October 19, 2012
Pop quiz: Next time you find yourself in a group of college students who don’t know what you do for a living, ask them about promotional products. Then ask if they’ve heard about the industry in their marketing class, or if they’re considering our industry for a potential lifetime career.
I’m betting you’ll get a lot of blank stares in response.
If recent discussions I’ve had with distributors in Chicago and Los Angeles are any indication, just about everyone is on board with the need for more outreach to colleges and universities. We want to get young people educated and excited about this industry. Hopefully, they’ll give it the ultimate stamp of approval and brand it “cool.”
To that end, ASI® recently announced a unique education initiative designed, in great part, to teach college students ways to become successful entrepreneurs as distributors in our industry. Along the way, they’ll also learn about suppliers, decorators and the ad specialty industry itself.
We think it’s a great way to expand the number of new college graduates who understand the industry and, we hope, become interested in making it a career. Or at least understand the great ROI from using promotional items in the marketing programs they might create in whatever career course they might take.
Right now, our industry is rarely if ever mentioned in marketing, advertising or business courses or textbooks – and I’d like to see that change.
It’s a pilot program so we’ll see how it goes. Right now, it involves a single institution: Babson College, a Massachusetts school that blends top-flight business education coursework with hands-on training, online education and real-world applications.
At Babson, approximately 500 first-year undergraduates enroll in a year-long course to learn how to run a business. Instructor-led groups of about 20 students each receive approximately $3,000 in seed money, which some groups will use to buy, imprint and sell promotional products during the second of two semesters.
As part of our effort to introduce the industry to potential new hires, ASI is donating our time and energy, along with offering access to ESP® and ESP Websites™. Students will also be able to take courses at ASI’s Online Learning Center and further hone their business and networking skills during an on-site guided tour at our New York City show in May (featuring a keynote by Buddy Valastro, Jr., the “Cake Boss” on the hit TLC reality show).
We’ve had positive feedback from several local distributors interested in speaking to or mentoring students during this trial. A couple of other people were worried about “the competition” but I think our active distributors can overcome a few kids as we build a pipeline of future industry leaders.
August 1, 2012
Knowledge is power. Those are words I live by.
For as long as I can remember, my family has established three core values: education, education and education. My grandfather started the trend and highlighted the importance of education to our family by being the first person in his entire state of Gujarat, India, to get accepted into medical school with a full scholarship.
This came at a time when the British ruled over India. It was a major accomplishment in his life and a piece of family history that I will always treasure. His start in the medical field has created three generations of doctors in our family today. I’m actually the only person in my family to have pursued a business degree (dual major: advertising and marketing).
My passion for marketing started in high school. I was geeky back then and probably am still a little geeky today. I joined FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) and DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America). I took marketing classes, joined marketing competitions and eventually earned awards and accolades for my passion – and even got some scholarships and grants to go to college.
I joined ASI® nearly seven months ago and quickly hit the ground looking to learn about this industry. I found pursuing my BASI™ was the best way to do it.
ASI’s education program is a great resource for newbies like me, but also for people looking to get a competitive edge. By giving you a highly specialized understanding of the promotional products marketplace, a BASI (Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information) or MASI™ (Master of Advertising Specialty Information) can transform your career.
A BASI or MASI certification comes with these rewarding benefits:
It’s easy and free to work toward your certification. You’ll see the impact on your career instantly. I know I did!
Click here to visit the ASI Online Learning Center and get started today.
– Fal Dieso
ASI brand marketing director
July 17, 2012
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins literally rocked the house at ASI’s all-day education session in Chicago on Tuesday. As one Counselor blogger put it: It was a sales rep’s Super Bowl. Or, as Tony himself said: “This is not your typical biz seminar, but they’re boring as sh**.”
You gotta love this guy.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an audience so energized and so willing to jump in and do whatever it takes to tap into Robbins’ energy and make it work, work, work for them to transform their lives and achieve their business goals.
I hope you followed the constant stream of tweets and blog posts from our editors, but in case you need a recap, below are some Tony tidbits and highlights. Print them out and post them where you can see them every day, to get started on your very own “celebration.” One tip: Play your favorite get-pumped music really loud while reading:
February 16, 2011
The ASI show in Dallas opened Wednesday with a bustling Education Day featuring six dynamic new speakers and a slew of sessions – all of which qualify toward the Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program.
We’re hosting a “Build Your Industry Contacts” networking reception and Thursday we start two days of exhibiting – including nearly 120 suppliers that did not exhibit at Dallas last year.
There are tons of wild and crazy new products – from the wacky and weird to the super cool and high-tech. I’ll showcase some of them in upcoming Tim’s Takes videos.
Thursday night, we return to what’s always a hootin’ hollarin’ good time at the Ultimate Texas Bash at Eddie Deen’s Ranch. Friday, a sold-out crowd will enjoy a morning keynote by former first lady Laura Bush, who’s also addressing a lunchtime crowd at our second annual ASI Women’s Summit.
