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Brilliant Results


July 2007


Vo l . 4 , N o . 0 7


China Prices Heading North

Marketing to Diverse Demographic Groups / Safety

4 levels of Marketing Competence








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Vol. 4, No. 07

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Brilliant Results spoke with Charles Freihofer about Promo Certificates Inc., and Dining Dough.


For people who want to accelerate their critical business outcomes. By: Dan Coughlin HOW PHYSICIANS WOULD REDESIGN THE CONVENTION EXPERIENCE 22

Two years of physician focus groups reveal the Top 5 trends. By: Stephen Mapes THE RIGHT TREATMENT AT THE RIGHT TIME 26

An inexpensive way to treat safety programs. By: James A. Espinoza BOOMER BULGE 28 Testy and mandatory age-sensitive adjustments the baby boomer generation will face. By: Michael C. Walker



Safety This & That


Get FREE information from this month’s advertisers THE LAST WORD 48

Brilliant Results spoke with Daniel Krassenstein partner, President and China Chief Representative of BAS to find out about the Chinese VAT structure and the current rumors of change.

columns THE HEAT IS ON 30

Top three ways to keep cool when the pressure is on. By: Susan A. Friedmann, CSP HOW TO USE HEALTH & SAFETY REWARDS FOR BOTTOM LINE IMPROVEMENT. 32

IT’S ALL PERSONAL 36 The right promotional products, coupled with an effective retention system will help ensure you don’t get left behind when there is a demographic shift. By: Dave Ribble GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK: 38

How to prepare for a worry-free vacation. By: The Creative Group


Learn how you can add considerable value to your investment in the show as well as your human resources department. By: Barry Siskind THE 4 LEVELS OF MARKETING COMPETENCE 42

Learn how to significantly increase the ROI from your marketing dollars. By: Robert W. Bly

By: Arnold Light, CTC


By: Christine Bordonaro

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From a full-scale corporate golf outing to the simplest of requests, make one call and three global golf brands are working for you. 1-800-864-7231 or

Š 2007 Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc. dba TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company. adidas, the 3-Bars logo, and the 3-Stripes mark are registered trademarks of the adidas Group.

Publisher’s Letter

brilliant results



Something for Everyone FROM MARKETING to different demographic groups…to tradeshows, to Safety, to the Chinese VAT Structure. This month our editors hit it out of the ballpark yet again! We found a way to market successfully to different demographics and the next Boomer Bulge…to the 4 levels of marketing competence. We have a Safety article that is an inexpensive way to make certain your employees get The Right Treatment At The Right Time…to How to use Health & Safety Rewards for Bottom Line Improvement. We cover you on the tradeshow floor and tell you how to keep your cool as well as where to find more booth personnel in your own human resources department…to how physicians would redesign the convention experience altogether. We tell you why every company needs a “Sharon” to 10 Reasons Why Accelerating Is Work. Additionally, our editor-in-chief spoke with Daniel Krassenstein Partner, President and China Chief Representative of BAS to get first hand detail about the Chinese VAT structure and how it’s going to change prices in the very near future. Yep, I would say there is definitely something for everyone in this issue! So whether you are preparing for your next big successful marketing campaign, your pricing structure going into the fall or getting ready to take a summer vacation make sure you read this issue as the information in it is, as always, beyond compare. Enjoy another winning issue while you take an amazing and muchneeded vacation and remember always to… Have A Brilliant Day,

Maureen Williams-Berman Publisher 541-788-5022

262467 Brill492

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9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown, PA 17036 Ph: 717.571-9233 Fax: 717.566.5431

PUBLISHER / ADVERTISING Maureen Williams 541-788-5022

EDITORIAL Editor in Chief MaryAnne Morrill 717-571-9233 Senior Editor Michelle Donofry Style Editor Charity Plata Asst. Editor Mildred Landis

Contributing Writers Robert W. Bly, Christine Bordonaro, Dan Coughlin, The Creative Group, James A. Espinoza, Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, Arnold Light, CTC, Stephen Mapes, Dave Ribble, Barry Siskind, Michael C. Walker

Circulation Foranyquestionsregardingsubscriptions,pleaseemail:

PRODUCTION / DESIGN Art Director Percy Zamora Brilliant Results is published monthly by Brilliant Publishing LLC, 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown PA 17036 (717) 608-5869; Fax# (717) 566-5431. Postage paid at Mechanicsburg PA and additional offices. POSTMASTER please send address changes to Brilliant Results, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown PA 17036. Volume 4. Number 7. Brilliant Results subscription rates: one-year $120; Canadian $160 USD; one-year foreign $225 USD. All subscriptions are non-refundable. Copyright © 2005 Brilliant Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising or editorial material. Advertisers, and/or their agents, assume the responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on the advertisement. Editorial contributors assume responsibility for their published works and assume responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on published work. No part of this publication can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher. All items submitted to Brilliant Results become the sole property of Brilliant Publishing LLC. Editorial content does not reflect the views of the publisher. The imprints, logos, trademarks or trade names (Collectively the “Marks”) displayed on the products featured in Brilliant Results are for illustrative purposes only and are not available for sale. The marks do not represent the implied or actual endorsement by the owners of the Marks of the product on which they appear. All of the Marks are the property of the respective owners and is not the property of either the advertisers using the Marks or Brilliant Results.



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EVERYONE LOVES… HOW PROMO CERTIFICATES REACH ACROSS DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS WILL IT FIT SENIORS, BOOMERS, Gen X and Gen Y…Will they appreciate it… Does it get our message across…Will it be cost effective… Will it deliver results? When looking for the perfect promotional piece to make a part of any marketing, brand building, incentive or customer appreciation campaign, it often seems that these questions pose an unsolvable conundrum. In an effort to unravel this puzzle and provide our readers with insightful information, Brilliant Results is constantly exploring the promotional products and incentive marketplace. Whether it is searching the aisles of trade shows for new and innovative products, seeking input from experts in the fields of motivation, marketing and brand building, or publishing the success stories of the industries movers and shakers who got it right, Brilliant Results is always seeking answers. 8 / Brilliant Results

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This month as we looked into how to reach divergent demographic groups, we found an item that really fit the bill. When you think about it, the answer was right in front of our face. What does every person on the planet do, irrespective of age, income, social status, or location…they consume food. What better way to make a positive impression than to give that individual a card that never expires and allows them select their dining experience from restaurants of all types all over the country? Dining Dough is just such an item. It makes the perfective incentive/ gift to give a prospect coming in to open a new account, test drive, attend an open house, etc. In short, whenever an incentive with universal appeal is needed. As a matter of fact, Dining Dough may soon be appearing in a big box retail store near you, offered as an additional incentive

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when you make an on-site purchase of the company’s gift card. Because of its universal appeal and the ability to use it at restaurants all across the country, Dining Dough is used as an online survey incentive and it has also worked well as a “gift with purchase” for online stores. Charles Freihofer and Larry Glick, who between them have close to fifty years experience in the promotional and incentive market space, started Promo Certificates, Inc. about two years ago to market the Dining Dough product to the Promotional Products industry. Another promotions professional, Amanda Hanson, manages the company’s day- t o - d a y operations. Working with various multi-line rep groups across the country, the Promo Certificates, Inc. pros are having a lot of fun (very important), and enjoying dramatic business growth. As Restaurant. com continues to grow and add to the restaurant base, Promo Certificates and the Dining Dough product will continue to grow as well. To find out more about Promo Certificates, Inc. and Dining Dough, Brilliant Results had the opportunity to speak with Charles Freihofer.

BR: In your opinion what is the most important service Promo Certificates, Inc. offers its clients? CF: I’d say the freedom of choice, which everybody really wants. Dining Dough cards have no expiration date, can be redeemed on-line (www. for discounts at over 10,000 restaurants nationwide, and growing. Plus the cards are easy and inexpensive to mail to recipients, and take very little time to produce. There’s never an inventory issue, a sure advantage when you’re in a time crunch. Let’s say you’re not a restaurant-lover. You can pick from a variety of web-partners, such as Allen Bros. Steaks, LobsterGram, Mrs. Fields Cookies,, etc., make a purchase online and apply your $25 discount to your purchase.

BR: What makes your product so well suited to reach different demographic groups? CF: Dining Dough cards from Promo Certificates appeal to literally every demographic group, from college kids to the critical 24-35 year-old segment, to the Baby Boomers and seniors. Almost everybody likes to go out to eat, and everybody likes to save a little money doing it, whether it’s $25, $50, or even $100. The product has universal 10 / Brilliant Results

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appeal, and can be used by anyone who has access to the Internet.

