Why Your Promotions Might Not Be As Successful As You Anticipated

Posted by Rachel Sullivan on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 @ 10:07 AM

393552705900589.BU7ntdzAZO3F2fgMtRKz_height640.png When it comes to the realm of promotional products and the promotional products industry, taking a moment to put some thought into a plan can alter the success of your marketing initiatives. There are a lot of common mistakes that brands make when trying to use promotional marketing, and mistakes are okay, but ParsonsKellogg is here to help you learn from them.


Ignoring the wants/needs of your audience

Obviously there are items that you, as the audience, would prefer to receive. Maybe to-go mugs and hats are your shtick, but that doesn’t mean that’s what your recipients want or need. Functionality and usefulness are key! In fact, 77% of consumers say that the number one reason why they keep a promotional product is because of its usefulness. So just ask! Reach out to your employees and targeted audience and see what it is that they’re looking for. It’s an easy way to ensure that the money you spend on promotion won’t be wasted.

Waiting until the last minute

Sometimes things fall through the metaphoric “crack”; whether they are forgotten, underestimated, or procrastinated, we’re all guilty of waiting until the last minute to do something. Yes, many companies are efficient at rush orders, but they’re going to cost you—both in price as well as time needed to fix potential mistakes. Do your sanity and your wallet a favor and make a timeline for all upcoming events and promotional needs!

Price over quality

The price tag is always important, illuminating the dividing line between what is affordable and what is out of reach, but there is a fine line between saving money and buying cheap products. If you choose cheap products that serve your wallet better than they serve your audience, you will find a much smaller return on investment. Your promo products reflect your company and cheap products will discredit your brand. But have no fear! You don’t have to spend extensive amounts of money, just work to find cost effective items that are useful and good quality!

Too much or too little information

Promotional products are supposed to boost your brand recognition and outreach, so you want to make sure your items are branded simply and effectively. While you don’t want to hand out promo products inundated with information about your brand, a single logo is just as inefficient. Give enough information that people know what they’re looking at but not too much that it becomes aesthetically unappealing.

Wrong target audience

Promotional products are essentially another member of your team. They sell your brand to your market outside the confines of your company. Something to keep in mind is exactly who you want to reach via these products. Choosing items that do not appeal to the audience within your target market is a common mistake. When looking at items make sure you’re choosing something that people will like and use. Handing out toys or stuffed animals with your logo might not be as effective as you’d like because the age group using the products are likely not the ones using your services. So be conscientious and promote your brand with products that appeal to your market!

To avoid these mistakes and get the bang for your buck that you deserve, contact PK!

Contact ParsonsKellogg

Topics: parsonskellogg, #buildyourbrand, 2017 promotional products

How Will You #BuildYourBrand This Fall?

Posted by Rachel Sullivan on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 @ 10:07 AM


As the summer season reaches the August mark, brands begin their planning for fall marketing initiatives. ParsonsKellogg gives you access to the catalogs of premium brands before anyone else—catalogs that feature the latest and greatest styles and colorways. While the fall might be known as a time of last life for the vegetation (at least here in New England), it does not have the same connotation for business. The change in season marks the beginning of new ideas and successes, which open up new opportunities that would not have otherwise been possible.

A recent Harvard study has shown that as the days cool down and lose their summer appeal workers actually become more productive. Surprised? So were we, which is why we encourage you to make the most of the season and capitalize on the zeal of your brand. Channel the fresh energy into the building of your brand and make a change!

Change, though it can be scary for some, paves the way for innovation. If we look back on even the last 20 years, change is extremely prevalent, permeating almost every aspect of our lives. Let’s talk movies. What started as a VHS tape eventually developed into a DVD which transformed into Blu Ray, and now it is possible, even easy, to watch a movie anywhere at anytime with smartphones and tablets.

Our world changes with every second that ticks by, and the well-seasoned brand knows that taking advantage of this fluctuation is imperative to a successful business. Those who ignore the fear behind trying something new taste the fruits of success more frequently than those who choose to stay within the confines of their comfort zone. It’s not just movies and technology that are transforming, our industry is changing too! A lot of companies no longer place as much value on cheaper products; instead, they prefer to go with premium apparel and accessories that their audience actually wear/use. Placing an importance on its functionality allows brands to prevail over the day to day changes, extending the longevity of their success.