I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about her days in the White House and especially her advocacy work on behalf of women’s rights in Afghanistan and women’s health.
Stay tuned for updates all this week. On with the show!
January 25, 2011
The doors are closed and the results are in. The ASI Show Orlando posted record-breaking attendance of more than 6,110 distributors, up 38% from last year and up 5% from the prior record.
What a show! It’s clear we’re charging into 2011 pumped up by big attendance numbers and a re-energized industry. It’s also clear that ASI Orlando has developed into the leading East Coast show in January, drawing from distributors across the country.
And the number of suppliers exhibiting this year is up nearly 10%, which reflects their recognition of the power of ASI Shows across the board. Suppliers tell us Orlando was one of the busiest industry shows in recent memory.
We think you’ll agree that pushing the dates a few weeks later in January made a world of difference, allowing everyone time to calm down after the excitement of the holiday season. Equally as important is the economic up tick we reported today in PromoGram. There’s no doubt the industry is finally in rebound.
Throughout the show – from a record-breaking Education Day through the Counselor Distributor Choice Awards, the Gala Celebration and the Michael J. Fox keynote – the feedback we’ve received has been enormously satisfying.
Jason Grindall, from Graphco Line (asi/57956) said, “We saw more distributors here at ASI Orlando during the first day alone than we did during the entire PPAI show. We’re leaving with quality leads and have spent time with many wonderful people.”
Mary Ellen Nichols, from supplier Bodek & Rhodes (asi/40788), loved the incredible volume of distributors and quality attendees while David Regan, from The Vernon Group (asi/351700) called the show “a great way to start the year.”
We had a blast last night along with 1,700 others who attended an exclusive networking Gala Celebration at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Les Kania, from Imprinted Specialty Products (asi/23070), put it perfectly: “This is the way to go to an amusement park. The bars are open, the lines are short and the food is good. It’s a terrific evening.”
January 24, 2011
We just enjoyed a milestone day in ASI’s education program. Monday, we “pinned” the first graduates of the Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program and awarded them their certifications in a ceremony at The ASI Show in Orlando.
The certifications represent the industry equivalent of a bachelor’s or master’s degree. I was very proud to join ASI Chairman Norman Cohn, Vice-Chairman Matthew Cohn and Corporate Vice President Stephanie Cohn Schaeffer in getting my pin and certificate. To date, 29 industry pros have received either a Master of Advertising Specialty Information (MASI) or Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information (BASI) certificate.
We launched this program to provide members with the skills they need to out-think, out-perform and out-service the competition. And we couldn’t be happier so many members are seizing the opportunity to set themselves apart through quality education.
So far, 3,327 industry professionals have registered for classes needed to obtain an ASI certification. In 2010 alone, 4,600 distributors took more than 16,000 live education courses at ASI trade shows, making ASI the largest educator in the $17 billion ad specialty industry. We take education very seriously: Each year, ASI commits $1.3 million to educate its members.
The following are now certified:
Master of Advertising Specialty Information
And the following ASI employees: Ron Ball, Chris Lovell and Mary Sells.
Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information
And the following ASI employees: Nick DiNicola, Heather DiPrato, Jim Padilla and Pamela Vicik-Smith.
The Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program is the industry’s only free certification program, created on a user-friendly digital platform. All courses are tracked automatically via a digital campus, so participants can easily access their transcripts and remaining course requirements.
Register here to get started taking your on-demand courses today.
December 15, 2010
ASI went Hollywood this week when a NYC production company transformed ordinary office byways into temporary movie sets for the filming of our upcoming Supplier Success System. The series is a sequel to the uber-popular distributor version that’s helped so many industry newbies jump-start their business.
The supplier version will feature me, SGR Editor Michele Bell and Digital Advertising Director Gene Rahill explaining the intricacies of the promotional products industry while offering helpful tips and instruction.
The shoot was as professional as they come, complete with bright lights, makeup and calls of “action” and “cut.” In some of the scenes, numerous ASI employees served as extras. In the pic at right, the technicians are setting up the lighting for a segment shot in our warehouse. We may not win any Oscars, but we’re hopeful the supplier education system proves as popular as a holiday blockbuster.
This new industry “crash course” will be supplemented with interviews with successful suppliers, top industry experts and end-users from the Fortune 500. It’ll be patterned after the Distributor Success System, a 10-part learn-as-you-go series that includes an introductory DVD and 10 30-minute lessons on CDs, along with a workbook and motivational flash cards.
The best part is you can take these courses when you want, where you want – at home, in the car, on a PDA or through a smart phone. Electronic versions are also available to all ASI members through our website. As with most ASI benefits, the Supplier Success System will be free.
So far, we’ve given out over 8,000 distributor versions, which was first released in May 2009. We expect another hit on our hands when the supplier version comes out later this year. We’ll alert you as soon as it’s available.