Get in Touch Campaign, Presidential Debate
Trending Colors, American Apparel, Industry Events: Changes Needed? Kirby Hasseman, Bill Petrie, UnScripted
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In this weekly “talk show” column, industry educators Kirby Hasseman of Hasseman Marketing and Bill Petrie of brandivate discuss a variety of hot­-button industry topics. Click on the graphic to hear their “UnScripted” conversation.

Fabulous Fall
Why it's my favorite season of the year. Roni S. Wright, MAS, Sharing the Good Stuff
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You can always give something, even if it is only kindness.

Fall is my favorite season of the year. Sure it’s when football begins and the new network television shows premiere, but for me it’s the perfect time to reflect on what I’ve been doing, where I’d like things to go and why I should be thankful. Typically, right after Labor Day, I take time to ask introspective questions to myself such as have I maximized my opportunities and made good on the promises I vowed? Have I taken care of the individuals that rely on me like family, friends, colleagues and clients? Were the words on my lips spoken with truth and kindness?

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This is an insightful process to go through that can be challenging at times and the answers you arrive at are sometimes surprising. However, I do believe it’s a great way to get situated to end the year on a positive note.

The fall is also home to my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. And as it approaches I am once again reminded to share my gift of gratitude. Although I do try, in small ways, to carry this ideal with me every day, the fall season encourages me to do so on a much grander scale. Be bold. Be daring.

Throughout my industry career, I have had the privilege of watching kind souls in action. Whether on an association volunteer level or serving meals to the homeless, these actions inspire and delight me. I’m a firm believer that each one of us can make a difference no matter how small it may seem to us.

The following thoughts listed below are ones that I’ve gathered over the course of my life’s journey. These are concepts I try to incorporate into my life every day. In fact, I have learned over the years that I need to carve out space and time to consider how I feel about gratitude, humility and drive. I view these ideals as my mantra and my internal voice. Often this voice is silent, set aside. Today I dust the shelf, take a deep and long look, and share this message of gratitude I’ve come to live by.

• Be present. Give the gift of yourself from within. Listen and really hear when in conversation. Take care not to be preparing your next thought and refrain from checking email while on the phone or out dining with others.

• Do something for yourself. Give a gift to you for simply being you. Treat yourself to time alone to read a book, write in a journal, meditate, take a walk. Enrich and nourish.

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• Smile even when you feel like crap. Give a gift and make someone’s day. The gesture of a smile is pure and contagious.

• Breathe before words of anger. Give yourself the gift of time to cool down and consider the words you choose. Angry words spoken or sent online cannot be unsaid.

• Don’t be perfect. Give the gift of acceptance. Allow for mistakes and mishaps as learning experiences not only for one’s self but others.

• Demand and give respect. Give the gift of your actions with the hope of elevating yourself and those around you.

• Set high aspirations. However, give the gift of flexibility and be humble in the face of success or failure.

This fall, I hope you’ll make a genuine effort to reflect on what’s transpired over the year and contemplate your future. To do this you need to let your guard down and be real. Ask yourself really tough questions and be brutally honest with the answers. If you’re not sure how to answer a question, reach out to your industry friends and colleagues and see what they think.

And as Thanksgiving approaches, try to determine what types of gifts you can give to yourself and others. Add to my list of seven for sure. And re-gifting is definitely the way to go when it comes to gratitude. If only we could put gratitude in a bottle and share it with everybody who has made a difference in our lives it would be truly awesome.

Those of you who know me well know that I love quotes. I can get lost in a book of quotes for hours, and often use quotes I discover in books in my articles and presentations. So here is a good one from Anne Frank to end this column. “You can always give something, even if it is only kindness.”

Hope you have a truly awe-inspiring fall!

Roni S. Wright, MAS, vice president of supplier The Book Company, is a 30-year veteran of the promotional products industry. In her volunteer and leadership roles, Roni has served on the boards of PPAI, PPEF, the Regional Association Council (RAC), PPAF and YESAA. Roni shares her busy industry life with husband, Chris, and daughter, Devon. They inspire and encourage her to “be all that she can be.” Over the past few years Roni has found a love of yoga. She’s achieved her 200-hour certification and has journeyed to India to study at the renowned K. Pattabhi Jois Institute. Contact Roni at

New from Industry Suppliers
Identity Marketing Staff, New Products
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sponsored by J. Charles

The Cyrk award is a circle made interesting. J. Charles addresses the challenge through the use of color and a triangular base angled to add presence to your message. The circle is made from beveled Starphire Crystal whose aqua tint is accented with your choice of red, blue, black or clear on the base.

