Tag Archives: giveaways

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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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 Work! Week To Kick Off In The Pencil City

Promotional Products Work! Week, May 14-18, 2018

I am happy to share some exciting news about Promotional Products Work! Week. PPAI and Promotional Products Association Of The Mid-South, will kick off Promotional Products Work! Week on Friday, May 11, 2018 in Shelbyville, Tennessee, the town also known as “The Pencil City.”

Founded by PPAI, Promotional Products Work! Week will be celebrated by thousands of promotional products businesses around the country with special community programs, a national day of service, legislative outreach and customer appreciation and recognition events.

Shelbyville Tennessee City Seal

Shelbyville, Tennessee, also known as The Pencil City.

PPAI is honored to join with PPAMS to kick off the sixth annual Promotional Products Work! Week in The Pencil City. We applaud Shelbyville’s rich history and salute all the promotional products pioneers and companies in cities all over America.

This will be the official kickoff for our industry’s national awareness event, which will be held May 14-18. The kickoff event is organized by the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) and the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce. Local, state and national leaders will gather in Shelbyville for a factory tour, luncheon and official ribbon cutting to kick off Promotional Products Work! Week.

Musgrave pencil

For almost a century, Shelbyville was the hub of wood-cased pencil manufacturing in the United States.

For almost a century, Shelbyville was the hub of wood-cased pencil manufacturing in the United States. In 1991, the World’s Longest Pencil was produced in Shelbyville. Although only one pencil manufacturer remains, the city of 21,000 people is still home to familiar names in writing instruments: Goldstar, Musgrave, Sanford and Shelbyville Pencil.

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, proving that they deliver the highest rate of reach, recall and return on investment in the advertising industry.

The $23.3 billion promotional products industry, with its more than 40,500 businesses—96 percent of which are small businesses—and more than 500,000 professionals, will work to create awareness for the value promotional products deliver to advertisers and marketers, as well as the positive impact promotional products businesses have on the U.S. economy, job creation and community enrichment.

Many of you already have the whole week planned out, but if you haven’t yet started, it’s not too late!

Celebrate The Power Of Promo

Download the PPW! Week with a POP! guides and toolkits today.

Redefining The Industry | #GetInTouch – Industry Branding Campaign

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

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

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

Collaborating for Success

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PPAI’s #GetInTouch campaign launches during Advertising Week 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Paul

Participate. Elevate. Celebrate.

PPW!Work_Logo2016

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

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

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

Initiate. Inform. Influence.

  • Download the PPW! Week guides and toolkits.

    PPWW Persona Quad Ad Set

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

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

Add the #PPWWeek twibbon!

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

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

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

Paul

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

Industry Transformation & A Time To Pivot

As an advocate and evangelist for our industry, I’ve spent the better part of my career traveling the US (and the world) to tell anyone who would listen that the promotional products business is about so much more than selling products at the lowest price.

This year at The PPAI Expo it was more evident than ever that the overwhelming influence of technology and access is making industry stakeholders reconsider and reposition how they go to market now and in the future.

With this, it is my pleasure to feature a guest blog I stumbled upon from Boundless Marketing Manager, Stephanie Freyer, who along with her team is responsible for delivering ‘Brand Love’ moments—everyday. Steph’s observations are on the mark and sum up, quite well, what so many in the industry are experiencing today.

Enjoy the read.

Paul


2016’s Guiding Trend in Promotional Products

Has Nothing to do With Products

Coming to you live from Las Vegas at the Promotional Products International Association’s (PPAI’s) largest event of the year and the biggest trade show in our industry, I’m excited to reveal some of the insightful marketing trends we’ve seen at this year’s Expo. In case you aren’t familiar with Expo, PPAI hosts over 1,300 exhibiting suppliers and 11,000 distributors from across the globe – all clamoring into the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the heels of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to find out what the hottest new products for 2016 will be.

After closing out day two of the Expo, I sat in my hotel room trying to digest everything I had been absorbing over the past couple of days. I could have easily started writing about the cool life-hack products that are perfect for, say, people who are taking photos all day (like me), or just want their phone readily available to make sure they can check email without digging through their bag (see below for “slingback” and “pop socket” to name a few). But while these little life hacks are cool, catchy, and buzz-worthy, they aren’t the real takeaway of the event.

PopSocketSlingback2

Products for Mobile: Pop Socket & Slingback

Even more impressive than capitalizing on the mobile trend is how deeply our suppliers are invested in their products. From specialized trend research teams, to full-fledged development departments, to entire facilities dedicated to quality assurance, our suppliers are investing in resources that will ensure their products are not only on-trend and meeting consumer needs, but also following compliance laws and making sure they are safe, and risk-free for our clients and end users.

