Category Archives: Promotional Products Business

PPAI Launches New Community

PromoConnect CommunityI am excited to announce the official launch of PPAI’s newest, member-inspired benefit, Promo Connect. This online knowledge-community platform, offers industry-specific content to promotional products professionals through a channel for ongoing conversation and the exchange of information, ideas and solutions.

I’ve always felt that what makes the promotional products industry unique is its great sense of community—oftentimes seen in competitors working together to strengthen the industry, themselves and others. It’s this community that we hope to embrace and bring to the online world with the introduction of Promo Connect. We understand that many of you already have connections via Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms. But what makes Promo Connect different is its focus on the promotional products industry.

Whether you want to share your expertise, get your questions answered, help others with their challenges, or collaborate with others on industry-specific initiatives, Promo Connect is the place for you. I invite you to go to community.ppai.org and join the conversation today. I also encourage you to become a frequent visitor and contributor. I hope to see you online.

Sincerely,

Paul

PPAI and the Shift from a Transactional to Relational Organization

In the November issue of PPB, Chair Tom Goos, MAS, summarized his term over the past 12 months. In that column, he talked about the Association’s undertaking of a strategic planning session and his pride in the work of the PPAI Board and staff on the resulting strategic plan. He mentioned a new mission statement and the idea that the plan focused on taking the Association from transactional to relational.

The new mission statement—PPAI is the trusted leader delivering essential knowledge, resources and community to ensure the success of our members and the industry—says a lot, not only about where we are going but perhaps where we’ve been.

As we prepared for the strategic planning session, our session facilitator, Seth Kahan, took the time to talk with members. He participated in focus groups, made phone calls and interacted with members one on one. It was the feedback from these members that let us know we had become the trusted leader. I take great pride in knowing that the organization has positioned itself as such.

But the fact that the phrase is still a part of our mission statement is meant to show that we will not rest on our laurels, and as we move forward we not only fully embrace this title, but we plan to focus on it in the future. We will strive in every aspect of our operation to remain your trusted leader, and in doing so, we will move the organization from transactional to relational.

You may be wondering exactly what that phrase means. I must admit, after the strategic planning session, I had to think about it a bit myself.

It means that our strategic plan will take us beyond simply trying to acquire new members and sell additional benefits. It will focus us on reaching deeper into the members we have and enhancing a deeper relationship.

Let’s consider each of the four goals:

  1. Drive meaningful member value and engagement. This goal says nothing about getting more members. It is, as I like to refer to it, our Love goal. We want our members to love us, to trust us and to engage with us—however you choose to engage with us. Whether we’re talking about super users/brand advocates, or the creation of knowledge communities where content will be king, our focus is value and engagement—and is relational in every sense.
  2. Advocate for the industry. A long-standing goal for the Association, advocacy is something we will continue to execute on your behalf. But what changes with this strategic plan is that we want to build a stronger relationship with you, so that we advocate together. Each of you has an opportunity to be a part of our buyer outreach efforts by getting involved in our Get In Touch! campaign. This million-dollar-plus, five-year campaign, will only see its full potential if we work together. Our efforts on the legislative and product responsibility sides are not dissimilar in that they too will garner the most attention and draw the greatest success when we work together. Stronger relationships between you and your Association will build a stronger industry for the future.
  3. Deliver and leverage strategic foresight. By having a greater understanding of what’s ahead, we can better prepare for our future. This goal looks to find and track emerging trends that will or could have an impact on our industry. It’s not just looking at what disruptors might be coming our way and the implication of such, but what opportunities are being created for the industry by these trends.
  4. Manage an efficient and progressive organization. How do we retool PPAI to deliver second-to-none member experiences, interaction and engagement? This might be a deeper dive into technology to enhance member interaction with the Association or developing more personalized relationships with each of our members—basically allowing you to customize your PPAI membership in a way that best meets your needs.

Transactional to relational. You see, no mention of acquiring more members, selling more booths or anything that is transactional. Those may be a byproduct of this strategic plan, and I hope that they are, but it is not our focus. You loving this organization is our goal.

Want more information on this and engaging with PPAI? Call me at 972-258-3050. I’d enjoy sharing with you.

Paper Calendars Endure Despite the Digital Age | Guest Post by NYT Reporter, Christopher Mele

Today I am pleased to share with you this feature on printed calendars published by The New York Times. I would like to express my gratitude to the reporter Christopher Mele and to PPAI members Jerome Hoxton, president of Tru Art Advertising Calendars, and Melissa Ralston, marketing director for BIC Graphic, for their contributions.

