Category Archives: Promotional Products Industry

ADJUSTING TO UNPRECEDENTED TIMES

PB Message 2020-03-31 at 12.24.14 PM

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

I hope this update finds you healthy, finding ways to remain productive and successfully adjusting to these unprecedented times. As we continue to monitor the latest information and news on COVID-19, PPAI remains steadfast in our dedication to you and your businesses today and tomorrow. In fact, we currently have weekly meetings of our staff directors, our Board of Directors and daily meetings of our executive team. We are focused on getting you the critical services of today and securing a healthy organization for tomorrow.
Last week, I talked about our online community platform Promo Connect and our COVID-19 information page — resources available to help you navigate these uncharted waters. I also addressed some PPAI event cancellations and postponements. Today, I will update you on additional services and opportunities that are available to you.
Below you’ll find information on two of our affinity partners, Affinity HR Group and Paley Rothman Attorneys at Law. We believe both might be of assistance to you at this time. You’ll also find information from the Small Business Administration on available loans and a link to a recap of the CARES Act, which is providing relief to small businesses and individual operators.
I’ve included information on relief PPAI is offering to regional associations, opportunities for our members in Canada and a couple of programs where we are waiving fees. Also, if you are unable to get to your printed copy of PPB, it is available via flipbook and online. The April issue spotlights eight of the best multi-line reps in the industry and shares proven ways to cultivate diversity in your company. Plus, 12 calming self-care products that tell recipients you care about them along with some simple ways to hack your workday and get more done.
Finally, below you will find the details of a podcast I’ll be doing with ASI President and CEO Tim Andrews tomorrow. I hope you’ll be able to join us.
As I mentioned last week, we continue to evaluate and redefine every aspect of our business as necessary to provide you with the support you need in these tough times. Like many of you, I had to make the difficult decision to reduce staffing, salary and benefit and overhead expenses. And as I shared with the PPAI board last week, there is no comfort in numbers when making these difficult decisions, and I empathize with their role as company and industry leaders. I encourage you to let us, and our strategic partners, know if there is something you think we can help with as you transform your own business to adjust to these unprecedented circumstances.
Human Resources Assistance – PPAI’s affinity partner, Affinity HR Group, is a national HR consulting firm specializing in addressing the needs of small to mid-sized businesses. Affinity HR Group is staffed by a group of seasoned HR professionals with years of combined experience providing sound people support to clients nationwide. Affinity HR’s team offers PPAI members exclusive member-only discounts on a wide range of HR services. They’ve put together the COVID-19 Workplace Response Plan.
Legal Assistance – PPAI’s affinity partner, Paley Rothman Attorneys at Law, offers PPAI members a free 15-minute legal consultation. This can be immediately helpful to your business as you review contracts and employee issues. PPAI has retained Paley Rothman to answer your legal questions, so be sure to give them your PPAI number when setting up your consultation appointment. Get your legal questions ready and call Jessica Summers at 301-968-3402 to set up your free 15-minute consultation.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Recovery Assistance – In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small-business owners in all U.S. states, territories and Washington D.C. are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help overcome a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.
CARES Act: What It Means To You – PPAI continues to closely monitor developments in Washington, D.C, closely. The recent U.S. legislation aimed at providing relief to businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the CARES Act, has significant implications for the promotional products industry. It provides disaster relief for industry companies, including deferred tax payments, loans with forgiveness options and direct payments to businesses and individuals. Find out what it means for you. We will also hold a Webinar on the topic this Friday (4/3/20) at 1:00 pm CT.
For Our Members In Canada – Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC) has purchased services from the Michigan Promotional Products Association (MiPPA) to allow free webinar access. Keep in mind that the webinar content is originating from and created in the U.S., but most topics will be universally applicable. All webinars are eligible for PPAI certification points. PPPC is working to create Canadian-specific webinars and French content in the coming weeks.
Legal Counsel For Regional Associations – PPAI understands the importance of a strong regional community and remains committed to the regional associations, some of which are rescheduling or cancelling spring events. To help, the PPAI Board of Directors will pay two hours of legal fees for each regional, as needed, as they address these issues.
Certification And Pyramid Submission Fees Waived – Beginning Wednesday (4/1/2020) through June 30, the TAS, CAS and MAS application fees will be waived and pricing for Associates will be at a 50 percent discount. Additionally, this year’s Pyramid Awards submission fees are being waived. This competition will open on April 27 and close May 29.
COVID-19 Podcast Featuring ASI President And CEO Tim Andrews And Myself – On Wednesday, April 1 from 1-2 pm CT (2-3 pm ET), I will join Tim Andrews for a special industry Town Hall, “COVID-19 Crisis: The Industry’s Leaders On Where We Go From Here.” As leaders of the promotional products industry’s two largest member organizations, we’ll discuss what each organization is doing now to assist members, the $2 trillion stimulus package, share advice on what small businesses can do now to survive and even thrive throughout the crisis, and outline action plans and forecasts for the coming months. If you can’t attend live, we’ll share a link to the recording in PPB Newslink, at ppai.org/coronavirus-information and across PPAI’s social media. Register now as space is limited.
While I hope all, or at least some, of these items will be of assistance to you, more importantly, I hope you, your families and your colleagues will remain in good health.
Sincerely,
Paul

