How to boost participation in your wellness program

Wellness programs benefit the participant and the employerby Larry Triplett

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.

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Survey Says Everyone Steals Pens

by Larry Triplett

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.

The smooth feeling and smooth writing pen that's everyone's favoriteLet’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!

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When is a mug NOT a mug?

by Larry Triplett

We have more than 100 answers to that question! It’s explained in this video:


Get your copy of the list from our home page.

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New Sunscreen Regulations Capture Marketers’ Attention

Custom branded sunscreen can be a part of any summer promotionby Larry Triplett

Custom labeled sunscreen products have long been popular in marketing and promotion. As summer finally becomes official, we find more and more companies including sunscreen in their summer promotions. Last week, some new regulations were announced by the FDA, requiring more detailed labeling. Our suppliers are on top of the situation. Here’s a quick overview on the changes.

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) ratings have been around since the 1960s, and will remain in place. They measure protection from UVB radiation. UVB is responsible for sunburn. The FDA is now much more concerned about UVA, the rays that have now been shown to cause skin cancer. Sunscreens that offer both kinds of protection are known as Broad Spectrum, and that term will start to appear on products soon.

FDA research has shown that most sunscreen products do not last very long. Many of the claims of water-resistance have been found to be overstated. It will become necessary to state on the label how long an application will last. The FDA will be suspicious of any claims of more than 2 hours effectiveness. It’s been suggested that sunscreens should be reapplied after swimming. All of this extra information means that advertising space will be at a premium. We expect that it will lead the way to some creative packaging as these changes take hold.

Broad Spectrum designation will become a highly desired label, and that’s good news for marketers. As public health awareness increases, advertisers will certainly want to be associated with the more effective sunscreens. APTCO is working closely with our suppliers to make sure summer promotions are just as effective.

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Top 5 Tag Lines of All Time

by Larry Triplett

A good tag line adds focus and purpose to a brand. It should be short enough to be easy to remember and repeat. It should avoid industry-specific jargon so it’s easily understood by everyone. It should describe a company’s mission succinctly. The ideal tag line will inspire the company as well as its audience. Here the best ones, ranked by

1. Got Milk? (1993,California Milk Processor Board)
2. Don’t leave home without it. (1975, American Express)
3. Just do it. (1988, Nike)
4. Where’s the beef? (1984, Wendy’s)
5. Think different. (1998, Apple Computer)

Once you’ve settled on your tag line, don’t just leave it on your business card. It should be everywhere, and always integrated into your marketing campaigns with promotional products.

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