PPPC Communique: Insights From PPPC's Fiscal 2020 Annual Report
The Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC) recently released its 2020 Annual Report. The report contains a detailed summary of PPPC’s 2020 fiscal year from November 1, 2019, to October 31, 2020.
Our fiscal 2020 began like any other and progressed as usual with TOPS+ 2020 touring Canada in February 2020, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the trajectory of PPPC’s goals and plans were forced to change drastically.
For over a year now, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a deadly disruption in all our lives. Despite the many challenges with which we’ve been faced, the promotional products industry has remained resilient throughout this time of crisis. Many of us managed to pivot and provide valuable assistance to our partners and clients while protecting our businesses, employees and our health. And for this, PPPC was determined to rise to the occasion and provide guidance and support whenever we could.
PPPC Chair Max Baer said that the most important question we asked ourselves over the past year was, “How can we make sure that this organization is providing the utmost value to its members, not only during the pandemic but also long-term?” According to Baer, the answer was to learn and utilize technology if we wanted to survive and thrive.
The Year’s Events
TOPS+ 2020 in February was the last in-person event that PPPC hosted before the pandemic. Once the pandemic hit, the organization was determined to keep members engaged. With the help of PPPC staff, the board and other volunteers, the organization was able to adapt and hold various virtual events over the second half of fiscal 2020.
The first of those events was Natcon Virtual 2020 in September, which introduced a new platform to the Canadian promotional product industry. Built by our technology partners at SAGE, the platform became a well-received and respectable substitute for PPPC’s in-person trade shows. The benefits of virtual trade shows quickly became apparent: uninterrupted one-on-one time, on-demand and live education, and the opportunity to safely reconnect with the industry, plus the huge travel savings and an overall less time-consuming operation for everyone involved. Members are now fully adapted to the virtual lifestyle and have accepted that this may be “the new normal.” Although we do hope to hold some in-person events in 2021, the virtual experience is not going anywhere.
To recognize and celebrate those supplier, distributor and MLR companies who went above and beyond throughout 2020, the PPPC Awards were presented at TOPS+ Virtual in February 2021. These member-voted awards were also bestowed via livestream with hosts across the country. Though many viewers wished we could gather to celebrate the many winners together in person, we all agreed that the live-streamed award ceremony was a blast.
COVID-19 And Membership Engagement
Before the pandemic hit, PPPC hosted a variety of chapter and provincial events across Canada. From hockey in Quebec to curling in Manitoba, members were enjoying their Canadian heritage and gathering with their local promo communities without a care in the world.
Following government-mandated closures in the early months of 2020, PPPC formed the Membership Engagement Task Force, a temporary group to manage, plan and promote our new virtual events. These virtual events continued throughout fiscal 2020 delivering cocktail evenings, trivia nights and much more to keep members engaged and interested in PPPC. Attendees always left with smiles on their faces, and the task force continues to do a great job today.
PPPC also did not hesitate when it came to providing members with information, resources and education about the COVID-19 pandemic. The association did what it could to help our members by distributing communications for government assistance programs, providing regular webinars to keep members engaged and educated, and even by lobbying the Prime Minister to include our industry in government plans. The volunteer board of directors thanks them for their continued support and ideas.
The 2020 Annual Report covers all of these areas as well as PPPC’s financial statements for fiscal 2020, an update about our partnership with PPAI and SAGE, membership statistics and much more. Check out the full report at pppc.ca/about-us/annual-reports.
Jonathan Strauss is president and CEO of Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC).