Business-Building Strategies From ASI Show Speakers
Beginning the New Year with dozens of classes at The ASI Show in Orlando yesterday, the show's speakers were full of advice for attendees on how they can start 2014 off right. Read Article
And, Counselor's cameras were on the scene to capture as much of the tips, tactics and strategies as possible.
In this video, we put speakers from the show on the spot and ask them the same question: What's your number-one piece of advice for how companies can increase sales in 2014? Click here to see what they said.
ASI Orlando Trade Show Floor Opens
With thousands of distributor attendees streaming onto the exhibit floor, the first trade show of the year began this morning in Orlando. Read Article
As the show floor opened, Counselor parked its cameras right inside the entranceway to capture the action. We spoke to distributors from across the country to find out what they were looking for from their meetings with suppliers at the show today.
Joe Show Day One
Wondering what the hottest products are for 2014? So was Managing Editor Joe Haley, who scoured the ASI Orlando show floor this morning to find the most buzz-worthy and interesting items. Read Article
Click here to watch the Day One edition of The Joe Show from ASI Orlando.
BIC Graphic Celebrates Anniversary With New Name
Top 40 supplier BIC Graphic (asi/40480) announced today at The ASI Show in Orlando that it is unveiling a new brand identity as it celebrates its 45thanniversary of business operations in the U.S. Read Article
The company has now merged the legal identities of Norwood and BIC Graphic under the BIC Graphic name. In conjunction with the official merger of the brands, the company has unveiled a new, more colorful logo.
Also, BIC Graphic launched its 2014 catalog in Orlando today, a new design that includes 299 new products and items from each of its brands. The 2014 catalog lineup for BIC Graphic now includes products from BIC Graphic, Norwood by BIC Graphic, Jaffa by BIC Graphic, Triumph by BIC Graphic and Good Value Calendars by BIC Graphic.
Further, in a statement released today, the supplier said that it had new offerings for its Canadian customers, as well. "New for our Canadian customers, a combined BIC Graphic and Norwood catalog has been developed and is available in French and English," the statement said.
BIC Graphic also said that in conjunction with its rebranding effort, it is now adding more than 100 new products to its britePIX collection in 2014. For more information, visit norwood.com or bicgraphic.com.
Broder Announces Re-Branding Effort
During The ASI Show in Orlando today, Top 40 supplier Broder Bros. (asi/42090) announced that it has rebranded the company as alphabroder (asi/34063). The new name unites the company's four brands (Alpha, Broder, NES and Imprints Wholesale) under one umbrella.
"Our new brand is recognizable to our customers yet conveys our new beginning as a leading seamless source provider of promotional apparel products, as well as our growth expectations for the future," said Norman Hullinger, CEO of alphabroder. "We will continue to provide quality promotional products and this transformation will help accelerate the evolution of our brand and solidify our position as the top service provider in the industry for years to come."
The apparel supplier says that the new branding effort builds on the momentum the company has had since private investment firm Littlejohn & Co. invested in it in 2012. Further, it solidifies the company's four brands under one name following alphabroder's acquisition of Imprints Wholesale in 2013.
Logomark Expands Brand Lineup
Top 40 supplier Logomark (asi/67866) announced at The ASI Show in Orlando today that it is expanding the brands that it carries in its product line. The company will now carry items from retail brands Caterpillar, Pathfinder, Cross and Jorg Gray. These brands join the Ellehammer and Solo brands that were launched by Logomark in 2013.
"Distributors will be excited with the new retail lines and the creative, high-quality items" said Brian P. Padian, Logomark's vice president of sales. "Logomark prides itself on offering distributors unique choices, and the quality of detail in these products will make it easy for distributors to make purchase decisions."
Logomark said that it will be carrying eight Caterpillar products from its accessories bag line, four travel items available for decoration from Pathfinder, and Cross watches that can be personalized. Also, Logomark announced that it is bringing its Jorg Gray Signature collection of watches to the ad specialty industry.
A Firm Foundation: Starting Strong In 2014
In his Education Day session at ASI Orlando yesterday titled "Launch Your Successful Career: The Essentials of Ad Specialty Sales," speaker David Blaise stressed the importance of building relationships and taking a consultative selling approach. "Don't be an order taker or product peddler," said Blaise, of consultancy Blaise Drake & Co. "Make a sale about solutions. If I'm a consultative seller, it allows me to connect the dots between what a prospect is looking for and what products I sell."
