September 7, 2012
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?
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
June 11, 2012
First, let me say it’s an honor to be asked to guest post on Tim’s personal blog. It’s a slight change of pace for me. Most of the guest blog experience I’ve had has been on the BELLwether Blog, where rock star Michele Bell allows me to express my less politically correct side – a side she affectionately refers to as “El Diablo.” For this space I’ll tone it down in the interest of continuing to receive a paycheck.
Now that the kissing up is out of the way …
In early May I attended the Mashable Connect 2012 conference at the beautiful Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World. Mashable is the largest independent online news site dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology. This meeting brings together the uber-smart, doing the hippest and most forward-thinking things. To say I felt like the dumbest person in the room is an understatement. Yes, I came away with a ton of ideas (none I’ll share here as I plan to use them to get you to buy stuff), but I also came away extremely impressed with the use of promotional products at the event. Not just in the quality, but how the conference organizers and sponsors really “knew” their audience.
Let’s start with registration. Prior to dinner I took a stroll down to the registration desk to pick up my badge and other materials. Well, I’ll be honest – through the online social community that was set up for attendees, I’d heard there would be a pretty killer goodie bag. And I was not disappointed. Included in the logoed tote was a mini screen cleaner, adhesive whiteboard cards and marker, a mini Etch A Sketch for passing the time, a laptop sleeve, a sweet pair of shades with case from Norwood (asi/74400), a bag of trail mix, two Gildan T-shirts and an awesome Power Stick portable charger from Ecosol Solar Technologies (asi/51566). Quite a haul, right?
Later, while relaxing in my room, I received a knock on the door and was greeted with a present from the nice folks with Disney’s social media team: a super-cool logoed USB hub from Prime Line (asi/79530), and, of course, a bag of Chip and Dale pretzels.
The next day, I found the funniest example of knowing your audience. One of the sponsors, Definition 6, gave out hangover kits. Included was a bottle of water, a Clif Bar, Advil, Alka-Seltzer and a 5-hour Energy shot – which I’m sure a good number of attendees were thankful to receive. For some reason mine didn’t make it home. Must have left it in the room. Believable? Didn’t think so.
To put it simply, everyone involved did it right. Hosts and sponsors knew the attendees were primarily tech geeks, and with only 200 people there, could go a little bit higher-end. When done right, companies can use events to leave a lasting positive impression on the individuals in attendance. Think about the last event you went to; there were most likely plenty of sponsors. Which ones do you remember? It’s the ones that seemed to do just a little bit extra. Keep this in mind when pitching your proposal for your client’s next event. And now for the plug … Using ESP®’s Event Planner, you can easily put together a winning proposal, at a variety of price points, that your clients will love.
Check out the video by clicking here to see all these items and more. And please follow me on twitter @ccgraf.
– Colin Graf, ASI® marketing director of supplier membership/digital advertising
May 15, 2012
Innovation is cool, right? We believe so. It’s what we try to promote to our readers, viewers and listeners every day in our various media outlets – print, Internet, video, social networks, online radio, electronic newsletters. So, about six months ago, we looked ourselves in the mirror and said: It’s our turn.
This month, we’ve launched a redesigned Counselor® brand. The logo is bigger and bolder, the print version (which also happens to be physically larger than the previous incarnation) has a completely new look, and our new website (same address: www.CounselorMag.com) ushers in a new online portal for industry news and insights.
It’s an exciting time for the Counselor brand. The print edition, which hits industry offices 13 times a year, has a bold new design that is meant to feature both user-generated content as well as news and trend analyses that will inform the industry – and always make you think. Also showcasing regular sections called News, Case Studies, Apparel, and Social, every issue of Counselor is sure to educate and entertain readers.
This overall effort is more than six months in the making, and has taken a lot of brainstorming and work by a lot of people. The result, I think, benefits the industry by providing a media brand that delivers information and insight anywhere and everywhere. In addition to the print magazine redesign, the Counselor website has been transformed.
Go now to www.CounselorMag.com to see a true media hub for the ad specialty industry. Containing the most recent news, analysis of the most pressing trends, how-to articles that offer practical business advice, and video coverage like no other in the industry, the new www.CounselorMag.com also provides easy ways for readers to interact with us. Twitter and Facebook feeds are planted on every single page – giving visitors ways to post comments and respond to articles in real time.
Plus, news and articles (including a twice-weekly update of the industry’s personnel appointments and promotions) will be changed, updated and enhanced every single day – giving the industry reasons to visit www.CounselorMag.com as often as possible.
So, take some time this week to check out the new Counselor brand. And let me know what you think about our own turn at innovation. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @ASI_AndyCohen.
– Counselor Editor Andy Cohen
October 11, 2011
When I was a kid, my main chore was dishwashing. Since this was before automatic dishwashers were popular, it meant running hot soapy water, scrubbing hard with a threadbare dishrag and drying each dish by hand before putting it away into the cupboard.
I despised dishwashing, much preferring playing on the swing, chasing the chickens, skipping rocks in the pond, even just watching the clouds go by. So getting the dishes done fast was a very important motivator.
My father, who flew jets off aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy, would occasionally get out the white gloves and inspect my work. His fastidious attention to detail often meant I’d have to start the process all over again until I got it right.
I enjoyed a eureka moment when I read “Cheaper by the Dozen” in school, authored by a child of efficiency experts who invented the concepts of time/motion studies in automation. The book explains how, when you have a dozen children, you have to plan carefully. The concepts of process measurement, time control and quality metrics are all explained in a way even a 10-year-old could understand.
