RPIs  (Recruiting Publicity Items)


For those who do not know already this post will be pretty esoteric I think.  RPI stands for Recruiting Publicity Items.  These are a mainstay of not only the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps recruiting but also of retention NCOs in the US Army.


As a practical matter these are personal presentation items that are used in conjunction with recruiting and retention activities.   They are designed to enhance interactions between the service person and  the recruiter and retention NCO.  I could write a book about the process and indeed have produced films and published material on the subject of this interaction but that is for another time.  Do they work?  Yes, but not in the way most people think that they do, but then I digress…..  So a military coin with the oath of enlistment on it is an example of such an item.  A challenge coin with  a reminder for leaders that retention is their personal responsibility is another.


What is the Purpose of a Presentation Item?


Where to start….    Anyone who has visited a large trade show has seen that virtually every vendor displaying there has something to give away.  They have hats, and pens, and refrigerator magnets, and squeezes and key chains, you name it.  The generally accepted idea is that these items draw people to the booth and the quid pro quo is that these people will then hear the sales message until they can decently walk away.  This is the unsophisticated plan anyway.  It is just a variation on the old theme of  “if you eat the food you have to stay for the sermon”.  Sadly that is as far as most people go.  I will write a comprehensive post about this some day soon.  Maybe someone will read it benefit.  Anyway, that is the deal.  Presentation items are common and commonly misused.


What Story Does your RPI Tell?


Clearly there is a better way.  Earlier I mentioned the challenge coins RPI that one unit used.  Here is how the commander did it.  He had us make the Commander’s Reenlistment Challenge coin.  These were presented to Company and higher leadership teams who made their retention goals.  The story is that if you made it for a quarter you got a bronze coin.  Two quarters a silver coin.  Three quarters a gold coin and four quarters a sterling silver plated coin.  About once a week the commander challenged his subordinate leaders to show their coins.  He did this publically.  A captain who does not have a retention excellence coin when his contemporaries do is an unhappy camper.


One commander had a variation on this.  He had running suits made and his leaders who excelled in retention were allowed to wear these on the brigade runs.  If you want to make something a priority make it public as someone once said to me.



Should those who order these items try to have them made in the USA?  Only you can answer this question.  If your answer is yes then let me offer this.  There is very little that we Americans don’t make but you have to look  for it.  We make hats, shirts, flashlights, pocket knives, military coins….you name it.  If you want these items, and if someone in the US makes them we will find them for you.


But I hear you say, US made stuff is just too expensive.  Not necessarily.  We have found some real bargains in US manufactured items.  Even challenge coins.  US quality tends to be high also.


So What do you have Other than Military Coins?


Well we currently have over 22,000 items that are made in the USA.  We have US made clothing, drink ware, awards, glassware, golf items, tote bags, key chains, hats, shirts, and the list goes on.  It is simply not necessary to go offshore to get really nice presentation items.  And if they are RPIs for a soldier, sailor, airman  or marine who is defending his/her country there is added significance in going the extra inch to find them.


Key Chains Made in the USA


Here is an easy one for you.  It can combine the features of a custom coins and have a very practical side too.  One thing is sure.  If you can get someone to use your keychain your message will never be far away from them.  There is a secret though.  Today many people carry their car door opener as a keychain.  One cool item that is very inexpensive is a detachable key chain that allows one to give the car wash or valet the car keys without giving them the house keys.  This is nice piece-of mind for the driver.  And made in the good old USA.


I Didn’t Talk Enough About Military Coins


No I think I did actually.  We are a full-service advertising specialty company and as much as we are devoted to challenge coins we have to remember that we offer so much more.  Lately it seems that I have been crusading for US Made Merchandise.  Not so.  I believe in applying the correct solution for the challenge at hand.  Budget, quantities, timelines and the corporate culture all speak to this decision.  So if you need a Union Made in the USA, by a woman owned company,  item I can get you some nice t-shirs and tote bags right away.


Give us a call