Monthly Archives: October 2011

Promotional Products DO Make A Difference!

At the beginning of October, I asked you to help us make an impact on Congress during our Legislative Education and Action Day scheduled for March 2012. I asked you to submit product campaigns that have made a difference in the lives of the recipients.

You and I know promotional products are viral. We know they’re fun and functional. We know they’re undeniably effective. Based on the amount of campaign bumper stickers, t-shirts and signs you’re probably already seeing, we know that your members of Congress (MOC) know this too.

Through this call to action, we’ve had the privilege of speaking with industry professionals who passionately pursue and fulfill programs that bring a return on investment to charities and hospitals, to families and children in need and to their communities across the country.

– We learned that on a winter’s day in New York, imprinted blankets distributed to the homeless transform into a message of hope, caring and community.

– We learned that a key chain with a whistle handed out to students at a self-defense class becomes an empowering tool.

– We know that a t-shirt given to children at a summer outdoor program is a memorable, functional keepsake. But when the shirt is decorated with the phone number to call if the child is found lost, the imprinted shirt becomes a prudent safety precaution.

An imprinted blanket, a functional key chain, a promotional t-shirt—they’re community. They’re life-saving. They’re undeniably impactful.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to submit a case study. If you haven’t already sent in your campaign, please feel free to give us a call at 972-252-0404. We’d love to share your story with members of Congress.

While I’m on the subject of advocacy, PPAI’s Government Relations Today is a great resource for industry professionals. It’s a free publication that highlights product safety news, legislative developments and advocacy efforts each month. Stay informed —subscribe today and make sure everyone at your company is subscribed as well.

Thanks for all you do! I am proud to be working with you and helping you grow your business.

“Senator Klobuchar”: David Hawes and Joseph Scott spoke with Senator Klobuchar (MN) about the impact promotional products can have on the effectiveness of wellness programs.

Senator Klobuchar (MN)

“Senate Promotional Products”: We know our MOCs use promotional products. At L.E.A.D. 2011, George Jackson, Anthony Stover and Art Bustard found that they display them too!

Promotional Products on Display

Partnering for Power – PPAI & AMA

I am writing this post on the way home from a very successful visit with the American Marketing Association’s President/CEO Dennis Dunlap and Chief Marketing Officer Nancy Costopulos.  PPAI’s Director of Marketing Keith Vincent, PR Manager Kim Todora and I met with the AMA leadership on our visit to their Chicago headquarters office this afternoon.

PPAI and AMA have built a strong relationship over the past half decade. We’ve been a Collegiate Conference Partner and have presented, exhibited and advertised in support of the Winter and Summer Educators Conferences each year and met and talked with thousands of college students from around the world.  Our relationship with AMA supports PPAI’s focus on driving the credibility, viability and visability of our medium and professional practitioners.

The American Marketing Association is the largest marketing association in North America. It is a professional association for individuals involved in the practice, teaching and study of marketing worldwide.  Our relationship with AMA allows PPAI to effectively connect to a network of marketing professionals more than 20,000 strong (and ten of thousands of marketing students) and educate them on the value and power of promotional products.

Today’s meetings focused on achieving the objectves in PPAI’s Strategic Plan Goal #2: “Partner for Power.”  Like our outreach and partnerships with the incentive, rewards, and print industries, our work and exposure at Advertising Week and our affiliation with US regional and international associations, PPAI continues to partner with like-minded organization’s to exchange information on how to enhance member value through collaboration, education, research, events, marketing, and industry outreach to the betterment of the promotional products industry and the marketing profession as a whole.

We look forward to continuing our good works with the AMA and will keep you informed on future developments and opportunities for 2012!

Four New Members Elected to PPAI BOD

Please join me in welcoming four new board members as the Class of 2016 after recent elections. Joining the PPAI Board of Directors are Rick Brenner, Prime
Resources Corp.; Janie Gaunce, Grapevine Designs, LLC; Natalie Townes, MAS,
Shepenco; and Julia Wright, MAS, Wright Choice Promotions.

“Our Association’s strength comes from its members and volunteer leaders,” says Scott Siegel, MAS, nominating committee chair and the immediate past chair of the PPAI board. “The incoming members of the PPAI board’s Class of 2016 bring talents and experiences that will help our Association grow and prosper throughout their four-year terms. I appreciate their willingness to serve our members and our industry and look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”

The four will attend an orientation at PPAI Headquarters in November and begin their four-year terms following The PPAI Expo 2012 in Las Vegas.

Rick Brenner: As chief executive officer of Bridgeport, Connecticut-based supplier Prime Resources Corp. (UPIC: PRIME), Rick Brenner brings 13 years of industry experience to the PPAI board. Brenner has served on PPAI’s Product Responsibility Action Group, has joined the Association in lobbying for product safety issues and served as the vice-chair of the 2011 Product Safety Summit. He is a member of the PPAI Product Responsibility Action Group (PRAG) and has conducted a number of product safety workshops, seminars and webinars for regional associations and major industry distributors. Brenner is a founding board member of the Quality Certification Alliance, a member of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization and lobbies on behalf of the promotional products industry.

