Category Archives: Promotional Products Industry

“The PPAI Expo—the glue that holds the industry together.”

Special message from Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI President and CEO and Mary Jo Tomasini, MAS, PPAI Chair of the Board

‘The PPAI Expo—the glue that holds the industry together.’ That description, given by a PPAI member in 2016, was remembered after the tragic event in Las Vegas on October 1. The message we share now is the result of our reflection on The PPAI Expo and PPAI’s long-standing commitment to safety.

In response to the recent events in Las Vegas, we are speaking out today because we think it is important for you to know that Promotional Products Association International takes your safety seriously.

Since 1903, PPAI has focused on creating and maintaining a safe and secure meetings and events environment for our attendees, staff and exhibitors. At The PPAI Expo, and all of PPAI’s meetings and events, the safety of attendees and guests is and always will be of utmost importance. Our staff is thoroughly trained and prepared for each event. Strategic planning with each venue begins far in advance to develop and maintain safety protocols that allow high-quality and confident business opportunities in a safe and inviting environment.

All of this begins with a proactive and forward-thinking PPAI team.

In May, the PPAI Board of Directors, steered by industry leaders, resolved to reaffirm PPAI’s long-standing commitment to safety at live events. This resolution directs PPAI to continue to institute and execute policies and procedures designed to mitigate known or reasonably foreseeable risks to the health and safety of those who participate in PPAI live events, including through the continued employment and assignment of competent PPAI staff, the hiring of appropriate security personnel, and the execution of reasonable registration and admission processes.

As a member of the Exhibition and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative’s (EMSSI) Industry Security Council, we frequently collaborate with a large group of stakeholders who represent all aspects of the exhibition and convention center industry. Through this involvement, our team provides and receives important developments and ideas for an array of best practice safety guidelines and opportunities.

Our commitment to safety remains a priority. No individual, corporation, organization or government can anticipate or prevent every situation or scenario. However, PPAI remains committed to prepare and implement safety protocols designed to protect those who attend, exhibit, work, visit or participate in any PPAI live event.

PPAI has a strategic goal of transforming The PPAI Expo from great to extraordinary, and our commitment to safety is but one ever-present foundation that will advance that objective. We know how much you value this industry and The PPAI Expo, and we thank you in advance for your investment in both.

We value the trust you place in us when you attend our events. We look forward to seeing you in January at The PPAI Expo.

 

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

Promotional Products Targeted By Proposed Oklahoma Tax Plan

Take Action To Protect The
Promotional Products Industry

OklahomaPromotional products are under fire in Oklahoma. To solve a budget crisis, a group of Oklahoma state representatives are proposing a host of spending cuts and unfortunately spending on promotional products is a target.

Make no mistake, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) is in favor of balanced budgets and the responsible use of tax payer dollars, but it would be a shame for Oklahoma to pass a bill that would eliminate any opportunity for the state to use promotional products in a powerful and effective manner.

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.

Promotional products are the most cost-effective method to communicate critical messages. On an annual basis, promotional products contribute more than $175 million to the Oklahoma economy, with 416 companies and providing more than 2500 jobs.

Promotional products provide tangible value for their cost and an efficient means of conveying a message and producing desired behavior than traditional advertising methods.

Please reach out to your state representative and tell them that you support responsible spending and the effective use of promotional products to promote essential government programs and urge them to do the same.

Below you will find the letter sent to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, the Oklahoma state legislators and the media by PPAI on behalf of the promotional products industry.

Dear Governor Fallin:

The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) is in favor of balanced budgets and the responsible use of tax payer dollars, however, despite budget constraints, the Oklahoma legislature and its agencies must still inform and educate the public by marketing its vital services and programs. We maintain that when an organization needs to cut marketing dollars, the decision should be based on the effectiveness of the marketing media in consideration.

The proposed moratorium on promotional products advertising 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 and fire and police protection to the citizens of Oklahoma by eliminating the most useful and tangible form of communication—promotional products.

In short, promotional products advertising is preferred by consumers while other forms of media are avoided or blocked. In fact, promotional products are kept in places and spaces no other advertising medium can touch and provide greater recall, referral and response rates than other forms of advertising.

For government agencies to be effective, they must first keep the lines of communications open by staying in touch with the citizens they serve. One of the most important things to remember in the success of any government service program is what the benefits are and how to gain access them. Promotional products are an integral part of this process and ensure the state of Oklahoma is in touch with its citizens and that essential information is always close at hand.

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 four years, and 87 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. On an annual basis, promotional products contribute more than $175 million to the Oklahoma economy, with 416 companies and providing more than 2500 jobs.

Sincerely,
Paul Bellantone, CAE
President and CEO
Promotional Products Association International

Take action today to support the promotional products industry in the great state of Oklahoma.

