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  • June 15, 2021 12:08 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Executive presence—that certain gravitas and innate ability to inspire and influence others—is a key skill to develop when you work in sales. When you have a strong executive presence, you know how to draw people in and compel them to keep listening. This skill serves you well whether you are pitching to prospects, presenting to clients or meeting with your sales team.

    According to leadership expert and executive coach, Joel Garfinkle, extroverts aren’t the only ones with strong executive presence. He says many introverts possess a more subtle but equally important version of the elements of executive presence.

    Whether you want to help those on your sales team or strengthen your own executive presence, Garfinkle says there are four key points to know. We share Garfinkle’s thoughts on the four components of executive presence in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

    1. Confidence. The first key component of executive presence is confidence—and just the right amount. If you appear overly confident, it may come across as bravado or bluffing, says Garfinkle. Introverts usually exude a tamer version of confidence than extroverts. Rather than talking just to be heard, they state their opinion when they have something valuable to say. Whether you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert, you can improve your executive presence by remaining calm and collected and making yourself a reassuring presence to those around you.

    2. Boldness. Introverts aren’t traditionally considered bold. However, when they overcome their natural tendency to hang back, they can set themselves apart as bold. This boldness goes a long way at developing executive presence. Garfinkle notes that the presentation doesn’t even need to be flashy. The important thing is to become known as someone who makes a decision and stands by it. Once you make the leap to own your position, you can handle whatever comes your way.

    3. Trustworthiness. Another important component of executive presence is trustworthiness. Since the introverts on your team are probably less likely to have a showy persona or participate in gossip, they are probably viewed as trustworthy professionals. The challenge, says Garfinkle, is allowing others to see that their character and personality matches their words and actions. This is difficult for professionals who come off as a closed book. Remember that people need to know a little about you and where you stand in order for them to trust you, Garfinkle points out.

    4. Insightfulness. Professionals who have the ability to hang back and observe a situation before responding are demonstrating a strong executive presence. This is where introverts tend to shine more than extroverts because they are accustomed to listening before speaking.

    Garfinkle says it’s important for professionals to share their insights, though. Many people don’t speak up thinking that no one wants to hear their thoughts, or they need more time to put their ideas together. Remember that people want to hear what’s on your mind—and they want to hear now, not later. Garfinkle recommends that professionals practice being clear and concise on the fly in order to develop their executive presence.

    Executive presence is the special sauce that can separate ordinary sales reps from the extraordinary ones. While extroverts may regularly demonstrate the components above, introverts also have what it takes to build a strong executive presence.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Joel Garfinkle has written seven books and is recognized as one of the top 50 leadership coaches in the U.S. As an executive coach, he has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Amazon and Starbucks.

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • June 15, 2021 12:07 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    In late March, beloved fast food chain SONIC partnered with Detroit-based sign painter Kelly Golden to release a new merch collection called Local SONIC Swag that’s got a little something for everyone (or everyone who lives in one of the 46 U.S. states where SONIC operates!). The tees have been a hit with fans of the burger chain and generated hundreds of social media posts on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and more.

    A video spot from SONIC showing off the new tees.

    You don’t have to be a seasoned promotional products whiz kid to know that it takes more than a fantastic product to have a successful promotion. So, what makes this clever promotion so popular?

    Connections

    Instagram post with the #MySONICSwag hashtag from user @alegriajimeniz.

    Good promos invite people to connect and engage with your brand, and that’s just what these tees from SONIC do. With a custom-designed tee for every one of the 46 U.S. states where SONIC serves customers, this promotion offers fans a unique way to connect with the brand on a personal level. By combining local pride with fun designs and classic SONIC drive-in imagery, these tees invite patrons to show off their home state and their favorite fast food restaurant with a unique and quirky fashion statement.

    Design

    Just a few of the 46 unique tees available at sonicswagshop.com.

    What makes these tees so unique is the carefully considered individual designs for each state. From Alabama to Wyoming, these tees combine the things that make each state special with SONIC menu items to create whimsical graphics. The classic, vintage-style sign painting art of Kelly Golden fits perfectly with the 1950’s nostalgia of a drive-in restaurant like SONIC.