The PPAI Expo 2020 Marks Extraordinary Start to Decade

The PPAI Expo is such an exciting time for PPAI and the entire industry as we gather together to celebrate all this great industry has to offer. In January, we hosted The PPAI Expo 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and it was such an extraordinary experience. It was incredible to see everyone come together to advance the industry and discover what’s new and next in promotional and experiential marketing. Expo kicks off the year and brings to the forefront innovation, trends and advanced technologies in promotion, gifting, fashion, decorating and sustainability, as well as activation and engagement strategies. This year, more than ever, we’re seeing technology inside the products allowing marketers to measure behavior and track the success of their campaigns.

It is also important to note, that no matter how long we’ve been here as an industry, we’re still growing faster than most media. Last year we grew at more than six percent, which is almost twice the average GDP. What we’re finding is the more advertisers are using digital and other innovative marketing methods the more they’re looking for something like a promotional product to break through the clutter and build a relationship between the brand and the consumer.

Below, I am pleased to share with you a brief recap of just a few of the many highlights from the extraordinary experience that is The PPAI Expo.

Paul

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PPAI hosted The PPAI Expo® January 12-16, which continues to be the largest, occupying more than a million square feet of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and longest-running trade show in the promotional products industry. Approximately 13,000 promotional products distributors from nearly 4,000 distributor companies and 33 countries came to Las Vegas to experience the industry’s best-attended show.

Expo Montage

The PPAI Expo 2020 was among one of the largest and most-attended shows in the event’s history. In addition to visiting the more than 1,220 exhibitors occupying a sold-out show floor at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the 21,000-plus industry professionals attended more than 115 educational sessions and networking events. Participants were also treated to the updated look and feel of the show that included a brand-new murmuration design.

The 2020 show featured numerous experiences designed to create excitement and engagement in different areas on the show floor. The EXPO Live! interactive stage made its return and provided live streaming of product demonstrations and interviews with notable Expo speakers, exhibitors and industry leaders. The stimulating pop-up activations included fun-filled activities such as roaming photo booths, virtual-reality experiences, donut decorating, live music, and oxygen, caffeine and themed food bars. The Beer Garden offered a laid-back environment on the trade-show floor that welcomed more networking opportunities among industry professionals.

The puppy petting booths returned and were provided by Wagging Tails Rescue. Most of the adorable puppies were available for adoption, and they all live in foster care until they’re adopted to their “fur-ever” families. Therapy goats were also on-site for petting sessions and goat yoga, and they were provided by Petting Zoo 2 U.

The ever-popular Sneak Peek and Product Pavilions featured a new category, Giving Back Products, incorporated into the already-stellar lineup of New Products, Green Products, Made In The USA Products, Express Ship Products and 1st-Time Exhibitor Products. New to the Expo this year was the PPAI Fashion Show, which offered distributors three different opportunities to learn about emerging trends and new supplier products, and the Professional Development Domes, conveniently located right on the show floor, offering attendees additional educational opportunities in a unique space.

During the PPAI Association Update, Bellantone reported on PPAI’s continued organizational growth, noting that the Association reached 16,000 members during this year’s Expo.