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.

Are you In Touch?

git-graphics-lockup

DOWNLOAD | Get In Touch! Toolkit

We are nearly three months into the launch of Get In Touch!, the first-of-its-kind industry branding campaign, and I am pleased with the positive response from so many industry professionals supporting the initiative and equally appreciative of the worthwhile feedback and suggestions from those who would manage the program differently.

To grow your business and raise awareness download the Get In Touch! toolkit today. The toolkit includes collateral and materials to which you can add your logo and website such as digital ads, social media graphics, infographics, print ads, research videos and more. For questions or assistance with Get In Touch! campaign contact Kim R. Todora at KimT@ppai.org.

This multimillion-dollar long-term strategy extends over the next five years, and I look forward to updating you on the campaign’s progress and highlights. In the meantime, I welcome your thoughts and ideas along the way.

That said, I thought it worthwhile to share a very thoughtful blog post written by Robert Fiveash, PromoKitchen Chef and current board president.

Enjoy!

Paul

~~~~~~~~

Should you get on board with PPAI’s Get In Touch! Campaign?

Originally published September 19, 2016 via PromoKitchen

You’re a physician. You went to med school. You are trained well to take care of your patients and sworn to uphold the ethical standards of the Hippocratic Oath. Your compensation is determined by your production, peer reviews, and patient feedback. Despite your busy schedule, you’ve found the time to teach and perform research at the local university. Years ago, you and some of the brightest young minds in medicine developed a novel new treatment for childhood asthma. It’s as effective as any prescription treatment on the market, doesn’t use steroids, and costs about half as much as the market leader for an annual regimen.

But the competing products and procedures are entrenched – their powerful lobbying efforts have kept your product, SWaG (Stop Wheezing and Gasping), off the shelves and out of the hands of other physicians. SWaG isn’t even listed as an approved treatment available to physicians, depriving millions of children of an effective, low-cost treatment for asthma.

The analogy to our industry might be a stretch, but when Marketing Managers report ad spend, promotional advertising is not listed as a separate medium, alongside its entrenched brethren: TV, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, and a handful of others. We’re a $20.8 billion ad segment, and “cinema” gets the nod ahead of our medium.

Cinema!

How do we get included in the marketing mix, so that we’re invited to the crucial budget meetings and strategy sessions, just like our more entrenched brethren?

Since PPAI hired the Saxum nearly a year ago to help promote the industry to a wide range of advertisers (corporate departments, HR departments, ad agencies, etc.), those of us waiting to see how the effort would play out now have a few answers. In conjunction with Advertising Week New York, the industry branding initiative will officially launch September 26th.

The primary messaging for the Get In Touch! Campaign speaks to the power and value of promotional products. Exposure in national publications such as AdAge will attempt to show advertising buyers the ROI of promotional products vis-à-vis the other media competing for those dollars, such as TV, digital, radio, etc., and gain a larger share of advertising spend. Importantly, the elements of this campaign will be available to distributors to support the campaign in their local markets.

A secondary message, important but not to be overstated, is promoting and encouraging the use of promotional product consultants.

So, how does the PromoKitchen community, and beyond, Get In Touch?

  1. Engage with the information PPAI is sharing to help us (individually and collectively) promote the industry.
  2. Emphasize to clients and prospects that promotional products are a high-ROI medium.
  3. Embrace the critical role we (you!) play in helping make the initiative a success.
  4. Envision the new you: the promotional consultant capable of making any campaign come alive.

Nuts and Bolts

  • 16-week roll-out designed to create momentum and continue the conversation
  • Every other week (or so) new branding elements will be presented to PPAI members
  • Members will receive digital “toolkits” with Power Tips that describe how to use and when to use the elements of the campaign
  • The toolkits will include print (“click to act”) and social (“click to act”) graphics – professional, high-quality artwork, advertisements, icons, and (eventually) multi-media video that can be used for individual campaigns to a distributor’s clients and prospects
  • Social elements (including graphical statistics and talking points) will be pre-sized for Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram

Several evergreen webinars will be available to train those interested in the campaign on how best to utilize the tools

This five-year, fully-funded (a huge difference from past awareness campaigns), multi-million dollar initiative is an unprecedented investment in the industry’s future.

Thank you, PPAI, for recognizing the need to promote the industry’s ROI as an advertising medium, and our collective ability to touch the end-user recipient in a way that’s clearly different. Promotional products are a slam dunk (when well-executed), as other media simply do not have the staying power and ability to create an emotional connection through physical touch. It truly is “Advertising that lives on”. Consumers are bombarded literally every few seconds with ephemeral media messages and digital distractions, and there has never been a better time to espouse the benefits of promotional products. Seize your opportunity now!

Read Robert’s full article here.

#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.