White Paper - Brand Safety: More Than Digital Media

When viewed holistically, brand safety is about much more than content placement. It encompasses every aspect of a brand’s image. In reality, brand reputation is exposed anywhere a company logo, name, tagline and so forth are located. Whether or not the results of exposure are positive or negative is dependent upon the awareness of risks associated with each medium and the actions taken to mitigate the associated risk. Focusing on digital media alone is short-sided and dangerous. 

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Protecting Your Brand - Video


Companies spend significant time, effort, money and resources on building their brands. Upholding this brand reputation is of critical importance, yet it can all be undone through a small purchase of a seemingly innocuous, inexpensive item: The promotional product.

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QCA Welcomes Brand Affiliates

When QCA debuted its new participation model earlier this year, the goal was clear - revitalize the organization by being more engaging and inclusive with distributors and end buyers (the users of promotional products) while keeping the overall mission and standards of the Accreditation Program for suppliers intact.

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Why Brand Safety Is Smart Business Promo Marketing Podcast

Buyer habits are changing in a lot of different ways, but one of the biggest shifts is the growing demand for safe, sustainable and ethically sourced promotional products. Tim Brown, executive director, operations for Quality Certification Alliance, joined the show to tell us why those things matter to modern promo buyers and how brand safety represents a big opportunity for promo businesses, while giving some real-life worst-case scenarios of compliance gone wrong.

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Signet, Inc. Returns To QCA’s Advocacy Council

While suppliers have much accountability when it comes to product safety and social responsibility, distributors also play an integral role by connecting end buyers with products that not only support their brand but also protect it. When the Distributor Advocacy Council (DAC) was created in May 2012, the purpose was to give distributors the opportunity to formally commit to meeting the higher product safety and compliance standards of Fortune 1000 companies through partnering with QCA Accredited Suppliers. While the goal was to strengthen relationships between Accredited Suppliers and distributors (which it did), there weren’t enough opportunities for distributors to truly participate in the larger conversation around brand safety.

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Making Compliance Easy For Distributors Video Part 1


Looking for ways to differentiate your company from the competition? Add some secret sauce to give you the extra edge? QCA helps promotional products distributors earn the respect and trust with clients by providing the framework to consistently and reliably manage the sourcing process from start to finish.

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United In Safety: Highlights From The ICPHSO Annual Meeting


Each year, the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) holds its Annual Meeting And Training Symposium, bringing together global health and safety professionals to participate in discussions that further enhance the safety of consumer products throughout the world.

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Rebranding Complete


Check Out The Redesigned Logo, Website & Blog 

Back in January, we debuted a new participation model in an effort to expand engagement and involvement. As a part of our overall organizational revitalization plan, we’ve also completed a rebranding initiative by redesigning not only our logo but also the website and blog to deliver easier navigation, overall better user experience and more robust content.

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Building A Business, Ethically

By Participating In The Distributor Advocacy Council, Ethical Swag Solidifies Its Commitment To Corporate Responsibility

Some people go to work to collect a paycheck; others want to make a difference. Tara Milburn and the team at Ethical Swag, Inc. are the latter. Founded on March 1, 2018, with the intention of only providing socially compliant, safe, high-quality and environmentally conscientious branded merchandise, Ethical Swag is exceptionally focused on clients who demand to know the background of the products that bear their brand.

“When an organization puts their logo on a product, it says something about who they are and what they believe in. It is a physical connection to their brand and their customers,” Tara explains. “Understanding the story behind those products helps to protect our clients with their most valuable asset—their brand! It can take years to build and minutes to destroy unless we take the necessary precautions.”

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Brand Safety Is The New Standard

Wov-In Brands Applied For QCA Accreditation To Meet Customer Demands

As end buyers continue to demand brand safety through responsible sourcing, promotional products suppliers have an important decision to make: How will they meet the needs of distributors, and in turn their end-buyer customers, in terms of corporate social responsibility and product safety?

While there are corporate responsibility statements, self-managed compliance programs simply aren’t effective. It’s kind of like the popular New Year’s Resolution to get more exercise. There’s excitement with the setting of a new goal. In January, gyms are filled day and night with people lifting weights and logging miles. Posts flood social media with people sharing their progress.

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Undoing Commodity Damage

How You Can Help Procurement Professionals Focus On Value Not Price

Salespeople and procurement professionals tend to be diametrically opposed. Salespeople want to maximize profit and procurement officers want to minimize price. The result has been the commoditization of many promotional products—everything from drinkware, apparel, tech products and even rubber duckies. Because of the price pressures, our industry has responded by importing more and more cheap goods to meet the growing demand.

While these procurement pros have received what they asked for, there’s also been a host of unintended consequences: Products that contain harmful chemicals, are not ethically made nor manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner. For Fortune 1,000 companies, these are critical issues that can seriously damage their brand reputations.

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New Participation Model Expands Engagement And Involvement

Since QCA was founded in 2008, much has changed. There are more regulations, greater consumer awareness and increased pressure from brands to provide products that are safe and responsibly sourced.

