Tag Archives: Associations

Advocating For Our Industry In Good Times And Bad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul

Business NOT As Usual

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

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

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

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

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

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

PPAI UPDATES:

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

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

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

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

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

ADDITIONAL HELPFUL LINKS:

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

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

Sincerely,
Paul

With Every Challenge Comes New Opportunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Paul

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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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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

Oklahoma Governor’s Promotional Products Spending Directive

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

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


STATEMENT

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

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

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

Senator Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City, said it best:

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

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

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

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

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


CALL TO ACTION

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

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

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

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

Tipping The Scale | Guest Post by PPAI Research Coordinator, Moumita Das

Tipping The Scales | PPB June 2017

Tipping The Scale ► PPAI PPB Article, June 2017

Whether you are a supplier, distributor or somewhere in-between, there is one thing that brings us together: we all believe in the power of promotional products as an advertising medium. I joined the PPAI team during the fall of 2015 as your research coordinator and quickly became a believer as well. Why? Because we had solid research to back our beliefs.

Our 2017 Consumer Study, released earlier this year, revealed that 83 percent of consumers said they are more likely to do business with a brand after receiving a promotional product. Yet the promotional products industry represents only seven percent of the world’s advertising spend. So, are companies getting a solid return on the 93 percent of advertising dollars spent outside the promotional products industry? The short answer is…no, not really.

The results, featured in this month’s PPB article, “Tipping The Scale: How Promotional Products Compete In A New Era Of Advertising,” might surprise you. When compared with traditional and emerging forms of advertising, promotional products clearly lead the field in terms of reach, recall and reaction.

Advertising is a science and we have the numbers to back the winning formula for our industry. I encourage each of you to take a few minutes to read this article, post it your blogs, forward it to your colleagues and share it with your clients. This data will help your clients prioritize their spending and help secure your place in their budget. Read an excerpt below and #GetInTouch today.

Moumita Das

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Tipping The Scale: How Promotional Products Compete In A New Era Of Advertising

PPB Feature | PPAI Exclusive Research

Brands spend billions of dollars each year on efforts aimed at influencing consumers by following a traditional marketing model. The U.S. alone accounts for an estimated $298 billion in ad expenditures annually and was recently named the world’s largest advertising market.

Developed in 1898 by one of advertising’s founding fathers, Elias St. Elmo Lewis, the traditional marketing model narrows the consumer decision-making process into four key stages: awareness, interest, desire and action (AIDA). This model helps marketing strategies steer the consumer through each stage of the decision-making process.

Historically, advertising has been considered the most creative influencer for brands—a belief that is protected and nurtured by many of the world’s leading ad agencies. Yet the world we live in today looks much different than it did in 1898. Now consumers have access to information to form their own opinions of brands.

They are constantly connected to a free flow of information and ideas. They have become a more informed group of consumers who are learning more, engaging faster and expecting convenience and speed in every aspect of life. And marketers who were once following a linear and much more predictable progression to deliver their messages are now placed in an oversaturated, erratic maze they must learn to navigate. The shifting consumer purchasing path is shaking up the competitive dynamics in nearly all industries, including advertising.

Marketers today must adjust to the new consumer expectations or they will be left behind. The end of the linear consumer journey can be pinpointed back to 2015 when Google introduced micro-moments, which give brands exactly one minute to be where the consumer is looking to meet their need. This drastically alters the way you approach consumers, but most importantly the way you understand them. Advertising strategies were once based on a gut feeling or on the person who made the most convincing argument; today, advertisers need to adopt consumer insights. There is no argument that this new era of advertising has created a headache for buyers and sellers of advertising, and for those responsible for measuring it.

Twenty years ago, the world was a far simpler place for brand advertisers: broadcast was king and online was an emerging fad. Since the turn of the century, there has been an explosion in the availability of data. From CRM systems to big data, companies have become increasingly data driven. Mobile advertising is the fastest growing medium, although broadcast still holds the greatest market share in ad spend (Figure 1). This is largely due to mobile’s integration of data and marketing strategy. Seismic shifts in technology during the past decade have created a cookie-crumb trail following consumers as they navigate their path to purchase.

They are on tablets while watching television. They use smartphones to price compare while they shop. Crumbs are dropped at every stop. This produces a granular, nearly infinite record of what consumers see and do, which in turn enables marketers to gain access to an unprecedented level of precision—a strategy many have turned to. This streamlined approach, however, treats advertising touchpoints as if each works in isolation, causing many marketers to get lost in an unlimited flow of unfiltered data.

Mapping The Modern Consumer | PPAI 2017 Consumer Study

PPAI 2017 Consumer Study: 83% Are More Likely To Do Business With A Brand After Receiving A Promotional Product

We live in a data-rich world, but it’s not necessarily information-rich. Customer demographics and buying patterns tell us the ‘what,’ but not the ‘why.’ To get ahead, marketers must dig deeper to capture a clearer understanding of consumers, their needs and desires. Understanding consumer insights and using numbers that truly quantify impact across platforms will be irresistible to advertisers who want the full story—and might just tip the scale as we know it.

Read the 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.