BR: What are the hottest demographic groups currently being reached by the use of Promo Certificates/Dining Dough and why are these cards so effective? CF: I know it’s a very wide swath of the population, but the Baby Boomers are the generation/ demographic driving the overall economy. They’re the 800-pound gorilla, the small business owners, the Fortune 500 executives, with kids in high school and college, and with the most disposable income. But Dining Dough has across-the-board appeal, that’s what makes it so versatile.

BR: What makes Promo Certificates/Dining Dough ideal for national as well as local campaigns? CF: As part of the system, Dining Dough cards can be redeemed on-line for discounts at restaurants all over the U.S. You can use them anywhere there are restaurants on the system, and they do not expire. That gives the recipient a lot of latitude. So when you’re on vacation, or on a business trip, or that next trade show in Las Vegas, see what’s available! And once again, you can use the $25 discount against a purchase made on-line from the web-partners.

BR: What, in your opinion, makes a promotional or incentive product successful? CF: I think it has to hit on two or three key things, sometimes difficult when you’re trying to reach a large common denominator. One would be high utility value. Will the product, whatever it is, actually be used by the recipient or, God forbid, thrown away? Is it something he or she might spend his or her own money to obtain, ideally? Two would be product quality. Is this

“Dining Dough cards from Promo Certificates appeal to literally every demographic group, from college kids to the critical 24-35 year-old segment, to the Baby Boomers and seniors.” something that I’m proud to give to a client, and the client likewise is actually pleased to receive? It’s a real waste of everyone’s time and money if not. Three would be the “image factor”. Does the product enhance the image I want to project of my company, does it reflect positively on who we are, what we do, etc?

BR: Do you have any final thoughts or advice for our readers about the use of Promo Certificates/ Dining Dough in their promotional and incentive marketing/motivating campaigns? CF: Give this a try. Distributors in the business are constantly clamoring for “something new and different”. Well, here it is. No, it’s not another water bottle or key chain, and you have to go on-line to use it. But the “gift card” concept has literally exploded in the public’s mind over the past three years or so. People certainly identify

with plastic “gift cards” of all types, as they are available virtually everywhere now.

BR: Do you remember the last promotional product you received and from what company you received it? CF: Actually it was a gift from a very dear friend who knows I’m a collector. It is a beautifully crafted china coffee cup from Chicago’s Century of Progress Fair back in 1933. Fired into the china (not silk-screened on the surface) is the Stewarts Coffee logo, a well-known Chicago brand to this day. It’s a prize, and a testament to the durability of high-quality workmanship, and I do use it, very carefully. I do have a weakness for unusual or unique advertising specialty pieces from the past. For additional information, please visit the Dining Dough website at

July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 11



IMAGINE SLIDING INTO the driver’s seat of a brand new Ferrari, easing it out onto the highway, and accelerating past 90 MPH, past 120 MPH and all the way to 150 MPH. It all seems so effortless. Okay, that’s NOT what this paper is about. Accelerating your critical outcomes is work, hard work. Not necessarily back breaking work, although some grunt work will be required. More likely it will consist of the hardest kind of work, the mental kind. Accelerating is neither sexy nor euphoric. It requires rigor, discipline and commitment. At times, it will seem as though you will never make any progress and that colleagues you perceive as being lazy are accomplishing just as much as you. In his best-selling book, The Road Less Traveled (Touchstone, New York, 1978), Scott Peck opened with three simple words: life is difficult. He’s right. Life really is difficult, and it is just as difficult for the accelerators as for the decliners. Years ago I was a high school math teacher and at every parent-teacher conference I was asked what it took to get an “A” in my class. I always said it took both creativity and grunt work. Creativity to solve the problems on test day, but grunt work to do the homework, pay attention, take notes, ask questions and prepare for the tests. The same is true for people who want to accelerate their critical business outcomes. They need perseverance, flexibility, insights and new approaches. 12 / Brilliant Results

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1. ANALYZE, DON’T PARALYZE Most employees I’ve encountered, regardless of their title, are activity-driven, not analysis-driven. Fully 90% of the time, people look at their actual results, compare them to their desired results and then either increase the number of their activities if the results are disappointing or breathe a sigh of relief and slow down if the results are positive. In either case, the employee focuses on activities, not analysis. This pattern repeats itself during monthly, quarterly, mid-year and end-of-the-year evaluations. It’s a little like the dieter who weighs in once a week and then eats more or less for the next few days depending on what the scale reads. The problem is the employee never digs into their activities to find out which activities are effective, which ones are not effective and which ones they’re not doing that would be more effective. This mindset amplifies during promotion situations. A person comes home and says to his or her spouse, “Honey, I have a chance to get promoted so I’m going to have to put in more hours to really show the boss how much value I bring.” Somehow many employees have connected “hours worked” and “number of tactics executed” with “providing more value.” Bosses are just as much at fault as employees. Have you ever heard a boss say, “If you want to get ahead in this world, you have to work longer and harder hours than anyone else”? Why does

the boss talk about more hours when he or she really wants better results? Analysis of activities is a relatively simple exercise that takes no more than 45 minutes a week. There are three areas to examine: • Current levels of achievement. • Desired levels of achievement. • The path to get from the former to the latter. This exercise is displayed in Figure 1 Figure 1 The Path Desired State Current State 1. What was your goal? 2. What did you actually achieve? 3. What did you actually do to get here? 4. What worked well? 5. What did you not work well? 6. What lessons did you learn?

What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to achieve it?

The path represents what you are going to continue to do, what you are going to stop doing and what you are going to start doing. This is a very simple exercise, one that I’m sure you’ve seen before. So why do I call it “work”? I call it work, because, in all likelihood your boss, colleagues and customers will look at this activity as fluff. Analyzing an event doesn’t make another sale or increase throughput at the plant or cut costs. All you’re doing is sitting and writing on a piece of paper. It looks like you’re dawdling while your peers are “working hard.” It is hard work to do analysis, even 45 minutes once a week, while everyone around you thinks you’re wasting time. However, the goal is not to look like you’re working hard. The goal is to improve results on a continuous basis. That’s why accelerators analyze their activities before moving into action again. The work of analysis also requires that you don’t intimidate yourself to the point you become paralyzed from moving forward. Analyzing an activity can cause frustration. It would be easier to skip the analysis and move back into action July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 13

without having to think about what just happened. Identifying what needs to be done to improve results can make future tasks look unrealistically hard. Don’t get emotionally bogged down. Do the analysis; identify what to keep doing, what to stop doing and what to start doing; and then get back into action. Understanding that “analysis without paralysis” really is work will help you dive into this important activity and not get lost in it.

On the other hand, the Atkins diet has taken over the food industry while obesity among children and adults reaches an all-time high. Is this diet a trend or a fad? Do people eat low carbs for lunch only to finish off their day with a bowl of super-rich ice cream? What is going on here? Accelerators do the work necessary to differentiate fads from trends. They pour their efforts into leveraging trends to continually improve their desired results while resisting fads.



Trends are what actually happen in society while fads are what people talk about. It requires work to focus on the former and avoid the latter. Since 1983, significantly more than 50% of all college graduates are women. Since 1993, the percentage of mothers who stay at home with their children has risen by more than 13%. Consequently, we now have the most well educated stay-at-home moms in the history of the world. What does this trend mean for your organization? It meant a lot for LeapPads, a unique reading and learning device for children, and Baby Einstein videos, both of which had extraordinary sales in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Assume for the moment that everyone in your peer group, including yourself, is twenty pounds overweight. You decide you want to lose that extra weight and start exercising and eating better. Slowly the weight comes off and people start to make fun of what you eat. It’s work to stay the course and hang in there. It’s work to get up and exercise when you’re by yourself. It’s work to avoid the peer pressure at home and stick to your plan. It’s much easier to always go with the flow, but then, of course, you can kiss acceleration goodbye. If you’re in sales and everyone on the team, including you, hit between five and seven percent growth in revenues last year, then it’s going to require work on your part to accelerate to 15 percent this year. Not just the sales work, but also the work of resisting the peer pressure from your colleagues to not rock the boat. By definition, accelerators separate themselves from the pack over and over again. This only becomes comfortable for other people when they realize you are all about constant improvement.