Janie Gaunce: Janie Gaunce is the owner of distributor Grapevine Designs, LLC (UPIC: Grape238) in Lenexa, Kansas. She has 15 years of experience in the industry. She is a member of the Promotional Products Association of the Midwest (PPAM) as well as a number of other nonprofit community and business organizations, including the Lenexa Chamber, the Greater Kansas City Chamber, the KCK Chamber, the University of Kansas Advancement Board Central Exchange and the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Natalie Townes, MAS: Natalie Townes, MAS, is the marketing and special projects manager of Shepenco (UPIC: SHEPENCO), a supplier headquartered in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Townes has 24 years of experience in the industry. She has served on PPAI’s Education Committee, the MAS/CAS Certification Committee and the Professional Development Action Group; and has been a RAC delegate and involved with the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF). The founding president of the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), Townes has also served as the regional association’s education chair and facilitator of new distributor orientation, and sat on its tradeshow committee.

Julia Wright, MAS
Julia Wright, MAS, owner of distributor Wright Choice Promotions (UPIC: wcpaz) in Phoenix, Arizona, brings 15 years of industry experience to the PPAI board. Wright is currently a member of the MAS/CAS Certification Committee and has presented at The PPAI Expo. She has served on the boards of the Arizona Promotional Products Association (AzPPA) and the Northwest Promotional Marketing Association (NWPMA) and on the membership committee of the Promotional Professionals Mentoring Network (PPMN).

Staff Changes – A Focus on Member, Industry and Association Success

Later today we will announce a few important staff changes at PPAI Headquarters through PPB Newslink and other industry media.  Here is an advance copy of the release. If you have any questions, comments or concerns about this or any association business, feel free to contact me at 972-258-3050 or  Thanks in advance for your support!

PPAI Announces Leadership Changes 

Focus On Member, Industry and Association Success

IRVING, Tex. (October 19, 2011) – Promotional Products Association International (PPAI;, the not-for-profit association for more than 9,000 member companies of the $16.5 billion promotional products industry has made proactive, progressive changes to its leadership team in order to focus on member and volunteer engagement and recognition, public affairs – including product responsibility and government affairs – and the Association’s financial success.

 “We’re reorganizing our staff and leadership structure to better focus on the needs of the thousands of small business owners that make up our membership and industry. We will be positioned to make sure they have both the tools to
compete in a competitive and challenging business environment; and an educated marketplace that recognizes the value and power of promotional products and the benefits of working through industry professionals,” said Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI President and CEO.  “The changes will drive and ensure the long-term viability, visibility and credibility of our membership, the industry and the Association.”

PPAI Chief Financial Officer, Bob McLean, has been promoted to Executive Vice President. McLean, in addition to his leadership of finance, information technology and the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) will now oversee all revenue-generating areas of the Association including expositions, membership sales, professional development, and integrated media.

A new Director of Business Development position, reporting to Bob McLean, has
been created to identify opportunities for PPAI to produce and deliver products
and services that will help our members to grow their businesses. All Association-wide sales-related activities and staff members will ultimately report to or through the Director of Business Development—a strategic shift from the departmental approach to sales and business development. The Association is currently interviewing qualified internal and external candidates for the position of Director of Business Development.

Michele Packard-Milam, CAE, will now serve as Director of Member Engagement, a position Bellantone created in order to more effectively meet the diverse needs of the Association’s members. Regional relations, volunteer leadership and member recognition will now fall under Packard-Milam’s management.

Carol Gauger, MAS, has been promoted to Senior Manager of Volunteer Engagement and Recognition. In this newly created position, Gauger will focus on enhancing the volunteer experience, increasing member appreciation and recognizing members’ exceptional business and personal performance.

Additionally, there will be a reallocation of existing staff resources to better manage PPAI’s public affairs efforts. Bellantone added, “PPAI’s government relations and product responsibility activities continue to grow exponentially. By adding resources to this area we position ourselves to proactively address and
positively affect the issues of product safety, compliance and regulatory and
government affairs, thus fulfilling our commitment to creating a healthy
business landscape for our members and the industry to grow.”

“The changes we’ve made address the needs of an evolving and challenging business environment and allow PPAI to execute the goals outlined in its strategic plan: to advocate the power and value of promotional products and deliver products, services, experiences and a community essential for member success,” stated Bellantone.

Help Us Help You

By now, I hope you know that PPAI is committed to advocating the viability, credibility and visibility of our industry and professional practitioners. A big part of that is through our public affairs work (government relations and product responsibility) headed up by director of public affairs Anne Lardner-Stone, public affairs specialist Eme Alberico, our chief legal counsel and lobbyist John Satagaj and myself.

As in each of the past two years, in March 2012, PPAI members will once again head to Washington, D.C. as part of PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) to meet legislators and discuss issues critical to our industry. In past years, we presented our legislators and staff with promotional products that highlight the benefits and professionalism and power of industry, our medium, and our practitioners. They are always appreciative of our work, the jobs we create and how we help businesses and the economy grow.

In preparation for our 2012 L.E.A.D event, we’re asking you to share product case studies with us; those that include items that have made a
difference in the lives of the recipients. The goal is to demonstrate the power
of our industry through proven promotional products campaigns.

Ideally, we would like to highlight a program that clearly demonstrates the
effectiveness of promotional products—for example, a water bottle given to the
homeless that provides an address for a soup kitchen or a place to get warm in
the winter. We want to convey the message that “the same advertising medium you used to get elected can make a profound difference in the lives of the people
you represent.”

From stranger danger awareness to medical emergency care and prevention, if
you’ve worked with a client to create a successful, impactful presentation, we
want to hear from you.

For more information or to submit a case study please contact Anne Lardner-Stone at 972-258-3041 or

Thanks in advance for your support on this important project. You are out there every doing good work for your clients and their businesses. Share your success stories with PPAI and help us advocate the viability, visibility and credibility of the promotional products industry.