I initially predicted that come time to write this blog post, I’d be sitting here compiling the brand-new items hitting the market. In a recent Facebook post, I remarked on being curious about which trends from last week’s CES show would carry over to PPAI—I joked about seeing branded holograms and mused about new wearables. And while I did see plenty of wearables (and even virtual-reality products…and drones!) what I found is that most of the products at PPAI are not, in actuality, “new.” At first, I was surprised to see that most of what I looked at was the same as last year, with a slight enhancement—a 2.0 version. But this is, in fact, the crux of one of 2016’s guiding trends.

BoundlessFacebook

LogoIncludedApp

Source: @LogoIncluded Twitter Account

On Wednesday, I spoke with a supplier partner of ours about their fitness tracker device, and in discussing a proprietary app they built for it, he actually said the words “to us, the app was the most important part.” Hold the phone. That is quite a strong (and telling) statement. We are in a PRODUCTS industry, people! Promotional products. But as it turns out, the most important thing about promotional advertising moving forward won’t be the product alone, and this show wasn’t about the next groundbreaking item on the market that no one had ever seen before. It was about driving the next level of engagement…it was about the enhancements that can be made to products to make them even more useful, even more necessary, even more relevant to a consumer.

The seeds of this trend were planted in my head at the first session I attended on Tuesday morning with marketing guru and renowned author Seth Godin. Godin speaks in an almost lyrical way—gliding through pretty words and impactful phrases. He is ever-inspiring, and seemingly easy-to-follow—yet he spends most of his time illustrating abstract concepts that are eventually boiled down into a simple idea. His style, his writing, and his whole point is to get marketers to think differently. As Godin said, “one of the biggest marketing challenges is that most of the people you are trying to sell to don’t think they have a problem that only you can solve.” In essence, brands are challenged to put products into the world that play a critical role in consumers’ lives—and do it better than the next guy.

Seth Godin Session

Seth Godin’s Opening Keynote at The PPAI Expo

In case you haven’t been following Boundless on Twitter, we’ve been tweeting out soundbites heard throughout the Expo from our top suppliers. Reading them back to myself gave me the opportunity to clearly identify the theme that had already been manifesting in my mind.

TweetsPPAI

Tweets from PPAI 2016

All the suppliers I spoke with told a similar story in a different way: the product is only a part of the equation. The critical ingredient is finding a way to create a marketing tool (a promotional product) that builds a relationship. How do we enhance a product so that it actually becomes a necessity, or occupies a permanent spot on your desk or in your bag? Something you couldn’t imagine living without?

We need to pay attention to how people interact with products. In what situations and contexts do people have challenges that need to be solved? How can a product be enhanced to meet those needs?

For some suppliers like the one mentioned above, that means building a client-branded app that not only connects to a fitness tracker like a FitBit, but lets users interact with each other—from engaging in fitness competitions to arranging meetups. For others, it means designing a special pocket in a bag that addresses a unique need for a certain demographic or interest group. And yet for others, it means leveraging a digital rewards code to connect on the platform we use most: the internet. Some suppliers embrace the age of digital connectivity by creating products that continue to make it easier for us to stay connected with one another—from chargers, to tablet stands, to storage devices—they’ve developed a product that once you have, you cannot live without. Or at least, you think you can’t. Addressing a unique need, driving people to a connected platform, serving up a branded web experience—all of these methods produce a more engaging interaction with a consumer.

All this to say: the pen, the water bottle, and the grocery tote aren’t going anywhere. Value can be found in any product that is suited for the audience and is “sticky” because of utility or novelty. But the future of our industry lies in the type of functionality that goes deeper than the bag that sits in your trunk. It taps into our basic human need to connect. It gives us avenues to build relationships over an extended period of time, and it makes us feel like we can trust in brands. From what I can tell, 2016 is going to be a great year for promotional marketing.

StephBio

Have you met The Party Animal?

‘Product Persona’ co-op advertising campaign gives voice and personality to promotional products and is designed to inspire and engage buyers.

‘Product Persona’ co-op advertising campaign gives voice and personality to promotional products and is designed to inspire and engage buyers.

Have you met The Party Animal? He and his friends are ready to celebrate with you during Promotional Products Work! Week, May 18-22.

Download him and his friends today, and Party On!

The #PPWWeek campaign creates opportunities for the promotional products industry to open doors, build relationships, serve communities, advocate for the industry, speak up in the halls of government, show customer appreciation, and generates millions of impressions through outreach and earned media exposure—and now advertising.

The new ‘Product Persona’ co-op advertising campaign gives voice and personality to promotional products and is designed to inspire and engage buyers while forging connections with promotional products consultants. The campaign’s ads star popular promotional products and will increase awareness, educate buyers and drive business.

