What’s a powerful marketing tool to increase brand awareness? Those in the promotional products industry will naturally gravitate to branded merchandise. You may also think of social media, direct mail, advertising or PR.

However, have you considered brand safety as a means to boost your brand and get noticed?

Cheron Coleman

Cheron Coleman, Director of Sourcing

In this week’s Partners In Brand Safety conversation, we sat down with alphabroder’s Cheron Coleman, director of sourcing, corporate compliance and logistics, and Joe’l Bastien, regional vice president of sales, to find out what brand safety means to them. Read on to find out how implementing QCA’s Accreditation Program has benefited their business, and differentiated them from other apparel offerings.

With 43 apparel brands (including trade, private and retail labels), a lot goes into responsible sourcing so that alphabroder can consistently deliver safe, high-quality, socially compliant and environmentally conscientious merchandise. See what these two ladies had to say and get some insight on how you can put brand safety to work for you.

1. What does brand safety mean to you?

Brand safety means responsibility. Responsibility to ensure that we hold our organization to the highest standards of product quality, safety and social compliance across the supply chain and in the marketplace. This includes not only design, manufacturing and product specifications but also the ongoing process as our products are in the marketplace. Think of the negative impact it could have on a brand image if poor quality or unsafe products were sold. Brand safety is critical to ensure branded merchandise is seen as a powerful marketing tool and an effective means of increasing brand awareness.

 

2. How has QCA Accreditation benefitted/improved your company?

Joe’l Bastien

Joe’l Bastien, Regional Vice President of Sales

QCA gives us a peace of mind to know we are providing safe, compliant and

socially responsible manufactured promotional solutions to the industry. Any company can

implement its own manufacturing compliance policies. As a QCA accredited supplier, we have a confidence level that the appropriate manpower and resources are devoted to compliance processes. This is important to our distributor customers as they rely on us with high expectations on product quality and safety compliance.

Being part of QCA has helped solidify preferred level partnerships with alphabroder distributor customers. There is an increase in preferred supplier partnership programs as distributors look to consolidate spend to realize efficiencies in the supply chain. Most preferred supplier considerations are given to those who share in the commitment to responsibly sourced, safe, quality products. QCA is an industry-wide recognized and respected organization. Oftentimes preferred supplier partner agreements will specifically ask if our organization is part of QCA.

 

3. How confident were you in your compliance program prior to going through the QCA Accreditation program? (And did this opinion change after completing the program?)

Prior to joining QCA in 2009, alphabroder had a basic corporate compliance strategy that aligned with then-current industry standards applicable to quality assurance and social compliance. However, we did not have a well-documented program in place to mitigate risk, test, address, monitor or measure the effectiveness of our program.

While the accreditation process may seem daunting to those considering accreditation, it is well worth it! The program that we now have in place is robust enough to withstand scrutiny and vigorous enough to foster confidence from internal and external stakeholders.

 

4. What would you say to a fellow supplier that is on the fence about whether or not QCA Accreditation is worth the investment?

The benefits of QCA Accreditation are endless. Not only do you have industry experts in the five pillars of compliance (product safety, quality, social accountability, security and environmental stewardship) assisting your organization in building and sustaining its compliance programs, you also have full access to other accredited cohorts that share in the same compliance related culture.

Additionally, QCA Accreditation gives you the “stamp of approval” from some of the worlds’ largest and more socially compliant companies that procure promotional products.

 

5. What’s the most common question(s) distributors ask about product safety/compliance?

Corporate social responsibility and compliance is not a fad. It is top of mind for suppliers and distributors alike. Common inquiries include CPSIA certifications, certificate of origin inquiries, product safety testing procedures, social compliance factory audit procedures, children’s product regulations and Prop 65. The most common question of all is to describe alphabroder‘s sourcing, QC and social compliance policy. Many distributors will specifically ask if alphabroder is a member of QCA. This gives the buyer confidence that our organization takes safety/compliance seriously and adheres to the QCA certification program.

 

Stay in touch with QCA on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

If you are a promotional products supplier and want to learn how to make your sourcing program more robust, learn more about QCA here.

For industry distributors who want to add value and differentiation to their promotional products offerings, reach out to QCA Accredited Companies.

For brands who want to work with companies who go above and beyond to protect their reputation and image, work with promotional consultants who support the QCA mission and request that your vendors use QCA Accredited Companies.