If you’ve had your eye on industry social media or recent industry news, you may have read about the pending launch of a new membership-funded industry lobbying group. I’ve been tracking the comments of dozens of engaged industry professionals supporting PPAI’s legislative and advocacy efforts and have had dozens more direct emails and calls looking for an official PPAI response.
It is unlikely I will gather the thoughts and opinions of our 11,000+ member companies (representing more than 500,000 industry practitioners) in a timely enough manner to respond to the “I want an answer now” social media climate. Rather, I will offer what I know to be true about PPAI’s efforts in this area, and I welcome your comments and suggestions in this broader, interactive format.
For longer than I’ve been associated with PPAI, we’ve had a strong, industry-driven and collaborative lobbying presence in Washington, D.C. From the beginning, PPAI’s lobbying efforts have focused on the core issues related to independent contractors, tax reform and small business, as well as industry-critical issues we identify as we monitor thousands of bills on a day-to-day basis. We continue to invest heavily in this strategic initiative. This is in addition to our ongoing and significant efforts to increase understanding and acknowledgement of promotional products as key branding tools that help advance brands, and to position promotional consultants as strategic partners and trusted advisors.
As a result of our reputation and long-standing presence in D.C., we are a sought-after coalition partner. As an industry that represents advertising, media and marketing, as well as manufacturers, importers, resellers and decorators, we are able to strategically align with partners who focus on specific issues, including the Small Business Legislative Council, the American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the American Alliance for Innovation, the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity, the Coalition to Save Local Businesses, the National Association of Manufacturers, and many more.
Our government relations work is built upon a firm foundation of industry engagement from the smallest to the largest members—including engagement by the Advertising Specialty Institute’s (ASI) senior management on PPAI’s Government Relations Action Council and our Legislative Action and Education Day (L.E.A.D.). I mention ASI here because they have been an increasingly engaged colleague in our legislative efforts and, in my view, seem to be receiving some undeserved scrutiny for running the recent story.
Thanks to these engaged stakeholders, PPAI has a well-oiled machine in place. From our D.C.-based lobbyist’s boots on the ground, to L.E.A.D. at the federal, state and local level, to the ‘virtual fly-in’ digital advocacy (more than 7500 industry emails to legislators) as part of our Promotional Products Work! Week efforts, to our dedicated government relations team—we make sure federal and state lawmakers understand the value, economic contributions and employment opportunities offered by this vital and growing industry. As part of our mission to grow and protect the industry, we—PPAI, together with its expansive and engaged constituency—continuously educate members of Congress—at their D.C. and home offices—and other government entities on the value of the industry.
I will continue to respond to individual member inquiries regarding the potential launch of a new legislative advocacy group, letting them know that while I am pleased to see that the prospective group’s agenda is consistent with PPAI’s long-standing efforts in this arena, it would be unfortunate if any industry effort was divided or diluted as a result of two separate efforts.
The irony isn’t lost on me that I am posting this blog as I sit in the Small Business Legislative Council (SBLC) board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C. This group influences legislative and federal policy issues related to the small business community, and thus directly impacts our industry. PPAI’s standing seat on the SBLC board assures us a driving force on the relevant legislative agenda.
To learn more about PPAI’s advocacy efforts, I encourage everyone to visit the PPAI LAW website and take the opportunity to become more engaged in these efforts so that we can all protect and grow this industry to which we owe so much.