The U-Virden Roots Knit Toque from Trimark boasts a hip, modern look. When the weather turns cold, the Virden can be worn with the bottom folded up for a snug fit or folded down for a more casual look. Fabric: 100% soft acrylic heather anti-pill 2 x 2 rib knit with 1 x 2 rib knit cuff. Lining: 100% polyester anti-pill microfleece. It is available in four colors.

The new Sahara Zip Purse from Marlo Plastics features a rich and soft suede-style vinyl stitched to a coarse-weave khaki nylon band. The pouch stores coins, cash, phone, cards, notes and more. A keyring strap is attached inside the pouch, keeping keys secure and safe.

The Baja-stripe French terry zip hoodie from Independent Trading provides comfort and functionality with a fashion take. Made of 8-oz. cotton/polyester blend Baja Fleece, it has an unlined hood, front pouch pocket, and a YKK #5 DTM coil-kissing zipper with antique nickel pull. Other features include reverse cover-stitched seams, 5/8" flat drawcord with antique nickel eyelets, twill neck tape, and 1 x 1 ribbing at cuffs and waistband. There are thumbholes at the cuffs and 1 x 1 rib panel accents at side seams and under arms. It is available in five fashion colors.

Acres of Diamonds
How to find hidden profits in your business. Johnny Campbell, Campbell's Soup to Nuts
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sponsored by Bulova

Johnny Campbell, DTM, AS, is a million dollar sales producer, hall of fame speaker and author. Johnny is CEO of Rise-Up and Win International, and the publisher of the Promotional Product Sales Confidential report. He is an expert at helping business professionals use LinkedIn and social selling to acquire, retain and recover lost customers. He can be reached at or

From Daydream to Reality
Content Creation, Part 2. Aubrey Collins, Creative Challenges
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When it comes to content creation casting a wide net is usually the wrong approach.
sponsored by Bay State

Welcome to this second installment, designed to help your reach success in bringing your content creation to fruition. You’ve done some difficult work assessing what is holding you back and some essential, qualitative research to determine what your audience wants, needs, and expects of your content.

Now before we get to the fun part, content creation and implementation, you have to do one more assessment to implement a content strategy.

Strategy? Is it too late to bail on this content stuff? Shouldn’t content creation be a fun, free, creative, expressive journey — not a stiff, suit-wearing killjoy like strategy?

Nope. In fact strategy is one of the most essential elements when it comes to content, and in many instances it is the most essential element. Without a content strategy, you’re out there blindly hoping that your content connects with your audience in the locations they frequent. Without a documented strategy in place, you’re far more likely to fizzle out.

We could discuss content strategy for the next six months and still have more to uncover, but a very simple way to look at it and not bog down your content efforts entirely is that you need to outline your brand’s message and business objective and then develop a strategy around this business objective. Your content will be better aligned with your business, and following that strategy will be enough to keep you on the right path.

Create Relevant Content

By creating content that people are actually searching for, you’re more likely to show up at the right place at the right time. By creating content this way, you’re solving the pain points we mentioned in Part 1. And you’re providing the most value to your audience.

When it comes to content creation casting a wide net is usually the wrong approach. Usually getting very specific is going to get you more results. Consider these two topics: A Marketer’s Guide to Trade Shows vs. 3 Things Admissions Professionals Must Do Before School Career Fairs.

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The first is too broad to stand out from the majority of articles available online; the latter promises something precise enough to attract urgent interest. If you drill down, the more precise you get with each article, the more likely you are to influence and inspire the unique group you’re targeting to act.

Plus, taking this approach makes it easy to repurpose content, which, as luck would have it, is the next tip on my list.

Repurpose Content

Every time you create something, push yourself and see how many other things you can create out of it. Think of all the different perspectives and outlooks you can take, the different audiences you can reach. Sometimes one topic, like the aforementioned trade shows and career fairs, can be multiplied into a dozen. College admissions professionals are different than brand marketers who are different from HR vice presidents at hospitals who are different from HR vice presidents at corporate brands.

By drilling down, you can create content that appeals to these varying segments and gives you a nearly endless variety of content to supply to a given audience.

When you personalize and customize your content, you’re providing the most value to your audience. “That which is most personal is most universal,” rings especially true when it comes to content creation.

Inject Personality

They want to work with and buy from real people. People want to know the real you. Humanize your brand by injecting a brand personality

Numbers leave out context. Focus on the people behind the numbers to get the full story of what’s going on.

By injecting your personality and telling better stories, you’re able to engage, entice and spark conversation with your audience. You want readers talking about your brand. You want them sharing your content.

