PPB March 2022

A PPAI Publication » March 2022 Peak Creativity: Pyramid Award Winners P. 12 What’s Trending In Style On The Expo Floor P. 26 Cashing In On Crowds As Trade Shows Return P. 56 Customer Service At The Highest Level P. 70 How To Preserve Trust In Product Recalls P. 80 Best Of After a one-year hiatus, The PPAI Expo returned to Las Vegas in January for what has been called the most important event in industry history. P. 32

4 Perspectives A New Generation 8 Feedback 11 INNOVATE 24 Question As A Distributor, How Should I Handle Surcharges? 26 Eye On Apparel Best Of Expo: Fashion Forward 45 GROW 46 Profiles Dave Regan, MAS Brandon Mackay, MAS 56 Market to Market Trade Shows 62 Sales Finding Your Accountabilibuddy 64 Editor's Picks Best of Expo: Stunning Showpieces 69 THINK 70 Viewpoint Love Thy Customer 73 Fast Forward Experiential Marketing is A Trip 80 Management Total Recall 83 CONNECT 84 Close Up Michael Butler 88 Inside PPAI 94 PPPC Communiqué 97 New Members 101 Datebook 106 The Creative Calendar 12 THE PINNACLE OF CLIENT PROMOTION Following a historic year for industry flexibility and creativity, the PPAI Pyramid Awards, sponsored by Pacesetter Awards Co., represent the best of the best in client programs. wacomka / shutterstock.com 32BEST OF EXPO After a one-year hiatus, The PPAI Expo returned to Las Vegas in January for what has been called the most important event in industry history. contents Promotional Products Business The Official Business Monthly of Promotional Products Association International MARCH 2022 | MARCH 2022 | 3

My dad needed the kind of sales know-how you’ll find in PPB and our daily newsletter Promotional Consultant Today. He needed a better grasp of how his market was changing day-to-day through digital transformation and key shifts in the economy, the stuff that is always present in our twiceweekly PPB Newslink emails. perspectives Josh Ellis Publisher & Editor-in-Chief A New Generation When I was a kid, I didn’t totally appreciate all the sacrifices my dad made. Now that I’m a father, the things he did to put food on the table and raise me as a single parent are great inspiration, and they inform the approach I’m bringing to my new position. More than anyone else in my life, my dad defined for me what it means to be an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it was often a struggle. My dad fixed up and sold used fishing boats, first working from a repair shop behind our house out in the East Texas country, and later at his own place of business. He liked to tinker on the old motors, and he loved that he controlled his own schedule, which allowed him to be there when I got home from school and to attend all my sporting events. That chance to do what you enjoy and have some personal flexibility is the dream so many promotional products distributors had when they got into business, and something our supplier members want for their teams, too. But my dad couldn’t stand the pressure that came with being fully responsible for his income. He never embraced the sales mentality needed to grow the business, and he was too old-school to learn anything about online marketing after the internet turned his advertisements in the newspaper into a waste of money. As a result, he essentially just built a job for himself at that shop—a job he came to hate. Every night at dinner, I looked at his hands, bloodied and beaten by those old engine parts. He was always tired, beaten down by the 100-degree heat. His business paid the bills, but he never got ahead. And after decades in this position, he really was trapped. Things looked bleak. Were it not for finally being approved for full disability by the Veteran’s Administration just after his 65th birthday—owing to a back injury he suffered in Vietnam—he would’ve toiled in that shop until the day he died. His story is what first allowed me to connect with business media when I started down this career path a decade ago. It inspires me to serve our members now. Our content is meant to inform and empower the hard-working people of this industry. My dad needed the kind of sales know-how you’ll find in PPB and our daily newsletter Promotional Consultant Today. He needed a better grasp of how his market was changing day-to-day through digital transformation and key shifts in the economy, the stuff that is always present in our twiceweekly PPB Newslink emails. But he never found the kind of information and resources to help him and his business grow. I respect and love Dad for struggling through it all those years, because he did it all for me. But I don’t want everyone to have it so rough. I want our audience to get what they need from us to be their best. That was also the mission of my predecessor, the wonderful and talented Tina Berres-Filipski, who along with the leadership at PPAI has entrusted me and our team to do this work for you. Since joining the Association in December, I have been amazed at the effort, genius and creativity involved in this industry. Time marches on, but we will continue to serve you faithfully so that you can grow—for yourselves, your clients and teammates, and the people you love. Ellis is the publisher and editor-in-chief at PPAI. 4 | MARCH 2022 |

