Industry Organizations Turn Out To Celebrate Promotional Products Work! Week
In May, PPAI and the industry came together for Promotional Products Work! Week (PPW!W), five days dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits of promotional products in advertising and marketing. Running May 18-22, the third annual PPW!W delivered the message that promotional products work to advertisers, marketers and media buyers, and brought opportunities for the entire industry—large and small companies, regional associations, distributors and suppliers, multi-line representatives and business services providers—to work hand-in-hand to spread the news.
PPW!W focused this year on the media buyer. In support of this goal, PPAI launched the Product Persona co-op campaign. The business-to-business campaign targeted media buyers at ad agencies and executives at corporate advertisers with more than 600 promotional kits highlighting the medium’s effectiveness, and sought to raise awareness of and increase traffic to PPAI’s buyer-facing website, PromotionalProductsWork.org.
The Product Persona co-op campaign was a featured part of this year’s PPW!W, and PPAI made it easy for companies to reach out to media buyers and create local marketing tools using the Product Persona campaign toolkit, which included ideas, copy, photos and how-to information for social media, print ads and websites.
While Product Persona was part of the push toward media buyers, industry professionals and businesses put that focus into interactions and meetings with their customers and communities during PPW!W. Open houses, factory tours, community presentations and other events created opportunities to speak directly with marketing and advertising buyers and decision makers on promotional products and their effectiveness.
On their own or in collaboration with regional associations, industry companies across the country created numerous opportunities during PPW!W to build connections with advertisers and customers. Regional associations including the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals (UMAPP), the Houston Promotional Products Association (HPPA), the Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) and the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY), among others, played a significant role in helping PPW!W realize its success, bringing members and their clients together for supplier open houses, tours and other events.
PPW!W’s message also traveled to Washington, D.C. The sixth annual PPAI Legislation Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.), held concurrently on May 20-21, brought 78 industry professionals from 30 states to Capitol Hill to meet with senators, congressional representatives and legislative staff, and educate them on the industry. Back home in their respective districts, legislators and their staffs attended open houses and factory tours.
PPW!W 2015 used social media, online videos, research-driven content, direct marketing, traditional and digital advertising and events to get out the industry’s message. PPAI worked with industry sponsors and its partners to create an ongoing stream of content aimed at promotional products and advertising media buyers, but ultimately PPW!W benefited distributors and suppliers by shining a megawatt spotlight on the promotions industry. Read on for a few examples of how industry organizations got involved this year.
Supplier Advance Corporation welcomed staff members from distributor Quality Resource Group (QRG) to its Cottage Grove, Minnesota, facility for a factory tour and luncheon. Organized in collaboration with UMAPP, Rena Ashfeld, Advance Corporation national sales manager and UMAPP board president, and Devin Martin, key accounts manager, gave an all access tour through the company’s manufacturing plant. The tour included education on various materials, and in-house manufacturing and imprinting processes.
Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant
Supplier Chocolate Inn/ Taylor & Grant in Freeport, New York, collaborated with SAAGNY to bring nearly 25 distributors to its factory and give them an up-close look at its operations. Distributors saw how custom chocolates were created from start to finish, from the tempering of the chocolate to the molding, cooling, wrapping and packaging of each piece. They also got a look at the other decorating techniques employed within the factory, watched as mint tins were printed, filled and sealed, witnessed how smaller candies are individually wrapped, and learned the steps in place to ensure orders are produced in strict compliance with SQF Food Manufacturing and Handling Regulations.
Chocolate Inn’s VP of Sales Jeff DePalma, says, “It is always a pleasure to invite distributors into our factory. Not only is it an enjoyable experience but also a significantly educational one. The breadth and depth of our product line along with the creativity our category offers always creates opportunities on both sides of the table.”
HALO Branded Solutions
Distributor HALO Branded Solutions gathered together employees at its Sterling, Illinois, corporate offices for a presentation on PPW!W and the power of promotional products, and encouraged its staff to spread the word within the community and to share the information with HALO account executives. The company provided every staff member with a HALO-imprinted beach ball donated by Galaxy Balloon and posed for a group photo.
Hirsch Gift, Inc.
Houston, Texas-based Hirsch Gift, Inc. held a tour of its facilities during PPW!W. The supplier invited HPPA members to attend, and encouraged them to bring their coworkers, clients, prospects and government representatives. During the tour, guests saw the showroom, administrative offices, the warehouse and the company’s production facility, giving them a look at the different processes that go into fulfilling orders.
Brittany Smith, CAS, key accounts and marketing manager, says, “We focused on the ‘Promotional Products Work’ theme, but also wanted to raise awareness of the jobs our factory has to offer among the government officials in attendance.”
HPPA scheduled a full slate of activities for Promotional Products Work! Week. Alongside a factory tour at Hirsch Gift, association members participated in a Proforma lunch-and-learn presented by Anna Wiese of supplier Raining Rose. Later that afternoon, they also joined a factory tour at Landes Bag factory, sponsored by owner Sonny Deshong and his staff. The tour began in the showroom, where Deshong spoke on bag styles and their sales, and custom bag opportunities. The group also toured the production, shipping and receiving areas.
In addition to the tours, HPPA asked members to clean out their sample closets and bring any usable products with them to the tours. The association collected samples through June 3, and then delivered them to Richmond State School, where the residents will use them or sell them in their gift shop.
Reaching out for a good cause is an established part of PPW!W and in recognition of that element, members of the Promotional Products Association of Chicago (PPAChicago) collected donations for House of the Good Shepherd in Chicago. The association gathered 25 boxes and four large bags of goods for the charity. Participants dropped off their contributions at the PPAChicago office and joined the association for lunch. Everyone participating also received a gift from PPAChicago.
RiteLine, LLC, a supplier in Dallas, Texas, opened its doors to its community and clients during PPW!W. Steven Meyer, MAS, vice president of sales and marketing, says, “It was a meet-and-greet with our customer base to teach them more about our inventory and processes, and to see how we’re the real deal.”
Meyer and company president David Zheng (pictured at far left) welcomed a number of distributor principals and salespeople to their facility to view the decorating processes—one pad printed and one screen-printed—for two pen styles, see the offices and warehouse, and enjoy a hamburger lunch. Michael Flusche, North Texas deputy regional director for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, also stopped by for a visit and to learn more about one of the newest businesses in the community and the impact of promotional products on the local and national economy.
Alongside its work with Advance Corporation, UMAPP joined forces with area companies on a number of PPW!W-related activities. Paula Coomer, vice president of UMAPP and Starline’s rep for Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Wisconsin, hosted a customer appreciation day for the staff of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, distributors Brown & Saenger and Monarch Sales Company. Supplier Gator Garb also showed its appreciation to customers, taking a group of eight to the Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters.
As part of PPW!W’s Community Outreach Day, QRG partnered with a United Way group of emerging leaders and donated more than 6,000 promotional labels and helped package 6,000 macaroni-and-cheese meals. Each meal is intended to feed a family of six, and the group’s effort could feed as many as 36,000 people.
Webb Company opened the doors of its Eagan, Minnesota, facility to the local staff of distributor ePromos Promotional Products for a tour during PPW!W. The supplier demonstrated the production of its U.S.-made products and the processes involved. There was a lunch afterward where attendees taste-tested some of Webb Company’s new products.