4. SIDESTEPPING SHORT-TERM OBSESSIONS I call this “the fallacy of earnings per share.” I taught a course on Managerial Leadership for the MBA program at Webster University. One night a former COO of a major local publicly owned company spoke to the class and said that the number one factor driving most business decisions was EPS, earnings per share. He said that the quarterly report was about as far out as most executives were willing to consider. When I pointed out how that mentality can destroy long-term success, he replied, “That doesn’t matter. Americans are not worried about the future; they’re focused on the present. They used to buy a ranch home with a one-car garage and dream of the two-story home with a two-car garage. Now they want the twostory home with a three-car garage when they start their careers.” He was right. This obsession with short-term results led to unthinkable acts at 14 / Brilliant Results

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Enron, Parmalat, Andersen, Adelphia, WorldCom and many other organizations. It’s double work to take your eye off of the immediate result to consider the future while simultaneously developing the skills today that you will need for tomorrow’s results. This phenomenon comes down to “label esteem” versus “self-esteem.” Label esteem means that individuals, groups and organizations only see value in themselves to the extent that their current results are extraordinary. Self-esteem refers to the value you see within yourself, regardless of your title, income or current results. In 1935, Walt Disney set out to make the first full-length animated film, Snow White. The media called it “Disney’s Folly.” While his label esteem was low, his self-esteem allowed him to prevail for longterm success. That makes it triple work. Work to learn from current results without attaching your esteem to them, work to develop skills and perspectives that will pay off in the future and work to realize your current strengths and how they can be applied for long-term success.

5. SUSTAINING EFFORT By definition, accelerators sustain their efforts over the long-term. Luck provides many people with the occasional great outcome. Perhaps they were in the right place at the right time. Perhaps their product or service suddenly became the “in thing” and sales and profits went through the roof. This happened for the duct tape industry shortly after September 11, 2001 when it was reported that terrorists might send poisonous gas into homes. However, luck is not a sustainable strategy.

Acceleration Role Model #1, Stephen King Starting at age 13, Stephen King submitted articles in the fantasy-horror-science fiction genre to magazines. He placed a nail on his bedroom wall to hold his rejection slips. When that was filled, he replaced the nail with a spike and kept collecting the rejections. King married his college sweetheart at age 23 and kept accumulating rejections. By the time he was 25, he had two children and worked the second shift at an all-night laundry while his wife worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. He kept writing, getting rejected and occasionally publishing an article. He then took a job as a high school English teacher, had a third child and kept on writing between teaching, grading papers and getting rejected. One night he threw away part of a transcript for a book called, Carrie, which his wife retrieved and encouraged him to finish. That book ultimately earned him a $200,000 advance. 13 years of rejections, but Stephen King sustained his efforts and ultimately became one of the most popular authors of all time. 16 / Brilliant Results

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6. OVERCOMING BURNOUT AND BOREDOM Invisible to the naked eye, but more powerful than most obstacles, burnout and boredom can creep into your subconscious and destroy your capacity for long-term improvement. One day the results just don’t seem worth the efforts anymore. For some people dealing with negative feedback can overwhelm them to the point of complete withdrawal. In 1983, David Woodley was one of the youngest quarterbacks in NFL history to appear in the Super Bowl. However, he hated all of the booing and criticism that came with his job and ultimately resigned at a very young age. Same for Bjorn Borg, burned out in his late twenties while at the very top of the tennis world. Don’t kid yourself into thinking this just happens to athletes. It can happen to any of us. How do accelerators avoid burnout and boredom? They focus on the purpose of the activity more than the results. After making the film, The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise said he still gets a thrill from the movie-making process. He said he is still enchanted by the development of a character and trying to pour his heart into each project. It’s work to generate that much passion over and over again, but the great ones can do it because they love their work. The same is true for the great teachers who’ve taught the same material for thirty years. They generate passion because they love the process of teaching. They love their work. If you truly want to accelerate, have the courage to do what generates passion in your life. My engineering degree did me no good for getting a job because I had no passion for the field. But stick me in a group wanting to go to the next level and it’s like sticking my finger in an electrical outlet. Find what turns you on and do it.

7. DEALING WITH UNSEEN FORCES How about all those people who worked at Andersen (or Enron or WorldCom) who woke up one day and found their jobs and life savings evaporated because of other people’s greed. They didn’t do anything wrong. They focused on improving results and possibly were even accelerators. Yet everything around them fell apart. And those are just the famous examples. My second job after college graduation was teaching math at a private high school. During my second year there, an alumnus of the school was caught in a major cocaine deal. Suddenly our enrollment dropped by 300 students and every new teacher in the school was let go. Bye-bye job. A dead cow in Washington is found to have a rare brain



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disease and major corporations lose enormous stock value in one day. Perhaps your best client for the past five years suddenly collapses due to an unseen force in another industry. Boom. You’re scrambling again. These unseen forces happen so frequently that you might as well expect them to happen. It requires hard work to let go of the disappointment and refocus your energies on adding value, attracting opportunities and becoming even more effective. In a world-famous case in 1982, several containers of Johnson and Johnson’s ExtraStrength Tylenol were laced with cyanide and several people died. The company took all of the capsules off the shelves and replaced them. Within months of the incident, Johnson and Johnson regained and exceeded their previous market share. Accelerators proactively respond to unseen forces and convert them into inflection points on the way to the next level of achievements.

Would you stay in the game that long? Hanging in there requires a combination of passion for the work, belief in your dream and a deep understanding that you have what it takes to be successful. Lose any of those three components and you might get stuck in the world of the status quoers. Look for role models of people who made it after years of neglect. It has been done many times before. Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, left his job as a technical writer for Douglas Aircraft and quickly found himself on the road to hungry. But he persevered. Don’t wait for recognition. Add value today and tomorrow and the day after that…get better and better and better. Don’t assume that today you will be discovered… just keep going and going and going…improving and improving and improving. You don’t know who will open a door for you or how big the room will be. Just keep going.

9. HANDLING SUCCESS SUCCESSFULLY Tiger Woods won the Masters golf tournament in 1997 and went on to win seven more majors (as of this writing). He focused simply on getting better each year. David Duval won the 2001 British Open and fell to 80th place on the money list in 2002 and to 212th in 2003. Accelerators achieve significant results and then prepare themselves for even greater achievements. Decliners achieve great results and begin to fall steadily. Success is either seen as the mountaintop or as a point along the climb. If a great achievement becomes your mountaintop, then you have no hope of becoming an accelerator. Success, or even failure, is simply an outcome. If we analyze what we did to achieve that success or failure, we can extract crucial lessons and apply those toward achieving even better future results. If we see the great success as the culmination of our efforts and avoid analysis, we will reduce our activities to a standstill and rest on our laurels. Regardless of how well you did last year, analyze what worked well, what did not work well and what you could have done differently. Consider your options, make a decision and move into action.

8. MAINTAINING MOMENTUM WITHOUT RECOGNITION In a society obsessed over short-term results, the work to stay the course while receiving no recognition can seem overwhelming. Harrison Ford worked as an actor for fifteen years before he earned enough money to quit his job as a carpenter. He said his goal was simply to make a living as a good character actor. 18 / Brilliant Results

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10. AVOIDING UBIQUITY In the January 8, 2004 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Sony Corp. president Kunitake Ando was described as looking for a word in 2001 that would define his company’s future direction. He dismissed “network” and “mobile” and finally settled on “ubiquity,” which translated as “God is everywhere.” His concept was to make Sony integrated into every aspect of the consumer’s life.



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Since 1987 the authenticity innovation and confidence continues...

He was not alone.

Keiji Tachikaway, president of NTT DoCoMo, said, “Let’s put wireless devices on everything that moves.” WSJ wrote, “Hitachi and other Japanese companies are making super-small chips that use radio-frequency identification technology and can be embedded in anything from dollar bills to grandmother to track the location and identity of an object or person.” They’re even considering putting chips in cartons of milk to tell the refrigerator when the expiration date has passed. Here’s the problem.

