PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE; Stephanie Critchfield, vice president and national sales manager at distributor The Vernon Company, based in Newton, Iowa, and Cliff Andrews, PPAI’s D.C.-based lobbyist, were on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers about a new bill that directly affects the promotional products industry. Bellantone and Critchfield met with staff at the offices of Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa (above, with Sen. Ernst's legislative aid, Tyler Brown), who introduced the legislation, and later Bellantone and Andrews met with staff of Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who co-sponsored it.
Sen. Ernst's bill, "S.2722, A bill to prohibit agencies from using federal funds for publicity or propaganda purposes, and for other purposes," was introduced on October 29 and has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Also referred to as the "Stop Wasteful Advertising by the Government Act," or the SWAG Act, it names a series of prohibitions against federal spending on advertising including "a product or merchandise distributed at no cost with the sole purpose of advertising or promoting an agency, organization, program or agenda." The bill's text goes on to name several products that are popular in the promotional products industry, such as apparel, thermoses and tote bags, along with numerous other items.
In conversations with the Senators’ staffs, Bellantone says he found them to be open to PPAI’s position that, while the Association is in favor of balanced budgets and the responsible use of taxpayer dollars, promotional products companies and practitioners are an important part of their communities and economy, and promotional products are proven to be one of the most effective forms of media available to advertisers. The messages they carry help governments at every level to keep citizens informed, safe and well prepared.
"We learned that the purpose of this legislation was to stop government agencies from promoting themselves, not to prevent them from educating consumers on agency programs," says Bellantone. "Senator Ernst's office is reaching out to the agencies right now to try to find the language that would allow them to accomplish their specific objective versus a blanket statement that harms our media. We've asked for a place at the table in creating that language and for continued progress on this bill."
Bellantone adds, "This bill is still in the very early stages right now, but we've started the process by making them aware of the unintended consequences of using a chainsaw instead of a scalpel in crafting legislation. There is still a lot of work to do. It was critically important to have Stephanie Critchfield, a fourth-generation member of The Vernon Company and one of Senator Ernst's constituents, at the meeting this morning. Our success will be a combination of our trade association's efforts, direct contact from constituents and powerful influence from our industry at large. I urge all PPAI members to remain active and vigilant on this issue."
PPAI also has an active lobbying presence in Washington, D.C. to monitor these types of legislative initiatives. The S. 2722 bill will be added to PPAI's Legislative Agenda as part of the Association's annual Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) event where PPAI leaders and industry professionals meet directly with their members of Congress. L.E.A.D. will take place in Washington, D.C. May 6-7, 2020.
Follow PPB Newslink to learn more about the bill’s progress, how PPAI and its partners are carrying the industry’s message to Capitol Hill and what industry members can do to educate Congress on the effectiveness of promotional products and advocate for the industry.
Used with Permission From PPB Newslink
The Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) has decided to alternate the location for its annual trade show, SAAC Expo, the largest of its kind in California. This year the show was held in San Diego. In 2020, SAAC is moving it to the Anaheim Convention Center for the first time. Dates for the show are August 6-7, 2020. In 2021, SAAC Expo will move back to San Diego on August 12-13, 2021. The show is also transitioning to a Thursday/Friday schedule, making each location more attractive as a destination event for attendees and exhibitors. The second day of the show will include an invited client component where distributors can invite their customers to walk the show floor.
“On behalf of the SAAC board of directors, we are excited to provide our membership with an all new SAAC Expo experience. By alternating venues, we can bring together the industry’s top professionals all under one roof and in locations that best serve our suppliers and distributors,” says Tara Villanueva, incoming SAAC board president. “The board would like to thank our members for the continued support and dedication to the regional association. Please mark your calendars and join us. We are looking forward to seeing you all soon.”
SAAC's mission is to support the California promotional products industry by engaging and meeting the needs of industry professionals and the businesses they serve. Alternating the host city for the annual trade show allows the association to best serve the geographically diverse membership most conveniently.
“Having the SAAC Expo alternate locations would be a great thing to look forward to each year,” says SAAC member Ray Jimenez of The Magnet Group. “Alternating locations could increase the attendance based on the geographical location of the show. I know several LA County and Orange County distributors would be excited to have the show in Anaheim. Plus, the Pacific Surfliner stops right in the heart of the action of both locations, making them easily accessible destinations for distributors.”
