20th anniversary at the company and participated in a painting party. We even had a wine and cheese party showcasing our artwork. I can’t forget about decorating an “ArtCar” for three days with different promotional items for the ASI Chicago Show. It is been a great way to spend my summer where I also befriended my fellow interns, Corrie Purvis and Virginia Lucas. I’ll never forget our walking breaks around the building!

The overall experience has been one I could not have expected. I now have another great addition to my resume. I appreciate the knowledge I have gained and the people I have come in contact with. Thanks to ASI, I feel more prepared and confident in my future.


Sales Tip of the Week – Engage Prospects

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

engageIf your prospect says she can source the product you’ve recommended cheaper online, don’t be insulted. Advantages magazine says engage the prospect to learn more.

Do they have a specific product alternative or online seller in mind? What kind of service, guarantees or support does the online vendor provide? Oftentimes, buyers are “star struck” by pricing they find online. What they haven’t necessarily factored in is how valuable the ability to pick up the phone and talk to you can be if they have a problem or concern. Perhaps there’s a difference in product quality or imprint method or ability to meet a deadline. Review the choice with your prospect to be sure they’re comparing apples to apples.


Sales Tip of the Week – Warm Up Your Audience

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

presentationTrying to make a good impression on new clients? Advantages magazine says to engage your audience from the outset of your presentation by warming them up.

Ask questions that open the door for more in-depth problem solving or share an appropriate anecdote with which the prospect can relate. Try to tie into information that you’ve found out about the company from your preparatory research.


Sales Tip of the Week – Testimonials

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

testimonialClient testimonials can bring you more sales and more qualified prospects. Advantages magazine says a little positive word-of-mouth can go a long way.

Ask your satisfied clients for testimonials for your website; ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. Create a Case Study section on your website and create a portfolio you can leave with prospects.


Interning at ASI

Filed under: Fun, General

By Corrie Purvis

Starting a new job is always difficult – new people, new goals, a completely new mindset – but it’s even more daunting to come into an entirely new industry. ASI, however, made this transition manageable, and, in fact, enjoyable. This summer I was able to learn so much about the promotional products industry, while also expanding my writing portfolio. And there was time for some fun as well.

One unique aspect of interning at ASI is the week of training prior to the start of work. Because of Tim Andrews’ connection to Dow Jones, we (Rachel Abraham and I) were able to participate in the Dow Jones News Fund Business Reporting “boot camp” in New York City. There, we met rising business journalists from across the country and learned a thing or two about the fundamentals of writing for a business audience. Our instructor, Will Sutton of Grambling State University (a fairly interesting man), toured us around the bustling Manhattan streets, meeting editors and producers of publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and NBC Nightly News. This week truly engraved the idea into my mind that with hard work, I could also end up here someday.

Once back in Trevose (almost as glamorous as the Big Apple!), it was time to get started on serious business. The Editorial department at ASI did a wonderful job welcoming us interns, giving us time to adjust to the new environment before giving us a ton of assignments. Over the course of the summer, we had the opportunity to write and do research for all five ASI publications, as well as speak with some of the top names in the industry – I even interviewed a man who helped create costumes for Breaking Bad! We helped put together showcases, best in show spreads, write designer profiles and glued seemingly thousands of items to a yellow Mazda (quite a resume addition).

We were also fortunate enough to assist with a fashion shoot for Stitches and Wearables magazines. As budding fashionistas ourselves, it was exciting to get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put together the stunning images you see in these publications. It also made me realize that modeling is more than just pouting at a camera – those girls were working it!

In all seriousness, ASI is without a doubt one of the best places I have ever worked (at 21 I’ve only worked at so many locations, but regardless). The culture here is relaxed, yet still professional; I can comfortably come to the office and actually enjoy my work. I mean, how many offices host World Cup viewing parties during work hours? The Editorial department took a day to go to a Phillies game, and another day to express our artistic sides at a painting studio. I never in a million years expected to do any of these things as a summer intern, and it’s great to be at a company that genuinely values its employees.

This was definitely not an internship that involved just getting coffee for my superiors (although I did do that once … Michele drinks a lot of coffee!). The amount of experience and exposure I got with writing for this industry is exceptional, and unparalleled. As I head back to school for my final semester, I take with me capacious stacks of writing samples, as well as connections and even friends with whom I hope to stay in contact after my time at ASI comes to a close.

Corrie Purvis with Tim Andrews

ASI CEO and President Tim Andrews with Rachel Abraham (left) and Corrie Purvis.


Corrie Purvis with Tim Andrews

Working on the ASI PromoCar.


Corrie Purvis with Tim Andrews

At a fashion photo shoot.


Sales Tip of the Week – Sharing Content

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

shareWhat makes you share something with someone else? Advantages magazine has a few tips on how to create content that people will pass along.

When you give clients useful information in an educational and/or entertaining format, you increase the chance that they’ll pass it along to their colleagues and professional network. Provide links via an e-mail campaign, on your website or via social media pages that offer information to download for free or to access online. Here are five examples of great pass-along content: Whitepapers, Infographics, Blog entries, Podcasts, Videos.


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