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Future Buyers Will Be Change Agents For Tomorrow’s Businesses

Takeaways From ISM Direct Conference And How Corporate Social Responsibility Is A Driving Force Behind Changing Buyer Attitudes

Marketing, fleet, human resources and other indirect expenses—including promotional products—often don’t receive the same scrutiny as direct ones, even though these costs may comprise 50% of a company’s overall purchases.

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Getting In Touch With Higher Education Buyers

What You Must Know To Effectively Sell To This Market

Universities and colleges use branded merchandise across so many avenues—from gift and spirit stores to student recruiting, alumni groups, on-campus events, athletic events, advocacy efforts and more. As prolific as promotional products are around campuses, many of these higher-education marketers are not at all familiar with our industry’s supply chain.

To make it even more confusing, the collegiate structure makes it difficult to determine who owns the process since it encompasses everything from spirit shops, bookstores, alumni events, sports clubs, sports teams, advocacy events, departmental promotions, etc. However, one thing is certain; there are definitely many opportunities for educating these education marketers in terms of brand safety and responsible sourcing of their logoed goods.

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Guest: The Promise and Risk of IoT Products for the Promotional Industry

The consumer product world is experiencing a broad emergence of Internet-connected tech products with embedded sensors and microchips that allow them to perform tasks never before imagined. They are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and they will eventually redefine what we consider normal. And like many tech items that evolve from pricey retail versions to low-cost promotional versions, the day when IoT products arrive in the promotional industry is likely to come soon. Imagine a T-shirt that monitors your heart rate and then automatically adjusts the program of your treadmill, a pill box that emails you if your elderly mother forgets to take her medicine or GPS–enabled stickers that can track anything with a Find-my-iPhonetype app. These products and hundreds more are all possible in what our industry could call the Internet of PromotionalThings (IoPT). In time, there are bound be IoPT features added to a wide range of industry categories – from pens to drinkware to bags to apparel – as developers find meaningful ways to reimagine the customer experience and broaden marketing opportunities.

But the benefits of IoT and IoPT may come at a price. These connected consumer products are raising serious concerns for regulators around the globe as issues of cybersecurity and privacy abound.3 Consumers have already been subjected to hacking incidents with IoT control devices in automobiles, heart regulators, baby monitors, cameras, oil pipelines and credit card scanners, to name a few. Promotional professionals should take the time to educate themselves about IoT now, before the products become plentiful in the industry, so that when they begin to appear you will be better able to make informed decisions and protect your clients’ brands.

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Category Managers Get Brand Safety

As the holiday season began, QCA was still out on the road sharing the message of BRAND SAFETY through the responsible sourcing of promotional products. While everyone was still eating Thanksgiving leftovers, the Institute for Supply Management Indirect Conference kicked off in Las Vegas. Moreover, once again, we were joined by a representative from the QCA Distributor Advocacy Council.

The lineup of quality speakers represented several supply chain categories from large and mid-sized organizations. Some of the more well-known included presenters hailed from Baxter International, FedEx, Intel, Microsoft, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, and Zappos.

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BRAND SAFETY Resonates with Marketing Professionals at AMA Higher Education Symposium

For an audience that already understands social responsibility and environmental stewardship, introducing three more essential BRAND SAFETY categories to round out the five pillars of compliance seemed to be a natural fit. The American Marketing Association (AMA) recently held its 2017 Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in Atlanta, Georgia. The event attracted over 1200 attendees fixated on discovering fresh ways to engage audiences.

Keynote speakers included Stefanie Miller, Coca-Cola Company Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnership Marketing and Jaime Casap, Google Education Evangelist.

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Study Shows Consumers Will Pay a Price Premium for Brands that Take a Stand

Although recent studies show that trust in the government and public institutions is declining, the same is not true for brands. In fact, new research from global marketing and communications firm Edelman suggests consumers may trust brands more than the government.

The 2017 Edelman Earned Brand study, released last month, reports that 51 percent of those surveyed said that brands could do more to solve social ills than the government. Consumers want more from brands today; they want to know if brands will step up to the plate environmentally and socially in ways the government has failed.

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Top 5 Reasons to Apply for C-TPAT Certification

As the incidence of terrorist acts has increased around the globe, more manufacturers are recognizing the importance of supply chain security and thus applying for the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. Founded in 2001, participation in the C-TPAT program continues to climb. Today, more than 11,400 certified partners have been accepted into the program.

Led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), C-TPAT works with the trade community to strengthen international supply chains and improve U.S. border security. The partners include U.S. importers and exporters, manufacturers, customs brokers, carriers and others – all of whom account for more than 52 percent (by value) of cargo imported into the U.S., according to CBP.

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Mitigate Risk By Validating Quality Up Front

One Year Later, IKEA’s Tip-over Troubles Continue

A little over a year ago, the furniture retailer IKEA recalled 29 million dressers and chests from its MALM line following the deaths of seven children. According to the Consumer Product Safety Co, the IKEA products did not comply with the U.S. voluntary industry standard and thus posed a serious tip-over hazard.

IKEA offered consumers a full refund on the unsafe chests and dressers sold from 2002 through June 2016 as well as free wall anchoring kits. Three of the families whose children were killed took IKEA to court. IKEA agreed to settle all three wrongful death claims for the sum of $50 million plus donations to children’s charities.

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