Applying the same principles to my dishwashing, I determined the fastest, most efficient method with the greatest quality control.
Years later, I became part of a team at ASI Computer Systems, Inc. that applied these same automation concepts and delivered them as a software product for the advertising specialty industry: ASI SmartBooks, a new, industry-specific business management software that allows distributors to manage their entire business with a single, flexible, powerful business application.
To read our recent press release about ASI SmartBooks, click here.
The basic principles about “which is fastest” and “how do we maintain high quality” have been applied to this new piece of technology that should do for distributors and suppliers what “Cheaper By The Dozen” did for my dishwashing.
We started the two-year R&D process by taking our stopwatches and notepads out to scores of industry firms, watching what you do each day and asking lots of questions about how you get it done. These studies led us to some of the best practices in the industry that we tried to make fundamental to our new product, ASI SmartBooks.
Thanks so much to those who helped us understand how to quote, order, process, deliver and account for promotional products fast and with quality.
ASI Computer Systems is also offering ASI SmartBooks product webinars on October 13, 20 and 27, with additional webinars offered in November and December. To join the free webinars, e-mail ASISmartBooksInfo@asicomp.com. Click here to learn more.
– Mark Bloom
Software Product Manager, ASI Computer Systems, Inc.
August 9, 2011
Last week, I was back in the Windy City for the second time in two weeks (ASI Chicago was indeed just two short weeks ago) with ASI Editor-in-Chief Melinda Ligos to attend the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ (ASBPE) conference and awards ceremony.
The ASBPE honored Stitches magazine with its top “Magazine of the Year” award in its 33rd annual Azbee Awards of Excellence competition. In addition, Stitches won five national awards, including “Best Feature Article” for our November 2010 Stitches Golden Needle Awards coverage, “Best Feature Series” for “Mentor of the Month,” “Best Original Research” for our annual May State of the Industry survey by ASI Executive Director of Research Larry Basinait, and “Best Regular Department” for “Look Book.” The ASBPE honored ASI publications with a total of nine national and 11 regional awards of excellence for writing, editing, research, design and photography. In the pic below mine, Melinda shows off one of editorial’s many awards.
When I was a graduate student at Penn State studying creative writing, I had the great opportunity to teach undergraduate writing classes. I’d walk from my apartment on Hamilton Street three times a week toward the main campus going over my lesson plan in my head (the pithiness of Gwendolyn Brooks’ poetry or artfulness of Mark Doty’s memoir). I loved the nervous tension of these walks, thinking about whether I could get my students excited about writing. My head is still always wrapped up in the beauty of words and the art of communication, and to have Stitches recognized with these awards was truly an honor.
For the Magazine of the Year Award, ASBPE’s judges told us that Stitches stood out from the competition with strong writing, understanding of its target audience and intriguing design. In particular, they said Stitches is “brightly written and designed” and “easy to read and aesthetically pleasing,” showing “a real engagement in the industry you don’t always see.”
In Chicago, not too far from the brand-new Marilyn Monroe statue with her iconic white dress flying up, I had the opportunity to stand in a lecture hall in the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center, presenting to other B-to-B magazine editors at ASBPE what it is we’ve done over the last five years to revitalize Stitches.
I talked about our complete magazine redesign in 2009; our commitment to hard-hitting content (we recently spent the day in Montana Women’s Prison’s embroidery shop to learn whether it was a great rehab device or a way for outside shops to exploit cheap labor); the way we’ve built a community for readers (we’re on Twitter, @asi_stitches; and Facebook, www.facebook.com/stitchesmag; we have a social site; www.stitchesmagsocialsite.com); and our must-read yearly issues (May’s State of the Industry and November’s Golden Needle Awards coverage).
After my presentation, I talked with other editors about what it’s like to be able to do what we love every day and be so close to the written word, but also create these bright vehicles and communities to serve our industries. For me, this Magazine of the Year award was thrilling and humbling, because, really, in the magazine world, you can never sit still – it’s always about moving forward.
– Stitches Editor and ASI Director of Education Nicole Rollender
April 14, 2011
How’d you like to join the ranks of dynamo speakers like Michael J. Fox, Laura W. Bush and Mike Ditka? Well, now’s your chance. All you need to do is qualify to become an ASI Show speaker.
Right now, the ASI Education team is looking for top-notch industry educators who can deliver compelling presentations on the most effective tools and techniques used in business today.
Click here to connect with us.
ASI is serious about education. 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. Each year, ASI commits $1.3 million to educate its members, and we’re really proud to be able to offer industry professionals free, up-to-the-minute live and online education
In 2010, in response to lots of member requests, we launched the ASI Certification program, which recognizes industry professionals with Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information (BASI) and Master of Advertising Specialty Information (MASI) certificates, the industry equivalent of a bachelor’s or master’s degree. These certifications are awarded to industry professionals who have demonstrated their commitment to service and continuing education.
To date, 6,700 industry professionals have registered for classes needed to obtain an ASI certification.
And, participating in the certification program is free, user-friendly and hassle-free for our members. We track all of the live and online ASI Education courses that members take automatically via our Online Learning Center (www.asicentral.com/onlinelearning), so they can easily access their transcript and remaining course requirements.
If you want to help educate the advertising specialty industry, ASI is where it’s at. We’d love to learn more about you and your expertise. Click here to tell us about yourself. You never know where it will lead you. If you have any other questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Nicole Rollender