During the show, thought-provoking and inspirational general session and keynote speakers included Ben Nemtin of MTV’s The Buried Life; Molly Fletcher, a former sports agent dubbed the “female Jerry Maguire” by CNN and ESPN; and Dr. Rick Rigsby, president and CEO of Rick Rigsby Communications, founder of Rick Rigsby Ministries and former college professor, mostly at Texas A&M University.

In lieu of the annual PPAI Pyramid Awards celebration, recipients were honored in numerous ways throughout the show. This year there were 46 Gold, 35 Silver, 11 Supplier Stars and 10 Supplier Awards of Merit winners. During the annual Chairman’s Leadership Dinner, the industry’s luminaries, dignitaries and leaders celebrated the achievements of two industry legends, Carl Gerlach, MAS, of Gill Studios, Inc., and Roni Wright, MAS, of The Book Company as they were inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame. Tribute was also paid to this year’s winners of the Distinguished Service Award, Rick Brenner, MAS+, and Kippie Helzel, MAS, and the H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award recipient Rod Brown, CAS.

The next installment of The PPAI Expo is set to be held January 10-14, 2021, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

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PPAI Named One Of The 50 Best Places To Work By Outside Magazine

I am excited to share with you that PPAI has been named to Outside magazine’s 50 Best Places to Work. At PPAI we have incredibly talented and hard-working team members who strive every day to connect with each other and serve the communities we work and live in to make a meaningful difference. I couldn’t be prouder of and more grateful for our PPAI team members, for the amazing culture, work environment and community impact we have here at PPAI.

Paul

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Outside logo-topPPAI has been named by Outside magazine as one of the Best Places to Work in 2019. PPAI checked in at No. 35 on the organization’s annual list of the nation’s 50 top employers.

“We are honored to be named to this list of exceptional companies with warm and welcoming environments prioritizing work-life balance,” said PPAI President and CEO, Paul Bellantone, CAE. “This recognition acknowledges our past efforts and helps set goals for the future as a best-in-class employer. There is a sense of accomplishment and community that comes from working at PPAI that I personally believe is hard to find elsewhere.”

PPAI Top Place to Work - Outside Magazine 2019wide

PPAI has been named by Outside magazine as one of the Best Places to Work in 2019. PPAI checked in at No. 35 on the organization’s annual list of the nation’s 50 top employers.

PPAI offers numerous perks throughout the year, including an annual animal-themed obstacle race to raise money for animal rescue. The organization also organizes fun-filled, team-building fitness challenges such as marshmallow archery, black-light dodgeball, ax throwing and escape rooms. Committees comprised of staff also organize an annual cornhole tournament and two annual staff outings to go along with quarterly birthday celebrations, in addition to Halloween costume contests, chili cook-offs, on-site massages and food truck treats.

“Working at PPAI encompasses purposeful and rewarding work as we advocate for and advance the promotional products industry, while promoting a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere,” said PPAI Human Resources Manager Doris Sweely. “For PPAI to be recognized as one of The 50 Best Places to Work in 2019 is a proud moment both professionally and personally. It reinforces that we have a true family culture where work-life balance is modeled and encouraged.”

This is PPAI’s first time being honored by Outside, which has compiled a “Best Places to Work” list since 2008. PPAI was one of just two organizations in Texas to be honored; C1S Group in Dallas landed at No. 48.

Outside is America’s leading active lifestyle magazine, with more than two million readers a month. For more than 30 years, the magazine has covered travel, sports, adventure, health and fitness, as well as the personalities, environment and style and culture of the world “outside.” Along with receiving many other accolades, Outside is the only magazine to win three consecutive National Magazine Awards for General Excellence.

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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

GET Connected: PLUG-IN to the POWER of PROMO

GET Connected: PLUG-IN to the POWER of PROMO during Promotional Products Work! Week, May 13-17

Next month, Promotional Products Work! Week will take center stage. During the week of May 13-17, the industry will collectively shine the spotlight on the benefits of working with promotional professionals and the undeniable power of promotional products.

Why is Promotional Products Work! Week so important? More than 40,000 promotional products companies and a workforce of more than 500,000 professionals contribute billions of dollars to local economies and more than $23.3 billion to the U.S economy. Nearly the entire promotional products industry is composed of small businesses—96 percent—that make real and tangible differences in their communities as volunteers, business-owners, tax payers and purveyors of goods and services. In many instances, promotional products serve as the first and last impressions relied on by the more than 30 million U.S. businesses to build brand awareness and loyalty and inspire action among employees, clients and consumers.

