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The True Value of Education

Filed under: Community

Can you put a price on education? The simple answer is yes. Various organizations put the net value of a U.S. college degree anywhere from $325,000 all the way to $1 million.

In fact, a new study recently reported on by NPR shows college grads faring much better in the economic recovery than those lacking a degree. And while many grads continue to struggle to find work, those who have found jobs get paid substantially more than those with only a high school education.

The bottom line is education counts, no matter what industry you work in or what the economy’s doing.

Here at ASI®, we take education seriously, investing $1.3 million each year to educate members. During The ASI Show 2012 season alone, 6,597 industry professionals attended live education classes, up 4.7% from 2011, making ASI the largest educator in the industry.

Recently, we announced the names of seven more industry professionals certified through the ASI Education Certification Program, bringing the total to 540 – with more than 22,000 enrolled in ASI’s free Online Learning Center.

These pros know there’s no better way to impress prospective and existing clients than with proof of your industry knowledge. Once certified, you can frame your certificate for your office and brag about it on your business cards and website.

The ASI Certification Program offers two certification levels: BASI (Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information) and MASI (Master of Advertising Specialty Information).

Please join me in congratulating BASI graduates for August:

  • Robert (Mike) Foss, of Awards and Frames (asi/128061)
  • Newton Jones, of EmbroidMe (asi/384222)
  • Dave Lamb, of Orange Line Inc. (asi/287890)
  • Darla Lay, of Bottomline Ink (asi/143642)
  • Aimee Tapia, of JAAC Promotions (asi/232790)
  • Amy Ziemer, of WorkflowOne (asi/333647)

And MASI graduate for August:

  • Brad Shuman, of Pro Specialties Group Inc. (asi/299725)

The ASI Education Certification Program is free, all-encompassing and user-friendly. And the virtual component means anyone can take part – from anywhere and at any time. No matter what your experience level, you can always benefit from more education. For a complete overview of ASI Education, click here.

If you’ve taken any of our classes, please let me know what you thought – and if you have any suggestions – by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Voting Matters

Filed under: Community, Guest Blog

Recently, a friend I’ve known since 7th grade in Indiana turned 50. Instead of just crying about it, April Mitchell-Nading seized the opportunity and compiled an online list of 50 things she wants to do or change this year, from zip lining to flossing.

I love this idea and want to pass it forward while sharing one of the posts from April’s blog, “The 50 List,” since it concerns an issue I also feel strongly about: exercising your right to vote.

Click here to read the blog and keep reading below for her post, “No. 49: Attend One Meeting or Rally for Women’s Issues:”

Yesterday, I attended Evansville’s 10th Annual women’s Equality Day luncheon, which is a celebration/recognition of the adoption of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. I think we need a reminder that obtaining the right to vote was a hard-fought battle for women and didn’t occur until August 26, 1920. And I hate it when I hear a female say she never votes because she doesn’t like any of the candidates or her vote doesn’t really matter. It does matter.

If nothing else, it matters that we have the right to do it, and we should never take this right for granted. I have voted in every presidential election since I turned 18, whether I liked the candidates or not. I remember how excited I was to hand in my absentee ballot to the clerk at Ball State University. I was voting for the president and my vote counted! I don’t have quite the same excitement years later as I did then, but I do still feel an air of importance knowing that I am a woman living in the United States of America and I have the right to vote!

The keynote speaker for the luncheon was author Peggy Orenstein, who wrote Cinderella Ate My Daughter. I haven’t read the book – yet – but I liked her idea that the Disney princesses and other marketing techniques aimed at girls are actually doing more harm than good. Do we really want our daughters/granddaughters/nieces, etc. thinking Prince Charming is going to come along and rescue them? Is it a positive for girls to be so focused on appearance, sexuality, and looking/behaving like a princess?

Orenstein points out that young girls are now focused on “being sexy” and are so intent on appearance it results in eating disorders. I would add that along with Disney princesses, it probably doesn’t help for these girls to see their own mothers/grandmothers, etc. opting for plastic surgery, Botox and other extreme measures to alter their own appearances in an effort to stay young and sexy. How can we expect young girls to be happy with the way they look when the female role models in their lives are showing them that the only way to be happy is by changing the way they look?

Election Business is Booming

Filed under: Members, Research, Using Ad Specialties

With the presidential candidates locked in a virtual dead heat, it’s obvious our industry will continue to play a key role in helping the candidates market themselves to voters. Pardon the pun, but at each political convention, we’re seeing promo products left and right.

Counselor® reporters are continuing their convention coverage in Charlotte this week, providing boots-on-the-ground observations of the products being worn, banged and waved by Democrats.  Click here for pics of what they’ve seen so far.

As Chicago supplier Rich Carollo, whose family owns Lion Circle (asi/67620), told our ASI Radio audience Tuesday, this election is all about visibility. So when the cameras scan the convention center, keep an eye out for Lion Circle’s “bang a banner” – basically a sign that makes noise – which is bound to be a hit.

While standards like yard signs, bumper stickers and pins continue to be the biggest sellers, there’s no end to the creativity on display this election year. Last week in Tampa, Republicans showed off everything from “Got Mitt?” T-shirts to Obama punching bags.

To see more pics of some of the zanier sights from the RNC as captured by Counselor cameras, click here.

The election is big business and with two months to go, there’s still time to get in on the action. According to ASI®’s research, an estimated $870 million will be spent on election-related ad specialties – including $350 million on the federal election alone – by the time it’s all over.

Local and state elections are great opportunities for distributors who might have a tougher time making the “big time” connections for national purchases.  The man or woman running for Congress might like to buy from a local distributor and your neighbor might even be running for city council or school board.

In Florida last week, our reporters didn’t see any branded pens or tote bags, which means the RNC missed a chance to provide low cost, high ROI products that everyone could have used during the convention (as well as once they got home) as constant, valuable reminders to support their candidate.

And as Rich suggested, don’t forget to call on all the special interest groups out there who are trying just as hard as politicians to get out their messages.

Earlier this year, we also conducted a survey to analyze the effects of advertising specialties on voter opinions. The study’s purpose was to understand how promo products influence voters, what kinds of products are preferred and if there are differences in the perceptions of promotional products based upon political affiliation.

For a press release on the results, click here. You might be able to use a stat or two during your next campaign office sales call.

What election-related products are you selling – and who’s buying? Let me know by posting a comment or e-mailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.