Paul

~~~~~~~~~~

By Christopher Mele, Reporter, The New York Times

Digitally published in The New York Times on December 29, 2016 and in print on December 30, 2016, on Page B2 of the New York edition.

With the year’s end comes the ritual of many households and offices: getting new appointment books, planners or calendars to hang on walls or put on desks.

In an age of smartphones and the internet, you might think the days of paper calendars are numbered, but data suggest otherwise. Not only have they survived the digital revolution, but sales of some kinds of print calendars have increased.

The sales of appointment books and planners grew 10 percent from 2014-15 to 2015-16 to $342.7 million, and decorative and other calendars increased by 8 percent to $65 million in that time, according to figures from the NPD Group, a consumer research firm.

Personalization has helped make planners and appointment books popular, Leen Nsouli, an analyst of the office supplies industry at NPD, said in an email.

“The consumer can customize a planner to fit his or her style with accessories, colors and even color code events and activities,” she wrote. “That’s not something you can do on the standard phone calendar.”

ta-medforce-calendar

Promotional calendars are a way for businesses to advertise and to connect with customers. | Credit: MedForce

Jerome Hoxton, president of Tru Art Advertising Calendars in Iowa City, Iowa, said traditional calendars remain popular because they combine aesthetics with utility. Paper and digital calendars can readily coexist.

“What we found is it’s a question of and,” he said. “It’s not a question of or.”

Bertel King Jr., in a blog post last year for Make Use Of, a technology and productivity site, made the case for paper calendars, noting that he was “inundated with notifications, beeps, alerts and messages.”

“Having to open another tab, fire up another piece of software, or launch another app to access my calendar amounts to one more onscreen thing vying for my attention,” he wrote. “Suddenly a paper planner starts to make sense.”

It may seem counterintuitive that a print product can thrive in the digital age. But the continued success of some paper calendars mirrors that of printed books, an industry that several years ago was confronting what seemed like the very real possibility that e-books would outsell the printed variety. Instead, a Pew survey this fall found that most readers still preferred their reading material printed on paper.

Still, the popularity of some calendars — desk pads and the ones that hang on your wall — has waned.

The average number of printed calendars in households was 3.12 in 2011 compared with 3.98 in 1981, according to the most recent study sponsored by the Promotional Products Association International and the Calendar Advertising Council. The kitchen remained the prime display location, with 75 percent of respondents saying they had a calendar there. The average number of printed calendars per business was 2.10, down from 2.56 in 1981, according to the study.

A 2008 paper from Virginia Tech, called “An Exploratory Study of Personal Calendar Use,” predicted the march of electronic calendars would be swift and inevitable. “With the increased use of mobile devices, more and more calendaring tasks are performed off the desktop computer,” it said.

A bright spot in the industry remains promotional calendars, like those distributed by real estate agents, medical professionals, car repair shops and other businesses. As a percentage of sales of promotional products, those calendars have held steady or increased slightly from 2012 to 2015, according to industry figures.

chalkboard-calendar-bic-graphic

Paper calendars are an effective advertising vehicle with a mass market appeal. | Credit: Wright County Parks & Recreation

Melissa Ralston, marketing director for BIC Graphic, said in an email that companies have found paper calendars to be an effective advertising vehicle with a mass market appeal.

She said studies have found that 82 percent of recipients enjoy getting a calendar as a complimentary gift and 70 percent plan to do business with the company that provided the calendar.

As for Ms. Ralston, she practices what she preaches. She said she has three calendars: a planner, a wall calendar and one on her refrigerator.

#GetInTouch! Campaign News | U.S. Calls In Promo Industry To Raise Its Profile | Guest Post

I am pleased to share with you this Product Media article excerpt reprinted courtesy of the British Promotional Merchandise Association covering PPAI’s new industry branding campaign, Get In Touch!

We are excited to see the Get In Touch! campaign getting international attention. Designed for the entire promotional products industry, we hope to see Get In Touch! take hold around the world and become a global movement.

Paul

~~~

I am delighted that my good friend Paul Bellantone, and PPAI Chair of the Board, Tom Goos are speaking at the bpma Education Day at Silverstone, UK in September.  I think it’s really important that the promotional products industry works together around the globe to support each other, whether on end buyer campaigns like the #GetInTouch! campaign, product safety, research, education or best practices.