    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Rhode Island

    The Tennessee tee features a country-music playing raccoon whose drum set is a tater tot and onion ring, a clear homage to Nashville’s rich country music history. There’s a cowboy riding rodeo-style on a chili cheese coney for Texas, another classic SONIC menu item. Rhode Island gets its quintessential clam with a cute peppermint in place of a pearl, a wink to the state’s culinary and economic icon, and to the sweet post-meal treat that comes with every meal ordered at the drive-in snack stop. And that’s just a few of them! Every single SONIC State Swag tee has clever reminders of each state’s specialties mashed together with tasty treats, all wrapped up in cohesive designs that are fun to wear.

    Social Media Push

    When you add your favorite tee to your cart on sonicswagshop.com, there’s a note to share your state swag look on social media with #MySONICSwag, and this is included in their own social media posts about the shirts as well. Social media is a crucial component of every successful promotion, and this one is no different. Flipping through the hashtag on Instagram will greet you with cute family and couples’ photos set to the background of the iconic yellow and red drive-in, but that’s not the only social media success this campaign has had.

    Viral TikTok from @nixswede on the SONIC state tees.

    For many people (teens especially!), the news of this cute promotion broke on popular social media app TikTok in a viral video with over 1.1 million views from user @nixswede. In this video, @nixswede shares her favorite SONIC state tees, which no doubt inspired plenty of people to check out the tees and order their own. The success of her first video inspired @nixswede to make a whole series rating all of the SONIC state tees, each to the tune of 15 to 115 thousand views and likes a-plenty.

    Giving Back

    Screenshot from sonicswagshop.com featuring info on their give-back program.

    Not only are the SONIC tees adorable and a great way to flaunt some state pride, but they also give back to a good cause. For this promotion, SONIC is giving $1 from every t-shirt sale to help fight childhood hunger through the SONIC Foundation. The SONIC Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit division of the Inspire Brand Foundation and works to spark brighter futures for America’s youth by supporting education, community, and the ending of childhood hunger. By partnering their promotion with a good cause, SONIC’s fans can feel good about their purchases knowing that they’re helping their communities.

    Innovative promotions are multi-faceted and exciting, and that’s just what the #MySONICSwag campaign accomplishes. Depending on what state you want to rep, there are still tees available in many sizes on their site (sorry, Texas, you’re so popular that all your tees are out of stock right now). The SONIC state swag promotion is an excellent inspiration for your future campaigns!

    Used with permission from SAGE

  • June 15, 2021 12:06 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    No doubt about it, the pandemic has forever changed the way we do business and the promotional products industry is no exception! If you’re like many in the industry you saw a significant decline in sales in the past year. Here’s the good news, vaccination rates are up; many mask mandates have been lifted and businesses are reopening in record numbers. As a promotional products sales-professional you are in a great position to help these businesses thrive post pandemic!

    If you’re looking to grow your sales quickly, here are five hot promo markets to pursue!

    1. Work-From-Home. The pandemic forced businesses to allow their employees to work remotely. These days many companies have decided to keep WFH as a permanent option and many employees are excited about the opportunity to work remotely from anywhere in the world. As a promotional products consultant you can provide the products that keep remote working employees connected, happy and productive. Products such as flash drives, power chargers, logoed apparel and gourmet snacks are needed and appreciated. This is a market that’s not going away!

    2. Travel and Leisure. Travel practically “ground to a halt” with the advent of the pandemic, but not anymore. Airports and airlines are full, and cruise lines and popular vacation destinations are being booked in record numbers. What does this mean to you as a promotional products consultant? Competition is plentiful and all these companies want to stand out. Gifts of appreciation such as luggage tags, travel bags, journals and gourmet snacks are popular with this market as well as a multitude of other items.

    3. Health and Fitness: The pandemic emphasized for many people the importance of taking care of their health. Gyms may have closed during the pandemic, but many people kept up their fitness routines at home. Items such as yoga mats, strength training bands and weights and fitness clothes are big sellers as well as essential oils and candles. I believe this is a market that will continue to thrive.

    4. Real Estate: Interest rates continue to be low and home sales are booming! Real estate agents are always in the market for gifts for new home owners. It’s a highly competitive market and gifts for referrals as well as signage and unique business cards are always in demand. Vertical markets such as mortgage brokers and title companies are also thriving and a great to pursue!