Injecting personality into your writing and storytelling will put you ahead of your competition.

By taking a few minutes to ponder strategy and implementing these three elements into your content, you’ll deliver content that is far more rich and engaging than content simply for content’s sake.

What’s one change you can make today to turn your content daydreams into a reality?

Aubrey Collins is the director of marketing and communications at MediaTree, a supplier of branded digital entertainment cards. She fell in love with the promotional products industry in 2011 at her first PPAI Expo. She shares her perspective on everything from the industry, what parenting continues to teach her about business, to what marketing campaigns make her cry on her blog. Connect with her on Twitter or email her

Weekly Poll Results
How often do you turn to social media for help with product search / feedback on products and suppliers? Identity Marketing Staff, Identity Research
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sponsored by VisionUSA

In the News
PPAI Announces Election Results Identity Marketing Staff, Business News
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sponsored by Next Level Apparel

PPAI Announces Board Election Results

The final results are in for PPAI’s 2016 Board of Directors election. PPAI welcomes Danny Rosin, co-owner of Brand Fuel, Inc., and Sharon Willochell, president of Trimark, who will begin their four-year board terms immediately following The PPAI Expo 2017. D’Anna Zimmer, the Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana business development manager for BAG MAKERS, Inc., has been appointed as the RAC Delegate to the PPAI board. Zimmer’s term is for two years.

“I am excited to welcome Danny, Sharon and D’Anna to PPAI’s board,” said Tom Goos, MAS, PPAI board chair. “They are experienced, passionate leaders and the industry and its members are lucky to have them. I look forward to what they accomplish over the next few years.”

I also want to extend my thanks to all of the candidates in this year’s election,” Goos continued. “They displayed an impressive depth of talent, enthusiasm and expertise. We are privileged to have had such an excellent slate of candidates stand up in support of the industry and the Association.”

The board of directors is the governing body for PPAI and plays a major role in directing its strategic activities, adopting policies and approving budgets to carry out the work of the Association. In the month-long election, PPAI sent ballots to all company members who vote for the distributor and supplier candidates.

Consumer Confidence Up

U.S. consumer confidence surged to its highest level in more than nine years the Conference Board announced. The Conference Board’s gauge rose to 104.1 in September from a revised 101.8 the month prior, surprising Wall Street expectations for a retreat to 99.

The September result is the strongest monthly reading since August 2007 and comes in just above the previous post-recession high of 103.8 set in January 2015. The report underscores how consumption has remained a relative bright spot even as other indicators of US economic growth have lost some of their sparkle.

“A more positive view of the labor market drove the gain, which suggests that the September jobs report is likely to be a solid one,said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR.

Keeping Time
Watches and clocks provide timely exposure. Lisa Schofield, Product Feature
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Unlike other traditional award and recognition products, watches are wearables which serve as a reminder of the recognition every time they are worn.
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Sure, we can glance at our smartphones to check the time. But most people do not have their devices glued onto them 24/7, and like to see what time it is for any of a myriad of reasons. According to Lauren DeSantis of Victorinox Swiss Army, the average person who wears a watch looks at the watch about 40 times per day. “That’s 40 times they will remember who gave it to them,” she emphasizes.

There are many reasons to compel your clients to consider watches as part of an overall promotional and incentive program to retain employees and reward outstanding vendors, clients, etc.

Adrienne Forrest of Bulova Corp. says, “A customized watch or clock becomes a constant reminder of a job well done or task completed which the recipient accomplished in order to receive the gift.”

Andrew Goranson of Kronex Global explains, “Watches make great sense in a corporate awards or incentive program because they are very functional both as a timepiece and a fashion accessory. Unlike other traditional award and recognition products, watches are wearables which serve as a reminder of the recognition every time they are worn.”

Goranson’s observations can be used in the product pitch. Forrest also points out that in today’s world where many people don’t believe they need a timepiece, watches and clocks can be used in programs as heirloom items to be passed from generation to generation.

Rewards that showcase prestige (and that is affordable for the client) will be not only worn but shown off. Explains DeSantis, “The hardest working employees and the most loyal customers are the ones that feel the most valued. Give them a brand and a design that truly conveys appreciation, and you can be sure they'll never forget it. A watch provides an ability to very easily share the recognition associated with the watch with family and friends – it’s on the recipient’s wrist. It’s a built-in excuse to chat up one’s achievements. And – said recipient is also likely chatting up his fantastic, incredibly generous employer who gave it to him or her.”