Gordon Glenister, bpma Director General

GIT - BPMA article image

Much like the work of the British Promotional Merchandise Association (bpma), the Promotional Products Association International’s (PPAI) core mission is to grow and protect the promotional products industry and enhance the professionalism and success of its members. To this end, PPAI has developed and delivered initiatives like Product Safety Aware, MAS+, MAS and CAS professional development industry certifications, as well as Promotional Products Work! Week which I know has also become a successful initiative for bpma members in the UK.

For its latest programme to drive growth and success, PPAI will officially launch the industry branding initiative, the #GetInTouch campaign, this month in conjunction with Advertising Week in New York City.

The #GetInTouch campaign was introduced by PPAI chair of the board, Tom Goos, MAS, and me at The PPAI Expo 2016. It is a five-year, multi-million dollar, industry-wide initiative targeting advertising buyers. It is designed to increase awareness and enhance the perception of the promotional products industry as well as communicate the benefits of working with promotional consultants. The overall goal of the campaign is to direct a larger share of advertising dollars to our industry.

Celebrate success

#GetInTouch, a joint initiative between PPAI and the membership, is important to the promotional products industry because, for too long, it has been an afterthought for many advertisers. It is seen as a medium of fun and useful ‘stuff’ that is not always recognised for its proven value and strengths. The industry knows, understands and communicates the power of promotional products, but it’s high time the rest of the world recognised the advertising power of promotional products and their place in successful advertising campaigns. Our research tells us that as other advertising media struggle to achieve year over-year growth and remain relevant, promotional products are perfectly positioned to grow – and have grown – in an increasingly digital world.

To help us achieve success with this initiative, we’ve partnered with a public relations and branding firm to deliver a creative and impactful campaign that breaks through the advertising clutter to reach and influence advertising buyers, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller local advertisers.

Tom Goos put it best when he said: “For years PPAI has worked on advocating for the industry, but never with a multi-year strategic campaign at this level. Industry promotion has always been bootstrapped with little budget or limited resources. With the launch of the #GetInTouch campaign, the board is saying we want this to be a primary focus and we should put funding and a strategic plan behind it. The board recognises that we are well positioned to capitalise on the changes in marketing and growth of the digital world.”

He added: “PPAI will not be successful if it pursues this initiative alone. It’s going to require companies like mine and yours to participate.”

Get involved

Along with an integrated paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO) strategy that includes major media buys in publications like Advertising Age, digital strategies and possibly an industry spokesperson, the #GetInTouch campaign will feature member kits available for download and customisation, including elements that members will be able to immediately incorporate into their own marketing efforts. The goal is to make sure PPAI members become an integral part of the #GetInTouch campaign.

Complementing the launch of this initiative is a newly redesigned and recently launched website (PromotionalProductsWork.org). It is targeted at advertising buyers, tells a two-part story about the power of promotional products and the importance of working with promotional consultants.

We know that our ability to clearly articulate the power and compelling value of promotional products and of working through promotional consultants is critical to the vitality and vibrancy of our industry. PPAI has a winning plan to reach advertising buyers through the campaign at the national level and will create the tools our members need to get involved and engaged with their customers and prospects.

#GetInTouch will be one of the most significant contributions PPAI has made to the strengthening of the promotional products industry, but as Tom noted, we must engage our members for this initiative to be successful.

Read the entire article here.

#Tech22 | Breaking Down Promo’s Top Tech Collaborators & Innovators

This week, August 17-18, in San Francisco, PPAI will host the third annual Tech Summit, a gathering of the promotional products industry’s technology leaders to address the challenges facing the field, and the advancement of the industry through the strategic use of technology.

In the promotional products industry, we have quite a few talented and industrious professionals who have made it their mission to change, innovate and, yes, disrupt everything.

