Category Archives: PPAI LEGISLATIVE ACTION

Advocating For Our Industry In Good Times And Bad

One of the most important things an association does for its members is advocacy. This is at the core of every industry association, including yours. In both good times and bad, PPAI focuses on informing influential, targeted audiences on the power of promotional products and the businesses and stories that make up the industry.

In recent years, our efforts on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and with the GET IN TOUCH!  advertising campaign have paid great dividends. Most federal and state legislators are well aware of the promotional products industry. There is also significant awareness of our industry’s relevance in the advertising and marketing communities. Complementing the awareness driven by the GET IN TOUCH! campaign are the multi-million-dollar marketing campaign tools members are encouraged to use in their own marketing efforts. These robust advocacy efforts continue today and are the focus of this update.

This year, as I mentioned in a previous update, we’ve had to cancel our annual Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) and our in-person visits to D.C. Instead, next week we will embark on a virtual L.E.A.D.—L.E.A.D. From Home—one that every member can participate in. Personally, I will miss seeing those of you who would have joined us in D.C., but the current situation leaves us with no other options.

We urge all of you to join us in thanking your members of Congress for their support of small businesses. Encourage them to continue to give you the tools and resources you need to keep your doors open and your employees paid because small businesses will be the backbone of this country’s economic recovery.

Here’s how to participate in this year’s L.E.A.D. From Home:

  • Mark your calendars for this program starting Monday, May 4.
  • Email or call your member of Congress.
  • Forward the provided emails to your team members and industry peers and encourage them to participate as well.

Our hope is that these messages will keep our industry top of mind in Congress and help to ensure a brighter future for the industry that has been so good to all of us.

The GET IN TOUCH! campaign, which was recently updated, can also be used without leaving your home. It is the perfect way to keep your brand and messaging in front of your customers. The campaign is even more important now as you work to stay in touch with your customers and prospects. Get the buyer outreach toolkit, and take advantage of the thought-provoking images, engaging videos, new research-based infographics and more. In fact, many members are currently working with our staff to customize their own branded broadcast-ready video spots that were created as part of the campaign. To get your customized video spot, reach out to Get In Touch! program manager, Kim Todora at KimT@ppai.org.

Finally, I want to update you on some of the organizational changes we’ve had to make here at PPAI. As I committed to you in March, our primary goals during this period of COVID-19 uncertainty are twofold. First, to make sure we continue to provide essential services to members and the promotional products industry and marketplace. Second, to make the necessary business decisions to ensure that there is a strong and relevant trade association in place to help you recover and rebuild when the business constraints of the pandemic are eased, if not lifted.

PPAI is a lagging indicator of our industry’s business climate, specifically as it relates to membership recruitment and retention, whereby reported sales volume determines the dues payable to the Association. Membership dues account for about 50 percent of the Association’s total revenue. The other half of our revenue—and the driver behind most of our profitability—involves trade shows, live events, conferences, advertising, sponsorships and registrations fees. So how will the pandemic impact PPAI in the short- and long-term?

We expect member companies will continue to experience an annual decline in sales which will adversely affect the dues revenue we collect. On top of that, to the extent that I can reasonably foresee the future, those other revenue sources will suffer significant declines through 2020, somewhat predictably through 2021 and quite possibly beyond that. We just do not know, but, pursuant to our strategic plan, we strive to see as far as possible into the future to best gauge the business climate for our members, the industry and the Association. In any event, for the first time since I joined PPAI over 20 years ago, normal Association operations will face significant losses.

As a result, I, like so many of you, have implemented staffing, salary and benefit reductions to help PPAI manage through this challenging economic time. As a 501(c)(6) trade association, PPAI was not eligible to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program which might have assisted us in mitigating staff cuts. These actions are never easy, nor should they be. And they were not taken without deep concern and late nights of worry for our internal colleagues who have worked diligently to help make PPAI the Mark of a Professional.

In addition to staff cuts, we’ve also made changes to the structure of the business with the consolidation of departments and management. All of this was advanced with a mandate to retain the essential products and services you are promised as part of your membership in PPAI.

My goal in all of this is to manage and restructure PPAI, your Association, to reflect current realities and likely scenarios we will all face in the near and foreseeable future.

As I communicated to the PPAI team, we have no crystal ball to tell us when the economic constraints of the pandemic will end or when our businesses will recover. But, I remain positive—the constraints will end and our businesses will recover. Even then, industry events will likely be reduced in size and profitability for the foreseeable future.

As we regroup and reposition the Association for a post-coronavirus future, you have my commitment that the leadership team—and a smaller, leaner, restructured and reimagined PPAI—will work tirelessly to make thoughtful decisions to maximize the value of your membership.