By committing to at least one activity during the week of May 13-17, you will help promote and protect your business and our vibrant industry, while also making a powerful impact by adding your story and your voice alongside thousands of industry professionals.

Last year, Promotional Products Work! Week was celebrated in a big way in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad with factory tours and open houses, speaking engagements, volunteerism and community outreach, legislative outreach in Washington, D.C., at the state and local levels and with personalized expressions of gratitude to the industry’s customers.

The highlight of 2018 was the PPW!Week Official Kick Off produced by Regional Association Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS) in partnership with the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber.

The two-day event included a SHEPENCO ribbon-cutting ceremony and factory tours hosted by Henry Hulan III, president of Musgrave Pencil Company founded in 1914, and Dan Townes, president, and his son, Daniel Townes, chief operations officer of SHEPENCO, founded in 1933, both headquartered in Shelbyville, Tennessee, known as “The Pencil City,” with Congressman Scott DesJarlais in attendance. A proclamation for the City of Shelbyville presented by Mayor Wallace Cartright and City Council, declaring it Promotional Products Work! Week—and if that wasn’t enough, the City passed a resolution renaming itself “Promotional Products City USA” to commemorate the week.

Next was a luncheon held at the Blue Ribbon Circle and the gathering of state and local dignitaries, distributors, suppliers, buyers and PPAMS board members, where I was humbled to share the stage with Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce CEO Allen Pitner to share on the state of the industry.

The festivities culminated with Tennessee government officials, including City of Shelbyville Mayor Wallace Cartright, County Official Scott Johnson (presenting on behalf of County Mayor Eugene Ray) and Senator Shane Reeves, who presented proclamations from the City of Shelbyville, Bedford County and the state of Tennessee (signed by Senator Shane Reeves, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and State Representative Pat March).

All of this was made possible through the commitment and leadership of the PPAMS Board and Executive Director Mark Farrar and his amazing team.

GET Connected: Get the toolkit!

Promotional Products Work! Week, now in its seventh year, is an industry-wide event dedicated to demonstrating the importance of working with promotional professionals to design and implement creative and successful campaigns while creating awareness for promotional products as a powerful and effective advertising and marketing medium. The week is designed to reach key audiences and feature a variety of activities, including open houses, factory tours and hospitality events; new client prospecting and lead generation; an advocate day focusing on community, colleges and business groups; legislative action; and customer appreciation.

Celebrated annually, the week-long event is designed for the entire industry—large and small companies, regional associations, distributors and suppliers, business services providers and multi-line representatives—to get behind an industry-wide movement in support of demonstrating the power, value and effectiveness of promotional products.

Here is the link to the GET Connected: PLUG-IN to the POWER of PROMO campaign toolkit. Download the PPW!Week campaign assets, including the Organizers Guide, Publicity and Promotion Toolkits, videos, social posts and infographics and much more. GET Connected, PLUG-IN and get started today!

Please share within your companies and with your colleagues around the industry.

Spread the word!

Paul

Promotional Products Do Work – A Modern Approach to Practical, Useful, Thoughtful “Conference Swag”

As a trusted leader in the promotional products industry, it is our responsibility to advocate for our members and to deliver to others the essential knowledge they need to understand the inner workings of our medium. I have been reminded today after reading the Fast Company piece that there still remains an excess of misconceptions and doubts about our industry—ones I would like to take this opportunity to address. I will be responding to Fast Company on behalf of the Association, our members and this amazing industry.

The influence of promotional products cannot be underestimated, with more than 65 percent of advertisers citing promotional products as highly effective in reaching consumers and contributing to brand recall, and 88 percent of marketers recommending promotional products. Unlike the article suggests, promotional products are not toss away items—in fact, more than 80 percent of promotional products are used for more than a year. Eighty-three percent of consumers have a more favorable impression of the advertiser, and that increases to 88 percent for Millennials. Additionally, eight out of 10 consumers pass along promotional products versus carelessly throwing them in the trash. These are only a handful of the statistics we have proving promotional products are a strategic and influential medium that resonate with our audiences. Promotional products are welcome in places and spaces no other advertising medium can touch and deliver pass-along rates that are the envy of the advertising industry.

