Safety Programs Bring Results

Safety programs are good for business. They not only promote a safe work environment, but they help companies save money through reduced injuries and employee time off.

For every dollar spent on an Injury and Illness Prevention Program, an employer can expect up to six times a return on its investment. 

– Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

safety signs

By adopting a safety program, companies have seen workers suffer fewer injuries, illnesses and fatalities. In addition, they see improved compliance with regulations and workers are able to experience a safer and healthier workplace. In short, safety and wellness programs are good for everyone involved.

So what makes a good safety program and how does promotional marketing fit in?

A successful program needs to include these major elements:

  • Designated individuals responsible to implement and maintain the program
  • Employee involvement and encouragement to participate
  • Hazards and safety issues identified and assessed
  • Education and training provided in an understandable format
  • Periodic reviews of the program progress and results

Promotional marketing comes into play to help encourage and reward safe behavior. Some ways this can be utilized:

  • Safety and wellness reminders – workplace items which will be seen daily as a constant reminder to stay safety aware. This can include apparel or drinkware with graphics promoting safety, or useful tools such as flashlights, box cutters or multitools which also carry a message.
  • Incentives for safe behavior – set goals for safe behavior and reward employees with premium gifts such as coolers, auto kits, or drinkware when they reach those goals.
  • Rewards for employee observations – create a method for employees to report unsafe situations or suggestions for safer procedures. Reward these observations and participation with small awards.
  • Reward employees for completing safety training – Give employees a premium promotional gift after completing safety training. Including a safety message on the gift helps reinforce the message.

To learn more how safety programs are good for business, OSHA has a variety of resources:

  OSHA Illness and Injury Prevention Programs

Best Reactions – High Value Items

What difference does the perceived value of a promotional product make on the end user? If the item is perceived to be of high value, does that translate also to their view of the giver? Does it influence their behavior and attitudes, or does it not matter?

Those are just a few of the questions asked, and answered, in a research study conducted by P.P.A.I. (Promotional Products Association International) in December 2011.

When it comes to items with a perceived value of $25 or more, the study revealed the following:

Why do you think the company or organization gave you this item?

  • 23% – To make me aware of the company and it’s products or services
  • 28% – To thank me for doing business with them, and to continue doing so

What did you perceive the reason for being given this item?

  • 31% – As a business gift
  • 38% – As a form of advertising
  • 40% – As an incentive

Were you more receptive to the company and it’s objectives after receiving this item?

  • 27% – Significantly more receptive
  • 44% – Somewhat more receptive

What categories of products are most popular to receive?

  • 58% – Items that can be consumed
  • 50% – Items that can be worn
  • 46% – Items associated with digital communication
  • 46% – Items that help collect or convey things

How long do you keep your favorite products?

  • 60% – Three years or more:  high value products (over $25)
  • 42% – One year or less:  low value products

What makes an item worth holding onto (Very or Extremely Important)?

  • 69% – Usefulness
  • 59% – Quality
  • 52% – Attractiveness

So what can be concluded from this study?  A few key points stand out:

  • Recipients were more receptive if they perceived the item to be high value.
  • Having an item imprinted with a logo did not deter from it, as long as it was a useful item.
  • Apparel and food gifts are most appreciated by recipients.
  • Useful items will be kept the longest.
  • A high-value item is typically perceived to cost between $25-$50.

The entire research study is available at this link:  High End/Low End

Charge It Right – Power Banks

Power banks and charging devices have become very popular this year as a way to keep your tech items charged while away from home.

But trying to figure out which device will power your needs can be confusing. Thanks to one of our favorite suppliers, Gemline, here’s an easy-to-read chart explaining what you need to know.

Simply put – find your device, note the mAh it requires, then purchase a power bank with at least that amount of charging power (if you want to be able to fully charge that one device).

If you need to fully charge more than one device on a single charge, you’ll need to add the mAh’s to find the total amount you will need.

If your power bank contains only a fraction of the total mAh your device requires, then it can charge your device, just not fully.