PRESIDENT & CEO Dale Denham, MAS+ 888-I-AM-PPAI EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Robert I. McLean, Jr., CPA, CAE, CEM VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Alan Peterson DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Brigitte Rousseau, CPA, MBA DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY Paul Elfstrom DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY, EDUCATION AND MEMBER ENGAGEMENT Anne Stone, CAE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Keith Vincent DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION Edwin Gonzalez PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Josh Ellis 972-258-3028 JoshE@ppai.org NEWS EDITOR James Khattak 972-258-3052 JamesK@ppai.org ASSOCIATE EDITORS Danielle Renda DanielleR@ppai.org Kristina Valdez 972-258-3094 KristinaV@ppai.org ART DIRECTION SPARK Publications SPARKpublications.com 704-844-6080 ADVERTISING MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND EXPOSITIONS Ellen Tucker, CAE 972-258-3095 EllenT@ppai.org SALES MANAGER AND NATIONAL ACCOUNTS Melissa Massey 972-258-3029 MelissaM@ppai.org MAJOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Brandon Dunaway 972-258-3090 BrandonD@ppai.org ACCOUNT MANAGER Connie Brazil 972-258-3064 ConnieB@ppai.org ADVERTISING CONTACT Mimi Duong 972-258-3025 MimiD@ppai.org BOARD OFFICERS CHAIR OF THE BOARD Dawn Olds, MAS HALO IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR Todd Pottebaum, MAS+ Quality Resource Group, Inc. CHAIR-ELECT OF THE BOARD Kevin Walsh, CAS Showdown Displays VICE CHAIR, FINANCE SERVICES Andrew Spellman, CAS Therabody BOARD MEMBERS TERMS EXPIRING 2023 R. Renée Jones, MAS+ A Creative Touch David Nicholson Polyconcept NA TERMS EXPIRING 2024 Dawn Olds, MAS HALO Kevin Walsh, CAS Showdown Displays TERMS EXPIRING 2025 Noah Lapine Lapine Associates, Inc. Andrew Spellman Therabody TERMS EXPIRING 2026 Chris Anderson HPG Denise Taschereau Fairware AT-LARGE DIRECTOR TERM EXPIRING 2024 Melissa Ralston, Koozie Group REGIONAL ASSOCIATION COUNCIL DELEGATE TERM EXPIRING 2023 Lindsey Davis, MAS Raining Rose, Inc. PPAI HEADQUARTERS 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038-3526 Phone: 888-IAM-PPAI (426-7724) www.ppai.org, pubs.ppai.org READER RESOURCES SUBSCRIBE TO PPB: Subscribe online at pubs.ppai.org or send your name, title, company name and mailing address, along with phone and fax, to PPB Subscriptions, 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038. Or phone in your subscription to 972-258-3019. Include payment with your order. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted, along with checks. Additional member subscriptions are $58 for PPAI member companies (U.S.), $70 (Canada and Mexico) and $75 (international). Nonmember subscriptions are $72 (U.S.), $82 (Canada and Mexico) and $92 (international). Please allow four to six weeks for start of subscription. ADVERTISE IN PPB: Download a media kit with rates and specs for all PPAI print and digital publications at pubs.ppai.org, or call 972-258-3019 or e-mail mediasales@ppai.org. WRITE FOR PPB: The magazine regularly accepts articles from both professional writers and industry experts—like yourself. Find out everything you need to know about submitting an article or an idea by reading PPB’s Writer’s Guidelines available at pubs.ppai.org/submit-content. 6 | MARCH 2022 |

visit us at newellcustomwritinginstruments.com Experience a high-performance gel pen with the Sharpie S-Gel in both matte finish and metal barrel. With no smear, no bleed technology, this Sharpie pen delivers an exceptional writing experience. The gel ink pen features intensely bold colors for always vivid writing, while the contoured rubber grip provides you a comfortable writing experience during any writing task. Finally, it’s sleek design and metal barrel make it a pen you’ll be hesitant to loan out. The Sharpie S-Gel in a metal barrel offers a smooth writing experience at home, school, or in the office. Writing never felt so good!

feedback Send feedback on articles in PPB or opinions on industry issues to JamesK@ppai.org. Sherri C. Lennarson, MAS Cliff Quicksell, MAS+ The Value Of Trust In The Promo Business The January 21 issue of PPB Newslink featured a conversation with author and Harvard Business School professor Sandra Sucher on what trust is in a business context, how it grows, and how promotional products leaders can build and leverage it with both employees and clients. Thank you for the terrific article. Spot on. Especially for our industry as we move forward together, to attain performance from start to finish in our distribution channel, freed from the hassles and headaches of COVID challenges. With many moving parts, we all need to move at the speed of doing things well to build the trust of our end users. Collectively building trust reinforces with our end user community that promo is a very viable branding medium, especially as compared to the multiple other options available for investing discretionary marketing/advertising/HR budget dollars. BRIAN GRALL Owner and President LogoMyBiz.com Evergreen, Colorado PPAI 639294, D2 Celebrating Industry Excellence At The PPAI Expo 2022, the Association and the industry celebrated two of its brightest lights, with the induction of Sherri C. Lennarson, MAS, and Cliff Quicksell, MAS+, into the PPAI Hall of Fame. Both have led exemplary careers in the promotional products field, characterized by tremendous work to lift up both it and their peers. Honesty Is The Best Policy The January issue of PPB sought industry professional’s responses to a question posed by a distributor as to whether or not to inform a supplier that their customer service failings had driven them to another vendor. You should absolutely let the sales manager know. I'm certain he/she would welcome the information. While it may be difficult to hear, changes and improvements can't be made if they are unaware of the difficulties customers are having with the sales process. JENNIFER WALKER Account Manager Spectrum Promotional Products, Inc. Wichita, Kansas PPAI 428906, D3 Congratulations, Sherri. This is welldeserved recognition for a lifetime of sharing and helping others grow. GARY HALEY Retired Beacon Promotions New Ulm, Minnesota PPAI 113702, S10 I am so proud of you, Cliff! Thank you for your contributions to our industry and all the positivity you have brought to so many, including myself. You so deserve a place in the Hall of Fame! CHERYL HOKANSON Owner iPROMOTEu/Brand Boosters, LLC Crofton, Maryland PPAI 359512, D2 8 | MARCH 2022 | INNOVATE

wudnpromo.com (425) 503-5444 ASI #97082, SAGE A+ #51421, PPAI #691600 Real Wood Products Handcrafted in Hidden Springs, Idaho, USA ELEGANT & SUSTAINABLE

