Last week, the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC) held its 2013 National Convention in Toronto, Ontario. The convention brought together promotional products professionals from across North America for a week of networking, education and tradeshow opportunities. The three-day trade show featured 229 exhibitors in 511 booths, 538 distributor companies with 1,940 delegates and 1,578 clients.
Looking back at the week’s event, Ed Ahad, PPPC’s president and CEO, says, “PPPC’s 2013 annual convention was a remarkable event from the opening day right through to our very successful ‘Client Day’ on the third day of the tradeshow. The opening night Networking Party engaged our members to get up on stage and ‘rap’ a few lines with a promotional products theme. It was truly inspirational to see our members deliver creative lyrics and confidently rap songs with very little time for preparation. Even after the show was over members were still talking about that evening.”
The PPPC National Convention was also an opportunity to affirm and build on PPAI’s relationship with the Canadian association’s leadership and constituency. PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, attended the event alongside Bob McLean, PPAI’s executive vice president; Rachel Robichaud, director of professional development; and Carol Gauger, director of member engagement and regional relations.
“We have a strong and growing relationship with PPPC,” says Bellantone, “both through our joint participation in IFPPA [International Federation of Promotional Products Associations] and decades-long strategic cooperation on a number of industry initiatives. We share members, marketplace, language, borders and more, and that’s led to a number of opportunities for us to work together for the good of our respective organizations and the larger promotional products community. Attending this year’s National Convention allowed us to see to PPAI’s members and business partners in Canada, and to participate in and support PPPC’s own initiatives.”
The PPPC National Convention offered professional development opportunities throughout the week, covering a range of subjects important to industry practitioners and earning attendees credits toward their MAS or CAS certifications. Alongside the education program at the National Convention, PPPC hosted The Art of Sales conference focusing on innovation in sales. The one-day event brought together six sales experts from diverse disciplines to look at best practices, trends and real-world lessons for today’s sales and marketing issues.
The PPPC launched its new industry awareness campaign at the National Convention. It sought to identify promotional products as “The Real Social Media.” Ahad says, “The tag line ‘The Power of Promotional Products’ will increase awareness of promotional products as the most creative and cost effective form of branding. We intend to advocate for our industry through this campaign and qualify PPPC members as recognized professional consultants for our industry to the corporate marketplace.”
The National Convention was also the site of the PPPC’s Image Awards ceremony and dinner. More than 850 attendees came to celebrate and recognize their peers. The awards are presented each year to supplier and distributor members, recognizing their accomplishments in a number of different categories. A complete list of award winners can be found here, while members also voted to recognize select companies with “Of The Year” awards, available here. The PPPC also honored two longtime members, Mark Freed of Genumark and Merrick Falkenstein of ESP, with Humanitarian Awards and inducted long time member Brian Shippam of Shippam & Associates into the PPPC Hall of fame.
On the final day of the 2013 PPPC National Convention, distributors were welcomed to bring their invited guests, end buyers of promotional products, to the show. PPPC sees the buyer component as an opportunity for the industry to make a strong, positive impression on distributors’ clients.