    5. Events: Concerts, trade shows, non-profit fund raisers and cultural performances are all coming back in droves and your help is needed to promote these events. Everything from T-shirts to water bottles to high end gifts for donors are needed and you, as a promotional sales-professional, are the right person to help make these events even more successful!

    Start concentrating on selling to these thriving markets and your sales are sure to increase. If you’re looking for even more inspiration and ideas check out my latest FREE webinar on How to Double Your Sales in a Post Pandemic World (https://promobizcoach.com/double-your-promo-sales-post-pandemic/) where I share not only the hot markets to pursue but also proven strategies to get your foot in the door of those markets.

    Here’s to your post-pandemic sales success!

    © 2021 Rosalie Marcus

    Rosalie Marcus, The Promo Biz Coach, is a promotional products business expert, sales coach and top-rated speaker. Combining her skills and years of experience in promotional sales, she helps her clients sell more at higher margins to better clients. Get FREE up-to-the-minute sales tips and a FREE On-Demand Webinar 5 Must-Know Strategies for Selling in the New Normal at her website: www.PromoBizCoach.com Reach her at Rosalie@promobizcoach.com.

    Used with permission from PromoCorner

  • June 15, 2021 12:06 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    This article is an excerpt from Paul Kiewiet’s new book, Summit: Reaching The Peak Of Your Potential, available on Amazon in paperback and as a Kindle ebook. The tome is a collection of Kiewiet’s popular blogs and articles, and the 60 bite-sized chapters are packed with the lessons he’s learned and the strategies he’s used to build a successful, nearly 40-year career.

     

    You are a brand. Your brand is you and you take it with you wherever you go, whether you work for yourself or for someone else. It even follows you if you change industries. But here’s the thing, "Brand You" is constantly evolving, and you can continuously build your brand.

    My favorite definition of brand comes from one of my favorite business thinkers and writers, Seth Godin. I’ve modified it just a bit to relate to your personal brand as a promotional professional. “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a client’s decision to choose one provider over another. If the buyer doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that buyer. Your brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.”

    So how do you go about building your personal brand? Here are nine suggestions:


    You must always be stretching beyond good. Never be satisfied with delivering a good product at a good price on time. Everyone who is still in business does those things. Those are the costs of entry into the game. With every interaction with your customers, you need to leave them feeling great about themselves and about you. Set a standard for yourself to be fascinating, remarkable, outstanding. Create high expectations for yourself and then deliver. 


    What are the little extras that you can do to make your interactions with your clients memorable? Your customer will remember the handwritten thank-you note that you send. She’ll remember the extra spec samples that you had made up to show her what her logo would look like on some additional ways to help her achieve her goals. He’ll remember that you took the time to provide a post-project review of what worked, what could be better and the results of the program. They’ll even remember that your invoice was accurate, timely and conformed to their corporate requirements. Your brand is built with the details and the extras.

     
    People love stories. Tell them. From earliest childhood and going back through history, it is the storytellers who become leaders. How can you reframe your presentations into stories? Use case histories. Ask your reps about successful uses and applications. Make the stories personal, funny,compelling, and you’ll gain a reputation of someone who understands his business.


    Always make it about the relationship. Get to know your customers and you’ll learn what is important to them. You will just naturally be looking out for their best interest. You will take the Golden Rule and move it up a notch to the Platinum Rule: do unto others as they would want done to them. Friends do favors without keeping score. Friends genuinely like each other. Friends have something to talk about even if there isn’t an immediate business project at stake.


    If your brand is to be known for something, you need to define it. Choose honesty, integrity, reliability, of course. But go deeper. What is it that you stand for and then be uncompromising on your principles. Become known as being impeccable. If you know what you are worth, charge for it and never lower your price without taking something back in return.


    A specialist in any profession makes more money and is in higher demand than any generalist. With the hundreds of thousands of products and hundreds of categories available in our industry, you simply cannot be the best at all of them. Choose your niche, choose your product category, choose your client industry and then work at becoming world-class at them. It will mean sometimes saying “no” to a tempting client or project. Define yourself and become the favorite brand in your category.


    Brands are built over time. Being consistent means that you follow your principles always. It means that you are authentic and transparent. It means that you remind yourself every single day of who you are, why you are doing what you are doing and that you provide value. Every single day you need to be turning strangers into friends, friends into customers and those customers into raving fans.