INNOVATE Fashion Forward Trends at The PPAI Expo in January underscored socially mindful themes while leaning into function and comfort. page 26 Best Of Expo After a one-year hiatus, The PPAI Expo returned to Las Vegas in January for what has been called the most important event in industry history. page 32 12FEATURE: THE PINNACLE OF CLIENT PROMOTION 24QUESTION: AS A DISTRIBUTOR, HOW SHOULD I HANDLE SURCHARGES? Photography by Sean Badger. | MARCH 2022 | 11

wacomka / shutterstock.com The Pinnacle Of Client Promotion Following a historic year for industry flexibility and creativity, the PPAI Pyramid Awards, sponsored by Pacesetter Awards Co., represent the best of the best in client programs. by Josh Ellis Entries from the latest PPAI Pyramid Awards came fromwhat can only be described as the most unique year in the long history of the promo industry. Chosen from campaigns that were created between April 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021, virtually all of these honorees were required to be nimble, innovative and forward thinking. The PPAI Pyramid Awards, sponsored by Pacesetter Awards Co., have long identified the leading achievement in promotional product marketing. At a time when everyone in the industry has needed to dig deep to be their best and deliver a little more, it’s possible to say the 19 winners of this year’s competition are among the most impressive in the 60-plus years of the awards. PPAI salutes all the winning companies and their creative campaigns. From liquor bottles timed to pop at the stroke of midnight during New Year’s Eve parties, to boxes of energizing snacks meant to help virtual conference attendees stay awake, this was truly the year that promo never slept. FEATURE | Winning Client Programs 12 | MARCH 2022 |

Business-to-Business Gold Pyramid Distributor: Over the Top Promotions Type of Client: IT Target Audience: 250 Lenovo Data Centre customers and channel partners in Australia and New Zealand Primary Objective: Intended as a surprise Christmas gift, this campaign was also meant to increase brand recall for Lenovo and create excitement around its new series of servers created in partnership with Nutanix. Total Cost: $35,000 AUD Strategy And Execution: To amplify a sense of Christmas delight for its client’s customers and partners, Over the Top Promotions designed an advent calendar with 24 Lenovo branded merchandise gifts to open over the 24 days before Christmas. Spreading the joy and interest over 24 days served to maximize brand recall through the repetitive introduction to Lenovo branded merchandise. The calendar included products such as stickers of the new Lenovo x Nutanix server, meant to build excitement about its new systems and items such as reusable shopping bags aligning with their CSR efforts. A QR code and hashtag, #LenovoDCGNiceList, were created to build brand awareness. Over the Top Promotions worked closely with Lenovo’s design team to create unique and creative boxes within the calendar and for the design of the box itself, resembling both a present and a server. For perfect timing, the goods were dispatched mid-November for delivery by December 1. Results: The campaign netted two new clients and two potential clients for Lenovo. Customers shared pictures on social media. Lenovo also went on to ask Over the Top Promotions to work with them on a similar program again in 2021. Silver Pyramid Distributor: The Dunstan Group LLC Type of Client: Business development and networking group Target Audience: Members of an exclusive Charlotte, North Carolina networking group that meet monthly but had been limited to Zoom meetings because of COVID-19 Primary Objective: The client group’s members, executives and leaders from 50 top companies in and around Charlotte, exchanged gift boxes meant to “show love” to one another through custom-branded gifts and special opportunities to elevate their brands and boost their respective businesses. Total Cost: $360,000 Strategy And Execution: When Hood Hargett Breakfast Club engaged The Dunstan Group to generate ideas for branded items for its February 2021 meeting, the distributor conceived of a “Local Love” box in conjunction with Valentine’s Day. Each member of the networking club chose which branded items they wanted to add to the boxes. The contributions started small, but grew as members pushed each other’s creativity. Colors and graphics evoked the warmth the gift was created to deliver. The Local Love Box was then hand-delivered to members’ homes and offices just hours before the monthly Zoom luncheon. Each member was instructed to open it during the virtual meeting for a grand surprise. Results: Members invested in products that stood out and were helpful to their fellow members, which pushed others to think creatively. That created a waterfall effect, prompting brands to think about how they can use branded merchandise to elevate their names. Members were so pleased, the campaign resulted in nine new clients for The Dunstan Group. Winning Client Programs | FEATURE | MARCH 2022 | 13

Client Branding Gold Pyramid Distributor: American Solutions for Business Type of Client: Banking/Financial Target Audience: 48 young female social media influencers and their followers in key client markets Primary Objective: First National Bank of Omaha intended the campaign to increase brand awareness and grow its Instagram following while supporting worthy causes, the #GirlsSupportGirls movement and International Day of the Girl. Total Cost: $17,000 Strategy And Execution: After the client launched its “Girls Support Girls” Visa Debit Card to help bring awareness to the importance of empowering young women, American Solutions for Business sent bright, bold and fun curated boxes to 48 key influencers, one for them to keep and the other to give away. The boxes included on-brand items such as socks, trucker hats, notebooks, T-shirts, sunglasses and reusable water bottles. Using the influencer model, the distributor tapped into the demographic of young, socially active people who wanted to be a part of a community of motivators that truly believed in the message they were spreading. Results: The average post related to the campaign received an engagement rate nearly three times as large as the average influencer post. First National Bank of Omaha grew its following by 163 throughout the campaign period, and the posts garnered nearly 22,000 impressions. Not only did the campaign help spread awareness for a vital cause, but it also upheld the values that First National Bank of Omaha prides itself on, establishing the bank as a trusted community leader. Silver Pyramid Distributor: Arid Zone Type of Client: Premium spirits and liqueurs Target Audience: Consumers aged 18 to 49, as well as media outlets and social media lifestyle influencers Primary Objective: Arid Zone and its client teamed together to build greater awareness of the Pampelle grapefruit liqueur brand and position it as “the most loved aperitif” for summer in an effort to increase sellthrough of the product in retail outlets. Total Cost: $75,000 Strategy And Execution: With pandemic restrictions hampering its usual in-person meetings and customer engagements, the client wanted to enhance its brand by delivering a tangible at-home experience. The packaging required on-brand design, as well as strength and durability for mail delivery. The promotional pack included the signature Pampelle bottle and custombranded glass, a bottle opener for the tonic, custom straws, and was cleverly finished with a fresh grapefruit garnish. Arid Zone reduced freight costs by sending goods via sea and air, and reinvested the savings into producing a better pack. Results: The campaign resulted in a 40-percent sales uplift, exceeding goals. It also engaged media outlets with 42 unique brand features and 26 influencers blogging on social media, reaching 18.5 million consumers. FEATURE | Winning Client Programs 14 | MARCH 2022 |

