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Smart businesses are introducing wellness programs for their employees. The benefits go both directions! Healthier employees result in reduced health insurance premiums, due to fewer claims being filed. The differences may not be seen overnight, but come renewal time, the payoff will be there. But apart from this, healthier employees are more productive. They feel better, have fewer absences, and on average, are happier. What’s not to like about that?
Participation, of course, is the big challenge. Just like those New Year’s Resolutions that get forgotten come February, the resolve to focus on health tends to weaken pretty quickly. Here are some thoughts on boosting participation.
First, make sure that you create and maintain awareness. A good wellness program should have a theme, and a distinctive graphical appearance tied to that theme. Just like the company brand, the program brand should be distinctive and recognizable. Repetition is one of the tools to build that identity. Put that brand on promotional products that will be a constant reminder. Consider a monthly or quarterly promotion featuring a wellness item.
Second, encourage healthy habits and reinforce the key principles of a healthy lifestyle. Signs near the elevators encouraging people to take the stairs can be effective, especially when peer pressure kicks in. Branded water bottles can be good reminders to drink more water. Calendars with wellness tips will be seen on a daily basis.
Third, utilize incentives to build participation rates. Set goals and milestones, and offer prizes for achieving them. When employees see others winning these, it could be just the impetus they need to get on board as well. Of course, the prizes should be branded with the image of the campaign.
So what are the best promotional products for wellness programs? Actually, we get that question a lot. There are no firm answers. Our most important guideline is that they should be visible and integrated into the daily routine of the participants. Beyond that, we don’t start with a list of typical products. As always, we start with learning more about the program, and go from there. If your goals are well-defined, we’ll find the right tools to get you there.
Well, everyone who works in an office, that is. Paper Mate® (who has quite an interest in pens) commissioned a survey of 1000 people from around the US who are full time office workers. Scott Crist, global director of marketing for Paper Mate says “I am surrounded by people who have ample access to pens and still my own pens go missing.” The usual excuses come from those who claim it was a mistake or that they absent-mindedly walked off with a pen. Seventy-eight percent reported it was an accident. Twenty-two percent said they took it knowingly.
Curiously, while 70% of office workers reported they’d had pens “disappear”, every single person surveyed admitted having taken one at least once. There certainly doesn’t seem to be much guilt felt by the practitioners of this theft. In fact, a sense of entitlement might be a more apt description. In an office setting, writing utensils disappear more often than other office supplies. Seventy percent say pens vanish most, followed by pencils (55%) and highlighters (55%). A pen is about twice as likely to “be lost” as a stapler (35%), a pair of scissors (36%) or tape (38%). Paper clips and binder clips account for 43 percent of the losses, rubber bands for 38 percent.
So why does this topic get our attention as a promotional marketing company? Because writing instruments are the 2nd largest category in the promotional products world. (Apparel is number one. There’s nothing like a walking billboard.) Over $1.5 billion dollars worth of custom branded pens and pencils are sold every year. This doesn’t happen accidentally. It happens because businesses of all sizes perceive pens to be an inexpensive and effective vehicle to extend their branding far beyond their doors.
Let’s put these two things together, and you’ll see that a pen with a promotional message, already having a low cost-per-impression, actually can get up to double the mileage as it gets “borrowed” by someone in need. Advertisers sure have no problem with that. I’ve left plenty of my favorite pens lying around where they might be “found”.
But let’s not forget that what makes a pen a really effective promotional item is the message it carries. Not just a logo or company name. When a pen can be tied to a campaign or program – something that brings a benefit back to the advertiser – then you’re really doing something!