Our challenges are real and pressing, both as an association and an industry of professionals. But, our resolve is as intense as ever. And, this Association will move forward as the Mark of a Professional to serve you and the promotional products industry in this most challenging of times to ensure promotional products and our associated businesses continue to be a cost-effective and powerful marketing media.

In my next update I’ll share the latest on The PPAI Expo. So, stay tuned and stay healthy.

Paul

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

ACTION ALERT: PPAI Leads Industry In Opposing Bill Targeting Promotional Products

In response to Sen. Joni Ernst’s proposed bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, to limit spending on promotional products by federal agencies and departments, PPAI has issued this action alert to strongly oppose the legislation. Please add your voice to ours and ask your members of Congress to oppose proposed bill S. 2722 that would be very harmful to our industry.

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Promotional Products Industry Supports Responsible Spending And The Effective Use of Promotional Products to Promote Essential Government Programs, Urges Congress to Do the Same 

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa has proposed bill S. 2722 assigned to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to cut government spending that takes direct aim at the promotional products industry. The legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. The limits on promotional spending are included in a larger effort to reduce spending on public relations and advertising by federal agencies and departments.

Promotional Products Association International, the not-for-profit association for more than 533,000 industry professionals and more than 15,800 corporate members of the $24.7 billion-dollar promotional products industry, encourages industry members to take action now by emailing Sen. Ernst and Sen. Paul, and their legislators in Washington, D.C. to ensure they are watching out for us.

I have petitioned the Senator and reiterated, while it might be tempting to limit the purchase of promotional products in order to yield some short-term savings, in the long term this prohibition may unintentionally diminish the good work of federal agencies. Time and again, promotional products have proven themselves to be the most cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience with the highest rate of recall, reaction and return on investment.

Promotional products educate, recruit, highlight safety awareness, urge organ donations and encourage healthy living and lifestyle choices. Promotional products recognize and reward employee achievements and inspire action. Promotional products are used to celebrate milestones, sign legislation and reinforce critical messages.

PPAI is in favor of balanced budgets and the responsible use of tax payer dollars, but it would be counterproductive for Congress to pass a bill that would eliminate any opportunity for the government to use promotional products in a powerful and effective manner. It will take a concerted effort by the entire industry—including practitioners, companies and representative national and regional trade organizations—to work together to advocate for our businesses, products and profession.

PPAI’s goal is to ensure that promotional products are viewed in a positive light. The Association will work diligently to achieve that goal.

Please contact your members of Congress and urge them to oppose this harmful bill.

TAKE ACTION TODAY

Action Alert: PPAI Joins Coalition In Opposing Potential Tariffs

Earlier this week, we announced that PPAI joined 44 other associations and trade groups in a letter to President Trump to strongly oppose proposed tariffs of up to $60 billion. Please add your voice to ours and ask your members of Congress to oppose these proposed tariffs that would be very harmful to our industry.

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Resist The Latest Round Of Tariffs

Within the business community, there are legitimate concerns about significant intellectual property and forced technology transfer issues in China. However, placing tariffs on products that are legitimately produced and traded is not the remedy. Last week it was reported in a variety of news outlets that tariffs of up to $60 billion could be proposed. Such tariff treatment would be harmful to the promotional products industry.

The specific list of tariffs has not been released, but it appears that the technology and telecommunications sectors will be targeted, and other affected products could include a variety of items including toys, apparel, footwear and consumer technology.

The level of tariffs has also not been specified. Although there could be up to 100 products vulnerable to the tariffs, the White House has not announced whether there will be one global tariff on products from China, or if there will be varying tariff levels depending on the product.

Imposing tariffs on electronics, apparel and other products would raise prices for American consumers and companies, and would not do much to address the problems that stem from unfair trade practices in China. Effectively, the increased costs would impose a tax on consumers and businesses.

Please contact your members of Congress and urge them to oppose this harmful tariff announcement.

Take Action Today

Oklahoma Governor’s Promotional Products Spending Directive

Recently, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin issued an over-reaching directive that singles out and severely limits state spending on promotional products advertising for an indefinite period of time. While several media outlets, also funded by advertising revenue, reported on the ban, none considered or reported on the effectiveness of promotional products advertising or the wide-ranging ramifications it will have on all Oklahomans.

As the number one most effective advertising medium when it comes to driving consumers to take action, building loyalty and generating interest, promotional products must not be unfairly singled out and indiscriminately limited in scope and reach. In response, below is PPAI’s statement released to the media.


STATEMENT

IRVING, TX – December 11, 2017 – Promotional Products Association International today issued the following statement from PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, in response to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s Executive Order 2017-37, which limits spending on promotional products advertising.

“Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) supports balanced budgets and the responsible use of taxpayer dollars; however, the promotional items deemed “nonessential,” according to the Executive Order 2017-37, are anything but. In fact, points raised in the order are exactly why promotional products are one of the most effective, cost-efficient and longest-lasting media used by advertisers, marketers and the State of Oklahoma.

