TO TAG OR NOT TO TAG
TO TAG OR not to tag. This is the question facing new companies entering the promotional products arena and established companies reevaluating the way they do business. “Tag” in this case refers not to the products but to the companies themselves. In this industry, nearly everyone is familiar with ASI numbers and most are familiar with UPIC identifications.
Why would one company choose a UPIC identification over an ASI number or vice versa? Why do some companies opt for both? Why do other companies use neither?
To better understand the markets, Promotional Marketing contacted Tim Andrews, president of Trevose, Pennsylvania-based ASI; Scott Fuhr, director of corporate communications at ASI; and Pat Burger, president of UPIC, which is umbrellaed by PPAI, Irving, Texas.
The necessity of identification is disputed; some organizations manage to function without any. “One does not need to have an identifier or belong to any organization to do business in the industry. It’s been proven again and again,” said Burger.
ASI takes a different stance. Fuhr said the organization works on the principle that an identification system is necessary to the industry. However, he was careful not to dismiss businesses without such an identifier. “I think each business has to make a choice that’s right for its own situation and its own business practices,” he said.
ASI numbers have existed for more than 50 years. For many, the ASI number is synonymous with the promotional products industry. It is tradition and, like all traditions, it is resistant to change. PPAI witnessed this first-hand when it introduced the UPIC identification in 1999. “In the first year or so [UPIC] was not readily adopted by a lot of companies,” said Burger. Over time the system proved its value: “We currently have about 25,000 companies in our online directory, each of which has a UPIC.”