Sony had a terrible year in 2003 with the so-called “Sony Shock” where it announced a big earnings shortfall and sliding sales in its mainstay electronics division. “Some analysts said that Sony’s problems were of their own making,” said Allen Wan, Asian Bureau Chief of CBS MarketWatch on May 29, 2003. He reported that problems included a dearth of exciting new products and a lack of focus as the company had interests ranging from music and movies to chips. The Walt Disney Company has provided an example par excellence on how to weaken a brand. Once known for providing quality family entertainment it has evolved to a brand that somehow wants to be all things entertainment to all people. Forays for The Disney Company have included televising the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to The Bachelor TV series to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, that aired four nights a week in its heyday, to Are You Hot?, an ill-conceived show that barely hit the airwaves in 2002. Mike Fleiss, reality producer for the last idea, said, “The cool thing about this show is that contestants will be judged with their clothes on and off. We’ll see what we can get away with.” Andrea Wong, ABC reality chief, said, “You don’t have to be talented to be on this show. You don’t have to sing, dance or do anything, except think you’re hot. It’s good, pure fun.” (Reuters, November 19, 2002) Not exactly The Walt Disney Company that created The Mickey Mouse Club. And the business point here is that as they diluted the brand, they’ve hurt their business performance dramatically. In the Fortune January 26, 2004 issue, Brent Schlender wrote that “Bill Gates, who is now ensconced as chairman and chief software architect, is determined to make Microsoft even more ubiquitous, linking all kinds of computing and communications and consumer electronic devices in a mesh of software that will make the entire Internet and everything on it a single, 20 / Brilliant Results

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programmable entity.” He went on to say that from January, 2000 to January, 2004, Microsoft’s market value had fallen from $600 Billion to $304 Billion. Ubiquity is essentially being all things to all people all of the time. There’s another word for that: commodity. It requires discipline and hard work to say no to people. It takes a lot of selfesteem to admit that you are not capable of being all things to all people. However, trying to be ubiquitous involves carrying a lot of baggage, which will slow down your ascent to acceleration. Be clear about what value you add and what you do. Then work hard to not let other things pull you down. Leverage your passion, talents, time and money to accelerate from one level of achievement to the next. •

BONUS: Taking Care of Today and Tomorrow Simultaneously The ultimate challenge of acceleration is successfully executing what needs to be done for today’s achievements while simultaneously preparing for future success. Balancing these twin needs on an on-going basis is very tricky but completely essential. Increasing the rate of achievement once requires quite an effort. To go from a three percent growth to a six percent growth in revenues requires a dramatic team effort. But to follow that with an eight percent growth is virtually Herculean. The only way it’s possible is if the group has thought about what needs to be done this year, next year and the year after that all at the same time. The good news is that once an individual, group or organization has developed the mindset of continuous acceleration it requires no more effort to maintain that way of thinking than it does for the status quoer to remain stuck.

As a keynote speaker, Dan Coughlin provides practical advice to accelerate your key business outcomes. As an executive coach, he has spent more than 3,000 hours on-site working with executives in over 20 industries. His clients include Toyota, McDonald’s, Marriott, Coca-Cola, St. Louis Cardinals, GSD&M, Boeing, and AT&T. His new book, Accelerate: 20 Practical Lessons to Boost Business Momentum arrives in bookstores May 2007. For additional information, e-mail Dan at, or visit www. EDITORS NOTE: The second section of this article ‘Ten Reasons Why Accelerating is Worth It” will be published in the August 2007 issue of Brilliant Results.



TEL: 512-863-8541 FAX: 800-805-0111

HOW PHYSICIANS Would Redesign the Convention Experience


In the rapidly changing medical marketing environment, physicians are demanding that the healthcare industry reconsider how it communicates with them at conventions. And we should listen. Many companies put considerable effort and expense into designing convention exhibits in healthcare. But, with the convention floor being so focused on “selling,” have we neglected the “experience” as seen through the eyes of our targeted physicians? Impact Unlimited commissioned several focus groups to study just that. Our goal was to take this input from some 60 physicians that have attended medical conferences in the past two years and get their thoughts on improving their convention experience, specifically on the commercial exhibit floor. After reviewing over 200 pages of transcripts, we categorized the physician feedback into five top trends that illuminate how physicians would like to improve their experience at conventions. Impact Unlimited also highlighted strategies for exhibiting pharmaceutical, equipment, and device companies that can help them align their convention strategies with the top five trends. For some of these strategies we looked at other successful experience-focused examples such as retail way finding and Apple’s Genius Bar. Impact Unlimited presented its findings at the recent Mid-Winter Health Care Exhibitor Association in Baltimore. 22 / Brilliant Results

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Here are the top five trends identified, including some quotes from responding physicians and counter-strategies:

1. THE COMMERCIAL EXHIBIT HALL CAN BE AN OVERWHELMING, INEFFICIENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR PHYSICIANS. Time constraints, crowds, lack of directional signage, shotgun use of multimedia and video and space constraints. All of these are factors that result in inefficient message absorption, learning, and use of time for physicians. “Often times there are so many people, so many noises and so much activity that I have to try to close these potential distractions out in order to focus and prioritize,” said a critical care physician. “I am always overwhelmed by the exhibit hall. It is so confusing where to start, how to figure out if you have missed anything and where to go next with your limited time,” noted a radiologist. COUNTER-STRATEGIES

Pre-show communication - Reaching out to your targeted physicians prior to a convention can alleviate some of the stress and confusion that they will face once they hit the exhibit hall. Let them know some of the things they’ll be able to learn/experience at your exhibit and where they can find you - get your company on their “must see” list.

Show organizers as well as exhibitors need to consider better “way finding” to guide visitors where to find products and services - Think of a consumer electronics store like Best Buy where you walk in, look around and intuitively know where appliances are versus home electronics versus cell phones. Conventions should be no different. “I try and circle all booths. I make a point to visit booths based on specific therapy category,” noted a radiologist.

2. PHYSICIANS WANT TO BE IN CONTROL OF THEIR BOOTH EXPERIENCE. Most physicians have only a few minutes to spend at each booth, so it is crucial to allow them to control their experience while you control the environment. As one cardiologist surveyed put it, “I prefer to be by myself, and if I have any questions, I would approach someone. I want to get an idea first for me then explore deeper if necessary.”

July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 23



No Detail Zone - Take a tip from retail. Allow attendees to browse your booth on their own without being accosted by representatives. Give physicians “Just Browsing” buttons. Have reps available to answer questions, but not to hover over the physicians. Keep it simple – Your exhibit and all your promotional tactics should have one clear and consistent message that can be easily conveyed to your audience in a short amount of time. According to an oncologist who participated in the study, “Keep it simple. The message must be able to be conveyed in less than 30 seconds or the attendee is gone.” Make it interactive - Incorporate an interactive aspect to your booth. This helps your physicians better retain information as well as get involved and have some fun. It also provides you with the opportunity to add additional creativity to your booth. “I enjoy interactive theater presentations with other physicians. Some booths have games that you can play with the other physicians where you answer questions about the drug they’re promoting. That’s the most interesting,” observed a primary care physician. Appointments - Before the convention, offer the option for your customers to make an appointment to talk to a sales person, product manager, or medical affairs representative at a set time in the exhibit. Apple takes this approach by allowing customers to book appointments for the Genius Bar in their stores in advance through the Web. This approach would help to enhance the exhibit experience by increasing the need to visit your exhibit, as well as helping attendees plan ahead, ultimately reducing uncertainties and perhaps make your booth their first stop in the exhibit hall.

Make the medical information area in your exhibit a “destination” - Many exhibitors don’t give a second thought to this area. However, companies should give it as much attention as the commercial side of the exhibit. Make sure the staff in this area is in tune with the whole exhibit strategy, increase the size of area in the exhibit and don’t leave it hanging in the aisle. Use interesting technology to make the exchange of information more exciting. Consider the use of appointment systems here as well.

3. PHYSICIANS WANT MORE PIPELINE AND “OFF-LABEL” INFORMATION. Off-label and pipeline information can be as important to physicians as approved treatments, but exhibitors tend to treat the areas in their exhibit as after thoughts. “I think what is important… (is) information that might not be provided at the meeting. The companies are stricter for FDA-approved indications so one has to talk to the medical department people for ‘off label’ indications—almost everything we do in oncology,” noted an oncologist.

4. SALES PEOPLE ARE SEEN AS TOO AGGRESSIVE Overly aggressive sales people are one of the greatest complaints and turnoffs for physicians at exhibits. “Don‘t stand at the edge of the booth and ‘pull’ us in as we walk by,” added a radiologist. In order to ensure that your customers have a positive experience, make sure your staff is friendly and helpful but not aggressive. COUNTER-STRATEGIES

Reinvent training – With crowds of physicians filling the aisles, to some sales representatives this can be like “shooting fish in a barrel.” Preshow training sessions need to remind sales representatives of physicians’ aversion to and perceived sales aggressiveness. Focus more on the physician and their needs while finding innovative ways to introduce your product. Reconsider inbooth sales contests – if your sales people are just focused on maximizing the number of physicians they speak to, the physician will pick up on this and it will backfire in the long run. Think of the preconceptions of car salesmen, Saturn changed this paradigm when they adopted a laid back, hassle-free way of selling a car that in return created a new form of loyalty. This attitude and tone can and should be applied to all aspects of the convention experience.

