Tag Archives: Promotional Products Distributor

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

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.

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

#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.

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

ppai-techie-1200w

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

Guest Post | Thoughts on PPAI L.E.A.D. in Washington, D.C.

If Coke and Pepsi can set aside their battle of the brands for a worthwhile cause, so too can the promotional products industry. During PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) event held in May, industry representatives from around the country united to encourage our nation’s legislators to consider critical issues important to the entire industry.

Today I am pleased to present a guest post, “Thoughts on PPAI L.E.A.D. in Washington, D.C.”  by Kyle A. Richardson, editorial director of Promo Marketing magazine. This PM blog originally appeared in the June 27, 2016 issue of Promo Marketing.

Thank you, Kyle, for joining us for the PPAI L.E.A.D. We are grateful for your participation and retrospective on the critical importance of our industry’s unified voice in D.C.

~~~~

Last month I had the privilege of joining a select group of promotional products professionals in Washington, D.C., for Promotional Product Association International’s (PPAI) Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.). Influential industry members from across the country volunteered their time to head to our nation’s capitol, to raise awareness about our industry and the legislation that impacts suppliers and distributors.

We’ve reported on many of these business topics—independent contractor requirements, the Affordable Care Act, Toxic Substances Control Act reform—but it is another thing entirely to go to D.C. and speak to senators and representatives about our industry, our concerns and our needs. When you see a small section of our community—just 80 volunteers in all—organize more than 300 meetings over two days, you start to appreciate the significance of what PPAI has put together.

It isn’t just the numbers, either: Who was in attendance is just as important. Supplier CEOs, distributor franchisees, multi-line representatives and more all stood united in D.C. We were organized by state, with many groups consisting of companies in direct competition with one another. Along with some suppliers and distributors, I was on the Pennsylvania team representing Promo Marketing next to ASI’s own senior vice president and senior counselor, Chuck Machion. No one was concerned about business rivalries. We were all there to do the same job.

PPAI_LEAD - PM 6-27-16

Left to Right: Kyle A. Richardson; Bruce Korn, CAS, president of Zakback Inc.; U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA); Larry Whitney, director of global compliance for Polyconcept North America.

What most stood out, however, was seeing that what we’re doing works. In several meetings, staffers greeted members of our team by name, recalling them from last year’s event. In other meetings, representatives mentioned receiving emails from suppliers and distributors as part of Promotional Products Work! Week. One staff member we met with took notes on the PPAI L.E.A.D. notebook he received in 2015. If you think events like this don’t have an impact, you’d be surprised.

You also may be surprised to learn that every D.C. staffer looks like they’re 17. Don’t let “House of Cards” fool you: Everyone in the Capitol is too young to drink.

I want to thank PPAI for inviting me along this year, as well as all the members of my team—Chuck, Bruce Korn of Zakpack Inc., George Jackson of George Jackson Promotions, Larry Whitney of Polyconcept North America and Norm Hullinger of alphabroder.

It’s said you should lead, follow or get out of the way. The promotional products industry has made it clear which path it will take.

~~~~

Kyle Richardson

Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.

 

IMA Summit – A Special Offer for PPAI Members

PPAI and the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) have been collaborating for years on education and events. Recently as I was talking with Sean Roark, IMA executive vice president and Summit chair, and he shared that IMA is extending a valuable offer for PPAI members who want to attend this year’s IMA Executive Summit July 18-20, at the Hyatt Regency, Houston, Texas.

PPAI members who attend the IMA Summit can take advantage of two discounts from IMA:

  • Receive 50 percent off on the “Principles of Results Based Incentive Program Design” course. The course and the exam to earn the “Incentive Professional” IP Certification are both offered at the Summit. Enter the code PPAI80 on the Summit registration form.
  • Save 50 percent on first year IMA membership dues when you join IMA at the conference.