In the spirit of The Tech Summit, Dale Denham and Jon Norris have taken it upon themselves to hack this blog and recognize those individuals who are leading the tech charge in our industry.

~~~

Tech22 Graphic-uEvery company needs a great CEO and every CEO needs a great IT leader to make things happen. IT is no longer about keeping the systems running (but that has to happen!).  Instead, it’s about business strategy and execution utilizing technology. Today’s IT leaders are a different breed as business acumen and the ability to lead people are at least as important as strong technology skills.

 

The Industry Tech22 is an attempt to recognize our industry technology leaders based on their technology and business skills. This list was the brainchild of Jon Norris, who invited me to be a co-collaborator and together we are responsible for the oversights and omissions—as well as the good things. This list originally was the Tech20 but we both refused to leave the other off the list.

While the list is subjective, it is based on our personal experience and knowledge of those on the list.  We debated about a few people at companies who have great technology but decided that an important part of being on this list was industry collaboration. Everyone on this list has been involved in one or more efforts to make the industry better.  As with any list, we missed a few and we look forward to releasing this list again in 2017 with new names.

1

Eric Shonebarger, CIO | Hit Promotional Products

Eric has been and continues to be the leader in system integration for the industry.  His leadership and hands-on involvement in every aspect of HIT technology has supported the very rapid growth HIT has experienced. Eric has been one of the driving forces in the PromoStandards effort. If you have discussed integrations at your company, chances are Eric’s name comes up as the first person to call.

2

Marc Brown, CIO | Polyconcept North America

Michael Conway, I.T. Director, Market Facing Applications | Polyconcept North America

Michael and Marc are incredibly influential because of their ability to see so many different aspects of the technology both in and out of our industry.  Acquiring companies and integrating systems is tough and even more so during periods of rapid growth that PCNA has experienced.  PCNA, and specifically Michael, has been a longtime proponent and leader of industry electronic standards. From the board room to customers’ offices, Michael and Marc are a driving force in the industry. 

3

Mike Knapic, CIO | Sanmar

Rebekah Ellis, Sr I.T. Manager | Sanmar

Online websites for distributors, real time inventory, order status, electronic data formatted well. SanMar has been ahead of the curve and Beki has been the leader behind the SanMar integrations for years. Mike has brought additional support to Beki’s team driving improvements and even more industry collaboration. 

4

Tim Nale, North American I.T. / Director | BIC Graphic North America

Tim took over BIC IT during the midst of a flawed ERP conversion and managed to turn things around quickly. He has continued his success leading IT at BIC thanks to his ability to see the big picture while also being willing to work on the details.

5

Dale Moir, SVP I.T. & Asset Management | HALO Branded Solutions

Irwin Goldstein, Director of Application Development | HALO Branded Solutions

Dale and Irwin are true computer scientists to the core (both hold master’s degrees in computer science). Each with more than 12 years of experience at HALO they have successfully navigated the company IT during an aggressive acquisition strategy. Both Dale & Irwin are very actively involved in numerous industry projects to support the health of the industry.

6

Dan Kroymann, Director of Information Technology | Staples Promotional Products

Dan led Staples through the largest EDI implementation the industry has ever seen. Dan is a strong supporter of PromoStandards and has a strong drive to streamline the order lifecycle.

7

Dan Rochette, Founder and CTO | Facilis Group

Dan developed one of the first industry web-based ERP platforms.  Today that ERP system is in the middle of its second iteration, and The Facilis Group processes over $500,000,000 per year servicing more than 110 distributors. Dan has been a quiet force in technology that has remained largely unknown except to a few despite his large impact on the technology of so many distributors. 

8

Jon Norris, VP of Operations | Starline 

A few years ago I asked Jon to work on a simple project with me, expecting it to take a few weeks. The next day, the work was done and enhanced. Jon is a technologist who can and does lead the business side of things but technology is his passion. An engineer by training, Jon loves to solve problems using technology. He has been chair of the PPAI Technology Committee for almost three years and is a strong force in industry technology collaboration. Both PromoStandards and the PPAI Technology Summit are ideas that Jon was instrumental in launching and continuing. Jon deserves to be much higher on this list but since he is a co-collaborator, we agreed on this position.

(Editor’s note: much to Jon’s objection, I would not allow a technology list to be published without Jon’s inclusion.)

 

9

Dale Denham, MAS+, CIO | Geiger 

Dale has been the industry’s technology evangelist for over a decade. As past PPAI Technology Committee chair and incoming chair-elect for the PPAI Board of Directors, he delivers a strong voice to the industry for technology. Three years ago, Dale orchestrated the most significant meeting of Technology leaders this industry has ever assembled. Today, Dale is very involved in leading the PPAI Technology Summit as well as being a driving force in PromoStandards.  Often the voice of reason and a dose of reality, he balances the business needs with the technology capabilities to deliver results.

