Safety in Numbers
PAINT LIKE MONET! On the box of every kit, those number-guided paint sets would woo consumers with the golden promise of artistic excellence. And, should the would-be impressionist follow directions to the very last detail, “Water Lilies” would emerge.
Consider the following a distributor’s by-numbers guide to creating quality safety-themed promotions. Whether it’s a case of getting a foot in the door, or simply selling more deeply with existing customers, these tips will make the traditional protective gear more appealing to any end-user. Follow closely, and create a marketing masterpiece.
1. Choose good-looking products.
Piece of cake, right? Maybe for other categories, but when said products are eye goggles, reflective vests and bulky gloves—not so much. Yet, it’s a hole in the market that David Campochiaro, president of Memphis, Tennessee-based PromoVision Palomino, is more than happy to fill. He noted that using upscale, good-looking safety glasses for a promotion increases compliance. “It just reiterates the fact that … people will wear things that look good,” Campochiaro said. The company has sold its line of safety glasses into the medical/pharmaceutical ield, including a promotion for a Pfizer plant. “They ordered one of the safety glasses that was more upscale, looked good and it carried a safety message,” he related.
2. Find the untapped market.
Though Campochiaro has found success in the medical sector, it’s not the only unconventional industry to consider. Step away from traditional construction or other blue-collar end-users and try schools or event promotions for a whole new perspective. According to Jackie Barker, vice president of sales for ERB Safety, a division of Woodstock, Georgia-based ERB Industries, “We sell to a couple of school-supplies catalogers, so maybe … some of our safety glasses might be used in the science lab for protection.” She also noted, surprisingly, that at concerts and sporting events such as ESPN’s College Game Day, it’s not unlikely to see patrons sporting logoed hard hats. Similarly, “We’ve done things over the years for Super Bowls,” Barker added.
Groundbreaking ceremonies are another potential event that uses hard hats, and the corporate market in particular can always find use for the popular first-aid or auto-emergency kits, like those sold by Toronto-based Superex. “Our products make
excellent gifts,” explained Michael Gisser, the company’s vice president. “It’s all over the map. It does cross so many potential uses and people and business[es] and price points,” he added.
3. Add extras.
The aforementioned safety kits are also effective as upsell items. “They all have trucks out there on these job sites—are the trucks equipped with the proper first aid?” Barker asked, adding it’s a good way to round out a safety program with a company. “It’s nice to have everything conveniently located in one area,” Campochiaro agreed. And it doesn’t just have to be first-aid products. Gisser noted portable power stations, rain ponchos and tire gauges are especially popular.
Now is also a great time to consider adding certain apparel options, said Barker. Just this past November, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) issued a revision to its Worker Visibility Law that makes wearing high-visibility apparel mandatory for workers on federal-aid highways. Equipped with the proper technology (fire-retardancy, reflective stripes, etc.), vests, jackets, gloves and the like are effective promotions for those who work outdoors or are exposed to elemental hazards on the job.
4. Understand the client’s needs.
Governmental regulations and standards aside, distributors must be aware of how the product will function before ordering safety items. “Distributors do sell to construction companies, for example, where the product is being used every day versus more of the groundbreaking, ceremonial-type items,” Barker said. Obviously, each hat has a different purpose. And though it might seem self-evident, she gets asked “Is it a real hard hat?” quite often. Since there are price differences as well as occupational risks associated with each, asking the right questions can be the difference between getting the sale and not (not to mention keeping end-users
Customization is another area where distributors can go the extra mile. Barker noted that, in particular, colors can be PMS-matched and helmets can be imprinted with company logos or even an individual’s name. “If it’s a customized product and someone needs to put Joe Smith’s name on the hard hat, we’ll make one hard hat customized for Joe Smith,” she affirmed.
Yet, perhaps even more interesting, Campochiaro noted that “nine times out of 10,” his customers are using these items without an imprint. Though it might seem counterproductive for a promotional item, he maintained the message is inherent in the product’s function. Promotional protective gear means a company puts safety—and by extension, its employees—first.