Monthly Archives: May 2012

PPB’s 2012 Greatest Companies To Work For

They are suppliers and distributors, young and are old, large and small, US and Canada-based. PPB’s annual search to find the best industry employers turned up 106 companies recommended by their highly satisfied employees. Twelve were selected for special recognition.

Here’s the listing of the top twelve – in alphabetical order – for special recognition. Want to know how they reached this milestone? Read the May issue of PPB Magazine to learn more!

Akran Marketing (UPIC: AKRAN)

Category: Distributor

Location(s): Ottawa, Ontario

Number of employees/contractors: 55

Years in business: 14


Ariel Premium Supply, Inc. (UPIC: ARIEL)

Category: Supplier

Location(s): St. Louis, Missouri

Number of employees/contractors: 110 (office, customer service, production and warehouse)

Years in business: 19


BrandVia Alliance Inc. (UPIC: BRANDVIA)

Category: Distributor

Location(s): San Jose, California (corporate headquarters) with satellite offices in Phoenix and Monterey, Newport Beach, San Francisco and Santa Rosa, California

Number of employees/contractors: 58

Years in business: Nine


Commotion Promotions, Ltd. (UPIC: IDEASTAR)

Category: Distributor

Locations: Phoenix (corporate headquarters) with offices in Boston; Costa Mesa, California; Dallas; Los Angeles/Studio City area; New York City; and Seattle

Number of employees/contractors: 30

Years in business: 28


HALO Branded Solutions (UPIC: HBS)

Category: Distributor

Location(s): Sterling, Illinois with sales offices in Baltimore; Chatsworth, California; Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Culver City, California; Denver; Houston; Kansas City; Nashville; Orlando; St. Louis, Missouri; and Tulsa

Number of employees/contractors: 510 employees (250 support employees, 260 sales employees); 500 independent contractors

Years in business: 60


iClick (UPIC: IClic342)

Category: Supplier

Location(s): Seattle

Number of employees/contractors: 53

Years in business: 10


Jack Nadel International (UPIC: NADELINC)

Category: Distributor

Location(s): Culver City, California (corporate headquarters) with satellite offices in Phoenix; Fresno, Irvine/Orange County, Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Sacramento and San Diego, California; Denver; Westport and Norwalk, Connecticut; Atlanta; Chicago; New York City and Long Island, New York; Portland; Houston; Salt Lake City; London; Athens; and Hong Kong

Number of employees/contractors: More than 200

Years in business: 59


JournalBooks/Timeplanner Calendars (UPIC: journals)

Category: Supplier

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Number of employees/contractors: 120

Years in business: 42


PSA Worldwide Corp. (UPIC: PSAW0001)

Category: Distributor

Location(s): Colorado Springs, Colorado

Number of employees/contractors: 15

Years in business: 17


Raining Rose, Inc. (UPIC: Raini224)

Category: Supplier

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Number of employees/contractors: 110

Years in business: Nine


Spartan Promotional Group Inc. (UPIC: SPAR0001)

Category: Distributor

Location(s): Oakdale, Minnesota (headquarters) with offices in Minneapolis and Tempe, Arizona

Number of employees/contractors: 100

Years in business: 46


Sunflower Marketing, Division of M-C Industries, Inc. (UPIC: SUNF0001)

Category: Distributor

Location(s): Topeka, Kansas (corporate headquarters) with offices in Overland Park, Kansas, and Geneva, Nebraska

Number of employees/contractors: 400

Years in business: 33

Promotional Products + Technology = Success

Last month, I had the opportunity to facilitate a panel at an American Advertising Federation district meeting in Nashville. The panel focused on the use of ‘traditional’ promotional products in an age of technology-focused marketing. One of the panelists, from an agency representing the Jack Daniels Distillery account, spoke the power of the iconic Jack Daniels wall calendar and how they’ve integrated technology into the product through the use of monthly QR codes and feedback mechanisms. Impressive.

Earlier this week I was forwarded this following news article and link on the Tim Hortons chain’s use of coffee sleeves imprinted with Tim Hortons logo, QR codes and headlines from Twitter feeds.

We are all aware of the power of promotional products as a stand-alone branding tool. This story speaks to the exponential success brands can achieve when teaming a promotional product with other forms of advertising.

I hope you enjoy the read and video (click on headline and story, below).

A Newsy Coffee Sleeve

A cup of coffee and the newspaper go well together, so to increase the readership of the Gulf News in Dubai, Y&R teamed up with coffee chain Tim Hortons to deliver customers the day’s news along with their java. A special coffee sleeve printer hooked up to Twitter to print headlines from the newspaper’s Twitter feed every hour, while a QR code accompanied the headline so customers could scan it to read the full story on the Gulf News website.

Research Exclusive: Distributor 2011 Sales Preview

As a reader of the Connections blog and recipient of my regular updates, you also receive other PPAI announcements prior to their release to general membership. Please see the announcement below that will be sent to the membership and industry media later today and let me know if you have any questions about the research.