Exhibitors that register before December 31, 2019 will be included in the early space assignment and eligible for an early-bird discount. Distributors will be invited to register and invite their clients in the spring of 2020. Click here for show details.
This article is from PPB Newslink and has been used with permission from PPAI.
The Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC), the regional voice of the promotional products industry in Southern California for more than 60 years, has announced the addition of Angela Taylor, marketing director at industry business services provider DistributorCentral, and Rhett Todd, managing partner of supplier PrintGear, as the newest members of the SAAC Foundation Board for 2020.
“The appointments of Rhett and Angela to our board continues to solidify the direction of the SAAC Foundation,” says SAAC Foundation Board President Michael Bistocchi. “With their hard work and dedication to the SAAC community and their previous experience as officers on the SAAC board, they will be a great asset to the Foundation. As we continue to grow, Taylor and Todd will work to create additional fundraising strategies for our college-bound constituents. They will help assure the board reaches its goal of awarding scholarships of $25,000 in 2020.”
The SAAC Foundation’s mission is to grant scholarships to family members of Specialty Advertising Association of California’s members to promote professional, academic or artistic achievement in post-secondary education.
“I am honored to be a part of the SAAC Foundation board next year,” says Todd. “I am looking forward to working with such a dynamic board in support of this incredible cause. The SAAC Foundation has done so much to further the mission of SAAC Foundation. I am excited to work with both SAAC and the SAAC Foundation in continuing this tradition.”
Taylor says, “I am very eager to continue to serve the SAAC community by joining the SAAC Foundation board. They are the most passionate group of volunteers and SAAC past presidents, and I’m happy to be one of them.”
Taylor and Todd are set to join a board that currently includes Board President Michael Bistocchi of Inkcups, Steve Parker of Starline, Beverly Walter of Brown & Bigelow, Craig Reese of Jack Nadel, Kate Alavez of PromoShop, and Jacque Martin of Brown & Bigelow.
The organization is hosting its annual golf tournament in honor of Jim Buescher on October 24 at the Brookside Golf Club. This is in conjunction with a VIP Stadium Tour of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Click here for more information.
This article is from PPB Newslink and has been used with permission from PPAI.
In September, California’s legislature passed new legislation affecting worker status for employees and independent contractors. California Assembly Bill Number 5 effectively bans companies from classifying most workers in California as independent contractors. The law also outlines some exceptions to the new rule and establishes a three-pronged test for determining independent contractor status in California. The first element of the test requires the worker to be free from the control of the hiring organization. This condition must exist in the text of the contract as well as in the practice of the contractor’s work. The second element of the test requires the work being performed to be outside the normal course of business for the hiring organization. The third element of the test is a requirement for the contractor to be involved in an occupation or trade that is independently established and the same type of work that is being performed for the hiring entity. This test makes the presumption that a worker is an employee unless all the elements are demonstrated by the hiring organization.
The legislation, which amends the California labor code, also makes exemptions for some workers and circumstances. The exempted occupations include attorneys, doctors, direct sales salespersons, and numerous others. If a worker does not fall under one of the exceptions named by the legislation, there is a chance they may be classified as a professional services contractor and exempted from the new guidelines. The law also names several criteria for an individual to qualify for the professional services exemption, including the person maintaining a business located outside of the hiring organization's address, a requirement for the person to have a business license and several other conditions. This new law was signed by California's governor in September and goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
This information has been provided from PPAI's Government Relations Today and used with permission from PPAI.
Negotiation is an important skill set, yet many sales professionals overlook it. After you invest time and resources to develop a pitch and sit down with a prospect, it only makes sense to come prepared to negotiate.
James Meincke, director of marketing at CloserIQ, says the key is to create a negotiation strategy in advance. We share his tips on how to do it in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.
1. Plan a timeline. As you approach your prospect , Meincke recommends setting a personal goal date or deadline so you can better organize yourself. Have an idea of when each step should be taken, from first contact to follow-up, all the way to actually closing the deal. Try to keep to your scheduled plan.
2. Know what your prospect wants. Know the details of their product/service and how their business operates. This knowledge allows you to adapt your sales presentation to focus on how your own product/service can meet their needs.