(Editor’s note: much to my objection, Jon insisted my name be included as well.)

 

10

Eric Alessi, President and CEO | Essent Corporation

Steve Luisser, VP of Research | Essent Corporation

These guys searched for the Holy Grail and delivered the cherished goblet for the industry to sip from. That of course being well formed orders. Both are very involved in the architecture and ongoing development of Essent Business Management system, which is used by both distributors and suppliers. 

11

Brian Carothers, CTO | Proforma

Brian is leading Proforma’s technology advancement and development of a new order entry system. Brian has a computer science background and experience working with Fortune 50 companies. Brian is new to the industry but as the top technologist at a top five company, Brian is already making his presence known. 

12

Armughan Rafat, EVP and CTO | ASI

Armughan runs all technology initiatives, infrastructure and technology strategy for one of the industry’s largest business service providers. He has re-engineered ASI’s technology strategy and is behind ASI recently supporting PromoStandards to support wider adoption of systems integrations.

13

Catherine Graham, CEO | commonsku

Catherine has shown the industry how great software supported by a loyal community can drive sales with cloud-based commonsku. A trip to their offices in Toronto makes you instantly want to be a part of their amazing culture and team. Catherine has the respect and admiration of the entire technology community as well as the many business users relying on commonsku.

14

Eric Natinsky, CEO | SAGE Quick Technologies

SAGE was the first “cloud” provider offering online services before most people were online. Combined with strong business skills, Eric is the primary architect and developer of SAGE. His vision has helped position SAGE to continue to dominate the business service landscape.

15

Jason Nokes, President | Distributor Central

Dave Schultz, VP of Operations | Distributor Central

Jason and David are on the forefront of web, cloud and mobile solutions for companies of all sizes within the industry. The scalable challenges they have faced hosting over 20,000 websites is no easy feat. Early adopters of PromoStandards, they have continued their drive and desire to see industry standardization flourish. For a small distributor, they make it easy.

16

Rene Whitcraft, CIO | The Magnet Group

Jonas Temple, I.T. Manager/Developer | The Magnet Group

Rene and Jonas have been propelling The Magnet Group to be an industry leader in technology.  Their willingness to adopt new technology, drive integrations and work with service providers on end-to-end integrations is an impressive industry technology resume.

17

Jay Zimmerman, EVP Information Technology | alphabroder

Running the IT for a billion-dollar acquisition hungry company is a demanding position that requires significant effort. Jay just completed integrating multiple acquisitions into a single platform to better serve the industry.

18

Pranav Dalal, Chief Disruption Officer | Office Beacon

Pranav is the visionary behind Office Beacon. The amount of industry order information that is handled by Office Beacon is significant. Pranav does not rest and is constantly bringing new solutions to the industry, including ecommerce giants.

19

Frank Wiggins, Vice President I.T. | Gemline

Frank’s quiet style keeps him under the radar but his success in leading IT at Gemline has been felt by clients and staff alike. Gemline innovation keeps Frank busy and his team keeps successfully delivering on internal and external projects. 

20

Chris Lanagan, Vice President, I.T. | Vernon Company

Chris is personally involved in nearly every aspect of IT at Vernon.  He runs a lean IT department and most recently had the joy of upgrading a very old ERP system while living to tell the tale. 

21

Sam Hornstein, President | eXtendTech

A NetSuite fanboy, Sam was previously CIO of Jetline and led the successful and rapid implementation of NetSuite. Sam started his own company to focus on NetSuite in the industry and is the industry authority on NetSuite. 

22

Ken Phu, Vice President I.T. | Hub Pen

Ken was an early adopter of NetSuite and now serves on the board of his local NetSuite chapter. Ken has led IT at Hub for more than five years and during that time he integrated Hub systems with several large distributors to speed up production time and reduce costs.

Redefining The Industry | #GetInTouch – Industry Branding Campaign

PPAI will officially launch the industry branding initiative, the #GetInTouch campaign, September 26 in conjunction with the 2016 Advertising Week in New York.

The #GetInTouch campaign (formerly referred to as the Industry Branding Initiative) was originally introduced to the PPAI membership by PPAI Chair of the Board Tom Goos, MAS, and me at the 2016 PPAI Expo. It is a five-year, multimillion-dollar industry-wide initiative targeting advertising buyers. It is designed to increase awareness and improve and enhance the overall perception of the promotional products industry and communicate the benefits of working with promotional consultants. The overall goal of the campaign is to direct a larger share of advertising dollars to the promotional products industry.

The #GetInTouch campaign was originally conceived by the 2014 PPAI Chairman’s Roundtable Work Group, and is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work by a collection of PPAI staff, members and volunteer groups, including the PPAI Board of Directors, the PPAI Industry Branding Initiative Advisory Group and the PPAI Public Relations Committee.