Distributor 2011 Sales Grew 7.02 Percent To $17.7 Billion

Distributor sales of promotional products in the U.S. climbed 7.02 percent in 2011 to $17,721,945,690 according to PPAI’s annual estimate of promotional products sales. In comparison, sales in 2010 were $16.56 billion. This marks the second consecutive year of positive growth following declines in 2008 and 2009. The industry experienced its highest level of sales in 2007 at 19.7 billion.

The annual independent study, conducted by Dr. Richard Alan Nelson, at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Richard Ebel, Principal, Glenrich Business Studies for PPAI, comprises the official distributor sales estimate for the promotional products industry.

“The year-over-year increase is consistent with the reports I’m hearing at the PPAI Town Hall meetings and company visits since the first of the year,” says PPAI President & CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE. “I’ve been encouraged by the positive uptick in sales that many of our distributor members have been reporting. Throughout the year, we had solid indicators that sales were heading in the right direction, including PPAI’s quarterly sales barometer which tracks supplier and distributor sales as reported by our members. In December, our distributor members were reporting an average sales increase of 6.67 percent over 2010 so the annual increase is very consistent with that trend. This is more proof that our members are moving ahead—and that’s great news for the promotional products industry.”

Look for more details in PPB Newslink later this month and the full report with top product and program categories, plus distributor analysis in the July issue of PPB magazine.

Beyond The Headlines: PPAI’s Washington Report Gives You The Inside Scoop

Postal service reform and small business tax cut bills have made national headlines lately. I’m glad to offer PPAI members an in-depth look into these issues and how they could impact your business.  

I hope you enjoy this month’s inside-look into the issues that make headlines—PPAI’s Washington Report:

As predicted last month, the Senate returned to the topic of United States Postal Service (USPS) reform and the Senate has passed S. 1789, the 21st Century Postal Service Act, introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Among other things, the bill would give the Postmaster General access to money the USPS has overpaid into one of its pension funds (Federal Employees Retirement System, or FERS) and use it to offer buyouts or retirement incentives to reduce the active postal workforce by 100,000 or more employees over the next several years.

The bill would also allow the USPS to offer non-postal products or services if the PRC has determined that the products and services: 1) make use of USPS’s processing, transportation, delivery, retail network, or technology; 2) are consistent with the public interest and a demonstrated demand for the USPS to offer them; 3) do not create unfair competition with the private sector; and 4) have the potential to improve the USPS’s financial condition.

The reason the Senate had to take two runs at passage was that there were objections to the possibility of cutting back delivery services and closing some post offices and processing facilities. The Senate-passed version includes compromises on those issues. The House will now consider its own version, H.R. 2309, and it does not include the compromises. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) made the following statement upon the passage of the Senate bill: “While the Postal Service is actually trying to shutter some facilities it does not need, the Senate bill forces the Postal Service to keep over one hundred excess postal facilities open at a cost of $900 million per year. Worst of all, the Senate bill does not stop the financial collapse of USPS, but only delays it for two years, at best, when reforms will only be more painful. The Senate’s approach is wholly unacceptable.”

The House bill would give the USPS the option of eliminating Saturday delivery six months after the enactment of the legislation. It would create a two-year task force, directed to recommend a plan to consolidate redundant post offices and other facilities. To stop implementation, Congress would have to pass a joint resolution disapproving the recommendations of task force.

We will see whether the House can withstand the constituent pressure on the closure and delivery issues.

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided that you should post a poster informing your employees that of their workplace rights. The effective date was to be April 30th.

While the employer community expressed concern from the moment the proposal surfaced, it took a couple of court decisions for the NLRB to take notice.

The NLRB has suffered a series of setbacks in the court in cases challenging its authority to issue the poster requirement. As a result, the NLRB has announced:

“In light of conflicting decisions at the district court level, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily enjoined the NLRB’s rule requiring the posting of employee rights, which had been scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012.

“In view of the DC Circuit’s order, and in light of the strong interest in the uniform implementation and administration of agency rules, regional offices will not implement the rule pending the resolution of the issues before the court.”

The House passed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) H.R. 9, the Small Business Tax Cut Act that would allow profitable small businesses to reduce their taxable income by up to 20 percent for one year. A small business is one with less than 500 full time employee equivalents for the purpose of the bill. The reduction is limited to not more than 50 percent of wages paid in the year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has his own ideas about a small business bill and says he will have the full Senate consider it soon.

S. 2237, the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act would provide a one-time tax credit of up to ten percent of the incremental increase in wages paid by an employer in 2012 over 2011 wages. The incremental increase in the amount of wages eligible for the credit is capped at $5 million. His bill would also extend the temporary 100 percent depreciation bonus through 2012.  At the end of 2011, the temporary bonus dropped to 50 percent and it will expire at the end of the year.

It is hard to imagine the House considering the Senate bill (that is, if the Senate even passes the bill—it is not clear the Majority Leader can get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster) or vice versa so, at the end of the day, this is an exercise in election year politics.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has approved H.R. 4067, a moratorium on “Midnight Rules,” introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI). The bill would prohibit federal agencies from proposing or finalizing major “midnight rules” during an outgoing President’s lame-duck period. Under the bill, major rules are those that have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government agencies, or geographic regions; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and export markets.

We doubt the Senate majority will be inclined to embrace legislation that just happens to deal with the possibility of a lame duck president.