Promotional Products Work! Week - May 18-22, 2015Launched by PPAI in 2013, #PPWWeek is an international week-long event aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of promotional products advertising and marketing. This year the theme is Focus On The Buyer—advertisers, marketers and media buyers.

Product Persona campaign’s ads star popular promotional products and will increase awareness, educate buyers.

Product Persona campaign’s ads star popular promotional products and will increase awareness, educate buyers.

Click to download the tips, tools and co-op ad package:

For more information or questions email PPW@ppai.org

We’ve made it easier than ever.

Join us for the celebration.

Paul

SHRM Show Amusements

Guest post by Kathy Goodin-Mitchell, SPHR, PPAI Director, Human Resources

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) hosted more than 13,000 human resources professionals during its annual conference in Orlando, Florida last month. This year’s hot topics included human resources strategy and leadership, healthcare reform, workplace flexibility, national and California-specific employment regulation, social media recruiting; and much more.

HR professionals are one of the top users of promotional products within today’s business enterprise. A variety of promotional products are used as engagement tools for employee relations, training and education, wellness, motivation and incentives programs. And at this year’s SHRM Conference, promotional products were featured front and center—before, during and after the event. Here are a few of the stand out observations from this year’s SHRM event.

SHRM Best Of

The best use of promotional products was by CareerBuilder®, the largest online job site in the U.S. and a global leader in human capital solutions, which employed an integrated approach using experiential, direct marketing, digital, social, multimedia and promotional products to create the ultimate tradeshow environment, CareerBuilder World: Where recruiting dreams come true.

The CareerBuilder exhibit brought a magical amusement park experience to the thousands of SHRM attendees and featured everything you love about amusement parks – a claw game, a water gun game, a roller coaster photo op, a souvenir (promotional products) shop, traditional amusement park food and more to get visitors attention and keep it.

The engagement experience began before attendees arrived in the form of a paper lollipop mailed to homes, teasing a chance to win a pair of orange Chuck Taylor Converse when the prize code was scanned at the CareerBuilder booth. Regretfully, this attendee didn’t win!

It’s ok, though—the paper lollipops were quickly exchanged for the real thing, which had another promotional message. The booth was set up like an amusement park—we were a captive audience and many of us went back again and again.

Honorable Mentions

  • The must-have conference product was the brightly colored and well designed 4imprint® tote bag, a big winner with the female attendees, who made up 75 percent of the conference attendees.
  • The best use of a branded premium product was by the relocation firm who gave out GUND® plush toys.
  • There were lots of imprinted pens, bags, books, lens cleaners, mints, markers, first-aid kits, tech tools and munchies. Many were customized to highlight company brands, like the Papa John’s Pizza sticky notes.
  • VitalSmarts® had a great idea to distribute its New York Times bestselling books.
  • RecruitMilitary® distributed useful jump drives in the shape of a key, but missed an opportunity to share more information by leaving the drive blank.
  • Many mailed collateral to attendees’ homes prior to the event, but those that did not include a prize or gift incentive did not perform as well.

The parting themes for SHRM 2014…get engaged and be engaging!

Demand For #SXSW Promotional Products Captures Event Headlines; Positive Proof Promotional Products Work!

South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences and Festivals offer a variety of events for anyone interested in music, film and interactive technologies. Year after year, this huge trendsetting event serves as a launching pad for new creative content. New media presentations, music showcases and film screenings providing buzz-generating exposure for creators and compelling entertainment for audiences. Conference panel discussions present a forum for learning; business activity thrives at the trade shows and global networking opportunities abound.

Austin’s relaxed atmosphere serves as the perfect backdrop for SXSW. Intellectual and creative intermingling among industry leaders sparks new ideas and carves the path for the future of each ever-evolving field, long after the events’ conclusion.

So, you can see why promotional products are the perfect marketing tool for SXSW creators and marketers to share strategically crafted branded products with this highly sought-after target audience.

I wanted take this opportunity to share with you our thoughts on the news and goings on at Austin’s SXSW event this week.

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Promotional Products Association International has issued a statement from President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, regarding screened luggage at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport during SXSW and his rebuttal of the claim by a Palo Alto tech firm that “most of the (SXSW) freebies end up in the attic, if not the trash.

“It turns out the news reports of delays at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport were due to the fact that SXSW event goers were actually taking their promotional products home and not trashing them.

The TSA has since issued this travel tip recommending that airline passengers leaving SXSW with lots of freebies should take them in their carry-on luggage so they can get through security faster.

Regarding the Palo Alto tech firm’s claim that ‘most of the SXSW freebies end up in the attic or trash,’ Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) and the promotional products industry wholly support the donation of unused promotional products to help those in need, and are glad the Austin-based Foundation for the Homeless is the beneficiary of the generosity and compassion of South by Southwest (#SXSW) attendees and its marketers.

