Monthly Archives: April 2020

Thankful For Your Support

This week it appears a lot of the COVID-19 discussion has shifted to getting the country back to work, which I believe is a positive sign and a step in the right direction for all of us. Of course, we remain cautiously optimistic. Although there is still a great deal of concern, from an overall business perspective, this discussion is indeed promising.

As we all continue to focus on our businesses, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing support. Each week I hear from many of you with inspirational words of encouragement and praise for the work your Association is doing. As I have said all along, our goal is to provide the assistance and information that is relevant and needed today, while strengthening your Association for tomorrow. We would not be in a position to do either, without your support. So today we say, thank you—thank you for being a PPAI member and especially thank you to those of you in our volunteer network.

This week is National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize and celebrate those who give so generously of their time to help their communities and organizations. For PPAI, volunteers are the backbone of the Association. You dedicate your time, talents, and voice to the success of the Association. You are an inspiration and exemplify outstanding leadership. That service and dedication is well recognized and greatly appreciated. I invite those of you who are not currently serving within our volunteer network to visit our PPAI Volunteer Community to learn more about the mission and importance of our PPAI volunteers.

With that said, here are this week’s updates:

CARES Act: PPAI’s Government Relations team continues to track developments in D.C. related to additional COVID-19 relief legislation following the CARES Act. While we know some of the Small Business Administration loan initiatives, for example, the Paycheck Protection  Program, have run out of funding, we are keeping a close eye on negotiations between congressional leaders and the Treasury Secretary to finalize new legislation that would replenish those critical relief funds. We will keep following these developments closely and share any actionable information we have with you as soon as possible. You can find the latest information here.

Connecting With Colleagues: As promised, PPAI continues to bring our communities and members together in these times of social distancing. Today, I’m happy to introduce PPAI’s Social Spaces, a series of fun and interactive virtual gatherings for PPAI members. Starting next week, you’ll have a unique opportunity to join colleagues in one of three weekly virtual hangouts. First up is Cereal Talk, a morning hangout for those early birds. The Eat Suite is perfect for those who want to hop in for a virtual lunch. To wind down the day, The Poured Room will host virtual happy hours. Staying connected has never been easier. Sign up for a Social Space today and use this opportunity to maintain interaction with your colleagues.

The PPAI Expo — Early Space-Draw Extension: As we look ahead, The PPAI Expo 2021 is the bright light on the horizon offering the possibility of a reunited industry and the resurgence of the promotional products community. We know this event has served as the gathering place for our industry in the past and we anticipate the same for the future. With that in mind, I want to let our exhibitors know that the early space-draw deadline has been extended by six weeks to June 12, 2020. That means you can still take advantage of early-bird pricing and save $300 per 10×10 booth. Please call your account manager for more information.

Thanks again for your support. Stay healthy and productive. And as always, if you want to contact me directly, please do so at paulb@ppai.org.

Sincerely,

Paul

Business NOT As Usual

Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI President & CEOA Video Message from PPAI President & CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE

I hope this latest update finds you doing well. It’s week 4 for me and the PPAI staff to work remotely and learn to live with the COVID-19 new normal. While it doesn’t appear that we will be headed back to the office anytime soon, we are starting to see some good news across the country as social distancing seems to be having the desired effect. Hopefully, we are beginning to turn the corner.

In the meantime, it’s certainly not business as usual for PPAI or our industry. I’ve alluded to it multiple times in previous updates, we are all having to make some very tough decisions. What’s different about making these tough decisions, as Seth Godin pointed out in a recent blog, is for the first time, challenges and tough decisions are not individually unique as they may have been in the past. With the coronavirus pandemic, we are all experiencing difficult times as a result of the same incident. And, as a result, it’s virtually impossible to get away from it. Everyone is talking about the same challenges and grueling decisions. That is making it even tougher to remain positive.

But with trying times and difficult decisions comes the opportunity for creative solutions. For PPAI it’s finding ways to:

  • bring you the content you desire today
  • offer you social and business interaction platforms
  • generate learning opportunities
  • and facilitate business.

I hope my previous updates have shown you how we are doing just that. Because while it may not be business as usual, business still needs to get done. You still need to communicate with customers. You still need to maintain a brand presence, and you still need to focus on the future—regardless of how uncertain you may be about what the future holds.

PPAI UPDATES:

Supplier Business Updates Editing Made Easier – The most viewed page on PPAI’s Coronavirus Update webpage is the Supplier Alert page. This is where industry suppliers are updating their status as it pertains to any business disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. We’ve now made it easier for suppliers to keep that information up to date. Suppliers can simply login to their PPAI My Site account and add the latest information.

Pyramid Award Submission Fees Waived – Being able to show clients your award-winning campaigns is one of the best ways to help position you as a solution provider as your clients look for ways to rebuild their businesses. I know it may not be on the top of your list right now, but as mentioned earlier, we can’t lose sight of the future. So let’s celebrate creativity, innovation and collaboration. No fees for submissions or return costs for the PPAI Pyramid Award 2021 competition. The competition will be open April 27–May 29, 2020.

Helpful Advice in PCT – Every day our team is offering up a dose of practical advice and thought-provoking ideas in Promotional Consultant Today. Recent issues tackled topics such as how to approach selling in a global crisis and shared tips for dealing with unexpected change. You can find all issues here and subscribe for free to get PCT delivered to your inbox every day.

Tech Summit Cancelled – Another tough decision has been made. We’ve decided to cancel the 2020 PPAI Tech Summit, which was scheduled for September 21-23 in Austin, Texas. However, keep your eyes open for details on a virtual Tech Summit.

