Simply looking for the cheapest item, from the quickest source, may cause more damage than you think. Here are 5 things to think about when you are getting ready to start a promotional campaign.
1.  Does your branded merchandise representative care whether you are in business next year? Make sure they have your best interests at heart. If they don’t value your brand as if it were their own, you may want to search for a different consultant. Your representative should be concerned about your logo, what your brand stands for and what message you are wanting to tell with this custom gift. Only after that should an item be selected.
2. What type of training has your consultant received? Do they have additional certifications? Are they familiar with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act? Are they actively connected to colleagues and resources to help them along the path? It’s not really about how long they have been in this profession, it’s more about how they will protect you, your brand and your customers.
3.  If you do order online, you’re the one making all the decisions. How can you be sure that you’re making the right decision? The decision that will bring you the most Return On Investment. The decision that will stay in your customer’s hands for a long time. If you speak to a customer service rep., at best they may only be interested in selling you an item that is the best profit generator for their company. It may not reflect your brand image effectively. A bad promotion is always worse than no promotion!
4.  Is the product you’re buying safe? Has it gone through rigorous testing? Are you selecting a product made in a factory that treats its employees well, and one that is concerned about its environmental impact? Some manufacturers adhere to a Code of Conduct, along with constant inspection, and some do not. You will not know which is which if you simply select an item online.
5.  If you are choosing items that will be used by children, have they been certified through the Consumer Product Safety Commission and how do you know? Products that are intended for children 12 and under must meet specific requirements, especially in the area of lead content of the product. Even decorated apparel must individually be tracked for adherence with both the garment and the exact decoration. And the apparel must reflect the tracking number of that certification.
Image Marketing Specialists is more than qualified to assist you in all these areas. We are a Certified Advertising Specialist, and have recently been awarded our status as a company who is Product Safety Aware. Only about 10% of the professionals registered with Promotional Products Association International carry this designation. It is a long, involved process to achieve. And it comes with the obligation to life-long education. The purpose really is to protect you and the recipient of your custom decorated gift.