5. THE KEY DRAW OF CONVENTIONS IS CHANGING. Technology has impacted the key draw of conventions and exhibits. Updates on new research, networking, socializing, and travel are just some of the reasons physicians attend conferences. Especially for pharmaceutical companies, however, availability of CME credits, product information

“Make sure the staff in this area is in tune with the whole exhibit strategy, increase the size of area in the exhibit and don’t leave it hanging in the aisle.” 24 / Brilliant Results

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“You can take the advantages of the face-to-face convention experience and move it to a new channel like a Brand Center or Retail Environment.” and new research on-line is disrupting some of the original rationale of attending medical conventions - just as new film distribution channels like Netflixs and On-Demand are taking a bite out of movie-going attendance with innovative and convenient ways of viewing films. That is why it is important to improve the overall exhibit experience to assure that physicians get the optimal value out of attending the program and look forward to returning.

headquartered in Dayton, N.J., with offices in Zurich, and São Paulo. Impact Unlimited is a creative and strategic company that provides a breadth of products and services that help its clients optimize investments in events,

exhibits, and meetings. For additional information please visit their website at or contact Stephen at smapes@ImpactUnlimited. com or Tiffany Miller of R&J Public Relations at


Make your information come alive – Conventions are a face-toface medium. Make sure you are making the experience more than a presentation of information in a static manner or just another office sales detail. Talk to physicians - The best way to know what works is to get feedback from your customers. Take the time to ask them what they like and don’t like as well as input on what could be done differently next time. Reinvent your company’s presence - When conceiving your convention strategy, think in terms of a total customer experience, not just many disparate marketing tactics. Invent a new sales channel – You can take the advantages of the face-to-face convention experience and move it to a new channel like a Brand Center or Retail Environment. Thinking about these physician trends when designing your next convention experience will help differentiate your company and ultimately contribute positively to your product and company’s total brand experience. • Stephen Mapes is Vice President, Creative Services for Impact Unlimited

July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 25





SAFETY DIRECTORS can now do more than just talk the talk, they can walk the walk – on a girder. Or dig it, drive it, weld it, hammer it, raise it, climb it, and just about anything else where hard hats are in use. One truth that cannot be escaped is that if Safety Gear is involved, there is risk involved. Medi-Facts puts an individual’s Personal Health Record (PHR) right where it is needed most, with the individual where the individual is at risk. The PHR is attached inside the safety helmet of the worker, with an alert on the outside of the helmet. In the event of an incident, the obvious benefits to the individual are: Emergency responders get the information they need most when the need it, which is NOW! This drastically improves the chances of the right types of treatment being applied immediately when every second counts. 26 / Brilliant Results

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BENEFITS The benefits go far beyond that though. Even when there is no incident involved, workers, and the workers’ families, have a greater appreciation for an employer that extends a meaningful way to take care of employees and contractors. On the jobsite, the alert with the company logo on the outside of each worker’s hardhat serves 1) as a reminder that this company values each individual, and 2) re-enforces that Safety is Important. Pro-active measures to improve safety, responsiveness and employee morale may also play into a financial benefit. Underwriters will review full safety programs when determining rates. While there is no known unique or specific category for having PHRs inside each worker’s helmet, it will play quite favorably when the program not only addresses safety re-enforcement but also helps mitigate costs in the event of an actual incident.

OSHA has reported a total of 4.2 million nonfatal injuries and illnesses in private industry workplaces during 2005. Approximately 2.2 million of those were cases that involved days away from work, job transfer, or restriction. Drastically improved chances for getting the right emergency treatment results in a reduction of time lost.

INDUSTRY SUMMARIES The number of industries where the PHR has been used continues to grow. These kits have been imprinted for construction companies, big and small – from tract housing to buildings and major industrial projects. Paving, infrastructure services and utility companies in both private industry and municipalities have put the program in place. The kits have been ordered for use in oil fields and on platforms including a bi-lingual version in Portuguese for a platform in Angola. Imprints have been made for open pit mines, liquids plants, recycling plants and more.

These kits are particularly attractive to Safety Management groups and businesses that serve as consultants on major projects with dozens of subcontractors. The consulting firm brings the kits imprinted with the Project logo or General Contractor’s logo, and optionally a very brief safety message. The program is described and kits are given to each subcontractor during the safety program analysis and review. Finally, the program is explained and the kits are distributed to the workers on the job site during a safety meeting. This creates a powerful message across the entire scope of the project. One other quick but telling observation has been made in large companies with multiple teams and projects. One group or project will order the kits and employ them. After the Safety Directors meet for a quarterly-type meeting, another group orders kits. After a subsequent meeting even more kits are ordered. Safety Directors seem to really embrace the program.

SAFETY NEVER TAKES A VACATION One theme of this issue is Safety Never Takes A Holiday. The very same kits that bring peace of mind to a hardhat on the jobsite can bring peace of mind to a safety helmet for bicyclists, mountain climbers and other extreme sports enthusiasts. An alternative for other activities is the same PHR attached to a Velcro strap. This can attach to belt loops, backpacks, fanny packs, shoes, gym bags, equipment bags and just about any place you can imagine. Go ahead take a vacation, and take your safety with you. Medi-Facts™ WorkKits™ are only available through your professional Promotional Products Consultant. Ask your consultant for item #MK1400 Medi-Facts WorkKit from SHEPENCO. The Velcro strap version is item #MK1800 MediFacts GoKit™. For more information visit www.

July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 27



OF ALL THE TESTY AND MANDATORY agesensitive adjustments the baby boomer generation will face, possibly the most emotionally charged is that at age 60 they will become sexagenarians. Baby boomers will redefine the word “old.” Terms such as “senior” and “retirement” will all but disappear. Modern Maturity magazine will become “AARP the Magazine,” and the term “senior citizen” will be banished. Baby boomers will be radically different from their parents. And so it goes. Not so fast. While changes in American society will contribute to altering lifestyles, the comparison between generations may not be as pronounced as some people think. Boomers, typically pegged by demographers as those born between 1946 and 1964, will alter the matureadult market in size, but other changes remain subject to speculation. According to a March 2004 report from the Congressional Budget Office, the savings behavior of the boomer generation is similar to that of their parents’ generation, and they have similar wealth-to-income ratios. However, these comparisons may be somewhat less favorable for boomers when inflation and debt load factors are included. Moreover, boomers will encounter forces firmly entrenched in government and society. The Age Discrimination Act of 1967, and amended in 1990 as the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, continues to protect employees age 40 and older from age and benefit discrimination. Thus, boomers will be retiring already classified as “older workers.” 28 / Brilliant Results

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At age 60, boomers will be covered by the Older Americans Act, enacted in 1965 and amended in 2000. It provides federal support to states for social and other services to those age 60 and older who qualify, based on health, income and social criteria. Further, those 60 and older come under the purview of the Administration on Aging, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under current guidelines, decisions on Social Security come into play upon reaching age 62. Should a boomer choose to begin taking a lesser monthly allotment or delay final decision to a later age for a higher monthly check? Personal finances, quality of health, as well as other individual considerations, and any changes or restrictions enacted by Congress, will influence these choices. In their early 60s, boomers will be presented with options for senior discounts to movies, parks and recreation, memberships, and a variety of other choices. For example, at age 62 one qualifies for a Golden Age Passport, providing free lifetime access to all national parks and forests, and countless wildlife sanctuaries and other similar areas, all for a one-time fee of $10. This will tempt even the most stubborn “anti-senior” boomer to become at least a temporary or selective senior in order to take advantage of these offers. At age 65, according to current guidelines, the boomer will face important decisions on Medicare, Medigap and private health care options, further plunging the boomer into a more senior role in society. Also at age 65, federal income tax deductions become available to personal income-tax payers. It is unlikely that

many boomers will choose not to take advantage of this age-sensitive deduction. Between ages 60 and 65, a host of local community social, health and wellness and personal services begin to surface for those reaching the minimum age for qualification. Boomers may decide to pick and choose from such menus, but when they do they will be joining others their senior, and they likely will be viewed as the group is seen in the public eye. So, while optional, these programs may come with a cost in attitude adjustment. Lifestyle decisions may surface as boomers seek to downsize their larger empty-nest homes. Some choices will include attractive minimum-age housing developments with an age qualification starting at age 55, for example. While 55 is a preboomer age, these developments will include residents from the minimum age to older than 90. This may make such living choices for some boomers a psychologically difficult one. Of all the testy and mandatory age-sensitive adjustments the baby boomer generation will face, possibly the most emotionally charged is that at age 60 they will become sexagenarians, meaning they then will be inexorably linked with others in the seventh decade of life. Many of their fellow sexagenarians will be those who have long accepted a senior-specific moniker, in most cases one

preferable to older Americans, “elderly,” “aged” or even “senior citizen.” Call themselves what they will, boomers will be senior to younger adults, and they likely will see themselves as seniors, at least some of the time. • Michael C. Walker retired from active management in 2002, after serving as Chief Executive of Seniorsfirst (Presbyterian Homes and Services of Genesee Valley, Inc.) for over 24 years. His awardwinning Club 24 Senior Living at Home® program has been replicated across the United States. The recipient of a number of awards including the Patriotic Service Award from the U.S. Treasury Department, Mr. Walker is the author of several marketing books available through 1st Books Library/Authorhouse. Mr. Walker may be contacted at NOTE: Portions of this article have been taken from MARKETING TO SENIORS, Second Edition, (c) Michael C. Walker, 2004