    Get serious about becoming a brand. Buy a domain name that is uniquely you. It can be your name, your nickname, your brand name, even what you do. If you have a unique name, make that your brand name. Or create a combination of your name and your specialty. You may even create a logo for yourself. But your mark can be your colors, your apparel, your briefcase, your scent, sound or any of the senses. Just as major brands change and update their logos, you can as well. Be noticeable and be noticeably consistent.


    You’re in the advertising, marketing and promotion business. You must promote. Promote your brand by providing useful content—like a friend would—free. Use your social media presence to extend your reach, but make sure you are following the previous principles in all of your promotion. Be yourself and be true to yourself.

    Work constantly on becoming the preferred brand in your category. Build it and they will become raving fans.   

    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

    Paul A. Kiewiet, MAS+, founded a sales promotion agency in 1982 and has worked with some of America’s most beloved brands including Elmer’s Glue, Krylon Spray Paints, Kellogg’s, Coca- Cola, Whirlpool, Kitchen Aid, Borden, Hush Puppies, Rocky Shoes and Boots, Wyler’s, Soup Starter, RainDance, Kroger, Dow-Brands, Tobler-Suchard, Mentos and many more. He served on the PPAI Board of Directors and was chair in 2007-2008. Kiewiet was inducted into the Michigan Promotional Professionals Association (MiPPA) Hall of Fame in 2010 and into the PPAI Hall of Fame in 2015. A frequent and popular speaker and educator, award-winning writer, industry consultant and coach, Kiewiet has won 14 PPAI Pyramid Awards and two ASI Spirit Awards including Marketer of the Year. Kiewiet has also won the President’s Award from the National Premium Sales Executives and a Golden Key Award from the Incentive Manufacturers Association, along with many other awards. He is currently executive director for MiPPA. Reach him at create2bgreat@gmail.com.

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • June 15, 2021 12:05 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    The impostors posed as a legitimate end-buyer – a scheme crooks may increasingly be advancing against promo products firms.

    By Christopher Ruvo 

    A promotional products distributor is on the hook for 10,000 branded flash drivers after scammers swindled the company in a con that’s being increasingly attempted against industry firms, according to the victim.  

    The same distributor, which is new to the industry and based in the Northeast, detected two other similar scam attempts, at least one of which was from the same individual or criminal group that executed the first.

    “Basically, the scheme is the same: order branded merchandise with a fake purchase order and never pay for the product,” said an executive with the distributorship, which ASI Media is keeping anonymous.

    Executives said the conning serves as a cautionary tale for distributors and suppliers to be vigilant as crooks appear to be ramping up efforts to rip off promo firms by taking advantage of companies’ eagerness to rebuild business in the wake of COVID-19’s economic ravaging of the industry, which saw collective annual sales decline by about 20% in 2020.

    “These schemes are specifically targeting the promo industry, and we need to make as many people aware of this as possible,” the executive at the victimized distributorship said. “The financial and emotional loss will be devastating for any small business who is trying to recover from the long pandemic.”

    The scam that snared the distributor involved a criminal emailing the company and pretending to be a procurement manager from Ohio University, Michael Pidcock, who wanted to buy 5,000 branded flash drives. Pidcock is an actual individual who works in procurement at the university – something the distributor looked into by checking on LinkedIn and on the educational institution’s website.

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t the real Pidcock, but an imposter.

    scam phishing email

    The emailed quote request from the scammer had a few red flags, including the email address, but the distributor felt it ultimately seemed legit.

    There were a few red flags. The email address from which the imposter had sent the message was “ohio-edu.org” – instead of what should have been just an “ohio.edu.” It was difficult for the distributor to get anyone on the phone to verify things, though they tried, but even that wasn’t a major surprise given COVID realities. “Most schools are closed due to COVID and it was understandable,” the executive said.

    The executive continued: “It seemed legit. We continued to communicate via email, discussing logo artwork format and more. He changed the Pantone color. He always emailed back quickly. The purchase order was a bit amateurish, but since we communicated a lot, we didn’t give it too much thought.”