Bluetooth – Just the Facts (And Some Theories)

We encounter it all the time these days – Bluetooth. Yet, do you really know what it’s all about? And why the heck is it called that?

Here’s some quick facts you can pull out next time you have a bar bet:


  • Why is it called Bluetooth?
    • The developer (Jim Kardach) suggested the name Bluetooth in 1997 as a nod to the Scandinavian 10th century King Harald Bluetooth. The King unified Denmark and Norway, like the technology unites various devices.
  • What is that symbol in the logo?
    • Again, a nod to the Norse. It’s the Nordic runes for the initials “HB.”
  • What is Bluetooth?
    • It’s a technology for connecting devices like computers, speakers, phones, mice, and headsets wirelessly to one another.
  • What is pairing?
    • This is the initial connecting of the devices using a passkey, which is then stored.
  • What is connected?
    • When the devices are able to communicate with one another, they are connected.
  • What kind of range does Bluetooth have?
    • Class 2 Bluetooth, which is most common, has a range of about 33 feet
And now some extra credit, for those of you that really love trivia, and history:
  • How did King Harold get the nickname, “Bluetooth?”
    • 3 Possible Reasons:
      • He had a bad tooth, which was black, and the word “blue” meant “dark.” (most common theory)
      • He was called “Thegn” in England, which meant chief. Since “blue” meant “dark”, his nickname was really “dark chieftain.”
      • He wore blue clothing, which in those time was the most expensive, thus signifying his royal stature.


It Just Works – Promotional Products Work Week



You may think “Swag” or “Stuff” or “Tchotchke” instead of “Promotional Products,” but all those terms reflect the same advertising industry which we are so proudly a member.

We often think of ourselves as the “silent” advertising profession. Everyone hears about radio, tv, print and newspaper advertising, but it’s not often that “Promotional Product Advertising” gets mentioned as part of the advertising industry. Even in marketing and advertising classrooms, it remains an almost forgotten branch of the advertising world.

However, our industry is a $20+ billion one with more than 33,000 businesses – 97 percent of which are small businesses – and includes almost 500,000 professionals. In dollars spent, it’s a very vibrant and growing industry, outpacing radio and magazine advertising.

The week of May 18, 2015, has been designated “Promotional Products Work Week” by our industry non-profit organization, Promotional Product Association International (PPAI).

As members of PPAI, we all work to create awareness for the value promotional products
deliver to advertisers and marketers; as well as the positive impact promotional products businesses have on the
U.S. economy, job creation and community enrichment.

Consumers love promotional products! PPAI research clearly demonstrates the power of the advertising medium as
the most cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience in a tangible, long-lasting and memorable manner.

The info graphic below outlines some relevant statistics about the power of promotional products as an advertising medium. With 88% of recipients able to recall the advertiser, the influence of promotional products is convincing.

The Creative J is happy to be part of such a great industry as well as a member of PPAI. We are lucky to be in an industry that has such a strong trade organization and advocate for our business success. We also thank all our customers who have been such an important part of our success.

Tradeshow Planning


We’re almost to that season… No, not Christmas and the holidays, but Tradeshow Season. Winter and spring seem to be primetime for tradeshows. If you plan to exhibit at an upcoming tradeshow, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:.

1.  Set A Goal – What do you plan to gain by exhibiting?
You spend a lot of time, money and energy planning for a tradeshow. Make sure you have measurable goals defined. You’ll be able to clearly track and measure your results in relation to the goals you set. Most goals are going to be either sales or communication related. Such as:

  • Sales related – showcase your products and services, find the decision makers, influence customer attitudes, open doors for future sales calls
  • Communication related – meet your customers, establish your company image, learn new industry trends, gather information about competitors, obtain feedback
For example, your goal might be to talk with at least 50 people of which you can qualify at least 10 prospects for future business.
2.  Staff Your Booth with Trained People
Staff should be well-trained on your product or services, friendly, and well presented. They should also understand your goals for the tradeshow and their role in achieving those goals. They need to come across as friendly and knowledgeable to anyone who stops at your booth.
3.  Create a Budget
Draw up a budget so that costs can be kept in check. Don’t forget to include display items and giveaways, such as banners, tablecloths, promotional materials and dining.
4.  Create an Eye-Catching and Effective Display
You won’t reach your goals if nobody stops at your booth, so it’s vital to have an eye-catching and inviting display.
  • Shoot for a high traffic location – look for locations near entrances, concessions, restrooms or near major exhibitors. Avoid dead-end aisles, obstructive columns, loading docks or other low traffic areas.
  • Appeal to the senses – display your products or services in a variety of ways so that attendees can see, touch, hear or taste them. Use colorful visuals, employ background music or sound, offer demonstrations.
  • Keep it simple – don’t go overwhelm with your graphics or “stuff”. One large photo or graphic that can be seen from down the aisle may have a greater impact than many smaller graphics. Use a catchy or simple slogan which readily identifies your business.
  • Gimmicks work – Drive traffic to your booth with contests and giveaways. Offer incentives or rewards to attendees who bring others back to your booth. Give out crazy hats or bags that will be seen all over the show floor.


5.  Promote Your Presence
No matter how good your booth looks, it will fail if nobody shows up. Strong pre-show promotion is a must. Studies show that 76% of all show attendees arrive with an agenda. You need to ensure that your booth is part of their agenda.
  • Call top customers and prospects, let them know where to find you at the show or set up meetings.
  • Send out mailings – include a small giveaway with the mailing to increase awareness. A simple magnet, card, or contest piece will keep you top of mind and is proven to increase attendance.
  • Email one or two reminders before the show.
6.  Be Approachable and Generate Leads
Being proactive at your booth will generate more conversations and thus more leads. Be proactive by initiating the conversation with the visitor. Use good opening questions such as:
  • “What brings you to the show this year?”
  • “What caught your eye in our booth?”
  • “Have you found what you’re looking for at the show this year?”
Generate qualified leads by determining the following about your booth visitors:
  • What role does this prospect play in the decision making?
  • Can they use your product or services in their company or department?
  • How long do they need in order to make a decision?
  • Are there any obstacles to your company conducting business with this person?
  • Gather their contact information
7.  Plan Your Followup Strategy
Decide on your followup strategy before the show. You’ll be able to reach out to the contacts you made while the show is still fresh in their minds.
  • Make followup a priority – it’s your number 1 task to make sure your tradeshow was successful.
  • Create a mailing before the show that’s ready to send out as soon as the show is over.
  • Qualify leads during the show – rank your leads while at the show and contact the hottest ones immediately upon your return to work.
  • Keep your promises – make sure you followup on any promises you made at your booth.
This is just a brief overview of some things to consider before exhibiting at a tradeshow. For some creative ideas for exhibit display items, giveaways, and traffic generators, contact your rep at The Creative J.Unknown

Did You Know? Safety Laws & Promotional Products

Did you know that if you are purchasing promotional products for your organization which will be distributed and/or appeal to children under 12, there are federal safety laws you need to consider?

The federal government has laws specific to the use of small parts and materials in products which are intended for or will appeal to children under 12. Commonly known as CPSIA, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, they apply not only to items you buy in retail stores, but also to the promotional products and apparel you may use to market your company.

All products which are intended for this group are required to be marked with tracking information, as well as to be certified to be clear of or within the required levels of various materials deemed harmful, such as lead and plastics.

How might this affect you, as a buyer of promotional products?

• Company Reputation:  If your company is marketing items that will be used by or appeal to children under 12, then you want to be sure those items are compliant. Facing a lawsuit because a recipient was exposed to undue amounts of lead is not something any business wishes to occur.