July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 29




WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE of the hot summer exhibiting season: during the next few months, most industries will have their largest shows, with the largest crowds and the most demanding attendees. It’s a high-pressure environment, one that can put a lot of strain on your exhibiting team. Some teams melt under pressure, snapping at attendees and adopting other behaviors sure to alienating potential clients. Others remain professional at all costs, cool as a cucumber under even the most difficult conditions. You want your team to be the latter rather than the former -- but how is that done? Here are the top three ways to keep cool when the pressure is on:

BE PREPARED Training is the single most important tool you can provide your team with. Knowledge is the critical component that allows some exhibitors to remain cool under pressure. Knowing what is expected of them, both as individuals and as a team, a sense of confidence about demonstrations and exhibit models, a clear strategy for lead gathering and follow through -- all these elements dovetail together to form a strong foundation for your team. At least ninety percent of all tradeshow mistakes are born out of ignorance. Practically all the errors a team can make are a result of the fact that they weren’t trained to do otherwise. When people are unsure of themselves, they flounder and flail, both of which are not a good way to represent your company or attract business.

HAVE A STRATEGY Ideally, you’ll be coming to the show floor in a perfect position: a company everybody loves, with a product everybody loves, and crowds of people who want to say nice things about you. However, on the chance that that might not be the scenario you’re facing, it’s critical to have a strategy. Work with your team so that they’re prepared for those questions that are beyond their scope -- for example, in response to recent news in the financial pages or a corporate scandal -- or current or former customers who are less than pleased with your company and intent upon making a scene. Professionals know how to handle these situations quickly, quietly, and efficiently. Does your team? Finally, you need a strategy to handle industrial espionage. The tradeshow floor is the most overt espionage environment imaginable: when else

“Some teams melt under pressure, snapping at attendees and adopting other behaviors sure to alienating potential clients.”

TAKE BREAKS The best way to deal with pressure sometimes is to simply escape from it. Having adequate booth staffing will allow you to schedule breaks into the exhibiting day: critical time for your team to escape from the show floor to grab a bite to eat, have something to drink, and have some much needed down time.

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do companies of every size put their products out there for the whole world to see? Work with your team so they know what to do when a questioner starts getting a little too specific or a camerawielding attendee starts snapping picture after picture of your new prototype. • Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, is an internationally recognized expert working with companies to increase their profitability at tradeshows. She is the author of: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market” and “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies.” Visit for more information.

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How To Use Health & Safety Rewards For Bottom Line Improvement BY: ARNOLD LIGHT, CTC

SAFETY AND HEALTH AWARENESS are two areas of corporate importance that have been neglected for a very long time. In recent months we have seen a large number of companies inquiring about and eventually implementing Length of Service and Safety Programs. As a matter of fact these types of programs, while most HR folks do not classify them as such, are employee reward and recognition programs in the purest sense of the word. No longer is dinner for two or the gold watch de rigor, plus an award such as this may even have a negative effect. The astute corporation is transforming reward and recognition into sustainable corporate benefits by developing programs that offer continuity and are actually intrinsically motivating staffers to stay on board and work safer. Rewards for health and safety behavioral changes can be anything from an imprinted promotional item to a fully fleshed out, ongoing online reward platform offering thousands of rewards. In addition, using branded merchandise for awards in a bona fide, structured safety and employee achievement reward program can offer tax advantages for the employer and employee over cash, debit cards, travel and gift certificates. 32 / Brilliant Results

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Safety and health wellness is a serious matter that could save a corporation hundreds of thousands of dollars over a year’s time. Just think of the cost reductions in insurance and health care premiums if a company can lower injury claims, lost time or on the road accidents. No doubt the bottom line will be positively affected. Here are some thoughts and general guidelines about how to design a successful safety and wellness reward program. •A corporate-wide all employee health and safety achievement reward program must be derived from specific goals that can be clearly measured and effectively communicated. •The reward program must be “packaged” or positioned in a clear, concise and memorable format. •Senior management support is essential, however “buy-in,” commitment and support must come from all levels of management. •Specific employee reward program initiatives must produce measurable results that directly impact the bottom line and deliver substantial ROI. •All elements of an employee reward program must be linked to the achievement of specific and clearly defined goals. •Participating employees must be presented with

timely rewards at a value commensurate with their efforts and contributions. A base award earning opportunity should form the foundation of the program and be linked to achievement of corporate goals. In addition, instant awards and discretionary award opportunities should be present to generate ongoing enthusiasm and reinforce the overall importance of the program. The employee reward program must be clearly, effectively and frequently promoted in order to build awareness and maintain enthusiasm and excitement.

EFFECTIVE HEALTH & SAFETY PROGRAMS Two excellent programs that answer the above guidelines have been developed over the years are offered by The Light Group, Inc., and provide turn key solutions to health & length of service and safety awareness. These are inexpensive programs, are easy to implement and administer, are customizable but most important will achieve your objectives by rewarding those employees who make a difference in your company. Reflections is an elegant, flexible, simple, cost effective time saving employee award system that includes a well-designed presentation kit for each recipient with a beautiful personalized certificate of

achievement, choice of service award level brochure or online award card with a large selection of merchandise in the award level category, award order form, award tracking, and customer service. This system can be used for length of service, health and safety awards. Safety Excellence is a complete ready to use safety award program that encourages employees and supervisors to work safe every day. It offers total fun with instant rewarding…Great for both large and small corporations. Have a Rewarding Day!

Arnold Light, CTC, Founder of The Light Group, Inc. has 35 years of marketing experience specializing in incentive and loyalty marketing helping multinational corporations develop and implement B2B and B2C results oriented performance improvement programs. For additional information visit or call 914-397-0800. July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 33



WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO YOUR COMPANY if your IT Manager left for vacation and never returned? How would you handle an unexpected termination of your Chief Operations Officer due to a serious indiscretion? Who would temporarily fill in for a Human Resources Manager during interviews for potential candidates? Is there such an employee who can do it all? Charles River Apparel, a Boston-based manufacturer of performance outerwear, has the answer…every company needs a “Sharon.” Sharon Hennessy joined Charles River Apparel, a Medford-based family business, over 23 years ago. She is the ideal employee for any organization and if you don’t have someone like her, you could be in trouble. She can process and facilitate orders. She can supervise production and communicate with overseas factories. She can control all of the company’s financials, including payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable. She can manage all operational and technological functions and train other employees on them as well. She can serve on the company’s Board of Directors as Secretary. She can educate employees on the company’s code of ethics, polices and procedures and advise them on which benefits are available. She is a major contributor in the organization’s computer upgrade and software conversions. She can be a great friend and co-worker. 34 / Brilliant Results

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Sharon began at Charles River Apparel as the owner’s Personal Assistant, soon after she became the company’s Office Manager & then the General Manager. Today she is Charles River Apparel’s Accounting and Licensing Manager, by title, but often times plays the role of a Human Resources Manager, Operation Manager and IT Manager. So, now the question is how do you find a “Sharon?” First, look at your current employees. Is there anyone who has been working with you for a long time, someone whom you trust and confide in? Is he or she familiar with the basic foundation and structure of the company? Does he or she truly understand the business’s practices, policies & regulations? Can he or she perform any task requested? If you do not have an employee like this, start looking. It’s important to keep in mind the following qualities when hiring a new employee to act as a “Sharon:” First, will they make a long-time commitment to the organization? Was he or she at their previous job for over 3 years? Next, does it seem like the candidate has multitasking abilities? Can he or she wear multiple hats in different departments? Finally, will the individual be loyal and responsible to not only your business but also to other employees? These qualities will be obvious

during several interviews as well as after speaking to his/her references. Don’t be afraid to ask for additional references in order to get to know your candidate better. It really all comes down to finding the right employee who can do it all! You never know when you are going to need someone to “fill in.” When the Lipsett Family hired Sharon Hennessy over 2 decades ago, they never imagined that she would play so many roles in helping the company to grow. Charles River Apparel grew to be a $35 Million company throughout the years, and the family often reminisces that without her, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Barry Lipsett, President and CEO of the company, noted that