Consumer Gold Pyramid Distributor: Concepts & Associates, Inc. Type of Client: Banking/Financial Target Audience: 500 current top clients Primary Objective: The client, Synovus, aimed to reach out to key existing clients during the pandemic to thank them for their business and encourage their continued trust, making them feel appreciated and building on the ongoing relationships. Total Cost: $16,621 Strategy And Execution: Four work-from-home items were chosen to be kitted together, relaying the message that the bank is thinking of top customers through a challenging time. Many items were researched, presented and discussed between vendors and the client, who eventually settled on logoed wireless charging mousepads, ceramic tumblers, spiral notebooks and pen sets, as well as tote bags. The kit also included a card provided by the bank, saying, “Now, more than ever, we want you to know that we’re thinking of you.” A vendor for three of the products combined theirs with a product from a second vendor, and the cards were shipped separately to be included in the kit. Results: Synovus is proud to report it stayed in touch with all 500 top clients through the pandemic, a time when normal connections such as coffee or lunch meetings could not be achieved. Upon receipt, the kit provided a lasting, impactful memory of the bank and also gave a positive message to its clients. Silver Pyramid Distributor: Southwest Solutions Type of Client: Rock climbing gym Target Audience: All gym members and prospective members looking to make climbing a more consistent part of their routines. Primary Objective: In a community-building effort, Rock Solid Climbing in Tucson, Arizona, hosted an event promoting one of the pillars of its brand: their circuit style of route setting. The event had to focus on this aspect of their facility, motivate participants to partake in the event, reward all levels of ability and experience in the climbing community and provide participants something to take away from the event that would stoke future participation, membership and attendance. Total Cost: $1,500 Strategy And Execution: Searching for an award to give participants no matter their rock climbing skill, the gym settled on color-coded pins because of their affordability, collectability, simplicity and how aesthetically shareable they are for social media. Rock Solid Climbing artfully executed a word of mouth and then social media campaign to generate interest in the pin-earning events, which became community-led as climbers posted about their excitement around the pins. Results: Interest and participation in the pin-earning event was exactly what the client was looking to generate, and they intend to repeat this program annually. Winning Client Programs | FEATURE | MARCH 2022 | 15

Distributor/Supplier Collaboration Gold Pyramid Distributor: Jack Nadel International Supplier: Steel Threads Type of Client: Beverage Target Audience: Brand influencers and celebrities Primary Objective: Create social media buzz for Don Julio 1942 tequila, which underwent a lapse in availability because of the pandemic. Total Cost: $57,000 Strategy And Execution: The client PR company came to Jack Nadel International in advance of New Year’s Eve 2021. Don Julio 1942 tequila had been unavailable since August 2020 and the client wanted to create bottle toppers that were automated to pop at midnight of the new year, spreading a campaign message that “good things come to those who wait.” With less than two months to execute the entire project, Jack Nadel International devised a bottle topper concept, sourced timed padlocks from China and collaborated with Steel Threads (PPAI 174676 S1) to produce 125 standard-sized cuffs and 25 magnum-sized cuffs. The order was fulfilled for recipients in every time zone plus two overseas addresses. The finished product was a thing of beauty, with the quality of a luxe piece of jewelry. Jack Nadel International admits that any other year it might have passed on the project, but its execution proves that when distributors and suppliers work well together, anything is possible. Results: The client PR company and Don Julio 1942 were thrilled with the interest the custom bottle toppers received on social media. Jack Nadel International reports 16 follow-up projects related to the gold cuffs specifically. Silver Pyramid Distributor: Three K Consultants Supplier: Morris Magnets Type of Client: Salad dressing Target Audience: Influencers and ecommerce customers purchasing the client’s products online Primary Objective: The client wanted to stand out from other ecommerce salad dressing vendors by including a unique, memorable promotional product with each order. Total Cost: $3,000 Strategy And Execution: Noting that most competitors merely ship coupons with their ecommerce orders, Del Sol Food Co. wanted to include promotional acrylic magnets in its packages to get customers’ attention. They decided to pick the top three sellers in the BRIANNAS salad dressing line, as well as one that needed more recognition and a brand new one. The five bottles chosen for the promotion displayed a variety of colors while highlighted BRIANNAS’ distinct branding, and the use of the bottle-shaped magnets serves as a reminder to customers to order more dressing. Results: Del Sol reports receiving many customer reviews since the beginning of the campaign saying how much they enjoy the entirety of the product offering, including the magnet. Morris Magnets says, “It makes their consumer feel like they are getting a gift basket instead of just a pack of salad dressing.” FEATURE | Winning Client Programs 16 | MARCH 2022 |