Because PPAI members and IMA members work in related channels, the IMA Summit provides a great opportunity for promotional products professionals to better understand what’s involved in becoming a part of the incentive industry.

The Summit agenda has a robust collection of events, from world-class speakers and curriculum to fantastic entertainment and networking opportunities. Including breakout sessions, round tables and Strategic Industry Group (SIG)-focused meetings to provide both broad issue-related topics as well as SIG-specific education.

To register online and view the conference schedule visit the IMA website.

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.

Guest Post | The Best of Government Spending

Today, I am pleased to present a guest post by Counselor Editor, Andy Cohen.

This Counselor Commentary was published in response to the KHOU investigative report broadcast last week.

Thank you Andy for your staunch support of this great industry!

~~~~~~~

It’s common – and wrong – to question how government agencies spend money on promotional products. Those are smart investments, even though some don’t want to admit it.

Election season really does bring out the worst in just about everybody. Candidates, political action committees, backers, government officials, and voters even – they all end up slinging mud at some point in an election year. So, 2016 is certainly no different, and considering the tenor of the presidential campaign, it may even be the worst yet.

But one common line of criticism, which definitely ramps up during election years, is how government offices (local, state, federal) spend money on promotional products. These are used in many ways by public offices – rewards for employees, awareness campaigns, job fairs, and retention and hiring efforts. They’re all legitimate expenses because they provide value and help these government offices spread their messages and achieve their goals.

Not everybody wants to admit that. Take officials in Texas, for example. A recent report on KHOU, a CBS-affiliated television station in Houston, and online at KHOU.com revealed that the media outlet’s “investigative reporters” totaled up how much state government agencies spent on promotional products that it used as rewards for employees between September 2008 and December 2015. The grand total? A whole $8.8 million worth of what the report calls “trinkets.”

The range of promotional products that state agencies in Texas used over that seven-year time period – can I stress, SEVEN YEARS! – was rather impressive. There were items such as weather station desk accessories, water bottles, coffee mugs, travel tumblers, blankets, umbrellas, jump ropes, juggling balls, pens, notepads, and business card holders. They were also used in a variety of ways, including as performance and retention rewards, and as training tools at meetings.

“These items were purchased and utilized to reinforce training concepts,” Bryan Black, a spokesman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, told KHOU in reference to the juggling balls that the agency purchased. “Different quality control scenarios were written on the balls, and the balls were then used as a tool for the participants to answer scenario-based questions and apply the information presented during the class to reinforce learning.”

A completely reasonable purchase for a state agency to make, but KHOU decided to make this a referendum on public spending, saying that “your tax dollars” bought these items. The implication, of course? Wasteful spending. So, they found somebody who would speak out against it.

“I think it needs to be seriously looked at,” said Peggy Venable, senior policy fellow with Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit government watchdog group. “We do want government employees who are recognized for doing a good job, (but) how do we do that? I don’t think it’s with junk.”

Well, Ms. Venable, you have no idea what you’re talking about. It has been proven time and again that promotional products provide value beyond just the item that’s handed out – just check out the many ASI Ad Specialties Impressions Studies we’ve conducted at www.asicentral.com/study. They’re far from the “junk” you call them, because they actually provide a return-on-investment better than most other forms of marketing media. And, as rewards promotional products are particularly impactful because recipients actually keep and repeatedly use the items in their everyday life – reinforcing the message that the agency handing the items out wants to impart.

The media outlet in Houston and the one non-profit watchdog representative that they chose to quote are making a lazy and easy argument that tends to rear its ugly head whenever government spending becomes an issue. So, the whole state of Texas spent $8.8 million on rewards for employees and training tools over a seven-year period – less than $1.3 million per year for one of the largest states in the union. I’d argue that they didn’t actually spend enough, and could have gotten more out of what KHOU refers to as “your tax dollars at work” by doing more consistent promotional products campaigns. Maybe they should have targeted some extra education and training efforts toward local media, so they too can see and feel the impact of promotional products.