So stay up to date on the trends this fall and try something new, whether it be a deviation from a favorite ¼ zip to a polo with a quirky new set of buttons, by adding premium brands to your initiative! Whether you’re interested in lifestyle or supporting goods brands, we have a diverse line-up of brands that will satisfy even the most particular.

To see the latest in promotional products and premium brands contact ParsonsKellogg!


Contact ParsonsKellogg

Topics: parsonskellogg, Promotional Products Industry, Fall Catalogs

PK Gets Creative at DESIGN WEEK RI

Posted by Evan Hanson on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 @ 09:09 AM

As a business focused on providing unique and creative solutions for all of our clients, ParsonsKellogg values high-quality design. That's why we're excited to announce our partnership with DESIGN WEEK RI this September in support of the Rhode Island design community!

DESIGN WEEK RI is a celebration of design in Rhode Island, ParsonsKellogg's home state since going into business over 15 years ago. As the smallest state in the US, Rhode Island actually has the 3rd largest percentage of creative sector jobs in the country, after New York and California, making it a hotbed for design and innovative change. DESIGNxRI, the nonprofit hosting organization for DESIGN WEEK RI, works to create an opportunity-driven environment for RI designers, design businesses and the design sector.

DESIGN WEEK RI is the nonprofit's cornerstone event, and ensures Rhode Islanders are part of the conversation as design grows nationally as an important driver for economic change and innovation. The "week" consists of 11 Days of Design across Rhode Island - from parties and tours to conferences, speaker panels, and morning coffee chats.

ParsonsKellogg is a key sponsor of the showcase and provided printed t-shirts for staff and volunteers for the duration of the event. We'll also have a presence at each of the Morning Talks, where you'll find our signature Adirondack chairs and attendees can chat with PK employee volunteers.


Sponsoring DESIGN WEEK RI is a natural fit for PK. In a small state like Rhode Island, it's rewarding to be part of a close-knit small business community and see local efforts flourish. We hope that this partnership will be just another way we can give back to our neighbors.

To learn more about DESIGNxRI and DESIGN WEEK RI, click here



Topics: parsonskellogg, DESIGNxRI, Design Week RI, Design

5 Questions with Will Cosajay, the coolest guy in shipping and receiving

Posted by Carol McCarthy on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 @ 09:08 AM


Will Cosajay, the coolest guy in shipping and receiving

2 years at ParsonsKellogg

1) As the coolest guy in receiving, can you describe what you do?

I don't know about the coolest guy in receiving but definitely cool, nonetheless. My job here at ParsonsKellogg is to maintain an accurate count of merchandise or supplies flowing into the warehouse and allocating them to their specific departments. Being part of a great team drives me to go beyond my responsibilities as a receiver and learn other facets within the warehouse. The "Bat Cave" as I refer to my receiving desk, serves as the base of my operations as well as my laboratory of beats, where I create the mood through bass, soul and funk to motivate that good work experience. Here at Parsons Kellogg I have been fortunate to witness the determination to achieve excellence to recognize my responsibility to upholding the PK brand.

2) What is your secret to success at PK?

My success at PK comes from a humble beginning. I started at this company while changes were happening here and in my own personal life. Those obstacles in life that can hinder us so easily are also the ones that can help grow our potential for greatness. Success is the journey to happiness, not the destination. Life is good.

3) We have heard that you are skilled at cutting hair. Tell us about that.

I have been a barber now for about 19 years and started cutting hair at the age of 14. It started off as a way to make money on my own and quickly grew to a hobby I became passionate about. Cutting hair funded my first Cadillac and my love for classic cars.

4) As a car lover, what is your dream car and why?

To start, I love luxury and a classic look to my cars, from the sleek lines of the 500 Benz series to the horsepower of a Grand National. I love women, too, but they are harder to understand, so I’ll take my chances with cars.

