November 22, 2011
ASI is always researching new markets and industry trends, and Counselor magazine recently reported on a big one: incentives used in wellness programs.
Turns out, incentives are key to encouraging employee participation in wellness programs. An Incentive Research Foundation report shows only one in five people will participate in wellness programs if there are no incentives. In fact, offering incentives increases participation at a minimum of 60%.
Although research clearly shows companies can attain a significant ROI through wellness programs, right now only 44% of companies are using promotional products as incentives to get more employees involved. That means there’s clearly room for growth in this market.
It’s good for business – and it’s great for reducing skyrocketing health-care costs. According to a 2010 government report, between 70% and 75% of the $2.5 trillion spent every year on U.S. health care is used for treating preventable conditions. Incentives can help turn the tide.
Popular items used in incentive programs range from logoed body mass index calculators and jars filled with almonds instead of candy to wristbands, pedometers and backpacks – many carrying printed cards with health tips.
The timing couldn’t be better to tap this market, as health-care reform is giving smaller companies help in launching wellness programs through grant money, tax credits, educational surveys and online portals. As Counselor senior writer Dave Vagnoni reports, by 2014, companies will be able to offer rewards of up to 30% of the total cost of an employee’s insurance coverage.
If you haven’t already, read the entire Counselor story. I promise you it’s a real eye-opener.
November 15, 2011
We spent three great days in California at the 2011 Power Summit – braving surprisingly chilly weather – debating, networking and strategizing with a diverse assemblage of about 250 industry leaders and aspiring leaders.
For photos, videos and news of the Counselor Power 50, click here.
During the summit, we heard from experts like John Hamm, an executive coach and author of “Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills for the Practice of Great Leadership.”
My main takeaway from John was this: Be honest – with your employees and with your customers.
The Power Summit is always a whirlwind of ideas, discussions and debates. For me, three main themes emerged from this year’s gathering. The first is focus. Focus on your business and refocus your efforts as we barrel toward the end of 2011 and into 2012.
The second theme is technology. Power your business with the latest technology and increase efficiency and your bottom line. The third theme is talent – recruiting it and developing an even deeper bench. And once you’ve built that team, don’t forget to bring them into as many discussions as possible. You’d be amazed at the great ideas that surface from brainstorming sessions.
One of the highlights of the summit was the release of ASI’s latest research study, “Defining the Disconnect: An Analysis of Channel Beliefs vs. Customer Needs in the Advertising Specialty Industry.” This is the very first industry study to tell suppliers and distributors straight out if they’re delivering products end-users really want. If you haven’t already, I urge you to read it in its entirety by clicking here. Circulate it to as many industry friends as possible.
For more on the 2011 summit, please check out my Tim’s Take videos by clicking here and here. If you attended, I’d love to know your thoughts. Post a comment or e-mail me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
November 10, 2011
I received immediate feedback to my letter to members concerning President Obama’s call for cuts in federal government spending on ad specialties. I appreciate everyone who responded and applaud your passion – no matter where you stand on this particular issue.
The executive order titled “Promoting Efficient Spending” was posted Wednesday and made me feel less anxious about its overall impact on our industry. Section 7, Extraneous Promotional Items, reads: “Agencies should limit the purchase of promotional items (e.g., plaques, clothing, and commemorative items), in particular where they are not cost-effective.”
Can we live with that? Many of you who wrote think we should, for the overall good of the country. Others think Obama’s stance is anti-business and that his views on economic recovery are misguided.
One point I’d like to stress is that ASI is not partisan in any way. As an organization, we advocate on behalf of this industry – and not for or against any particular politician or political party.
Below is a sampling of some of your comments – with names removed. They represent what many of you are thinking:
There have also been a number of articles written about this issue, including one that ran on the Politico blog, which quoted me. As it turns out, even Politico was unable to find any agencies that have paperweights, stress balls or coffee mugs.
In addition, I also spoke to a Washington Post reporter on the issue and was happy to continue to hammer home the cost-effectiveness of ad specialties – and how using them often actually saves the government money when compared to other forms of advertising. That’s a point all of us should be making – no matter which color state we live in. To read the Washington Post article, click here.
