Expo Speaker Roy Spence Shares Guidance For Bringing Purpose To Life, Work

Part inspirational speech, part love letter to the promotional products industry, Roy Spence’s presentation on the power of purpose was all heart, and the crowd at Tuesday’s Expo opening general session was all in.

Spence illustrated his points on purpose in life and in business with examples of the work he and his team at Austin, Texas-based GSD&M Advertising have produced for clients over the past several years. The first one he showed—a public service announcement featuring past U.S. presidents that raised funds for victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma—involved a number of people coordinating production in multiple locations to create and release the spot in a short amount of time.

That endeavor, said Spence, shows how purpose influences business. “When you have to do something to serve the greater good, you do whatever it takes.”

Another example of purpose in business shared by Spence was his work on the memorable “Don’t Mess With Texas” anti-litter campaign. That campaign was made even more meaningful by the promotional products that bore the slogan and made their way into the hands of millions of Texans and even non-Texans.

“You bring to life our ideas. We wear it, we share it,” he said. “I think our [advertising and marketing] industry is more important than ever before. I think consumers are looking for something to wear that says, “I stand for this. I believe in this. I care about this. Don’t let the big shots take your industry away from you. You’ve worked too hard for this.”

Spence told the audience that he believes promotional products companies won’t be overcome by online giants. “What you have that Amazon doesn’t is the ability to become confidants [to] clients,” he said. “Confidants ... do whatever it takes.”

Success as confidants to promotional clients takes a “WINNING” strategy, Spence said. The acronym is built on the following principles: “Whatever it takes; Integrity above all else; Never break a promise to your client; Nothing is impossible; I’ve got your back; Not on my watch is this going to happen; and, build a relationship where Goodness rules.”

A lifetime of finding purpose in his work has led Spence to create a new endeavor as CEO of The Purpose Institute: The Promiseland Project. Built on the belief that America needs to be led by purpose, rather than politics, The Promiseland Project will focus on eliminating the “us versus them” culture and encourage unity of spirit.

Spence told attendees, “I’m taking America as my client, pro bono. I’m going to market America to Americans. I’m rounding up the best marketers. We’re going to rebuild the culture of “US”—as in the USA.

“We have to walk in each other’s shoes again,” Spence said. “You’ve got to listen to one another, you’ve got to stand up when it’s your turn. America needs to start winning on purpose. And we need this on caps and t-shirts. ... Are y’all in?”

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Comments (4)
Gigi Erwin
January 22, 2018
I'm 3 months into this new adventure called Promotional Sales and I LOVE IT. Roy's conscientious involvement with his clients is the way that I want to do my work too. Thank you PPAI, for a tremendous and innovative show, great speakers, and terrific vendors. I look forward to selling what I've learned...
Troy Nelson
January 20, 2018
Bar none! The best speaker I heard at the 2018 PPAI Expo. Everything he stated and talked about was spot on. Looking forward to hearing more about “The Promiseland Project” he is starting.
Arbi Masihi
January 20, 2018
Great Motivational Speaker with a great sense of humor. We need more of these leaders.
graeme dawes
January 17, 2018
Awesome speaker, great presentation really changed my thoughts on my day to day at work and at home!
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