We-Gon-Get-Thur-Graphic-Tee.jpg5) We hear you are the company “hype man” and have coined the inspirational slogan for PK, “We gonna get there.” Can you tell us about that?

I came up with that slogan at the bar when giving an impromptu speech to my co-workers. The main purpose of that line was to emphasize that we should always be moving forward and that we will reach that destination. Success is the horizon we seek, and those small steps we take together on this course of life shall bring us farther.

Bonus Question: If you were to sum up your philosophy on work and life in one phrase, what would it be?

My philosophy on life and work is summed up by Julius Caesar: “I came, I saw, I conquered.”


Topics: parsonskellogg

The PK Family is Growing!

Posted by Carol McCarthy on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 @ 09:07 AM

The growing family of ParsonsKellogg has had plenty to celebrate during the month of July, and we can’t help but share the good news with all our friends.

On Tuesday, July 5, at 12:04 am, Bryan McWilliams (PK’s Director of Business Development) and his wife, Devon, welcomed their first child, Jack Rush McWilliams. At 21.5 inches, baby Jack weighed a solid 7 pounds, 14 ounces and is in perfect health. Mom is doing great, too!

Jack Rush McWilliams
As expected, Bryan is thrilled. "It’s great being a new Dad - it’s a feeling I could never have imagined until I experienced it first hand,” he said. “Devon and I really appreciate all the kind wishes and gifts from the PK family and customers and vendors.” 

"Several of PK’s valued MLB partners sent along plush toy mascots from their teams for Jack," says Bryan, a hardcore New York Yankees fan. The new parents appreciate the generous and thoughtful gifts, and while Jack hasn’t picked a team just yet, Bryan can’t help steering the little guy toward The Pinstripes.

Also this month, former PK employee and longtime friend Jack Marovelli went to great heights to propose to his girlfriend Sinead Grabbert, who works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is going to school to become an elementary and special education teacher.

The couple hiked to the top of 3,165-foot Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, a bald peak that offers sweeping views of New England and one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world. Amid this majestic setting, Sinead said “yes!” Wedding plans are underway.

Jack and Sinead

The entire PK family extends its congratulations and warm wishes to the McWilliams and Marovelli-Grabbert families!

Topics: parsonskellogg, PK Family

Five Questions With Meghan White

Posted by Carol McCarthy on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 @ 09:04 AM


Want an insider's look at how ParsonsKellogg has become a leader in the promotional products industry? Check out our new monthly feature "Five Questions With ..." and get the latest scoop on the PK Way from a featured member of our team.

Meghan White
Senior Merchandising Manager

1. You started at PK as an intern in early 2014, joined the company fulltime later that year and recently received a promotion to Senior Merchandising Manager. What are some of the highlights of your career path at PK?

I’ve been at PK for just over two years, but in a lot of ways I think the company has changed a great deal in that time. The business has grown; we moved into new headquarters, and we added some awesome people to the team – all while maintaining the culture that really defines us as a company. It has been really fun to be a part of all this growth. On a personal level, I have gained so many new skills. I’ve always loved to learn new things, and I feel like I’m doing that everyday. I am doing things in Excel I didn’t know existed two years ago. I’ve even learned to golf…though not well! I would be remiss to not mention the travel. I have been to a lot of cool places with PK, and last spring I had the opportunity to go to San Francisco and see the Golden Gate Bridge. It was incredible and a check off my bucket list.

2. What are you most excited about tackling in this new role as Senior Merchandising Manager?

I’m excited to see where we’ll go next. Not surprisingly, we are seeing more and more of our customers gravitate towards the web. I think we are going to see our web business grow exponentially, so it’s exciting to be at the forefront of that. There are of course a million potential challenges that come with the territory, so I am looking forward to tackling those and finding new ways we can continue to grow and improve the business.

3. You work with clients on the look, feel and function of PK’s web stores. How do you help clients get the right mix of products and design that best represent them and how do you manage the inevitable technical glitches that pop up?