Further, she adds, a classic-style watch never goes out of style, and today’s watches, in a similar manner with today’s phones do more than just allow phone conversations, watches also do more than tell time. For example, she offers, Victorinox Swiss Army and Wenger watches feature functions that range from calendars to chronographs. “Additionally, these high-end products offer styles to suit any preference – sporty, classic, fashion-forward, or rugged and reliable,” she comments.

Bulova, says Forrest, has introduced its new CURV collection, which showcases the world’s first curved chronograph movement. “This resonates well with our corporate end-user customers, who value products with high perceived value.”

New clocks from Bulova include Bluetooth in wall and mantle styles, which wirelessly support any type of programming from a smartphone or tablet and transmit up to 30 feet away. They work easily with Android and IOS software, Forrest says. Bulova also has several new styles of home décor clocks, including large 45" diameter styles that are UPS shippable.

And because the holidays are coming up, many of your clients may want to host parties or thank-you events, so Forrest reminds to check out Bulova’s Gift In Time “watch experience.” The company will work with budget, guests and goals; pick a plan for your client, the Bulova product, and the company will provide displays, signage, tablecloths, shopping bags and on-site sizing.

“Selling a watch program is easy. Selling a branded watch program, is easier,” DeSantis declares. “Our feeling,” states DeSantis, “is that companies should only give the types of gifts they themselves would be thrilled to receive.”

Jack Nadel, 92
Identity Marketing Staff, Business News
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sponsored by American Apparel

Jack Nadel, 92

Jack Nadel, 92, businessman, industry leader, World War II hero, philanthropist, speaker and award-winning writer, passed away at his home in Santa Barbara, CA, on September 24. He was 92.

Nadel started distributor Jack Nadel International with his late wife, Elly, in Los Angeles in the 1950s. He also brought name brands into the industry such as the Pierre Cardin brand and was one of the first industry companies to hire women.

He was elected to the PPAI board of directors in the 1960s and served as chair in 1970-71. PPAI honored him with induction into the PPAI Hall of Fame in 1988. Nadel will be remembered not only for his legacy in the promotional products industry but for his generous gifts of time, talent, and money to education, health care causes and other charities that were important to him.

Over the years he mentored many future entrepreneurs and his latest book, The Evolution of an Entrepreneur, became an award-winning e-book. He also won the inaugural Entrepreneurial Lifetime Notable Achievement Award from Santa Barbara City College.

He is survived by his wife, Julie, children Judie and Jeff, stepchildren Shari and Hillary, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Paula Schneider Stepping Down from American Apparel

Paula Schneider, the chief executive hired to turn around American Apparel, is leaving the company, according to several sources.

Chelsea Grayson, the company’s general counsel and chief administrative officer, will take the reins as CEO on Oct. 3.

Schneider's exit comes as American Apparel is exploring the sale of the company. The company has hired Houlihan Lokey, a Los Angeles investment firm, to explore a possible sale.

Towel Specialties wins two SGIA Awards
The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) announced that Towel Specialties won both the Silver and Bronze Golden Image Awards for Excellence for Digital Printing on Textiles.

“We’re very happy to be recognized in this category,” said Murray Siegel, marketing director. “As of 2015, this was a completely new category for us. It’s very thrilling to be the only towel company to receive these awards.”

This is the 16th time Towel Specialties has a Gold, Silver or Bronze Award, and the second year in a row in this category.

2016 Readers' Choice Awards
This Week: Calendars, Journals / Notebooks / Planners, Drinkware, Foods / Beverages, Health / Safety / Wellness, U.S. Made. Identity Marketing Staff, Identity Research
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It wasnt Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton and there was no mudslinging or name calling. But make no mistake about it, this year’s Identity Marketing Readers' Choice Awards balloting was closely contested in many product categories.

Here are the results for seven top product categories – Calendars, Journals/Notebooks/Planners, Drinkware, Foods/Beverages, Health/Safety/Wellness, and U.S.-Made. Additional results for other categories will be published each of the next four Mondays.

As always, thanks to all those who took the time to vote in this year's polling.

Word of the Week: Execute
Kirby Hasseman, Word of the Week
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sponsored by Chocolate Chocolate

Kirby Hasseman is the owner of Hasseman Marketing and the author of Delivering Marketing Joy (a book about better promo!). He is dedicated to personal development and building the integrity of the promotional industry. He can be reached at

Rush to Market or Do It Right the First Time
Will the Samsung Recall Embarrass the Brand? Jeff Jacobs, The Brand Protector
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The very nature of the way promotional products are sourced today makes keeping a 100 percent transparent supply chain nearly impossible.
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You likely have heard of the Galaxy Note recall by now. The skinny is that Samsung, in a rush to market to beat the iPhone launch, accelerated the release of the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S by a month. Bottom line results were good, with Samsung having the best June quarter in two years. But, many experts are saying that the supply chain could not handle the additional strain, and safety ultimately took a back seat to profits. Whether or not that is true, there is no arguing that there is an active recall of Galaxy 7 phones in 10 markets, which includes the U.S., due to batteries that have caught fire while recharging.