Sharon is a “utility infielder…” you can count on her for anything and no job is too big or too small. Barry rewarded her for her dedication to Charles River Apparel and recently sent her & her husband on an all expense paid vacation to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. So next time you are evaluating your employees or hiring someone new, make sure you look for “Sharon” qualities. You never know when you are going to someone to assist you when the going gets tough. Having a “Sharon” is a blessing… you should consider that today. • Christine M. Bordonaro is a Sales Representative for Charles River Apparel. For more information visit their website at July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 35

It’s ALL Personal

DEMOGRAPHICS. Finding out where your target audience lives, eats, drinks, sleeps, buys stuff, sells stuff and pretty much exists. The “why” of how they behave is about Psychographics. So, combining the two disciplines makes for interesting conversation, if not downright concentrated stress:


“According to the latest figures, insights, focus groups, peer reflex organizations and Psychologists, a 45-year-old male wearing brown shoes, black tie, white shirt with car and house keys in his left front pocket will cross this intersection in San Francisco at approximately 4:43pm on Tuesday, July 25th. Probability: 29%.“ Does this mean anything, in particular, to you? Well, if you were someone who is studying the evolution of guys who wear brown shoes and black ties with a white shirt, you would be doing flips right about now from this amazing information! Just think of it this way: if you are someone who is interested in selling to this person, you want to know where they are, where they live, what they do for a living, what they like to do after work, what they like to eat, what they like to wear, what kind of music they listen to and so-on. Just as the baseball and football statisticians record every strike, ball, home run, RBI, TD, rushing yard, wins and loses, there are those dedicated folks out there who will absolutely be happy to record each and every time you sneeze from eating at a delicatessen in which you imbibed on something that included Parmesan cheese. I was about to make another point about these fine folks who bring you these stats, but first, I have a warning I must reveal to you without hesitation. Here it is:


“Just when you think you have it figured out and you KNOW in your heart of hearts where your target market resides, they throw you the dreaded curse of the shift!” 36 / Brilliant Results

| July 2007

Just when you think you have it figured out and you KNOW in your heart of hearts where your target market resides, they throw you the dreaded curse of the shift! It happens right before your eyes sometimes, if you are paying attention and more often when you’re not! Beware the Demographic Shift! People keep moving. The average now is around 7 career moves. So, if that is true, after they decide to pick up and move again and again and again, let me ask you: how will they remember who you are and how to find YOU? Will they have a point of reference to easily find you again, remember what you do to make their life better? Your competitors are betting they can chip away at your market share and are trying hard to do that. The right Promotional Products, coupled with an effective customer retention system will help ensure you don’t get left behind when there’s a demographic shift. Your professional promotional products specialist can help. Is this the personal touch in keeping the clients you have and adding new ones? You bet. It’s ALL Personal. Dave Ribble is President of The Company Image, Inc./Geiger and an expert at helping figure out how best to use Promotional Products to their advantage. 818.906.9894



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AS A MARKETING AND CREATIVE LEADER, you’re used to managing at a frenetic pace, meeting constant deadlines and dealing with all manner of requests. Isn’t it about time you took a vacation? To ensure your time away from the office is restful and worry free, proper planning is required. Following are some tips: Delegate duties early. Let your marketing staff know well in advance when you will be on vacation and for how long, and explain which team members will handle your projects while you’re gone. Try to distribute assignments among several people, which minimizes the impact your absence has on any one person’s workload. In addition, ask an employee whose judgment you trust to serve as your backup for any pressing questions that may arise. Direct people to your designated point person when preparing your “out of office” e-mail and voice-mail messages.

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Develop an action plan. Create a prioritized to-do list broken down into duties that absolutely must be completed before you leave and items that can wait. Arrange your schedule so that you’ve finished most of your action items well before your last day. Padding your schedule will give you time to respond to those unforeseen requests or unexpected glitches that inevitably surface. Put critical information in writing. Think about some of the common issues you deal with as the department head and leave explicit instructions for resolving them. Provide the names and contact information of key in-house staff members or vendors who can offer guidance on specific concerns. Doing so will lessen the chances you get a panicked call about an easily resolved problem while lying on the beach.

f a Break: Attend to ‘housekeeping’ issues. Nobody likes returning to chaos. The day before your vacation, clean your work area, organize your files, and go through your traditional and electronic inboxes. Given the large files that are typically forwarded around a marketing or creative department, make sure there is plenty of room in your e-mail inbox so you don’t exceed your storage limit while you’re out of the office. Think ahead. Developing a post-vacation plan is important, too. Remember that it’s always easier to get back up to speed when there’s some structure to your schedule. Make sure to allot ample time for meeting with employees, reviewing project updates and responding to messages on the date of your return. Creating a re-entry strategy will help ease much of the stress associated with leaving for vacation, allowing you to get more enjoyment from your personal time.

early morning or evening. Provide your vacation contact information to your backup and ask him or her to reach out to you only in a truly urgent situation. Also, if you have to call the office for a particular reason — such as a conference call requiring your input — don’t let yourself be dragged into tangential conversations. Limit your participation to essential items only. Even if you’re staying in town, resist the temptation to check your messages remotely or to catch up on a few “small” projects. Treat the time as you would if you were on another continent. Taking time to recharge is essential. If you find yourself worrying about key accounts or wondering how a direct-mail initiative is progressing, take a step back and relax. If you’ve made good hires, you have a marketing staff that’s fully capable of handling whatever issues pop up while you’re out of the office. •

Limit contact once on vacation. If possible, fully embrace your vacation by leaving your laptop, electronic gadgets and creative briefs at home. If you absolutely must access your e-mail or voice mail, do so during specific times, such as

The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms on a project basis. For more information, visit www.

July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 39


TO PARODY THE OLD JOKE, “How many customer service people does it take to handle a question?” The answer is lots. You need, at least one to find the right person to handle the call, one to transfer the caller to another extension, one to look up the most recent rules and regulations, one to hum and ha and try to think of a solution, one to say “it’s our policy.” and one to finally say, “I hope that we have answered your question today.” Customer service people, no matter how well intentioned and trained have a distinct disadvantage. They rarely get to see the people they profess to be serving. That’s like working on your computer with a broken screen. You can hear the problem but you can’t fully appreciate it because there is so much information missing. 40 / Brilliant Results

| July 2007

One way to rectify this problem is to give your customer service people more exposure to the public and one of the best places to do this is a trade show. Before you say, shows are just for sales people remember when you expand the opportunity of face-to-face communication throughout your organization you add depth to the experience your exhibit program brings to your public. Your customer service people might welcome an opportunity to put a face to the voices they deal with day in and out. However, as willing as they might be, it’s important that they understand the challenge of working at a show booth. Here are some things to consider:

1. Make the offer to be involved with the exhibits program a reward rather than a punishment. The opportunity to work in the booth can be a terrific break from everyday activities. It gives them a chance to travel, see the company in a different light and learn more about customers. That’s an enviable reward. 2. Clearly outline what’s expected. Let them know what you are trying to accomplish and give them a chance to add a few objectives that will help them enhance their own job. 3. Give them the background information including a description of the show, facility, audience and your booth. 4. Show them the big picture. Knowing how their time at the booth will complement the sales and marketing efforts is important. 5. Build the bridge. Help them bridge what they will learn at the show back to their daily job on the telephones. Mention such things as greater understanding of customer feedback, an appreciation of customer’s problems or the ability to develop empathy.

6. Make them part of the team. If you are planning any post-show activities or special events during the show, treat your customer service people with the same regard as your other booth staff. 7. Ask for feedback. After the show ends and they are back on the job, take the time to ask for feedback on their show experience. Specifically see if they were able to relate the experience with what they do daily. Customer service people need to get away from the phones occasionally. When you use your exhibit program, as an opportunity for them to learn and grow you will add considerable value to your investment in the show as well as in your human resources. Barry Siskind is North America’s foremost trade and consumer show expert and author of The Power of Exhibit Marketing. He is president of Toronto based International Training and Management Company. Contact Barry at barry@siskindtraining. com for more information. July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 41




OF MARKETING COMPETENCE DURING MY NEARLY a quarter century as a copywriter and marketing consultant, I have observed that business owners and managers fall into one of four categories as far as their competence and skill in marketing is concerned. By recognizing which category you are in and taking the action steps recommended below, you can move up to the next level and significantly increase the ROI from your marketing dollars.

The lowest level of marketing competence is UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE: • You don’t know what you are doing, and worse, you don’t know that you don’t know. You may even think you are a pretty sharp marketer, even though to others, that is clearly not the case. Egotistical small business owners who appear in their own TV commercials and “creative” ad agencies can fall into this category. • Do you think you are an OK marketer, and blame the lack of results generated by your marketing always on external factors, such as bad timing, bad lists, or bad luck? You are probably in the unconscious incompetence stage. • Recognize that you don’t know what you’re doing and it is hurting your business. Get help. Hire a professional from an agency or take a marketing course.