Brands are kind of like individual people – they have their own identities and styles. A lot of merchandising is finding the products that are going to best represent that persona. We know that the brand is a company’s most valuable asset and as brand ambassadors, our responsibility is to present the company identity as best as possible through the webstore. There will always be technical glitches along the way – I think that’s par for the course in this technological world. The most important part is dealing with issues efficiently and keeping it as seamless as possible for the customer. The great thing about technology is that it is an endless resource for solving any problem.

4. What keeps you energized and excited to come into the office every day?

Definitely the people. I work with an awesome group of young and energetic people who keep things exciting around the office. Coming into work feels like just going to hang out with some friends. Beyond that, I have always been the kind of person who enjoyed working. I think I just like to keep myself occupied with a challenge. Coffee also helps!

5. If you were shopping PK’s inventory of promotional products and apparel, what would be some of your favorite items?

One thing I love about PK and what totally sets us apart is our focus on high-end and lifestyle brands. I love Patagonia, Vineyard Vines, Nike – pretty much everything we offer. It’s fun to sell these items because I genuinely can get excited about them. Product testing is way cooler when it’s the newest Nike sneaker or Titleist golf ball. I’m a 24-year old woman who’s being paid to shop online for some of my favorite brands – what more could I ask for?




Topics: promotional products, parsonskellogg

Year In Review

Posted by Carol McCarthy on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 @ 10:12 AM


If you visit the offices of ParsonsKellogg these days, you might catch us humming “It Was a Very Good Year,” by Frank Sinatra, who, by the way, would have been 100 years old this month.

Yes, we love Frank (who doesn’t?), but the reason we are singing his tune is that 2015 really was a very good year at PK. It was a dynamic period of swift growth, new digs and fresh starts – professionally, and personally – for many of us. Below are just some of the 2015 milestones we want to share and savor before the year becomes history:

  • 20/20 That's not our vision; that's our sales achievement for 2015! PK sales increased more than 20 percent this year, and we are about to hit $20 million in annual sales.
  • In March we moved into beautifully remodeled headquarters on Pawtucket Avenue in East Providence. The 21,000-square foot building is just off I-195; features loads more room for production, distribution and inventory; has comfortable workspaces for all and features a terrific showroom.
  • We pumped up our customization ability a couple of notches with the installation of a state-of-the-art Direct To Garment (DTG) printer from Kornit. It allows us to offer on-demand personalized T-shirts and other apparel even in the smallest batches.
  • The PK family celebrated two weddings during the summer. Finance Director Joy (Gothberg) Cook married Stephen Cook in June, and Garrett Duffy of Corporate Sales married Chrissy Barabas in August.
  • A Providence Business News article in October told the story of how PK struggled during the Great Recession and how we emerged stronger and better positioned to compete – garnering attention and kudos from readers and friends near and far.
  • As the year ends, we are putting the final touches on a video showcasing our work and sharing the PK way. Stay tuned!
As Old Blue Eyes would say, 2015 "was a very good year." We hope it was a good year for you, as well.

Topics: parsonskellogg, year in review

The sounds of success

Posted by Carol McCarthy on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 @ 10:11 AM

A loud, ringing bell raises a visitor’s eyebrows in the foyer at ParsonsKellogg LLC in East Providence, RI. But it’s nothing compared to the hockey horn. What’s with the cacophony at this promotional products company? Those are the sounds of success, signifying the landing of a new account ­– in the case of bell – and a really big new account – in the case of the horn. After a rough go during the Great Recession, ParsonsKellogg took some creative steps to emerge stronger than ever. To learn more read the article in Providence Business News.

Topics: parsonskellogg

Staff Holiday Gift Picks: On-The-Go Options

Posted by Meghan White on Wed, Nov 5, 2014 @ 10:11 AM

As we get closer to the Holiday season, our team is sharing their favorite holiday gift picks throughout the month. Whether you're looking for the perfect corporate gift for clients or a holiday gift thanking your employees for their hard work, our team has hand picked their favorites that they use and love on a daily basis. 

Kaley's Pick

Contigo Kangaroo Water Bottle

kangaroowaterbottleThe 24 oz. Kangaroo water bottle features a built-in compartment, a flip-up handle that clips to bags and a wide opening to fit ice cubes. This BPA-free, dishwasher safe water bottle also features a one-touch autoseal lid that automatically seals between sips to eliminate spills and leaks. No spouts to open or lids to remove, you simply press to sip and release to automatically seal. 