The spending limits set forth by Executive Order 2017-37 unfairly target the promotional products industry and will diminish the ability of the state and its agencies to effectively and efficiently communicate and deliver essential programs and services like education, employment, health care, disaster relief, social services, fire and police protection to the citizens of Oklahoma by eliminating the most useful and tangible form of communication—promotional products.

Senator Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City, said it best:

‘The stress balls save veterans lives. And that stress ball is something that they can carry around with them, but it also has a hotline number or additional information that that veteran needs in order to get benefits or resources from the Department of Veterans Affairs.’

Compared to other media, promotional products advertising is preferred by consumers while other forms of media are often avoided or blocked. Promotional products are one of the fastest-growing and most cost effective advertising media, ranking seventh among traditional and digital media in annual expenditures at $22 billion. On an annual basis, promotional products contribute millions to the Oklahoma economy, with 416 companies providing more than 2700 jobs.

Promotional products are proven to be one of the most effective media available to advertisers. Because promotional products are tangible, useful and highly targeted to the audience they reach, 79 percent of consumers retain them for one to more than five years, and 88 percent recall the advertiser/message, delivering the highest rate of reach, recall and return on investment in the advertising industry.

Promotional products educate, recruit, highlight safety awareness, urge organ donations and encourage healthy living and lifestyle choices. Promotional products recognize and reward employee achievements and inspire action. Promotional products are used to celebrate milestones, sign legislation and reinforce life-saving messages. Promotional products are the most cost-effective method to communicate important messages to Oklahomans.

PPAI and the Oklahoma promotional products industry look forward to working with Oklahoma administration officials to better inform the state’s procurement processes and use of promotional products.”


CALL TO ACTION

The success of our industry depends on us making a strong, collective stand for promotional products as the best marketing tool and advertising medium for communicators. It is our shared responsibility to stand up for the industry because it’s good for consumers, advertisers and marketers and yes, governments. The promotional products industry facilitates communication, prosperity and relationships by helping connect organizations and businesses with their audiences in a tangible and meaningful way.

I ask you to take action to protect the interests of the promotional products industry. Included below are steps you can take now and in the future when these types of reports occur:

  1. Write the Governor and State Representatives today.
  2. Immediately share the news with PPAI by emailing stories/reports to PR@ppai.org
  3. Keep an eye out for rumors and threats to the industry’s credibility–if you hear of something, let us know.
  4. Advocate! Stand up for the industry that has been so good to you and to all of us—defend its good name.
  5. And finally, know the facts. They are strongly in our favor.

Guest Post | Thoughts on PPAI L.E.A.D. in Washington, D.C.

If Coke and Pepsi can set aside their battle of the brands for a worthwhile cause, so too can the promotional products industry. During PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) event held in May, industry representatives from around the country united to encourage our nation’s legislators to consider critical issues important to the entire industry.

Today I am pleased to present a guest post, “Thoughts on PPAI L.E.A.D. in Washington, D.C.”  by Kyle A. Richardson, editorial director of Promo Marketing magazine. This PM blog originally appeared in the June 27, 2016 issue of Promo Marketing.

Thank you, Kyle, for joining us for the PPAI L.E.A.D. We are grateful for your participation and retrospective on the critical importance of our industry’s unified voice in D.C.

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Last month I had the privilege of joining a select group of promotional products professionals in Washington, D.C., for Promotional Product Association International’s (PPAI) Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.). Influential industry members from across the country volunteered their time to head to our nation’s capitol, to raise awareness about our industry and the legislation that impacts suppliers and distributors.

We’ve reported on many of these business topics—independent contractor requirements, the Affordable Care Act, Toxic Substances Control Act reform—but it is another thing entirely to go to D.C. and speak to senators and representatives about our industry, our concerns and our needs. When you see a small section of our community—just 80 volunteers in all—organize more than 300 meetings over two days, you start to appreciate the significance of what PPAI has put together.

It isn’t just the numbers, either: Who was in attendance is just as important. Supplier CEOs, distributor franchisees, multi-line representatives and more all stood united in D.C. We were organized by state, with many groups consisting of companies in direct competition with one another. Along with some suppliers and distributors, I was on the Pennsylvania team representing Promo Marketing next to ASI’s own senior vice president and senior counselor, Chuck Machion. No one was concerned about business rivalries. We were all there to do the same job.

PPAI_LEAD - PM 6-27-16

Left to Right: Kyle A. Richardson; Bruce Korn, CAS, president of Zakback Inc.; U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA); Larry Whitney, director of global compliance for Polyconcept North America.

What most stood out, however, was seeing that what we’re doing works. In several meetings, staffers greeted members of our team by name, recalling them from last year’s event. In other meetings, representatives mentioned receiving emails from suppliers and distributors as part of Promotional Products Work! Week. One staff member we met with took notes on the PPAI L.E.A.D. notebook he received in 2015. If you think events like this don’t have an impact, you’d be surprised.