Our industry has evolved and grown over time, and consumer preferences and behaviors have also changed. We have pioneered many studies as an industry, and at PPAI, to ensure we keep up with our end-users and to understand the role promotional products can play within their current lifestyles. Most modern promotional products are designed to be useful, practical and enjoyable—their shelf life is far more extensive than meets the eye. For example, the “flimsy totes” we receive at conferences have become more and more useful with the adoption of plastic bag bans that are rolling out in states across the U.S. Many consumers have made them an essential part of their everyday lives. Our industry has also connected to consumers’ tech-savvy side by integrating technologies such as AR and Near Field Communication, which will only continue to advance in the future.

We also want to address one of the reporter’s main points: the environmental footprint of promotional products. As the leading voice for the promotional products industry, PPAI is committed to making a positive impact on the global environmental crisis. We have identified environmental responsibility as a core pillar, with mandatory product responsibility education and the ongoing development and sharing of best practices with our members and industry partners so they can recognize and address the impacts of their operations and supply chain on the environment. This is not restricted to emissions reduction or lowering the impact of manufacturing, but also encompasses a larger set of affirmative protocols that promote human rights, and worker health and safety. With the right resources and tools, promotional products organizations have been adopting policies to offer more environmentally-conscious assurances for their customers and employees. From green and compostable products to sustainable textiles, the promotional products industry has taken a proactive stance (including a “green” pavilion at our annual exposition) in bringing to market products that make the consumers’ experience more enjoyable and better for the environment.

As we always say, promotional products are truly the only advertising medium that reaches all five senses, plus a sixth—the sense of ownership for consumers. We do not want to deprive the majority of consumers (83 percent) who enjoy and are inspired to take action upon receiving a promotional product. Rather, we want to grow and evolve along with them so both brands and their audiences can continue to see this as a positive advertising medium in all aspects of their lives.

PPAI Presents ‘THIS IS MARKETING’ With Seth Godin At Advertising Week

Advertising Week New York

Oct. 1-4 | AMC Loews Lincoln Square

I am pleased to announce that PPAI is once again joining together with author, entrepreneur and marketer, Seth Godin to host a master class seminar at Advertising Week in New York.

In the master class interaction, Godin will open attendees’ eyes to how the industry has profoundly changed as brands now have the opportunity to market with people, rather than at them. An exploration into a variety of topics, the seminar will cover subjects from the building blocks of effective marketing to creating work that matters for people who care. Following Godin’s detailed discussion, I will join the author for a deeper dive into the shifting environment of the marketing industry.

I hope you are able to join me for this master class and Q&A with Seth about his new book, This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See.

Reserve complimentary tickets here. Tickets are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

PPAI is proud to celebrate the launch of Godin’s new book and is excited to present the author’s newest insights that will continue to motivate and inspire the industry.

WHEN: Tuesday, October 2 at 10:30 AM EDT; Not going to be in New York? View the live stream here.

WHERE: AMC Loews Lincoln Square, Realtor.com Stage, 1998 Broadway, New York

There’s more.

  • This Is Marketing by author Seth GodinThe first 100 attendees at the session will receive a copy of Godin’s new work, “This Is Marketing”, scheduled for release in November.
  • In addition, PPAI is presenting all attendees with a one-of-a-kind Castelli journal and Riteline pen featuring a bound galley previewing the first chapter.
  • A book signing with Godin will immediately follow the seminar.
  • SPECIAL OFFER FOR PPAI MEMBERS: ‎AttendAdvertising Week, October 1-4 | PPAI Members receive a 20% discount on a ‎Delegate or Super Delegate pass using Promo Code ‎PPAI20OFF.‎

Advertising Week is a long-standing partner in PPAI’s mission to reach buyers in an influential and highly targeted way.  This week-long gathering of the advertising industry’s best and brightest brand marketers, creative visionaries and media leaders and influencers is an ideal setting for us to initiate thoughtful conversations, inform meaningful decisions and inspire consideration and buying of promotional products advertising. This is just one more positive and powerful way the Association engages in buyer outreach to drive the industry’s business forward and position it with strength now and in the future.

We are pleased to partner with Advertising Week to bring this master class experience with Seth Godin to you.

I hope to see you there,

Paul

P.S. A word from Seth