3. Understand the market and industry standards. Aside from knowing what your customer needs, you also need to learn about your competitors and what they offer, says Meincke. Have an idea of the price average for what you are selling and know what the market demands.
4. Be clear and transparent. There is no room for miscommunication when you are trying to come to an agreement with your customers. Be as clear and transparent as possible about your terms, your services and/or products and your prices. Meincke advises sales reps to always explain the benefits of closing a deal. Tell the prospect how your product can provide a solution to their pain points. Use data and statistics to give more credibility to your claims.
5. Don't be afraid to set the price anchor. The price defines the value and worth of your product, making it key to position it properly. Meincke admits that creating a pricing strategy is a challenging and complex process and one that requires extensive research. Salespeople must know how to pitch terms confidently the minute they step into the price conversation.
6. Listen closely as you negotiate. Meincke says negotiating should not be about pushing what you want to sell based on your goals; it should be about offering the option that is most likely to be the right fit for a customer. Active listening is essential for you to understand your client's needs and to adapt your offer to be as appealing as possible to the prospect.
7. Answer questions patiently. Rushing to a close will only hurt your negotiation process because it will seem like you only care about the final result. Prospects have the right to ask as many questions as they'd like before making a final decision.
8. Know what you're willing to compromise on. Sometimes, there are products or services which a customer just can't be persuaded to buy or they just can't afford to buy. Know what can be negotiated about your offer and be ready to give and take to meet your prospect halfway.
9. Know when to walk away. If a sale is dragging on or the client is pushing you to compromise more than you can, it's often best to walk away and focus on another client.
Don't invest all your energy in your research and pitch. Spend some time practicing your negotiation process to achieve the best results for you and your company.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: James Meincke is the director of marketing at CloserIQ. Previously, he worked as a recruiter at ManpowerGroup and as a freelance social media strategist.
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Founder and President
Adrenaline Challenge Coins
Founder and president. As I got close to retirement from the fire dept I knew I would need something to keep me busy. Challenge coins were something I loved...the history and tradition of them was awesome, and it was a way to stay in touch with my FD friends. It was supposed to be a "hobby job", but as word of mouth spread about our quality and pricing our business grew and grew. We are now licensed with the NFL, NCAA, General Motors, we are the official challenge coin provider to the World Police & Fire Games, the FDNY Foundation and more.
What I like best about the company is the people it allows us to meet. Challenge coins have spread into virtually every walk of life, and people are finding that they make amazing promotional items, gifts, awards, etc. I not only get to stay in touch with fire, police and military friends, but now I get to make friends and do business with people from everywhere.
We were introduce to the promotional products industry through customers at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show in Las Vegas. They told us that our coins (not just round, but any shape and size, with functions such as bottle openers, golf ball markers and more) would be a hit in the promotional products industry. We debuted at SAAC in Long Beach in 2018, then PPAI in Las Vegas in 2019 and SAAC again in San Diego in 2019, and they were right, our product has been a hit!
It's hard for me to pick a favorite of our products, but our patented football helmet shaped coin/key ring/bottle opener might be it. We were licensed by all NFL teams this year, and now people are putting all kinds of logos on this design. It's very cool and very unique (that's why we patented it!)
I'm a sports nut, I've competed in everything from Judo to wrestling to cross country to skiing to ice hockey. Now I'm a total golf junkie, averaging just over 100 rounds year...you would think I'd be better than I am!!
In a tweet last night, President Trump announced that the planned tariff increase on $250 billion in Chinese imports from 25 percent to 30 percent has been pushed back from October 1 to October 15 as a gesture of goodwill to the Chinese. The President’s announcement follows the Chinese government’s decision to grant 16 U.S. products one-year exemptions from its retaliatory tariffs.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to resume face-to-face talks with Chinese representatives in October. The last top-level in-person meeting on the trade issue took place in July in Shanghai. Earlier this week, Secretary Mnuchin struck an optimistic note on the status of the negotiations, saying that Washington and Beijing have a “conceptual” agreement on enforcement issues.