Educational Gold Pyramid Distributor: DBP & Associates, Inc. Type of Client: School Target Audience: The parents of roughly 100 families with children attending The Unquowa School in Fairfield, Connecticut Primary Objective: A spring auction was to be held as a fundraiser for the school. Promotional products were used to spur interest in the event, which included leading some parents to a website where they could view auction items. Total Cost: $3,607 Strategy And Execution: With summer around the corner, DBP & Associates went to SAGE to discover a number of fun-in-the-sunthemed products, leveraging its preferred distributor pricing to help out the client school in raising awareness for the upcoming “It’s a New Day” auction. Artwork was done by the school design team and submitted to the distributor, which received samples of items for the school’s fundraising committee to review and select. The school selected a number of items, including promotional banners that went up on campus. Each family received a tote bag with a beach mat. In the tote bag was a postcard that had a QR code leading parents to the auction website where they viewed items up for auction. A virtual picnic was held via Zoom on the final night of the program, with parents who bought tickets receiving retromodeled coolers packed with wine and food. Results: Although the school spent less for its online auction and promotions than it would for a typical in-person fundraising event— DBP & Associates came in safely under budget—the school came away pleased with the return on its investment. Employee Incentive & Recognition Gold Pyramid Distributor: Hillary’s Type of Client: Construction Target Audience: Approximately 100 employees, 400 clients, 50 prospects and 50 industry partners Primary Objective: Client Greiner Construction tasked Hillary’s with helping to develop a structure and framework of current stakeholder recognition activities. Total Cost: $105,000 Strategy And Execution: With a goal of recognizing its top employees, clients, prospects and partners, Greiner Construction also hoped to leverage Hillary’s for identifying time efficiencies for the marketing and HR teams, continuity in recognition practices aligning with the company brand and optimized financial investments. Hillary’s spent a few weeks gathering data on current marketing efforts and creating recommendations before presenting its plans for action, a timeline and web portal. Hillary’s research identified and outlined tiers in target audience groups, milestones and activities to be recognized as well as tiers in recognition products for each milestone and activity recognized. The distribitor went on to create a curated product assortment for standard recognition needs such as project launch and completion, birth of a child, sympathy and holidays. It also mined for the interests of stakeholders, settling on popular themes such as barbecue, golf and spa, all with a focus on personalization. Results: Greiner’s 2020 recognition efforts received buzz in the construction community and still came in on budget based on the tiering process developed by Hillary’s. Ninety percent of all recognition needs went through the web portal that was set up by the distributor. Winning Client Programs | FEATURE | MARCH 2022 | 17

Employee Incentive & Recognition Silver Pyramid Distributor: Shumsky Type of Client: Health care Target Audience: Client employees ranging across 40 states Primary Objective: This fully customized gift replaced the annual CareSource holiday gatherings and provided company leadership an opportunity to connect with employees through a message of encouragement. Total Cost: $202,000 Strategy And Execution: Client company CareSource approached the distributor for assistance with its custom holiday gifts for 2020. Planning began in October of that year, with the theme of Warmest Wishes and Sweetest Greetings for the gift boxes. Once opened, a message from Caresource’s CEO was revealed, along with gifts including a plush, oversized blanket with the company logo embroidered on the corner (Warmest Wishes) and candy from a local chocolatier who custom-packaged it specifically for the project (Sweetest Greetings). A 2021 custom-designed calendar was also included. Kitting began in late November and boxes were shipped out for delivery between December 15-20. Each box was inserted in a polybag with a sticker of the CareSource logo affixed to the top, providing additional branding and quick recognition. Results: Shumsky completed the project at 10 percent under budget, and CareSource received proof of the achieved goal of caring engagement with its CEO via numerous emails as well as posts on social media. Internal Communications Gold Pyramid Distributor: Team Iowa, an iPROMOTEu Affiliate Type of Client: Producer of baking ingredients Target Audience: Office staff and production members working in the client’s Wisconsin, Iowa and Alabama facilities Primary Objective: To replicate the traditional experience that employees would normally have in the company’s test kitchens during the holiday season (altered by COVID-19), client company Lesaffre shipped the experience to employees and their family members to support their at-home baking. Total Cost: $40,981 Strategy And Execution: Team Iowa developed a custom box that had the look of the ovens in the test kitchens. Inside, the box was organized with many of the key utensils that would be needed to bake pies and holiday desserts, and it was compiled into a paperback cookbook. The final crucial piece to the custom baking box, provided at Team Iowa’s suggestion, was a $40 Visa gift card given in consideration of families going through tough times due to the pandemic or different family hardships. Team Iowa kitted everything, included a note of thanks and support from the CEO and shrinkwrapped the boxes for a professional appearance and to protect them during shipping. Each box was shipped to the employees’ residences and arrived the week before Thanksgiving. Results: Although the addition of the gift cards stretched Lesaffre’s budget for the program, it was ultimately approved, with the company’s CEO remarking, “You always think of everything.” FEATURE | Winning Client Programs 18 | MARCH 2022 |