“Samsung might have over-exerted itself trying to pre-empt Apple, since everybody knows the iPhones launch in September,” Chang Sea-Jin, business professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and author of “Sony vs. Samsung,” told Fortune. “It’s an unfortunate event; it feels like Samsung rushed a bit, and it’s possible that this led to suppliers also being hurried.”

The scale of the unprecedented recall, which some analysts forecast will cost Samsung nearly $5 billion in revenue this year, follows a separate supply-chain management issue that led to disappointing sales of the Galaxy S6 series last year.

We have talked in this space frequently about recalls, and the fact that it is not an “if there will be a recall” but more of a “you likely will have to deal with one” issue. Even the most well-intentioned supplier of promotional products will, at some point, probably need to execute a recall. The very nature of the way promotional products are sourced today makes keeping a 100 percent transparent supply chain nearly impossible. As a result, it is much better – and safer – for distributors to make sure suppliers have successfully conducted a mock recall before they actually need to count on them when they really are required to.

We have also talked about product failure and the damage that is associated with it – legal, brand value, public relations, and brand affinity. But, will this large recall really harm the Samsung brand with consumers in the phone market? Not according to Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.

“We’re going to pick them up and six months from now nobody will remember that there was a Note 7 recall.” Sprint also told Android Central that customers will be given a “similar device” to use, as getting a replacement device may take a few weeks.

“Stuff like this happens,” the Sprint CEO added. “It has always happened. The world that we live in today just exposes it a thousand times more (with) the Internet, social media, and all that. But having issues with phones has been happening for quite a long time.”

The challenge has been getting Sprint customers who bought a Note 7 to bring them back, the CEO said. “Consumers have a way of going about their business,” he says. “They look at one in a million explodes or 10 in a million explodes.”

How about you – have you gauged the risk in your own mind before you returned a recalled product? Did you think the effort was more than it was worth and simply discarded the item? Since most promotional products are given away, do you think that your end-user clients are less concerned than if they were selling them?

Jeff Jacobs has been an expert in building brands and brand stewardship for more than 35 years, working in commercial television, Hollywood film and home video, publishing, and promotional brand merchandise. He’s a staunch advocate of consumer product safety and has a deep passion and belief regarding the issues surrounding compliance and corporate social responsibility. He recently retired as executive director of Quality Certification Alliance, the only non-profit dedicated to helping suppliers provide safe and compliant promotional products. Before that, he was director of brand merchandise for Michelin. As a recovering end-user client, he can’t help but continue to consult Fortune 500 consumer brands on promo product safety when asked. You can also find him working as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem, traveling the world with his lovely wife, or enjoying a cigar at his favorite local cigar shop. Follow Jeff on Twitter, or reach out to him at

Elite Athletes of the Business World; Interested or Committed
Are totes environmentally friendly? Clean or messy? Auto signatures, technology-related obsolescence and more. Kirby Hasseman, Bill Petrie, UnScripted
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sponsored by J. Charles

In this weekly “talk show” column, industry educators Kirby Hasseman of Hasseman Marketing and Bill Petrie of brandivate discuss a variety of hot­-button industry topics. Click on the graphic to hear their “UnScripted” conversation.

New from Industry Suppliers
Identity Marketing Staff, New Products
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sponsored by Bulova

Available from Athena Promo, the Dog Tag Drive comes with both a dog tag shaped retractable usb flash drive and a separate aluminum dog tag, both on the beaded neck chain. It has a retractable switch for the protection of the USB connector and chain attached to one end. Benefits include a large imprint area and beautiful silver metallic finish.

New from American Apparel is this modern version of the traditional baseball raglan. Soft and lightweight, it is fashioned from a 50/50 blend of polyester and combed cotton. Seven color options are available.

The Calling All Stripes cooler tote from BIC Graphic has a zippered main compartment, front slip pocket, premium striped PP webbing handles and a heat-sealed PEVA liner. It is available in four colors.

The new Elon 13-oz. ceramic mug from Bullet features a matte exterior finish and interior color accent. It is available in black with a choice of five trim colors.