You also may be surprised to learn that every D.C. staffer looks like they’re 17. Don’t let “House of Cards” fool you: Everyone in the Capitol is too young to drink.

I want to thank PPAI for inviting me along this year, as well as all the members of my team—Chuck, Bruce Korn of Zakpack Inc., George Jackson of George Jackson Promotions, Larry Whitney of Polyconcept North America and Norm Hullinger of alphabroder.

It’s said you should lead, follow or get out of the way. The promotional products industry has made it clear which path it will take.

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Kyle Richardson

Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.

 

Participate. Elevate. Celebrate.

PPW!Work_Logo2016

Next week is Promotional Products Work! Week, and together we will build awareness and increase exposure to grow and protect our industry. Everyone has a role to play and each action, no matter how small, will make a big difference at the local, state and national level. You can help by raising awareness in your own company, community and among your current and future customers!

Many of you already have the whole week planned out, but if you haven’t yet started, it’s not too late! Here are a few things you can do—easily, quickly and inexpensively—to promote your business and strengthen our industry right now!

Take a few minutes to reach out. We’ve made it simple and easy.

Initiate. Inform. Influence.

  • Download the PPW! Week guides and toolkits.

    PPWW Persona Quad Ad Set

    Download & add your logo to the #PPWWeek co-op campaign!

  • Use the banners, infographics, video and ads to post to your website and social media pages, and embed in emails. Personalize them by adding your logo.
  • Add the Promotional Products Work! twibbon to your social profile pic.
  • Round up self-promos and samples and donate them to a nonprofit in your community.
  • Advocate for the industry by participating in the PPAI Legislative Education and Action Day Virtual Fly-In.
  • Reach out and thank your customers.
  • Take lots of photos and share them using the hashtag #PPWWeek.
PPW Twibbon FB Ad Set 600x600

Add the #PPWWeek twibbon!

The fourth annual PPW! Week is focused on growing your business by educating the buyers of promotional products—your current and future customers. This international week-long event is focused on raising awareness of the benefits of promotional products among advertisers, marketers and media buyers.

Our goal is to increase our share in the media buy by enabling a deeper understanding of promotional products as an advertising medium among buyers, as well as sharing the benefits of working with certified promotional products professionals.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to this great and growing industry. It is through your individual and cumulative efforts that we succeed—every day.

Paul

For more information or questions, contact PPW! Week program manager, Kim R. Todora at KimT@ppai.org.

Promoting and Protecting the Incentive Industry

For many years, PPAI has been an active member of the Incentive Federation. This organization is dedicated to promoting and protecting the incentive industry which includes promotional products, recognition items and related promotions. This group is now in conversations with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), regarding recent changes to their Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines. Under these new guidelines, OSHA points to the negative success safety incentive programs have had in the work place:

“Incentive programs for workers or managers that tie performance evaluations, compensation, or rewards to low injury and illness rates can discourage injury and illness reporting. Point systems that penalize workers for reporting injuries, illnesses, or other safety or health concerns have the same effect, as can mandatory drug testing after reporting injuries. Effective safety and health programs recognize positive safety and health activities, such as reporting hazardous conditions or suggesting safer work procedures.”

These new Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines puts a negative stigma and a blanket generalization on all safety incentive programs, which is just not the case. Limiting potential hazards in the work place is something both employees and employers take very seriously in an effort to have a safer workplace, and all methods of safety prevention should be considered when trying to achieve these objectives.

The Incentive Federation response highlights in great detail how injuries have been in steady decline from the 12-year period of 2003-2014 reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. I encourage you to take a look and better inform yourself on the current guideline changes taking place.

Additionally, I will be heading to Washington, D.C. next week as part of our annual lobbying event—the Legislative Education and Action Day or L.E.A.D.—and we will be sure to share the effectiveness of well-designed safety programs in reducing worker injuries and improving employee morale.

If you have any questions about this report or our work in DC, please contact me and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

PPAI’s 2016 Legislative Agenda – Get Engaged!

As the PPAI Public Affairs team, our DC-based Lobbyist and 80 of the most engaged, dedicated and motivated volunteers prepare for the Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D) next month in Washington, DC, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share PPAI’s 2016 Legislative Agenda.

Please take a few minutes to read through the industry- and small business-critical issues we will focus on during our Capitol Hill visits in May, and throughout the year during PPAI’s L.E.A.D. Local and recess visits.

It doesn’t take a lot to get engaged in industry advocacy but the payoff is tremendous. Want to get involved? Start here – at the PPAI Law website or contact Joseph Landeros at josephl@ppai.org or 972-258-3015.

 

Let’s work together to grow and protect this amazing industry.