Promotional products, corporate gift Los Angeles.

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my promo story Jarie Bolander

Jarie Bolander from Decision Counsel talks about his processing of procuring promotional products for various clients as a PR agency. 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hey Swire, Jarie Bolander here from San Francisco, California. I am actually in the B-to-B sales and marketing enablement, and I’m at a company called Decision Counsel, and I’m super thrilled to be on the show, what a cool idea and cool concept.

What type of promotional products did you order? Do you have a favorite or “go to” promo item for your clients?

We order lots of different types of promo products. Usually t-shirts and sometimes even coasters you know, for drinks and such. It varies depending on the project and the client. Some clients just want t-shirts or bags like canvas bags, others want USB drives with their name on it. So it really just depends. Really don’t have any go to business promo item for our industry.

How do you envision these promotional products to help your clients achieve their goals?

The reason why we produce the giveaway items is to activate the new messaging and positioning that we have been working on. By putting it in a tangible form, so people can touch it and feel it, makes it feel more real. The goal is really to bring awareness and activation for the new branding that we’ve come up with.

What was your method in searching for your promotional product? 

We usually find our vendors with a Google search. Sometimes, we will work with a vendor that we or our client have previously worked with before. We mostly rely on referrals but sometimes depending on where the client’s located, whether it is in a different state or different country, we will find a local vendor via a Google search.

Did you find the promotional products you were looking for? What other challenges did you encounter? 

Usually, we can find what we’re looking for. Most of the challenge is the lead time, especially with the supply chain issue and we work pretty close to deadlines. Usually, our turnaround and transit times are expedited. The good thing is that there is a variety of promotional products and a variety of vendors. So we don’t really have problem, our challenge is usually lead time because we need them really fast.

How did you make the decision on this promotional products for the project?

The main decision maker was the client. They request a certain items, we would provide the options and they will make the choice. So it is up to the client, they will tell us what has worked for them in the past and we would start working on that.

Tell us about the result of the project. Are you happy with the outcome on your ROI? Do you feel that you have achieved your goals with these products?

We and and the client are pretty happy with the results. I mean, so is the client. Our goal was to bring awareness in activating the new messaging since no one had ever seen it before. For one client we did some coasters as well as some posters. The posters are technically not promotional products but they enhanced the coasters that we had. Together, they definitely achieved the goal.

What advice would you like to share with people who are interested to order promotional products?

My best advice is to give plenty of lead time.  Try to plan and research as early as you can, since the lead time has been longer. Otherwise, you will end up paying for rush fees and expedited shipping. Ideally one month before an event is the best time to get the promotional products ordered. We would definitely produce the same type of promotional products as the ones we have done before, especially if they are the same type of lunch and learn or breakfast and learn events. People put their drinks down and can see the coasters with your information. 

About the Author

Swire Ho

Swire migrated to Los Angeles in 1996. He is a proud Chinese American who speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and English. He trained as a sound engineer, working at recording studios and entertainment agencies before starting his own firm, Hellman Production, Inc, 2003 in Los Angeles. Swire and his team successfully produced attractive, personalized DVD and CD cases and custom merchandise like T-shirts, earning a Score award in 2009, for small business success. His business eventually grew so popular, he decided to sell Hellman Production in 2013 to focus exclusively on the promotional product industry.

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