    The order came with a 30-day net payment policy and a request that the flash drives be sent to an address in Ohio that was a FedEx store rather than the school campus. That raised an eyebrow. “I was a little suspicious, but thought FedEx might provide gift-dispensing services and did not pursue it further,” the executive said.

    So, the order shipped. About a month later, in mid May 2021, the scammer again contacted the distributor with a request for another 5,000 flash drives. While the distributor had not been paid for the first order, the firm decided to go into production on the second order, as it followed up trying to get payment for the first.

    Those collection attempts finally led the distributor to make phone contact with an actual accounting manager at Ohio University, who conveyed that the orders were frauds. According to the distributor, the real purchasing manager, Pidcock, also confirmed he did not submit the orders. The real Ohio University and its representatives are not accused of having any part in the scheme.

    The swindle was now plain to see, but the realization had come to late.

    “We had shipped the first 5,000 flash drives and have the second 5,000 sitting in our office with the university’s logo on them and we can’t resell them,” the executive said. “We have huge bills to pay.”

    The third scam attempt involved criminals pretending to be buyers from Harvard University. They submitted what the executive described as an “obviously fake” purchase order and resale certificate for 2,500 vacuum water bottles. The distributor quickly spotted this scam for the con it was.

    “On the PO, the delivery address was in New Jersey, which was very suspicious,” he said. “The email domain did not end with ‘.edu.’ Still, the fact that whoever is behind this is taking their time to forge these POs is chilling.”

    The distributor said that he hopes by sharing his story, others will not fall prey.

    “Our business is OK, and we will survive this with support of family and friends,” the executive said. “I have always considered myself computer savvy, but it looks like we all have our weak moments. Lesson learned the hard way.”

    Used with permission from ASI

  • June 15, 2021 12:04 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Excellent teams need excellent leaders. You can’t expect your sales team to thrive if they do not have a clear understanding of where they are headed. Leadership is about navigating the way forward, but also remembering that you are touching lives along the way. How well you coach and train your sales reps can impact their livelihood.

    According to author Wally Bock, when you accept the position of leadership, you are called to care for your team members and try to improve their lives. This, he says, is leadership’s sacred trust. So, what can you do to improve your leadership? Bock says there are several ways you can be a better leader. We share his ideas in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

    Accept your employees’ humanity. Remember that work is only part of their life—not their whole life. Sometimes, work will take a back seat to other aspects of their life. Also, keep in mind that people are emotional and make mistakes, says Bock. Your goal is not to ensure they never fail but to help them become productive professionals.

    Protect your people. As a leader, you have a responsibility to your sales reps that they have a safe place to work. Your job is to protect them from the whims and folly of the powers that be, says Bock, and to keep the team running smoothly by correcting issues promptly. You can also protect your people by controlling your own behavior. Being a leader does not give you authority to act however you wish. Treat your sales reps respectfully and always say “please” and “thank you.”

    Treat your employees fairly. Another way to be a great leader is to prioritize fair treatment. This means that consequences should match the behavior and that processes should be fair and perceived as fair by all your team members.

    Nurture your sales reps. No matter how long your sales reps have been on your team, never let them stagnate. Help them grow by offering additional training or professional development opportunities. If they outgrow their current position, help them define what’s next, says Bock, even if the next step is with another organization.

    Illuminate the bigger picture. It’s up to you as a leader to show your people how they fit into your company’s larger picture. Look for ways to show your sales reps that their work matters. And don’t expect them to automatically know why they should be working hard, notes Bock. It’s also helpful to help your team members learn how to be better employees. Show them how to pitch in and help each other.

    Give your sales reps more control. Brock points out that people want to make as many decisions as possible about their own work life. You can help your employees by making sure they have the resources they need. Check in with them and see how you can help.

    Set the example. The best leaders set a positive example. They display what they want to see in their team members. If you want timeliness, be punctual. If you want honesty, tell the truth. And if you want hard work, be willing to put in hard work yourself.

    There’s no one way to be a perfect leader, but there are many ways to be a great one. Reflect on the points above if you want to be a better leader for your sales reps.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Wally Bock is an author, blogger, ghostwriter and writing coach.

    Used with permission from PPAI Media

  • May 17, 2021 6:29 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Bragging is human nature – it’s in our blood. We all like to brag about ourselves, about our accomplishments, giving ourselves the proverbial pat on the back. Even if someone says that they don’t like to brag about themselves – let’s be real, they totally like to brag. And, hey, I’ll even admit it. I like to brag!