Silver Pyramid Distributor: Impact Promotional Products Type of Client: Petrochemical Target Audience: Phillips 66 employees and external contractor personnel from 10 states, all gathering to complete a major turnaround project. Primary Objective: The campaign was intended to develop internal communications strategies to instill camaraderie, teamwork and a safety focus. Total Cost: $53,617 Strategy And Execution: In the spring of 2021, Phillips 66 was scheduled for its largest facility. This major, $185 million project, which is to be completed in phases over a 28-year period, required the entire refinery to halt regular operations in order to complete maintenance and upgrades. With teams working 12-hour shifts and completing intricate and sometimes dangerous tasks, the client wanted to communicate that each individual was responsible for safety. On the first day, each worker received cards with QR codes enabling management to provide real-time communication. During daily meetings, branded materials were distributed to crews observed exemplifying excellent safety protocol. Upon completion of the project, each individual was invited to select a recognition gift carrying the campaign graphic: a sketch developed from drone photos of the 1919-built Wilmington P66 refinery and surrounding port. Results: The campaign united 4,000 workers who captured 1,716 safety observations. If just one of these observations prevented an accident and delay, the $50,000 program cost was well returned. Not-For-Profit Gold Pyramid Distributor: Cooley Group, Inc. Type of Client: Civic nonprofit Target Audience: Community of Saratoga Springs, New York Primary Objective: Fostering the spirit of civic pride was the main goal of this fundraiser in support of the various programs The Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund backs. Local flair was showcased by unique elements of the city taking the form of Monopoly game board properties, tokens and materials. Total Cost: $40,000 Strategy And Execution: This fundraiser was unlike any typical promotional products sale. Cooley Group purchased the rights to develop a customized Monopoly game for a key community organization after receiving support from the City of Saratoga Springs Chamber of Commerce. A Cooley Group brand consultant worked with local companies and organizations to arrange sponsorships of game tokens and board properties, selling naming rights of individual properties and transforming Boardwalk into the iconic Saratoga Race Course. These sponsorships, as well as the inclusion of other Saratoga Springs landmarks and localisms completely transformed a traditional game board into one that was customized for the area, serving as a symbol of community pride for both residents and visitors. Working with its supplier, Cooley Group managed all details of production and delivery of the 5,000 game boards, adhering to the strict requirements of game-maker Hasbro. Results: The client was thrilled with the results and enjoyed a net return-on-investment of $210,000, all of which went directly to the community fund to support local organizations and initiatives. The games sold out. Winning Client Programs | FEATURE | MARCH 2022 | 19

Not-For-Profit Silver Pyramid Distributor: Concepts & Associates, Inc. Type of Client: School Target Audience: Approximately 1,000 past donors and Birmingham, Alabama community members Primary Objective: Cornerstone Schools of Alabama, which provides an affordable alternative to public schools with every student receiving tuition assistance, hosts an annual event— Schoolhouse Rock—to raise funds and awareness for its mission while creating value for its donors. With the event rendered unfeasible because of the pandemic, the client wanted to deliver a positive at-home experience for would-be attendees. Total Cost: $27,000 Strategy And Execution: Cornerstone adjusted its program for meal pickup and deliveries, with guests receiving party packages that included branded cups, face masks, hand sanitizer, caps and sunglasses packed inside a branded cooler tote that also featured a list of major sponsors. Concepts & Associates fully customized every aspect and included unique visibility for the highest-level sponsors. Once delivered, products were packed in the coolers the week of the event. Meals and beverages were added the day of the meal pickups and deliveries. Results: Determined to create value, visibility and drive event sales for a different kind of event, Cornerstone raised $205,000— an increase from its typical draw of $150,000-200,000. Sales Incentive Gold Pyramid Distributor: Boundless Type of Client: Technology Target Audience: 2020’s top-performing sales personnel of the client, Pure Storage, as well as their families. Primary Objective: Each year, Pure Storage rewards over 250 of its top salespeople with an extravagant trip to an exotic location; past winners have gone to Hawaii, France and the Mediterranean. Because of restrictions on travel, the objective was to continue the tradition in a COVID-safe fashion, letting recipients choose their own travel destination reward when they are ready to travel. Total Cost: $64,000 Strategy And Execution: To capitalize on travel nostalgic trends, Boundless sourced a leather duffel similar to those once carried by Pan Am flight attendants in the 1960s and ’70s, which came in Pure Storage’s trademark orange color and featured an equally custom interior liner. The duffel included a travel voucher, which top sellers could use to travel anywhere they wanted with their families, with a generous 18-month expiration date. The duffel also included coordinated passport wallets, luggage tags and other travel-friendly goods for people of all ages. Boundless and its Chinese manufacturing partner astutely anticipated a deluge of ocean freight issues and backed up stateside docks, working ahead to ensure that the duffels arrived before deadline. Results: When the coveted reward was in doubt, the duffle surprise created a memorable experiential moment for key sales leaders. With ample time to execute, Boundless looked overseas to design the duffel and almost all of the accessory items, saving the client $16,000 from its initial budget. FEATURE | Winning Client Programs 20 | MARCH 2022 |

Social Responsibility Gold Pyramid Distributor: HALO Type of Client: Software Service Target Audience: 290 employees of LogMeIn, a provider of software-asa-service and cloud-based remote work tools Primary Objective: The client’s program, WE@LogMeIn, was created to empower and honor women while improving company culture and employee engagement. Total Cost: $2,500 (plus worldwide freight) Strategy And Execution: LogMeIn came to HALO looking for ideas to celebrate Women’s History Month for their women-empowering WE@LogMeIn employee resource group, with a special interest in products that supported a give-back initiative. HALO brainstormed ideas and ultimately found an opportunity to work with Peace by Piece International and their partner, Creamos, a nonprofit organization providing opportunities for women living in the communities of Guatemala City Garbage Dump (GCGD). Employees participating in WE@LogMeIn were able to sign up to receive a handmade scrunchie made by the women Creamos served and to send a scrunchie to an amazing woman in their lives. Each scrunchie was created using traditional Guatemalan fabric. A romance card was attached to each item, explaining who made the scrunchie and how it impacted another woman’s life in Guatemala, complete with her signature. The goal was to empower one woman and honor another. Results: LogMeIn has several internal programs at the company to celebrate employees with the goal to further develop employee engagement and a culture of inclusion. This project had the highest adoption rate for the WE@LogMeIn program for the employee resource group to date, with a total of 145 participants. Trade Show/Exhibit Traffic Gold Pyramid Distributor: HALO Type of Client: Health care system Target Audience: 200 attendees of a Health Management Systems (HMS) invite-only virtual conference Primary Objective: With an event theme revolving around energy and innovation and moving health care forward, HMS partnered with HALO to create kits supporting excitement and interactivity for its full-day seminar. Total Cost: $19,685 Strategy And Execution: For its Momentum 20/20 virtual event, HMS wanted the items chosen for this kit to each have a specific purpose. The all-day event began with a morning of high energy, fueled by a travel coffee press, coffee tumbler and gourmet coffee grounds, paired with a Special K bar. A healthy snack tube filled with an array of nuts and raisins was included for healthy snacking later in the day. The kit came with a tripod light, a functional item for the conference and beyond, encouraging attendees to show themselves in the “best light” while on virtual calls. As the event came to an end, HMS held a virtual happy hour complete with the Moscow mule kits and copper mugs. Many of the items came in custom full-color packaging that included the HMS Momentum slogan. Opening each item on its own gave attendees an exciting unboxing experience as they “revealed” each item. Results: Other departments within HMS inquired about mimicking the kit for their upcoming needs and events. The Momentum kit helped HMS to influence $6.5 million worth of open opportunities. Winning Client Programs | FEATURE | MARCH 2022 | 21