For example:  In 2010, Winn-Dixie/Publix grocery chains were featured in an investigative report about reusable grocery bags. The bags from their stores were tested for lead. Although the lead discovered was relatively low and within the acceptable limits, the story created a public relations nightmare. Millions of bags were recalled and public trust was lost.

• Trackable Tagging:  Items which qualify under the CPSIA require a permanent label with a trackable code or website be included on the item whenever practical. (Very small items such as balloons or pencils, which can’t be directly imprinted with this information can be excluded, but the packaging or cartons must still contain the requiredtracking information)

This required tagging may add run charges to your product. Some items may already have the information preprinted, especially in the case where that item has been deemed a children’s item by the supplier. Many other items do not already have this information and it will be required to be added.

Printed tshirts are a great example of the latter. Although the tshirt itself will have some sort of tracking label attached by the shirt manufacturer, it only applies to the shirt itself, not the decoration which is applied later. A second tracking label needs to be applied to cover the decorating (content of lead & other chemicals in the inks, threads or transfers). This can be a separate label applied to the inside of the shirt, or a line of text incorporated into the shirt design. Using a separate label is most desirable, but will create an additional cost for application.

How can you make sure you are in compliance with items you purchase?

• Inform your promotional products distributor that items will be distributed to children under 12. (Having an imprint that appeals to children, regardless of the product, will cause it to qualify also)

• Ask for product safety certificates on items you purchase or plan to purchase. Top manufacturers will already have these available to view for their products.

• Request that only products which have passed testing and are certified be presented for your projects.

Above is just a very brief overview of one specific safety regulation. By asking questions and communicating fully with your promotional product consultant, you become an integral part of ensuring your marketing programs meet safety regulations.

The consultants at The Creative J have taken an active part in becoming educated about product safety laws and regulations. We are members of PPAI’s “Product Safety Awareness Program,” which requires training in various areas of product safety. Should you have any questions about product safety and your marketing plans, please contact us as we’ll be glad to help you.

For more information on CPSIA:  Buying Promotional Products: A Guide to Federal Safety Laws


Opening Illustrator Files in Older Versions

It can be costly to keep up on the latest versions of all your software. If you’re like us, you don’t automatically upgrade as soon as a new version comes out. However, if you have to work with files someone else has created in a newer version, it can cause some problems if you don’t upgrade.

I just came across a neat little trick if you’re dealing with this situation in Illustrator. We’ve started receiving files created in CS6, while we currently are running CS5. Now if the files are saved as PDF’s instead of EPS or AI format, it’s not an issue. They will open up fine in CS5. However, if they are EPS or AI, they won’t open. This can cause some lost time and also some frustration on both sides, trying to get files in a different format.

However, instead of requesting a new file format, here’s a simple work around:

Create a new document in Illustrator, then place the newer version file. It will bring in the outlines and elements from the newer version. You may need to remove a clipping path or two, but all the elements will be there, available for editing.

Next time you run into this situation, give it a try!

Congratulations Rachel – T.A.S.

Congrats to our Rachel Valdez for achieving the industry’s Trained Advertising Specialist designation, T.A.S. In order to receive this designation, she completed a set of required courses spanning a wide range of areas covering promotional product sales, service, artwork, decorating, safety, product and business topics.

Education and continuing training for our staff is a high priority at The Creative J. It is our focus to be as educated and knowledgable about all aspects of our industry so that we can provide our customers with the most up to date and informed information possible.


2013 Best Boss Award – PPB Magazine

I was surprised to open my email about a month ago and find that I had been selected as one of 2013 Best Boss Awards by Promotional Products Business magazine.

We truly have a special group of people here at The Creative J. Without the dedication and caring they all give to me and each other, what we do and how well we do it certainly would not be possible. I am forever grateful to all of them for their continued support and all the FUN we have working together each day. Thank you – Val, Rachel, Risa, Lindsey & Jeff – for everything you have done and are for me!

To read more about this and the common themes they found with the 2013 award recipients, click here:  2013 PPB Best Boss Awards – Top Secrets of Savvy Supervisors.