Collaborating for Success

ppai-techie-1200w

PPAI’s #GetInTouch campaign launches during Advertising Week 2016

This joint initiative between PPAI and the membership is extraordinarily important to the promotional products industry because, for too long, we’ve been an afterthought for many advertisers—a medium of fun and useful ‘stuff’ but not always recognized for our proven value and strengths. Within the industry we may know, understand and communicate the power of promotional products, but it’s high time the rest of the world recognizes the advertising power of promotional products and their place in successful advertising campaigns. Our research tells us that as other advertising media struggle to achieve year-over-year growth and remain relevant, promotional products are perfectly positioned to grow—and have grown—in an increasingly digital world.

To help us achieve success with this initiative, we’ve partnered with SAXUM, a nationally known Oklahoma City-based integrated marketing agency to deliver a creative and impactful campaign that breaks through the advertising clutter to reach and influence advertising buyers, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller, local advertisers.

Tom Goos put it best when he spoke at the opening general session at The PPAI Expo earlier this year: “For years PPAI has worked on advocating for the industry, but never with a multi-year strategic campaign at this level. Industry promotion has always been bootstrapped with little budget or limited resources. With the launch of the #GetInTouch campaign, the board is saying we want this to be a primary focus and we should put funding and a strategic plan behind it. The board recognizes that we are well positioned to capitalize on the changes in marketing and growth of the digital world.” He also explained “PPAI will not be successful if it pursues this initiative alone. It’s going to require companies like mine and yours to participate.”

To that end, along with an integrated paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO) strategy, including major media buys in publications like Advertising Age, digital strategies and possibly an industry spokesperson, the #GetInTouch campaign will feature member kits available for download and customization. The member toolkits will include a variety of communications assets including print advertisements with several versions of copy along with various digital, social, promotional products, public relations and collateral elements that members will be able to immediately incorporate into their own marketing efforts—the key here is making sure PPAI members become an integral part of the #GetInTouch campaign.

The Messaging
While the overall message is about the power of promotional products and the importance of the promotional consultant, there will be several sub-messages which include:

  • Campaign tagline: ADVERTISING THAT LIVES ON
  • Campaign hashtag: #GetInTouch
  • Promotional products are a tangible representation of a brand.
  • Promotional products create excitement, surprise and delight.
  • Promotional products positively affect buying decisions.
  • Promotional products have staying power.
  • Promotional products, the only advertising your customers will thank you for.
  • Promotional products become a part of everyday life.

The campaign will also include sub-messages focusing specifically on Promotional Consultants:

  • Promotional consultants help design programs that get results and save time and money in the process.
  • Promotional consultants partner with you to promote and protect your brand.
  • Promotional consultants are industry experts and marketing pros.

A Redesigned Website | PromotionalProductsWork.org
Complementing the launch of this PPAI initiative is the launch of the newly redesigned www.PromotionalProductsWork.org website. The website, targeted at advertising buyers, tells a two-part story about the power of promotional products and the importance of working with promotional consultants.

While this site is independent of the #GetInTouch campaign, the timing of its redesign and launch is not coincidental. After passing through a specific #GetInTouch page, buyers who want to learn more will be directed to the new site.

A Call to Action
The PPAI #GetInTouch campaign will be one of the most significant contributions PPAI has made to the strengthening of the promotional products industry, but as Tom noted, we must engage our members for this initiative to be successful. Here are a few things you can do—right now and long-term—to be part of this exciting initiative:

  • Commit right now that you will be part of the initiative!
  • Share this information with your internal teams, colleagues and peers.
  • As the campaign will focus on the power and proven results of promotional products, we need your winning case studies.
    • Get in touch with Kim Todora today to learn how to include your case studies in the #GetInTouch campaign.
  • Keep on the lookout for information on the #GetInTouch campaign.
  • Share your thoughts and ideas for enhancing the campaign with Kim and me and the planning team.

Thank You
Our ability to clearly articulate the power and compelling value of promotional products and working through promotional consultants is critical to the vitality and vibrancy of our industry.

PPAI has a winning plan to reach advertising buyers through the #GetInTouch campaign at the national level and will create the tools you need to get involved and engaged with your customers and prospects. I thank you in advance for your support and participation.

Sincerely,

Paul

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.

~~~~

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.