Ellis is the publisher and editor-in-chief at PPAI. Trade Show/Exhibit Traffic Silver Pyramid Distributor: Advertising Premium Sales Type of Client: Event planner Target Audience: Genomic scientists from around the world Primary Objective: The client, AGBT, is a world-renowned provider of three prestigious conference and networking events for the life sciences and global biotech community. AGBT expected the swag boxes to increase the amount of early registrants to its first virtual Annual International Conference. Total Cost: $52,324 Strategy And Execution: AGBT wanted to offer each sponsor the opportunity to provide an item for its swag box, so Advertising Premium Sales compiled a “shopping list” of fitting items for the attendees that the sponsors could choose from. Each sponsor then selected an item and the distributor team worked to ensure their individual artwork was perfect and the item exceeded expectations. Advertising Premium Sales partnered with The Chest (PPAI 111653, S6) to deliver more than 700 packages worldwide on deadline, bundling print collateral from many of the sponsors. Results: Close to 700 participants registered early, one of the largest early turnouts AGBT has ever had for its annual conference. FEATURE | Winning Client Programs 22 | MARCH 2022 |

www.ThePremiumLine.com ASI 79370 | PPAI 143619 | SAGE 63814 | UPIC PREM0018 family owned since 1985 All pricing 4R - Pricing includes a one-color, one-position imprint Set-up of $45.00 (V) applies 50 piece minimum - For orders less than 50 pieces add a $28.00 less than minimum charge Multi-color Premium Process Printing 100 piece minimum - $1.40 per piece run charge (V) WA R M C OM F Y R E V E R S I B L E S H E R PA T H ROW T H E AL L - I N - O N E B LA N K E T A S I 7 9 3 7 0 | P P A I 1 4 3 6 1 9 S A G E 6 3 8 1 4 | U P I C P R E M 0 0 1 8 A L L P R I C I N G R Q T Y P R I C E 50 $27.10 100 $24.65 250 $22.90 500 $21.30 Q T Y P R I C E 50 $21.70 100 $19.25 250 $18.35 500 $17.05 Q T Y P R I C E 50 $31.75 100 $28.90 250 $26.85 500 $25.00 M I CRO M I N K FAU X F U R T H ROW

John k studio / shutterstock.com compiled by Danielle Renda As A Distributor, How Should I Handle Surcharges? With many suppliers now imposing a fee on credit card payments, how are distributors handling this added cost with their clients? Q A Distributor Asks: Many suppliers now implement a surcharge when using a credit card to pay for purchases. Some of them don’t allow any other type of payment for new clients. What are distributors doing with their clients? If distributors are charging a fee, do they lose the sale or the customer? Or must the gross percentage be increased to cover the expense of the credit card processing? The quickest way for a supplier to lose our business is if they charge a card fee. It’s not my fault if they aren’t good negotiators and are incurring high processing rates. We apply the same thinking to our customers and absorb the fees as a cost of doing business. It’s not their fault that we like the convenience of being paid sooner rather than later, nor is it their fault if our business is not getting the best rate possible. These high-priced fees are a sign that somebody is or has fallen asleep at the wheel. CHRIS POLLAN President and Owner Pollan Promos Starkville, Mississippi PPAI 276409, D2 I only pay by credit card to a new supplier once. If I haven’t got terms set up by the time the second order is placed, I’ll pay it again but insist on setting up net 30 for order No. 3. I do not charge any fee for clients using their cards although I do request a check or get them set up on terms withme as soon as possible. But sometimes they have to use a card based on their departmental rules, so it’s just the cost of doing business. SCOTT CAPPEL, MAS President and Founder Sorrento Mesa Promo San Diego PPAI 609965, D1 I usually absorb the fee on both ends. About half of my suppliers charge a fee if they use a credit card. I get points, which probably don’t wash totally, but it helps. If it is a larger amount, over $1,000, it is as cheap to overnight a check, which I do sometimes, especially if the order is timely. If the supplier doesn’t charge a fee I make a nice bonus withmy points for paying with a credit card. As for clients, almost all my business is a credit card. If it is over $1,000, I’ll try to get a check, but even on a $4,000 order, the fee is worth it to havemymoney now rather than have to chase someone down for payment later. JOHN BAGWELL, CAS President Bagwell Marketing Dallas PPAI 336431, D2 I have always absorbed the fee. It’s part of the overhead cost of business. I do try to avoid suppliers that charge the fee. Sometimes I’ll add $5 to the set up or a few dollars to the shipping to cover some of that cost. Do the online companies charge a fee? They aremy competition. HELEN GOLDMAN Owner Primo Promos, LLC Phoenix PPAI 284438, D2 24 | MARCH 2022 | INNOVATE