You can get your Kangaroo Water Bottle in a number of colors including: black, clear, red, orange, lime green, blue, and pink. 

What Kaley Says...

“This water bottle is super functional and sure to get noticed wherever it goes. The built-in storage compartment is perfect for stashing money and cards while you’re at the gym or out and about, and the fun colors match anyone’s style!”

Your price: $13 each* 


Garrett's Pick

On-the-Go Car Charger

car chargerThis on-the-go USB Car Charger fits standard USB cords. It's compatible with most standard cigarette lighter ports and features an LED power indicator along with overload and short circuit prevention. Cords however, are not included. 

What Garrett says

“This is one of the most useful items I own. I spend a lot of time in the car, and it’s always nice to have a travel charger for the days when I forgot to plug my phone in the night before. This item is perfect for anyone who travels by car, and it makes a great stocking stuffer.”

Your Price: $1.30 each* 

*Items may have minimum order quantities and price does not include the set up charge for color imprints

 2014 gift guide - blog

Topics: promotional products, corporate gift, holiday gifts, promo products, corporate gifts, parsonskellogg

How Do I Find The Right Overseas Partner?

Posted by Bryan McWilliams on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 @ 11:10 AM

overseasIf you’re looking to gain a significant cost savings, it may be time for you to consider sourcing your promotional products overseas. There are certainly risks associating with overseas sourcing, so knowing what you’re getting into before placing your order and finding the right partner are key to a successful overseas sourcing experience.

When you’re looking to find the right overseas sourcing partner, you should first reach out to a broker. There are many brokers in both the US and China with relationships with different factories that make different products. Most brokers work with multiples lines which is key, and add on an extra 10 to 15 percent as a fee.

Why is it Important to Find a Quality Broker?

A quality broker will speak the local language and be able to communicate. Good communication is key for quality control. They are able to communicate not just with the factory but also are able to work with auditors to make sure the product and factory standards are up to par.

Be sure to find a reputable broker with good references. There is a lot of fraud and a lot of money can be lost if you work with the wrong factory or with the wrong broker so finding a trustworthy and reputable broker is of the utmost importance.

What Traits Should I Look For In A Broker? 

When looking for a broker, look at their relationships – both with factories and clients. Look at their audits, you want to make sure the factory audits they are conducting for other partners are thorough and comprehensive. Finally, look into their reputation. It’s really easy to get cheated overseas because of the lack of regulation, so finding a broker with a good reputation is most important.

What Should I Look For When Choosing A Factory?

A broker can help you choose a quality factory, but some traits you want to be especially watchful of include:

  • Track Record. Do they have a known reputation? Do they put out quality products?
  • Communication. Do they communicate with you or your broker? Because of the lack of overseas regulation, it’s easy for a factory to go off the grid and for you to lose money. Make sure you have a factory that will communicate well with you or you representatives.
  • Don’t Go for the Lowest Price. You get what you pay for when you go for the lowest price and going back to the regulatory aspect (or lack thereof) you are more likely to get cheated by simply picking the factory with the lowest price.
  • Body of Work. Do they put out good products? Do they have a good reputation with their other partners?
  • Audits. Make sure they are audited regularly, that there are no issues regarding factory safety and worker safety.
  • Check Their Certifications. Are they certified with UL or ISO? UL is a global independent safety science company who certifies, tests, inspects and audits companies on compliance and regulatory issues across the supply chain. ISO is International Organization for Standardization. They set the standards and work with outside organizations which help create credibility.

Be sure any factory you work with is a quality factory. There is no recourse if things go wrong – when choosing a factory make sure they’re reputable by checking references and being sure the relationships they have are solid and of good quality (especially look into other brands and businesses that they work with). If you do file a suit for whatever reason if things go wrong, be aware that the Chinese government does not have much by way of incentives for you and is notoriously unhelpful in these cases so having a reputable broker on your side to prevent these cases is helpful.

 overseas_ebook cta

Topics: overseas sourcing, parsonskellogg