    We even like to brag about our businesses, especially in our industry where we focus so much on the service side of things. To our potential customers, we might say something along the lines of: “Oh, we’ve got fantastic turnaround!” or “we ship really fast!” That’s great, and it’s definitely a way to build a relationship and confidence with your potential client. Sometimes, though, we forget to talk about the value that our products bring to our customers.

    So, how do we do that? With a case study, of course!

    Case studies are a great opportunity to tell a story about our products and what they’ve done to help solve problems that many people face when marketing their own business. What’s great about them is that they can be as in-depth as you want, or they can just scrape the surface. You can make them about a specific field of business – like hospitals, schools, or universities, related to a specific thing like vaccines or tech, or even just highlighting one product that you know has been a success.

    How do you even write one, to begin with? What’s the formatting?

    Let’s come up with an example solution and break it down. Let’s say that one of your customers has had success with the golf towels they ordered for a big, local golf tournament that they sponsored. To write your case study you’re going to want to break down that story into three sections: the problem, the solution, the return of investment. It might look something like this:

    The Iron Heavy Duty Microfiber Towel

    • Problem: The client is sponsoring a golf tournament; they want to get their name in front of the players in a more nontraditional way instead of just a banner or a hole sponsorship. They wanted something tangible that the players could use for a while, even after the tournament was over.
    • Solution: You and your customer produced golf towels in a bright color that the players could use on the green! You chose a specific product that would be able to clip to their golf bags and was heavy duty so the players could use it later or take it home with them as a souvenir. You were able to decorate the towels with your customer’s logo and they would be able to pass them out at the beginning of the tournament.
    • Return of Investment: Your customer reported a noticeable return of investment and an influx of business in the weeks and months following the tournament. Every time the players used the towel, they were able to associate it with your customer’s logo. The next time they needed something that your customer specialized in, they would remember the towel.

    See? Easy peasy!

    When you’re writing it, make sure to keep it short and to the point, meaning don’t get too long-winded. Don’t worry about describing the product in great detail– we’re not trying to be George R.R. Martin using three pages to describe Oberyn Martell’s feast in A Song of Ice and Fire. Post a picture of the product instead! You’ll be able to show potential customers what you can do for them, and they might even get an idea for their own business or event. Keep each of your sections to about a paragraph too. We don’t need the background of your customer’s company or a breakdown of their complete numbers for return of investment. Just enough to get the point across that promotional products work.

    As always, make sure to check your grammar and spelling, too! Make sure that you’ve got all your commas in the right place and your spelling is spelling bee-worthy!

    Now that you’ve written it, where do you even post it? You can post it on your website in the form of a blog and link it out on your social media. You could email blast it to your customers! Take a deep breath, you’ve got this. Happy writing!

    Used with permission from SAGE


  • May 17, 2021 6:29 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    t’s so true that the world is open for sharing and exploring, giving and taking – thanks to digital technology. Goods are available from far and wide. For example, China has been in the news for several years now as it is a fast-growing nation with tremendous manufacturing power. Walk into any non-food or pharmacy retailer and look at how many products feature the “Made in China” sticker – there are tons. In fact, of the $505.6 billion worth of imported goods in 2017, $70.4 billion were manufactured in and shipped from China, according to the US Census Bureau.

    Saunter over to a vintage or antique mall and look at the products of not-too-distant yesteryear for sale – many have “Made in USA” engraved, embossed, screenprinted. Some even have the specific location – a town/city and state!

    But “Made in USA” is more than just a stamp or proud declaration. It is a legal term set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which explained in a press release that

    Consumers who see "Made in USA" on a product expect that claim of origin to be truthful and accurate. "Made in USA" means that "all or virtually all" the product has been made in the United States. That is, all elaborated the FTC, significant parts, processing and labor that go into the product must be of domestic origin. Products should not contain any — or only negligible — foreign content.

    And it matters. A very recent case should illustrate the importance of ensuring that the products you as a distributor sell to your customers as “Made in the USA” meet that claim. According to an FTC press release, a proposed FTC settlement – including a financial judgment – with a marketer of promotional products reminds companies of the need to substantiate their Made in USA representations.