Do You Have a Personal Brand?
Danette Gossett, From Good to Great
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No matter how you present yourself, in person, in writing, social media, business or social settings, your “brand” should be consistent.
sponsored by Bay State

I am the past chair of a local Chamber of Commerce and today they had a “passing of the gavel” ceremony where past chairs help to induct the new Chairman. Yes, it’s a bit corny as we really do stand in front of 250 people and pass the gavel from one to another, but it got 12 different past Chairmen in the room. And I admit, I am a WAY past chair, having had the honor 15 years ago.

It’s sad to say, that while that organization helped me in the early years of my business, about 10 years ago I moved on to the larger regional Chamber. So, I am no longer (nor my staff) actively involved with the organization.

Going to the event brought back many memories and I enjoyed seeing some old friends and meeting new people. It also helped to remind me that having a personal brand pays dividends in so many ways.

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is basically developing the image and impression you want people to have about you and your company and sticking to it. No matter how you present yourself, in person, in writing, social media, business or social settings, your “brand” should be consistent.

Everyone is different, thank goodness. I’m a suit/jacket kind of gal. I started my career in New York City in a much more formal time and feel most confident in a suit type ensemble. It’s part of my personal brand. Others may prefer to wear embroidered shirts or as one woman did today, always wears a hat. It’s part of their personal branding.

Tell Your Story Consistently

It’s also the story we tell about ourselves and our companies. Today I was happily reminded that I’ve been consistent with my personal branding for a very long time.

On more than one occasion someone I hadn’t seen in years offered to introduce me to someone new. Of course, that’s why I’m there, right? I didn’t have to remind or correct them on any aspect of their introduction of me. They even hit one of my signature benefits from the start – creative promotional solutions. After not seeing me for several years it was nice to know that my message had staying power.

Personal Branding Through all Your Communications

But, it wasn’t just a great memory, most still receive my monthly newsletter, read my blogs or have heard me speak at events. And I try to be consistent in all.

One person that used to say they’d buy a book if I ever wrote one, came up to ask if I had written that book yet. I told him not yet, but that I had contributed chapters in two bestseller books. And he wasn’t surprised and asked that I send them to him (they are available on Amazon).

At one point in my career I didn’t want to “toot” my own horn, but now I recognize it’s important for my personal brand. It’s all part of expanding my credibility and showing my unique value to my clients and potential clients. And again, the message in these chapters continues to tell “my” story in a consistent, albeit different, way.

Personal Branding Increases Referrals

Another great advantage to having a positive personal brand is the referrals. I get referral calls regularly. Most have been referred by people I haven’t seen in years, but they are still confident that their referral will be well taken care of.

If you haven’t put much thought into your personal brand, now’s the time. Your brand should be a true reflection of who you are and what you stand for (professionalism, fun, creativity) and reinforced in all that you do.

Danette Gossett is the founder of Gossett Marketing, co-founder of Promotions Rescource LLC and co-author of the best-selling book Transform with Brian Tracy. Danette utilizes her more than 30 years of advertising agency and corporate marketing experience to develop effective promotional campaigns and products for her clients. Visit or and follow us on twitter @MarketngTidbits.

Which Medium Pairs Best with Promotional Products?
Kirby and Amy Hasseman, He Said, She Said
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sponsored by Drum-Line

Kirby and Amy Hasseman have over 35 years of combined experience the promotional products industry. Together, they own and operate Hasseman Marketing out of Coshocton, OH (the birthplace of promotional advertising). Hasseman Marketing has four full time employees and six sales team members.
Who Is Winning the Battle of the Sexes?
D. Scott Trettenero, From the Business World
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Try as we might to achieve a ceasefire, the seemingly never-ending “battle of the sexes” continues to endure.

sponsored by VisionUSA

But a truce is possible with a better understanding of our counterparts, which necessitates defining who we are, says academic D. Scott Trettenero.

“The ‘battle’ is based upon those differences in men’s and women’s nature, which often come into stark contrast as together we face the world’s problems – both large and small,” says Trettenero, author of “Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values,” (

It’s impossible for one side to win this battle in a relationship, Trettenero says. If one side wins, the other side loses and losers are usually unhappy about that proposition. That will ultimately lead to a lose-lose scenario in some form or another. For a relationship to be healthy and functioning, both sides have to feel that their needs are met adequately.