Q A Distributor Asks: To increase our efficiency, we’re looking to create a 10-question form to email clients beforehand, even before the brainstorming begins. I noticed that we are paying a lot of attention to details when many of my clients already have specifics in mind, or are more concerned with the dollar amount. What should we ask? • What event/purpose will you use these items for? • Do you already have a theme for the event/purpose? • What is your ideal budget? • What is your ideal quantity? • Do prefer to use your full-color logo or can we use your one-color logo? • Who is the recipient of the items? (Include an ideal client description.) JANICE R. MEANS President, Marketing with JR Former President, Fully Promoted (EmbroidMe) Chicago • Who is your target market? • What is your in-hands date? • Do you have a high-resolution vector logo? • Do you need artwork design? • What do you hope to accomplish by giving away this item? THERESA DECOURSEY ZIDE Owner-Operator ManaTee Promotions Rockledge, Florida PPAI 719572, D1 Do You Have An Answer? A Distributor Asks: The industry has gone from advertising specialties to promotional products. What do you think of the more casual terminology “swag” or “merch” to describe our products? What’s Your Answer? Email answers along with your name, title and company name to question@ppai.org for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of PPB magazine. PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC:101273 www.americanaccents.com 888.287.7883 PERFECT FOR... Interior print optional ѭ 8FRUQJ PNYX ѭ 5WTIZHY UFHPFLNSL ѭ 8ZGXHWNUYNTS GT]JX ѭ <JQHTRJ PNYX ѭ FSI RTWJ We have over 60 sizes to choose from! Full color digital imprint No die cut fees Quick turnarounds Easy to assemble Self locking Need Mailing Boxes? Made & printed in the USA Packing tissue paper available 5 Piece minimums | MARCH 2022 | 25 INNOVATE

Bes t Of Expo by Danielle Renda Fashion Forward Trends at The PPAI Expo in January underscored socially mindful themes while leaning into function and comfort. As always, fashion is reflective of its time— and these are certainly unique times, as evidenced at The PPAI Expo 2022. A can’t-miss event for industry distributors and suppliers looking to source new products, make gainful connections and celebrate creativity, more than 700 exhibiting supplier companies gathered in Las Vegas to showcase the latest options in product design, customization and packaging. The apparel on display was particularly of the moment, indicating changes in consumer needs and preferences over the last few years, which were influenced by greater societal changes. The push from corporate wear to casual and then comfortable understandably emerged from the onset of the coronavirus, which saw stay-athome mandates, business closures and a mass transition to remote work. Coziness as a trend has stuck and is likely to stay. According to Future 26 | MARCH 2022 | INNOVATE

Workforce Report 2021: How Remote Work Is Changing Business Forever—a report by freelancing platform Upwork—40.7 million Americans are projected to work remotely by 2025, which is more than double the number of pre-pandemic remote workers. The home-wear market, which has shaped into a mix of loungewear and activewear that would be considered “Zoom-appropriate”—hence, “upgraded” lounge and playwear. When not on their webcams, consumers are happier than ever to throw on sweats, make some popcorn and cozy up inside with a good movie from the endless scroll of Netflix or other streaming platforms. When millions of people first quarantined at home, many of them sought new ways to keep busy and active, experience a sense of adventure and find peace of mind—and this quest led them to the great outdoors. By now, most of us have discovered new outdoor activities we enjoy, from running, hiking and camping, to fishing, rock climbing and nature photography. However, the majority of people could benefit from an option that’s also wearable enough for every day. Consumers are searching for functional solutions to encourage continued activity and help them to meet and exceed personal and fitness goals. Brands are seizing the opportunity to take their impact a step further by partnering with nonprofits dedicated to environmental action. Continued education and awareness on diversity and inclusivity, coupled with the blurring lines of gender, has led to an increased call for gender-fluid fashions. Allowing brands to design clothing for all consumers and body types, rather than targeting a specific gender, is not a “trend,” but likely here to stay. Also referred to as “genderless” or “unisex” fashion, gender-fluid collections feature items that extend beyond track suits and hoodies, and also include skirts and dresses. Given the unique social climate we’re in and the opportunity for brands to connect with new consumer pools, some suppliers on the show floor tapped the magic of loud, in-your-facing branding—in a most fashionable way, of course. Allover dye-sublimated clothing was a technique first made popular in the ’90s, but it’s one that produces designs that are vibrant and permanent, and thus have the potential to be memorable. And according to show floor exhibitors, it’s back in a bigger, more vibrant way this year. Read on for a selection of trending wearables seen at The PPAI Expo this year. All In Good Fashion The All Weather Jacket provides recipients with functional outerwear that celebrates your client’s brand year-round. Windproof, waterproof and breathable, this nylon jacket, with a minimum order quantity of one, can be customized to your recipients’ particular needs and preferences. Useful year-round, choose to add on a removable hood or right and/or left chest pockets, and select from various fit options: ultra-slim to ultra-full, and short, regular, or long length. Available in 21 colors and in inclusive sizing, men’s XS-5XL and women’s XXS-4XL. Hexa|Custom / PPAI 767010, S1 / www.hexacustom.com The Original MAX Hat is available for a 30-day turnaround, and is a unisex option for everyday use and all types of weather. Available in a lowprofile unstructured or mid-profile structured style, choose from premium brushed cotton or premium twill fabric. The cap includes two free logos and a free logo set-up, and secures with a hook-and-loop closure. Whether you’re advertising a new bar, a landscaping business or an outdoor company, this cap will get the message across in a way that’s trendy and wear-worthy. Max Apparel USA / PPAI 319435, S6 / www.maxapparel.com