Speaking to an audience of both industry newcomers and veterans, Blaise also encouraged distributor attendees to become creation and retention specialists. The key to achieving this level of success, according to Blaise, is to put your energy into generating a pipeline of prospects, giving yourself options. "You need to convert leads into profitable sales," Blaise said. "Not every deal or customer is profitable and you have to weigh the risk involved in orders."
One way to become a trusted distributor that prospects will admire, Blaise said, is to build a network of preferred suppliers. "The suppliers you choose are critical," Blaise said. "When walking a tradeshow floor, you need to eyeball them and make sure that you're really comfortable with the suppliers you're working with."
Finally, Blaise urged attendees to pay close attention to artwork, especially when taking on new clients. "There's a difference between art and artwork," Blaise said. "You need camera-ready art. Always check with suppliers for their requirements."
It's a New Day
In her session titled "New Rules of Marketing and PR: Create a Multimedia Brand Experience," Kathleen Booth of Quintain Marketing (asi/303131) said that the old way of advertising and creating PR are dead. Companies can no longer rely on just direct mail, or just print advertising or just online banner ads. Rather, to effectively market to today's always-connected consumers, companies need an integrated approach that pulls clients to them instead of pushing a message out.
"We are living in a world where no one has to listen to advertising messages," she said, adding, "as a marketer, that stinks." So what is a distributor or its clients to do? Booth said they need to create adverting that end-users actually seek out. "When we're marketing today, we're marketing to an increasingly savvy consumer," she said. So, if they don't want to receive or listen to a message they won't. Simply, we are living in an "opt-in" world where consumers can easily tune out a message.
Because of that, we have a convergence of media. This can explain why Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com buys the Washington Post or why Microsoft partnered to create MSNBC. What they hope to create is a triumph rant of media, joining paid media (traditional ads) with owned media (a company's website or Facebook page) and earned media, (Facebook comments, shared content, etc.). "This is modern day word of mouth," Booth said. "You're really going to get value from earned media."
Because of this potential, Booth says it's important to push content out via a variety of media and give your clients the ability to respond with positive comments in the social media sphere. "If you do a good job of serving your clients well, there is nothing to be afraid of," Booth said. And, while there may be the occasional naysayer, she says it adds more credibility to the clients who rave about you.
Take Control of Your Social Media Marketing
Smart business owners create internal policies that protect their businesses – and take advantage of free, online analytics tools to measure customer satisfaction and brand preference and influence in their social media marketing. In her Education Day session, "Social Media Marketing for CEOs: Measure Your Analytics and Protect Your Business," entrepreneur and social media expert Marki Lemons-Ryhal offered distributor principals insider tips for taking control of their social media efforts.
To start, have a policy in place about how your employees are using social media to market your company. Lemons-Ryhal, owner of Marki Lemons Unlimited, cited an example of a restaurateur who fired a chef – this employee was responsible for the company's Twitter feed and was the only one who knew the user name and password. This former staffer went on to bash the restaurant's food quality and service level via Twitter, garnering this restaurant a heap of unwanted attention from would-be clients. "You need to take control of your company's social media efforts so that these scenarios don't occur," she said. "However, also be sure that you don't prohibit protected or concerted activity; for example, you can't forbid your employees from discussing their wages online. Be sure that your policy adheres to federal, state and local regulations."
It also makes sense to set up free Google alerts so you can monitor your company name and reputation on the Internet. "These are the gifts that keep on giving," Lemons-Ryhal said. "Any time you're mentioned online, you'll receive an e-mail alert." In addition, be very careful about what you and your employees post online. "Once you post something in error, even if you delete it, it still has the ability to go viral if the wrong person gets ahold of it," she said.
She also espoused the importance of taking advantage of the data you can receive from social media marketing. "When you create a Facebook page for your business, you instantly have great analytics for zero dollars," Lemons-Ryhal said. "For example, you can analyze your Facebook likes; you can see who and where your fans are. You can also review an uptick and decline in how and when people engage with you based on the content you post. Another great, free tool that shows your share of voice online is Socialmention.com."
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