How do we make both men and women win, instead of neither? Trettenero says a few ways to accomplish that include:

• Understand the differences in nature between both sexes. There really is a difference in how each gender views the world. By nature and inherent temperaments, men are more likely to be thinkers who rely more heavily on logic and reason. Conversely, women are more generally run by their feelings and solve problems with their emotional intelligence. Different internal routes are taken to deduce answers to issues, which frequently causes friction between the genders.
• Put the ego aside, listen and understand each other. While a healthy sense of self is important for a healthy life, the ego often causes stubbornness and a proclivity to place the blame on others. It also has a tendency to be “right” and make others “wrong” if they don’t see things their way. That is the perfect recipe for conflict without resolution, which will sink the relationship. Do you want to be right or work together to get positive results? It’s your choice.
• Appreciate that you are just a part of the balance. Psychologist Carl Jung said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Whether it’s the workplace or at home, allowing your voice to be part of the duet or chorus, and not a presumed solo performance, is how harmonizing works. If you are not alone, that’s a good thing. You’re part of a balance, enabling you to have greater balance within yourself.

“Imagine if more of us actually lived by this philosophy of balance in all aspects of life,” Trettenero says. “Not only would we have happier personal lives, I think the world would be a much better place for all of us to live.”

D. Scott Trettenero’s recent book, “Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values” (, helps readers learn about themselves, others and how the world works because of our differences.

No Time Left for You
Mike Schenker, MAS, Uncommon Threads
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“To me, that’s a complete contradiction: looking forward to the weekend… in order to do more work.”

Here I am, bemoaning the fact that I am once again hard at work, writing this column on a Sunday morning. I think what’s most disturbing about this is that I’ve seen this movie before. Many times.

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In fact, it’s clearly a recurring theme, to that point that, back in May of 2012, I’d written a column on this very topic… working on the weekend. In it, I wrote, “(The Trophy Wife and I are both trying to find ways to enable us to regain our weekends and, dammit, we’re gonna make it happen.” Okay…so what happened?

In that time, we’ve gained a new dog. In that he’s a Labrador, he will remain a puppy forever… one with boundless enthusiasm. He needs to run and play and burn off some of that energy that neither my wife nor I have, so we force ourselves to get him to the dogpark every weekend. Umm…we force ourselves to consider taking him to the dog park every weekend. Okay… so we went yesterday for about an hour; I think we’re all surprised that we remembered the route there.

After that, we each had a desk full of work that needed to be addressed. While it’s unlikely that the work that either of us still had to do was still in piles from when I last wrote about this, I won’t swear to that, either. We each had what to do on the new website, and I had some content to write for some upcoming seminars I’ll be leading. What she did with the rest of her day, I’ll let her address in her own column. Once she has the time.

I know it’s not just us.

One of my closest friends (yes, I have some) is constantly complaining about her lack of free time. She’d recently told me how much she was looking forward to the coming weekend so that she could get to some of the work she’d missed getting to during the week. To me, that’s a complete contradiction: looking forward to the weekend… in order to do more work.

Scratch that. It’s not a contradiction. It’s a crime.

Technology is a wonderful-awful thing. It’s enabled us to connect for business and social reasons with friends and colleagues from around the globe, as well given us the ability to work from home in order to not have to commute during bad weather or when a child is ill and we need to stay home. On the other hand, it has also given us the ability to work from home 24/7, which means that we can always do one more thing on a project at any hour… as soon as the inspiration or dread strikes us.

Several years ago I accepted a job with a company without being given a detailed explanation about what the actual requirements might be. It was what appeared to be a great opportunity, so we shook on it and I got to work… only to find out that the travel required for the job would be 100 percent. Read that again. One. Hundred. Percent. Don’t you think that’s the kind of information that should have been discussed during the hiring process?

Once this sank in, I asked when was I supposed to do any planning? Any follow-up? Oh, and do laundry? I was told: that’s what your evenings are for. Is this maybe for three out of four weeks a month?

Suffice to say, I left them in short order. Giving me a tablet and fancy technology didn’t make up for them taking away any free time to breathe… maybe see my family, even. Yes, that matters to me.

There needs to be a balance between our work life and free time. And by “free,” I mean “free.” Free to go back to the dog park. Free to take a nap in the sun. Free to make plans to have no plans.

I’ll be sure to put this on next weekend’s agenda.

Mike Schenker, MAS, is a promotional industry veteran, a member of the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY) Hall of Fame, and a proud recipient of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Distinguished Service award. His website gives insight into his coaching and educational sessions, as well as his leadership and mentoring offerings. He can be reached at

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My Apologies to the Lady in the Second Seat in the Second Row
Why regional associations are important to YOUR business. Joel Schaffer, MAS, The Take Away
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Never before has our industry been so threatened by state and federal regulations. Never before has the media been so inaccurate as to our value and contributions in the marketplace.
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I guess I had a case of speaker rage. After doing my CAS/MAS-approved educational session for a room full of people, I asked for a show of hands as to how many in the audience were members of the regional association. Only half raised their hands.