Working with promotional products professionals, savvy marketers design and produce strategically branded promotional campaigns to reach and appeal to a highly targeted audience in a tangible, long-lasting and memorable manner. Promotional products are used to educate, support worthy causes, recognize and reward employee achievements, support legislation and inspire action. In cases where promotional products are not needed, consumers report a pass-along rate of 36 percent—a lucrative benefit for marketers.

Promotional Products Fact Sheet

Promotional Products Fact Sheet

PPAI’s more than 40 years of industry research supports the fact that promotional products are one of, if not the most valued of all advertising media. In fact, eight in 10 consumers own promotional products, keeping them for more than a year in their kitchen (91%), workspace (74%), bedroom (55%) and in pockets or purses (24%) because they are useful. For marketers, the efficacy of promotional products provides the best ROI in the business, delivering an 88-percent brand recall and driving 85 percent of recipients to do business with the brand after receiving a branded product.

Whether through research or anecdotal evidence, it is clear promotional products have value to everyone, otherwise, they would not be distributed to both their intended audiences and to unintended, but equally valued, audiences—audiences who will find their original purpose to be just as useful and for which they are equally appreciative.

This appreciation of the function, form and fit of promotional products is why we, as an industry, strive to ensure unused products make their way into the hands of those who can use them most—teacher resource centers, animal shelters, community outreach organizations and, yes, homeless shelters.

The promotional products industry donates, contributes and volunteers in support of the communities it serves every day with literally thousands of products, millions of dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours supporting worthy causes, schools and organizations, such as the Kids In Need Foundation, Merced Rescue Mission, Community Health Charities Minnesota, Richmond State School for Success and many more.”

Spread the word, promotional products work!

Paul

The Tchotchke Is Alive And Well…And Thriving — Point/Counterpoint

Whether an appeal to a federal agency or a lighthearted blog banter, the facts are on our side and we have an obligation to present them.
 
Recently I had the opportunity to respond to a lighthearted blog post by Todd Wilms, SAP’s Head of Social Business Strategy, on The Sad Death of the Beloved Tchotchke. Although humorous in nature, I take this type of commentary seriously. On behalf of our “beloved tchotchke,” this was my rebuttal as published in today’s Forbes.com SAPVoice blog post.
 
I would like to thank Todd Wilms and SAP for the opportunity to share our voice.
 
 

Please allow me to present a somewhat different view of promotional products—perhaps one never considered—in support of the ‘beloved tchotchke,’ a.k.a. promotional product.

An imprinted t-shirt raises more than $7,000 for a teenager battling the cancer and unites a community around hope. On a winter day in New York, imprinted blankets distributed to the homeless transform into a message of hope, caring and community. A key chain with a whistle handed out to students at a self-defense class becomes an empowering tool. A t-shirt given to children at a summer outdoor program is a memorable, functional keepsake. When the shirt is decorated with the phone number to call if the child is lost, the imprinted shirt becomes a prudent safety precaution.

An imprinted t-shirt, blanket, a functional key chain—they help save lives. They create community. They stir hope and purpose. They have an undeniable, beneficial impact on our world.

The items you perceive as obsolete are anything but. The truth is this form of advertising is stronger than ever. In fact, some of the salient points raised in your post are exactly why promotional products are one of the most effective, cost-efficient and longest-lasting media used by advertisers, marketers, social media aficionados and SAP. Compared to other media, promotional products are the sixth fastest-growing advertising medium, ranking eighth among traditional and digital media in annual expenditures at $18.5 billion.

To savvy advertisers and marketers, promotional products are the secret weapon in the marketing arsenal because they are the only tangible advertising medium with the ability to deliver a touchable, tasteable, seeable, hearable and smell-able sensory engagement—the total brand experience. More importantly, promotional products are the only advertising for which consumers say, “Thank you!”

The message is pretty clear, when used as part of an integrated advertising strategy or as a standalone medium, promotional products deliver some pretty impressive results.

We couldn't agree more with the message on the SAP merchandise site, "All products function, design or benefit are linked to how we want to be perceived as a company. This shop provides products that convey the strength of the SAP brand, that will inspire and enhance a true sense of belonging. Enjoy!"

Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI President & CEO
“We couldn’t agree more with the message on the SAP merchandise site, ‘All products function, design or benefit are linked to how we want to be perceived as a company. This shop provides products that convey the strength of the SAP brand, that will inspire and enhance a true sense of belonging. Enjoy!'”

When professionally designed and produced, and used as part of strategic plan, promotional products generate interest, action, sales, referrals and loyalty—in short results. These results distinguish them as one of the most effective and arguably the longest-lasting and best-loved advertising media in the world.

Read today’s Forbes post here.

Read the original piece on Forbes here.