While negotiations between the two sides continue, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a coalition of more than 150 associations—including PPAI—representing every sector of the U.S. economy, has released data measuring the impact of the tariffs. It reports that in July, tariffs cost U.S. businesses and consumers $6.8 billion, a 62-percent increase over July of last year, and the highest monthly total in U.S. history. This increase is driven by $3.5 billion in new tariffs on goods imported from China. July marked the first full month of data collected after tariffs on many of those products increased from 10 to 25 percent earlier this year. The data does not include recent and upcoming tariff increases on nearly $300 billion in additional imports.
“These historic tariff increases are what’s causing significant uncertainty for American employers, leading to less investment, higher prices and fewer job opportunities,” says Tariffs Hurt the Heartland spokesman Jonathan Gold. “You can’t budget for a double-digit tariff increase, and you can’t plan a business when you’re living tweet-by-tweet. The administration needs to use upcoming negotiations to end a trade war that truly has no winners.”
In total, American taxpayers have now paid more than $30 billion in extra import tariffs from the beginning of the trade war in 2018 through July of this year, the organization reports. Its data also shows that American exports targeted for retaliation have now declined for 13 straight months when compared to the same month in the previous year.
Tariffs of 15 percent on an additional $112 billion (List 4a) of Chinese imports took effect on September 1, and another $160 billion in Chinese imports (List 4b) will face 15-percent tariffs on December 15. The data released by the trade coalition shows that U.S. businesses brought in $26.4 billion in products included on Lists 4a and 4b in July.
Tariffs Hurt the Heartland’s data was produced in conjunction with The Trade Partnership, which compiles monthly data released by the U.S. government. The monthly import data is calculated using data from the U.S. Census Bureau; monthly export data is compiled using data from the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This article is from PPB Magazine and used with permission from PPAI.
Teamwork in the workplace begins with great leadership. Leaders must know how to encourage their teams to work together and achieve their goals. To inspire this kind of unity and to help team members form bonds, many managers look to team-building activities.
Studies show that team bonding may be one of the best investments an organization can make. Bonding activities enhance overall productivity, positively impact leadership skills and customer focus, and can even boost the bottom line.
However, Marcel Schwantes, a speaker, executive coach and podcaster, says that company bonding can be less effective if certain guidelines aren't met. That's why it's important to know the difference between team-building activities that employees are forced to do and those they actually want to do.
For a closer look at these activities, software company Nulab surveyed 1,000 full-time employees to learn which activities tend to get employees the most excited and their value as long-term investments. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, Schwantes provides an overview of the survey results and how leaders can inspire great teamwork.
Bring in the food. Nothing brings people together quite like food, says Schwantes, and the same was certainly true among full-time employees polled for this study. Eighty-eight percent of team-bonding exercises included food in some capacity (such as a potluck or team lunches), and in nearly half of examples identified, alcohol was also present for company get-togethers. The second-most popular team-building exercises revolved around holiday events (78%) and gift exchanges (58%). Interestingly, potlucks or company lunches were considered some of the most effective (62%) and most valuable (63%) team-building activities.
Appeal to your employees' passions. Schwantes reports that the study found volunteer days were considered the most effective and valuable team-building activities, despite being significantly less common than food or holiday events. Only one in five full-time employees had participated in a company retreat, although they were nearly as effective and valuable for team building as volunteering. The secret to company success might not be in measuring employee engagement, but finding opportunities to stoke employees' passions. Research on corporate volunteer and giving programs found that not only do these events help build better relationships among co-workers, but also they give team members an opportunity to engage with organizations they're genuinely passionate about.
Make team bonding optional. According to the survey, full-time employees were 3.6 times more likely to enjoy team bonding that was optional rather than mandatory. More than half of employees also acknowledged always participating in optional team-bonding exercises offered by their company.
Make team bonding enjoyable. Schwantes says that crafting enjoyable experiences that employees want to attend may not come easily to some company leaders, but the results can be invaluable. When employees know the purpose of the activity and enjoy the event, they may see a boost in their peer relationships, their ability to communicate effectively and their overall enjoyment.
While questions surrounding productivity still exist, many employees clearly identified the perks of team bonding. Around 96 percent cited having better relationships with their colleagues, followed by collaboration and open dialogue. To inspire better teamwork at your organization, consider the points above.
Source: Marcel Schwantes is a speaker, executive coach, podcaster and syndicated columnist drawing more than a million readers per month worldwide. Schwantes is the host of the popular Love in Action podcast.
This article was originally published in PCT. Used with permission from PPAI.
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