    Gennex Media LLC sells branded wristbands, lanyards, temporary tattoos, and other promotional products often distributed at trade shows or given to customers or employees. Gennex – which also does business as Brandnex, BrandStrong, PMGOA, and Promotional Manufacturing Group of America – prominently promoted its promotional products on websites, in social media, and on YouTube as “Made in USA,” “USA MADE,” and “Manufactured Right Here in America!”

    But according to the FTC, in numerous instances, the products were wholly imported from China.  In the future, Gennex is prohibited from making unqualified U.S.-origin claims unless it has proof to establish that the product’s final assembly or processing – and all significant processing – takes place in the United States, and that all or virtually all ingredients or components are made and sourced in the U.S. The order includes a financial remedy of $146,249. Once the proposed settlement appears in the Federal Register, the FTC will accept public comments for 30 days.

    “This should be obvious, but you can’t say your products are made in the USA when most of them are made elsewhere,” said Daniel Kaufman, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When companies like Gennex make this false claim, they hurt both people who want to buy American and companies that really do make things here.”

    In their study published in the March 2021 issue of Marketing Science, Kong and Rao investigated the impact of the “Made in USA” claim on consumer demand. They stated that the claim is a disclosure not legally required on consumer-packaged goods however it is a claim made by many companies (sometimes deceptively, e.g., Gennex). They found that there was a decline in demand following the removal of the “Made in USA” claim of four products from companies making the false claim.

    You can check for a Made in USA Certified® seal; it is the only registered Made in USA Certified wordmark from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

    Dick Nelson, CEO of MarcoPromos, comments, “Advertising with made in the USA promotional items is the ideal solution for any organization that wants to increase brand awareness while supporting the local economy.”

    As promotional campaigns go, there are thousands and thousands of products to match your clientele's promotional needs for nearly any reason. Suggesting a tie-in with a national month, week, day, or holiday, is of course, always easy. Let’s take June for example:

    National Safety Month: Mediagraphics’ Hand Sanitizer Spray SaniSoothe 2-oz. (#2OZ1000); ProRose’s No Touch Tool (#364); Kross Inc.’s OSHA-Approved Hard Hats (#HH-15)

    National Nursing Assistants Week (June 17-23):  Berney-Karp Inc./Ceramic Source’s 15-oz. Ceramic Runway Mug (#E60-317); LimeLight’s Medium-Wide Bottom PolyPro Handle Gusset Tote (#PH-WT3)

    Flag Day (June 14): Crystal World’s Stars & Stripes Optical Crystal Award (SP152M); Allied Products’ US Flag Medallion Flag Display Case (#83-28050); Cameo Line’s Patriotic Pencil (#650US-A)

    Father’s Day (June 20): Laser Creations by Identification Systems’ Large Solid Maple Cutting Board (#CB1014); Laser Creations by Identification Systems’ Solid Hardwood Wall Clock (#WC409); Wolfmark’s Custom Knit Beanie (#C220K-790)

    The exciting aspect about selling “Made in the USA” products is that it is relevant all year, for all activities and for all clients. 


    Used with permission from PromoCorner

  • May 17, 2021 6:28 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Colleges offer leadership classes and working professionals can take continuing education courses, but most leaders develop their skills on the job. They learn to lead and engage their teams through experience.

    Whether you aspire to take on more responsibility as a leader, or you want to help your sales reps grow into sales leaders, it helps to know some of the most important leadership skills that are often not taught in school.

    Angela Civitella, a business leadership coach and founder of Intinde, says that if you want to lead an organization well, you should know nine things. We share her perspective in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

    1. Act swiftly. One of the most important leadership lessons is to seize opportunities. Rather than being indecisive or waiting around, act with purpose. Civitella notes that you can often fix a mistake later, but once an opportunity passes, it’s usually gone.

    2. Quit micro-worrying. When you try to control all the little details to the point of feeling physically ill, you are probably micro-worrying. Unless you are trying to save someone’s life, there’s no need to get stuck in analysis paralysis, says Civitella.

    3. Find satisfaction. Even if you are not particularly excited about something—a long call or meeting, for example—you should still look for the good in it. When you add contentment and satisfaction to what you do, you will often end up with a more engaged and happier team, says Civitella.

    4. Establish genuine connections. Until you can safely meet face to face with prospects and clients, look for ways to connect with people digitally. Leaders know there is an art to establishing meaningful relationships, and they continually work at it.

    5. Remember the value of hard work. There is no overnight success story, notes Civitella. No one will likely teach you that career success requires hard work and time. You get out what you put in.

    6. Don’t neglect connections. Unless you nurture your connections, they are not really connections. It’s important to regularly stay in touch with your LinkedIn connections, Facebook followers and database members. Stay on people’s radar, says Civitella. Otherwise, you end up being just a faceless connection, and that’s not useful to you or anyone else.

    7. Accept that mistakes happen. Another fact about leadership that no one will teach you is that failure doesn’t last. Even when you make mistakes, you can reset and reflect on what you learned. When you realize this, it makes things less scary and allows you to have a better mindset about all the moving pieces in your life, says Civitella.

    8. Keep an open mind. The best leaders are happy to learn new things and always want to develop their skills. They rarely find something boring because they know they can always find something useful in it.

    9. Embrace teamwork. Civitella loves the saying “teamwork makes the dream work.” She says leaders should always look for people who are solid team members. Otherwise, you risk conflict that can drain employee morale and productivity.

    You won’t learn everything you need to know about leadership until you actually lead a team. However, you can give yourself an advantage by remembering the nine leadership lessons above.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Angela Civitella is an executive, business leadership coach and founder of Intinde.

    Used with permission from PPAI

  • May 17, 2021 6:26 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Napoleon Hill, the author of the famed business book “Think & Grow Rich” (TGR), once said “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

    POWER OF OUR BELIEFS

    While many these days are familiar with the concept of “manifesting” back in 1937 (when Hill wrote TGR) this wasn’t a common phrase. Today there’s quite a bit of talk about all the positive that can come from manifesting. What isn’t so common is the dark side, rather the shadow side … or another way to put it the accidental causation of thoughts.

    I’ll explain…

    Every thought you have matters. Yes, affirmations are popular because in recent years more and more people have learned about the power of our thoughts more than ever. Out thoughts literally shape our reality (more than you may think).

    When’s the last time you had a bad day?

    Or perhaps when’s the last time you had something go wrong in business?

    A good reflection practice would be to trace your thoughts.

    TRACING THOUGHTS

    The practice of tracing our thoughts is centered around solving issues from the root rather than a temporary “fix". We can look at one thought, action or thing that happens in life then work backwards. It’s just like reverse engineering the goal. Instead of starting with the end in mind, we literally start in our mind and work backwards to find how we got to where we are.

    When it comes to negative thinking we often don’t have the awareness to notice we’re in a loop. AND by the way … a loop is basically being caught in a thought cycle that is … well, a loop… what feels like infinity of being stuck. We must break the loop of negative thinking to get past these negative thoughts.

    WHY SO NEGATIVE?

    I’ve noticed in the past year just how obvious it is that we shape our own reality. I’ll spare you my woo commentary and let you visit my Soul Seekr Podcast if you want to go deeper on the woo. But, what I would invite you to consider is that you do have the power to live your most ideal life.. And it starts with your thoughts.

    Yes, positive thinking is the key. Yet, even though we can be positive most of the time; one slip up with what I call “negative manifestation” can put you back quite a bit.

    I feel that it’s human nature oftentimes to look at the negative… you know play the victim role and say to ourselves “why me”, “why’d this happen to me” etc. I’d invite you to reframe these thoughts into “this happened for me” rather than to me. These simple shifts in thinking can make a world of difference in altering our reality.

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    If you take one thing away from this post, it’s this … be mindful of what you are thinking and have the awareness to trace your thoughts to reframe them (if they happen to be negative) back to the positive track.

    Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” - Napoleon Hill.

    Will you allow yourself to have the awareness to ensure that your thoughts will support the life of your dreams?

    To Mindful Living,

    Sam


    Sam Kabert is the creative director of SwagWorx and the creator and co-host of the podcast “WhatUp Silicon Valley!” A risk taker who embraces permanent beta, Sam is leading the transformation of his family-run office supplies business into a promotional products powerhouse. Sam can be reached at Sam@SwagWorx.com.

    Used with permission from PromoCorner

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