November 9, 2011
As you may have already seen, President Obama has announced a mandate to cut 20% from federal agency spending on “plaques, clothing, and other unnecessary promotional items.” The cuts are designed to trim the government’s “wasteful spending.”
We are undertaking an aggressive PR campaign to immediately educate the media and others to help the general public, as well as political leaders, understand the importance of our industry: job creation, promotional products’ incredible ROI and why our industry’s output and value shouldn’t be called “wasteful spending.”
We’re calling on everyone to reach out to their senators and congressmen – they need to hear from each of us, collectively and individually. I am sending a letter directly to President Obama. Below are talking points you might consider in a letter to the editor of your local paper and to your senator or your representative.
We’ll provide additional information and guidance in coming days as we continue to learn more and evaluate ways to effectively respond.
Let me know what action you’re taking and if you have any other suggestions by posting a comment or e-mailing me here.
November 9, 2011
This week, ASI released its latest study, which addresses the key question, “Are you delivering what end-users really want?” The answer may surprise you.
In the first industry study to tell suppliers and distributors if they’re delivering the right products, ASI documents the discrepancies in attitudes and opinions between buyers, sellers and end-users of the products fueling our $17 billion industry.
“Defining the Disconnect: An Analysis of Channel Beliefs vs. Customer Needs in the Advertising Specialty Industry” lays out a plain case for paying attention to customers’ wants and needs. At the same time, it points the way to new selling opportunities.
Significant findings of the study show:
For a downloadable PDF of the study, click here. I suggest reading it in its entirety – and letting its findings help you improve the way you think about your products. It may help you boost your bottom line. To read our press release, click here. I encourage you to share the results any way you can: tweet about it, post the link on Facebook, email it to everyone in your company.
The study — authored by our executive director of research, Larry Basinait – compares opinions about ad specialty preferences and usage patterns from suppliers through to end-users. The study also examines overall opinions about ad specialties as well as specific product types: shirts, caps/headwear, bags/totes, writing instruments, mugs/glasses, desk/office/business accessories and calendars.
Some key study takeaways include:
November 8, 2011
Timidity has no place in business. And if Polyconcept’s recent history has shown us anything, it’s exactly that. When Polyconcept’s Philippe Varnier, Yann Leca and David Nicholson purchased Trimark Sportswear, they changed the game by becoming the first major supplier to sell both hard goods and apparel.
By definition, the business leaders on our annual list set the agenda for the market, provide successful examples for others to follow and, ultimately, dictate how business is done in the ad specialty industry. Last night we honored them for their outstanding business acumen at the fifth annual ASI Power Summit in Dana Point, California.
Here’s the top of the 2011 Counselor Power 50 list:
It’s also worth noting the newcomers who hit the list for the first time, since they’re definitely among the ones to watch. They are:
For more info and details on why these leaders moved up – or down – read the upcoming December issue of Counselor and check it out online at http://www.counselormag.com/.
November 7, 2011
You could never accuse political pundit James Carville of being a shrinking violet. The upcoming ASI Show keynoter – a guest on ASI Radio this morning – stakes his claim to fame with the very first words posted on his website: “The man who has devised the most dramatic political victories of our generation.”
Even if you disagree with his politics, you gotta admire Carville’s verve. The Democratic strategist credited with ushering an unknown Arkansas governor into the White House always tells it like it is, whether he’s opinionating on Sunday morning talk shows or addressing a corporate crowd like ours. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say on ASI’s weekly radio show. To listen in at 10:30 a.m. ET today, click here.
You don’t have to prefer blue over red to enjoy Carville, a blunt-talking Southerner who dishes sports once a week on XM Radio and is married to Republican consultant Mary Matalin. His fierce frankness is why we chose him to square off with conservative Bill O’Reilly in “Live from the No-Spin Zone” January 18 in what’s sure to be a highlight of ASI’s first show of the year in Orlando.
Carville and O’Reilly, Republican and popular host of Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” will give us the straight scoop on the 2012 presidential elections just as the already divisive race kicks off. I, for one, can’t wait for this smackdown. Sparks will definitely fly.
So tune in as our radio hosts get the first stab at the Ragin’ Cajun. I guarantee it’ll be one of the liveliest exchanges ever heard over our airwaves, as Carville gives us his firm opinion on everything from the huge role promotional products will play in the 2012 elections to whether LSU will take Tulane.