Here comes the “poor lady” part. I asked the “poor lady” why she wasn’t a member. She then responded with a harmless and simple question, “What does the association do for me?” Perhaps because I am a senior citizen and was pumped up from my youth by President John F. Kennedy who famously declared, ”Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” the following ensued.

Somehow the poor lady’s question ignited a fuse. I retorted, “What do you mean ‘what can the association do for you?’ Shouldn’t you ask what you can do for you, your industry, your future, and your business?” I told her that right at this very moment, there are dozens of her fellow distributors who volunteered to go to Washington D.C. to lobby your congressperson and senator. They are letting your legislators know what is important to you and our industry. They are lobbying in our best interest. They are calling their attention to issues such as consumer product safety. They want to get government to stop banning our products both overtly and subtly in legislation. They are focusing on sales tax issues and on regulations that can hurt us.

They are talking about financial issues like 1099s for sales associates. I asked her if she had any sales reps. She said yes. Poor lady, I said, “Don’t you care whether you need to put them on the payroll and give them benefits and if you can afford to do that?” I added that that is right now, similar efforts are made by your regional association with your state government. About that time she seemed edgy in her seat and ready to leave.

Well, I did back off and she said, “I see your point.” Don’t give me a microphone because I pulled out my soap box and began my unrehearsed speech to half the room who did not have membership. I then reminded her, “You get financial benefits, discounts on many different goods and services, you get local trade shows put on by volunteers who don’t have the time, but they find it and that’s why you are here today. You are sitting here getting educated only because there are people in this association willing to share, willing to mentor, willing to be your friends. Yes, you get a relationship with PPAI and SAGE. Frankly, you get tremendous value.” Then I gave her my favorite line… “You get to come to events and mingle with people to whom you never have to explain what you do for a living.”

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Never before has our industry been so threatened by state and federal regulations. Never before has the media been so inaccurate as to our value and contributions in the marketplace. Too many people muckrake, calling what we provide “trinkets, trash, tchotchkes,” saying our products are wasteful spending.

So, to the lady in the second seat, second row. I am sorry, but I’m also sorry you are not a member. If this is your career, your business, your living, then your membership adds to our numbers. Only those groups with the power numbers accomplish what they need to with government and others. Look at the industries with power. There is hardly a Senator or Congressperson who won’t open their doors for the AMA, ABA, ARA and hundreds of other trade and professional groups. So, it is not that we can make you smarter, make your life easier, make many things cheaper, It’s that we, with your membership, can make us all better and ensure our future.

Our regional associations are parts of our national network of trade associations. They are all sheltered in a group under PPAI called RAC. RAC brings together the grassroots power of the local and state groups to form a powerful foundation for our national association that works in the best interests of distributors and suppliers. Through your regional association you share in access to the huge deposit of information, research and benefits PPAI offers. Membership in both your regional and PPAI makes you the quintessential company that dedicates its mission to selling promotional products and its outreach to supporting the associations that make their missions possible.

It felt good to write this column. I hope it reaches the nearly 75 percent of the companies that are not regional members. I hope it convinces one or two companies to spend a whopping $100-$175 to join one. Perhaps one or two readers will step forward and give back to their chosen industry.

The takeaway: regional association membership is like insurance for your financial well-being and business vitality. Check out the list of regional trade associations, make contact. Join us.

Joel D. Schaffer, MAS is CEO and Founder of Soundline, LLC, the pioneering supplier to the promotional products industry of audio products. Joel has 48 years of promotional product industry experience and proudly heralds "I was a distributor." He has been on the advisory panel of the business and marketing department of St. John’s University in New York and is frequent speaker at Rutgers Graduate School of Business. He is an industry Advocate and has appeared before the American Bankers Association, American Marketing Association, National Premium Sales Executives, American Booksellers Association and several other major groups. He has been a management consultant to organizations such as The College Board and helped many suppliers enter this industry. He is a frequent contributor to PPB and Counselor Magazines. He has facilitated over 200 classes sharing his industry knowledge nationwide. He is known for his cutting humor and enthusiasm in presenting provocative and motivating programs. He is the only person to have received both the Marvin Spike Industry Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) and PPAI’s Distinguished Service Award (2011). He is a past director of PPAI and has chaired several PPAI committees and task forces. He is a past Chair of the SAAGNY Foundation, Past President of SAAGNY and a SAAGNY Hall of Fame member. He was cited by ASI as one of the 50 most influential people in the industry.

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