Share What You Are Doing For Your Clients/Community – As mentioned last week, we are collecting positive stories to highlight how PPAI members are helping their clients and communities. I encourage you to share your stories.

ADDITIONAL HELPFUL LINKS:

Please know that I continue to hope and pray for all of you and a resolution to this crisis in the near future. I’ll end with a quote from the same Seth Godin blog. “The boat is really, really big and we’re all in it.” Seth Godin

Let’s stick together, help each other out and know that the promotional products industry is and will be around to help our neighbors, communities and nation bounce back from this. And for that, we can feel proud!

Sincerely,
Paul

With Every Challenge Comes New Opportunity

This week, I’ve chosen to take this email in a different direction and hopefully strike a decidedly different tone than what we are all hearing on the news. There’s enough bad news, blame and uncertainty out there already. I certainly don’t want to add to it here. Yes, this update does come with notifications of PPAI programs that could be helpful to you as I’ve shared in past weeks. I’ve even included our latest event cancellation announcements – something we’d prefer not to have to do. But, with every challenge comes opportunity. I want to be thankful, optimistic and focus on the future. I challenge each of you to try and do the same.

I’m thankful for my family and friends who, through these odd times of social distancing, have found creative ways to stay in close contact. I’m thankful for the PPAI board and the hundreds of amazing volunteers who continue to lead, engage and contribute even as their own businesses struggle. I am thankful for the dedicated and talented staff, who are busy reimagining and redesigning our benefits, programs and events in order to provide essential business services today and create a viable and relevant Association for the future. I’m thankful that I work in an industry that is well-positioned to help others during this crisis and will be here to help them grow their businesses when it’s over. No industry is better suited than ours to help businesses stay connected with their customers during a crisis, reemerge after a crisis and reconnect with their customers when the tough times are over. I’m proud to be a part of it.

Most of all, I am thankful for you, our members, who continue to support us in both good times and bad not unlike what I’m sure you are doing for your clients and community.

In fact, we’d like to know how you are currently staying in touch with your customers and what good things you are doing to help them and your community in these tough times. Take just a moment and tell us about it.

Below are the updates for the week. Remember, you can find the latest information and resources at www.ppai.org and stay in touch with the community of industry professionals on Promo Connect.

Town Hall Discussion with ASI President and CEO Tim Andrews and Myself – On April 1, I participated in a digital town hall-style discussion with ASI President and CEO Tim Andrews to examine the COVID-19-related issues facing the industry. We discussed the challenges both organizations are working through, the effects on our members, their businesses and their customers, and details about the CARES Act that will hopefully provide some relief.

Additionally, there were many questions that we couldn’t get to due to time constraints. Watch for responses on the coronavirus page beginning this week.

I am thankful for PPAI’s Tina Filipski and ASI’s Michele Bell’s fabulous facilitation and not letting Tim or me veer too far off track.

CARES Act: What It Means To You – Last week PPAI held a webinar on the CARES Act which modifies elements of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to help businesses mitigate their coronavirus-related losses. It provides disaster relief for industry companies, including payments, loans with forgiveness options and direct payments to businesses and individuals.

I am thankful for the great work of PPAI’s general counsel, Cory Halliburton and our DC Lobbyist, Cliff Andrews for joining PPAI’s own Anne Stone and Maurice Norris on this important and timely webinar.

We will host another webinar on Thursday to once again review the CARES Act. If you have questions, please send them to Anne Stone in advance of the webinar and we’ll do our best to answer them.

PPB Rising Stars – Nominations are now open for PPB’s annual Rising Stars recognition program. Even in these uncertain times, up-and-coming young leaders are continuing to make their mark on their companies and communities. Help us celebrate them. Nominations are accepted through April 23.

I am thankful that there are up-and-coming young leaders who will continue to reimagine and reinvigorate this industry. Now more than ever, we must find new ways to drive value and build community and, relevance for our customers, members and industry.

Idea Source – Are you currently trying to engage with your clients? Are you working on new ideas to help them weather this current storm? If so, I would encourage you to utilize PPAI’s Idea Source. You’ll be able to search PPAI Pyramid Award-winning campaigns for creative ideas and successful campaigns. We have waived the subscription fee and Idea Source is now available free of charge to all PPAI members.

I am thankful for the great ideas and award-winning programs that demonstrate the power of promotional products and keep our industry’s success both memorable and measurable.

Expo East Cancelled – Based on the current COVID-19 situation, and the importance of your health and safety, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Expo East, effective immediately. We feel this is a sensitive and responsible action considering the shelter-in-place restrictions in many areas across the United States and the recent announcement deeming the Atlantic City Convention Center a temporary field hospital to accommodate expanded capacity. The cancellation includes all education sessions on Wednesday, June 3 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City as well as the trade show exhibits on Thursday, June 4 and Friday, June 5 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

I am thankful for the dedicated volunteers and staff at SAAGNY who have entrusted PPAI with the management and leadership of this renowned East Coast event.

PPAI’s Women’s Leadership Conference Cancelled – We are disappointed to announce the cancellation of PPAI’s Women’s Leadership Conference. WLC is one of our most highly attended and strongly-supported programs among PPAI’s annual events. However, given the current situation and following discussions with past attendees and the WLC workgroup, we’ve decided to cancel this year’s event which was scheduled for June 22-24 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Stay tuned for other opportunities and plans.

I am thankful for the understanding and guidance of this dedicated group of women leaders and attendees who have made this annual gathering, one focused on growth, community and empowerment. And as we look to reinvent this program for the future, I know they will be around with the same enthusiasm.

Thanks again for all your support. We hope you continue to find ways to remain productive, optimistic and focused while adjusting to these unprecedented times. If you have any questions, we will do our best to answer them quickly.

Sincerely,

Paul