The next stage up the ladder is CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE. • You’ve recognized that the reason your marketing isn’t working is that you don’t know what you’re doing. Again, take the steps listed above.

Moving higher up the ladder of marketing competence you reach the stage of CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE. • You’ve read the books, taken the courses, and understand what works. But your experience at putting it into practice is limited. 42 / Brilliant Results

| July 2007

BY: ROBERT W. BLY • That means whenever you want to create a promotion, you have to slow down and think about what you are doing. It doesn’t come naturally. • In the CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE stage, you should keep checklists, formulas, and swipe files (examples of successful promotions you admire) close at handle. Model your own efforts after the winners of others. • Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Observe what works and adapt it to your own product and market. Do this enough times, and you will slowly begin to become a true master of marketing.

You will reach the highest level of marketing competence, UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE. • At this stage, coming up with great offers, promotional ideas, headlines, and copy is second nature to you. You do it naturally, without having to consult your checklists or reference files. The quality of your work is better, and it comes faster and easier. • Michael Masterson says it takes at 1,000 hours of practice to become really competence at copywriting, marketing, or anything else. If you have expert guidance, you may be able to cut that to 500 hours. • But ultimately, you learn by doing – and doing a lot. If you are at this stage, keep doing more and more marketing. When you put in 5,000 hours, you will become great, not just good, and your results will be even better.

ACTION STEP: • Rank yourself using the four levels of marketing competence as described here, and follow the recommendations for whatever stage you are in. • Robert W. Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha). His e-mail address is and his Web site address is



TEL: 512-863-8541 FAX: 800-805-0111

Off The Cuff SAFETY THIS & THAT: • The first person to be killed in an auto accident in the U.S. was Henry Bliss, as he stepped from a streetcar, he turned to assist a woman passenger, and was hit by a cab. • The Travelers Insurance Company wrote one of the first U.S. accident policies in 1864. The policy covered a Mr. Bolter for his walk from his job at the Post Office to his home at a premium cost of 2 cents. • The first fatal plane accident occurred on September 17, 1908 - - the pilot, Orville Wright escaped with injuries, but passenger Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge of the U.S. Signal Corps died. • Wanting always to be prepared, a Cincinnati man wrote to Washington for a copy of the U.S. Government publication #15.700, Handbook for Emergencies. Shortly thereafter he had his first emergency: he received 15,700 copies of the handbook. • La Paz, Bolivia, which is about 12,000 feet above sea level, is nearly a fireproof city; the fire engines ordered out of civic pride gather dust in their firehouses. At that altitude, the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere barely supports fire.


1. A live electric line has fallen on your car… what is the safest thing to do? a. Stay in the car until help arrives. b. Exit the car being careful not to touch the wire. c. Drive out from under the wire – car tires are grounded.

2. Birds can safely sit on power wires that would kill people. a. True b. False

3. It is safe to climb a tree located near a power line as long as the limbs aren’t touching the line. a. True b. False

4. How much voltage is needed to hurt or kill people? a. 120 volts b. 10 volts c. Any voltage can hurt or kill

5. Electricity travels at the rate of: a. 100,000 miles per second b. 186,300 miles per second c. 150,000 miles per minute

~Information courtesy of

6. The best conductor of electricity is: a. Water b. Mercury c. Silver

7. The average number of people in the U.S. who die each year from being struck by lightening is: a. 100 b. 50 c. 25


“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” ~George S. Patton (1885 – 1945), American General

“Accidents hurt - safety doesn’t.” ~Author Unknown

Answers: 1 – a; 2 – T; 3 – F; 4 – c; 5 – b (speed of light); 6 – c; 7 – a. ~Answers courtesy of

44 / Brilliant Results

| July 2007



July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 45

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CHINA Prices Headed North –

WHILE CHINA IS FREQUENTLY in the national news media, its relationship to the promotional and incentive merchandise sector is not often discussed. Recently, Brilliant Results had an opportunity to speak with Daniel Krassenstein. Daniel is partner, President and China Chief Representative of BAS, the only U.S. based ASI/ PPAI supplier selling only Pharma, with their own legal representative office within China run by an American from New Jersey (Dan, himself). Dan, who is fluent in Mandarin, lives in Shanghai with his wife and children. Heavily involved locally in activities ranging from the American Chamber of Commerce, to the board of ActiveKidz (a local sports organization of international students), to competing in several local full marathon races, Dan brings a China connection to BAS which substantially sets it apart from its peers. Differentiating itself from other industry suppliers, BAS is set-up on both sides of the Pacific. Rather than establishing an office in Hong Kong or Taipei, BAS is legally established within China itself. This dramatically improves their ability to expedite samples, source product, maintain quality and schedules. Recently, Brilliant Results met with Dan to discuss the Chinese VAT structure and current rumors of a change in the wind. According to Dan, some 20 years ago the promotional products industry started sourcing from China for one essential reason – PRICE. Production migrated from the US, Taiwan and Hong Kong to Mainland China and, as a result, China today manufactures a majority of the items used by the industry. However, Dan’s first hand information indicates that China’s export machine’s pricing structure 48 / Brilliant Results

| July 2007

is about to undergo some changes, which is welcome news for Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and India (who are next in line in the low-cost manufacturing chain of countries). Dan’s read on five of the key variables effecting China’s export pricing is:

LABOR – Believe it or not, this land of over 1 billion people often faces labor shortages in the key coastal manufacturing centers (Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces). This drives up the cost of labor.

ENERGY – Booming China has an insatiable hunger for oil and natural gas. While the US is relatively diversified in it sources of oil, China is more than twice as reliant percentage-wise on volatile Middle East sources.

EXCHANGE RATE – Since July-2005, the RMB has appreciated by 8% vis-à-vis the U.S. Dollar.

DOMESTIC INFLATION – The cost of living for domestic migrant workers in China is increasing (e.g., food is getting more expensive) This further drives up the cost of labor.

VALUE ADDED TAX REFUND – The 13% refund exporters of, say plastic staplers used to receive from the government is being cut to 5%. Since joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), China has been under pressure to reduce/ eliminate export subsidies. One example is the

July 2007 | Brilliant Results / 49

Value Added Tax (VAT) Refund. In the case of plastic items (including pens and stationery products), as recently as 2006, the China exporter received a 13% refund from the PRC Government, for product exported. This year, it was reduced to 11%. The latest announcement is that it will be further reduced to 5-9% (depending on the plastic item) – effective July-2007. Following Dan’s insightful explanation of the Chinese manufacturing variables, Brilliant Results had several other questions we believe will be of interest to our readers.

BR: Would you please describe for our readers how the Chinese VAT system works? DK: Like many parts of the world (Canada, European Union, etc), as an item is sold domestically down the line factory->wholesaler->retailer>consumer, the federal government applies a “Value Added Tax” (VAT) to each transaction. Similar to how a US traveler to these countries can apply for a VAT refund, exporters from China are allowed to receive a refund from the China government for the VAT, which had been paid.

BR: In your opinion what is the most important service BAS offers its clients? DK: By being “on the ground” within China, the most important service BAS offers its clients is the ability to put out fires before anyone even knows about them. Our competitors often have to wait until the bad samples are already received in the US or poor quality production is rejected before they KNOW there even is a problem.

BR: As a result of your being based in China and your connections there would you give our readers an update on potential changes in the Chinese VAT program? DK: I am the Vice-Chair of Shanghai’s American Chamber of Commerce’s Sourcing and Procurement Committee. We have been tasked with investigating and reporting on these changes and how it affects American businesses. In meetings with Foreign Affairs Office officials and several relevant seminars, I have been more exposed than any one within our industry about these changes. For the past several years, using plastic items as an example, China had fixed the portion of the VAT, which is refundable, at 13%. What that means is that the exporter could literally sell the item “AT COST” and live off of the 13% VAT refund as their profit margin. This VAT refund had been reduced to 11% earlier this year and, effective July-2007, will be reduced even further (to 5-9% - depending on the plastic commodity). Like it or not, pricing on all plastic product will likely increase 5-10% within the next few months.

BR: In your opinion, what is the possible impact for companies dealing with China and ultimately their customers? DK: Quite simply, costs per unit will start to go up toward the end of this year (or sooner) and sourcing will start to slowly diversify to other countries.

BR: Do you have any final thoughts or advice for our readers? DK: Read the Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Commerce and Business Week regularly. Ask questions of your Asian suppliers. For more information you can contact Dan at or visit BAS at www.

50 / Brilliant Results

| July 2007



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