Tag Archives: productivity

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

Navigating Uncharted Waters

Update with PPAI's Paul Bellantone

A Message from PPAI Pres. & CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE

First and foremost, I hope you, your families and your coworkers are healthy and doing as well as possible under these uncertain and trying conditions. Like all of you, the team and I at PPAI continue to monitor the situation, adjust, adapt and continue to hope and pray for improvement. Now, as always, my promise to you is that PPAI will not lose its focus – you and your business. The promotional products community has weathered many challenges in the past and we always come out stronger because we stand and work together. Our primary goals over the next days and weeks are twofold. First, to make sure we can continue, along with our service partners, to provide essential services to members and the industry. 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 this crisis ends.

Video Update

As the news about COVID-19 continues to pour in, I understand many of you are seeking some sense of normalcy in a situation that is far from normal. With all of this in mind, I want to remind you of some resources that are available to you, as well as update you on a few things:

  • Coronavirus Information Page – This page is continuously updated and includes helpful links to the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, industry news as it relates to the virus, the latest updates on PPAI events, and a recently added section for regional event updates. https://www.ppai.org/coronavirus-information/ 
  • Supplier Status Update Page – We’ve created a web page for suppliers to share status updates about their business operations. This is an informative resource to learn about new safety measures, adjusted hours, temporary closures and factory cleaning methods straight from suppliers. https://www.ppai.org/unique/coronavirus-related-supplier-updates/
  • Promo Connect – Promo Connect, PPAI’s online community, is a valuable resource to directly connect with other industry professionals. We are already seeing a spike in communication activity via this platform on a variety of topics. https://community.ppai.org/home
  • Free Online Learning – We are making all education courses (more than 300 offerings) via PPAI’s online education platform free to PPAI members. https://onlineeducation.ppai.org/
  • Working From Home – Out of an abundance of caution and under the direction of local officials, PPAI staff members are now working from home. We prepared for this likelihood in advance and as a result, you should experience no interruption in service.

Additionally, PPAI is having to make some very tough decisions regarding events:

  • Promotional Products Work Week Postponed – We will postpone this week-long event, originally scheduled for May 4-8, to coincide with Advertising Week, October 5-8, where we already invest heavily in industry advocacy activities. The industry and Association will use this as a rallying point to begin rebuilding and the early October dates can be both timely and fortuitous.
  • PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) Cancelled – Our annual visit to Washington, D.C., originally scheduled for May 6-7, in which our members represent and lobby on behalf of our great industry, has been cancelled. However, we intend to encourage all members to reach out to their members of Congress to thank them for their work on behalf of all of us and ask them to keep the needs of small businesses top-of-mind.
  • SPARK Conference Cancelled – While we recognize the importance of young professionals to the well-being and future success of our industry, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this program, originally scheduled for July 15-17. However, PPAI is considering making SPARK a one-day event in conjunction with The PPAI Expo in January 2021. We will continue to find ways to serve this vital community.
  • Other PPAI Events – Currently all other events are being evaluated. Rest assured, when the cancellation of any event is discussed, so too is the opportunity to offer programming in a virtual environment. Please know that all decisions will be made with your best interests in mind.

We have all entered uncharted waters together, and it will take cooperation, support, compassion and sound business decisions for us to get through this. Together it is possible.

As I look ahead, I want you to know we will continue to evaluate and redefine every aspect of our business, as necessary, in order to provide you with the support you need. We will work together with you to ensure that your business and your Association are around for the next 100 years.

From the entire PPAI team, we wish you the best.

Reach out if you need an ear or have an idea to share. And most importantly, keep washing those hands.

Be well,

Paul

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

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

Paul

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

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

PPAI Top Place to Work - Outside Magazine 2019wide

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

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

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

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

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

###