PPAI Magazine September 2023

The Wishlist End-User Holiday Gifting Survey p. 58 MEDIA.PPAI.ORG 09.23 IN THIS ISSUE Listen Better, Sell More p. 42 Dan Pantano, alphabroder p. 46 2023 Consumer Study p. 52 The Art of Promo p. 68

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4 From PPAI Putting Culture First 8 Feedback Essentials 13 Creative Calendar 14 Use Case Into The Woods 20 In Style Get Cozy 24 Good Taste How Sweet It Is! Voices 32 Solutions Time Is Money 36 Responsibility Greener By The Numbers 40 Innovation Training A New User? 42 Your Business Listening On A Deeper Level Must Read 58 The Wishlist PPAI’s 2023 Holiday Gifting Survey 62 Promotional Products Work Poppin’ Promos Community 84 Buzzworthy 86 PPPC Communiqué 87 Inside PPAI 94 New Members 99 Datebook 104 Perfect Promo CONTENTS 09.23 The Art of Promo These suppliers and distributors are leading in design excellence, earning PPAI Pyramid Awards in Supplier Decorating for their technique and craftsmanship. 68 VOLUME 47, ISSUE 07 Hungry For Promo PPAI’s 2023 Consumer Study reveals that Americans increasingly crave, engage with and value promotional products. 52 Dan Pantano A rookie to the PPAI Board of Directors in 2023, alphabroder CEO and president Dan Pantano discusses the importance of enabling small businesses, the future of the industry and more. 46 68 52 46 PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 3

From PPAI Kevin Walsh, CAS Chair of the Board 09.23 In this industry, we strive to make things easy on our clients, first and foremost. And the best way to accomplish that, I’ve found throughout my career, is to build teams that are capable, happy and motivated. Putting Culture First WITH THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER now behind us, I hope you had a chance to recharge, because the busy season for our industry has arrived. The back-to-school rush may be tapering off, but holiday orders are flowing, and you may even be working with clients on how to allocate their 2024 budgets. This can be a stressful time each year. As leaders, our job is to make sure our companies accomplish all the things that need to get done without passing on any of that stress to our employees and customers. In this industry, we strive to make things easy on our clients, first and foremost. And the best way to accomplish that, I’ve found throughout my career, is to build teams that are capable, happy and motivated. This should be a top priority no matter whether you are a one-person show looking to make your first hire, you oversee a small or mid-size team with hopes of growth, or if you’ve got hundreds of employees scattered across multiple states or continents. Speaking alongside Jim Thomsen, our vice president of customer success at Showdown Displays, I recently discussed the importance of company culture during PPAI’s North American Leadership Conference. At Showdown, we believe that customer experience is a byproduct of our employee experience, and our success is rooted in our commitment to an employee-first mentality. To that end, our internal culture has led us to win numerous international honors for customer service that are the pride of our entire team. At Showdown Displays, we engage employees in several ways. We make fun a priority throughout the workplace, recognize performance, incentivize progress, celebrate success and clearly define career paths for each of our team members. Each of these warrant consideration in your own organization if you don’t already. But first things first, hire for culture fit. You can always train someone to follow a process. But you can’t train their character, personality or passion. It might be surprising to learn that we’ve pursued a similar effort at PPAI with its own staffing. With support of the board, PPAI recently engaged a partner company to help the Association’s leaders and hiring managers construct models of the ideal personality fits for each position. This methodical approach provides staff with the guidance to make the right hire the first time. As we continue to build the organization to support the Association’s strategic plan, this approach will help us fine-tune the culture to best deliver on the needs of our member community. Cultivating a positive culture is an investment – one of many PPAI has made internally – to ensure we deliver on our shared goals. Change is always challenging and at times uncertain. However, by prioritizing culture in this way, we will not only build a world-class organization, increasing employee retention and engagement, but most importantly, also deliver a positive, engaging and value-added experience for you, our PPAI members. 4 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI


PPAI® PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Josh Ellis JoshE@ppai.org DEPUTY EDITOR James Khattak JamesK@ppai.org NEWS EDITORS Jonny Auping JonnyA@ppai.org John Corrigan JohnC@ppai.org ASSOCIATE EDITORS Kristina Valdez KristinaV@ppai.org Rachel Zoch RachelZ@ppai.org RESEARCH MANAGER Robert Fitzpatrick RobertF@ppai.org ART DIRECTION SPARK Publications SPARKpublications.com 704-844-6080 ADVERTISING MANAGEMENT ACCOUNT MANAGERS Connie Brazil 972-258-3064 ConnieB@ppai.org Taylor Coward 972-258-3033 TaylorC@ppai.org Heather Mangold 972-258-3067 HeatherM@ppai.org Sandy Mendoza 972-258-3019 SandyM@ppai.org ADVERTISING CONTACT Amy Weisman 972-258-3080 AmyW@ppai.org PRESIDENT & CEO Dale Denham, MAS+ 888-I-AM-PPAI DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Lindsey Davis, MAS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT Alan Peterson DIRECTOR OF FINANCE Brigitte Rousseau, CPA, MBA VICE PRESIDENT, REVENUE AND EXPOSITIONS Ellen Tucker, MAS, CAE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Keith Vincent BOARD OFFICERS CHAIR OF THE BOARD Kevin Walsh, CAS Showdown Displays IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR Dawn Olds, MAS HALO CHAIR-ELECT OF THE BOARD Andrew Spellman, CAS Therabody VICE CHAIR, FINANCE SERVICES Denise Taschereau Fairware BOARD MEMBERS TERM EXPIRING 2024 Tom Goos, MAS Image Source AT-LARGE DIRECTOR TERM EXPIRING 2024 Melissa Ralston, Koozie Group TERMS EXPIRING 2025 Karie Cowden, MAS Connect the Dots Promotions Andrew Spellman, CAS Therabody TERMS EXPIRING 2026 Chris Anderson HPG Denise Taschereau Fairware TERMS EXPIRING 2027 Dan Pantano alphabroder Joshua White BAMKO REGIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE DELEGATE TERM EXPIRING 2027 Kara Keister, MAS Social Good Promotions 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 PPAI MAGAZINE: 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 PPAI MAGAZINE: Download a media kit with rates and specs for all PPAI print and digital publications at media.ppai.org, or call 972-258-3019 or email mediasales@ppai.org. WRITE FOR PPAI MAGAZINE: 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 PPAI’s Writer’s Guidelines available at media.ppai.org/submit-content. Promotional Products Association International 6 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

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Send feedback on articles in PPAI Magazine or opinions on industry issues to JamesK@ppai.org. Feedback 09.23 Mix3R / Shutterstock.com Welcoming PPAI’s Incoming Board Leaders In July, PPAI named its incoming board officers for 2024. Andrew Spellman, CAS, board chair; Denise Taschereau, incoming chair; Chris Anderson, vice chair, financial services; and Kevin Walsh, CAS, immediate past chair, will begin their one-year terms immediately following The PPAI Expo 2024. Congratulations to all! PPAI is blessed by the amazing talent available for its leadership. It is this strength and caliber of membership that has made promotional products the most professional, effective and important sector of the advertising industry worldwide. I hope to be able to visit The PPAI Expo again soon to renew old acquaintances – especially my fellow members of the PPAI Hall of Fame. And a special shout-out to Denise Taschereau from a former president and CEO of PPPC. Kurt Reckziegel President and CEO (Retired) Promotional Products Association of Canada The Next Generation In a PPAI Media Voices column, “How Promo Can Attract Future Leaders,” AIA CEO Nancy Schmidt shares her thoughts on attracting young professionals to the promotional products industry. Amazing article, and we totally agree with so many of the stated points. As someone newer in the industry, engaging with suppliers, distributors and all those involved is the best way to learn! Hopefully, we can all come together collaboratively and create a program for the younger generation. Justin Tsou Tomax City of Industry, California PPAI 113176, S6 Tech Tool Best Practices A July PPAI Media article, “Tech Tools Enable Interactive Promo To Keep Users’ Attention For The Long Haul,” shone a spotlight on QR codes and near-field communication (NFC) and the opportunities the technologies pose for companies operating in the promotional merchandise field. Good stuff. As much as I like NFC – so much that I put a chip in my hand during a slow quarantine day – I prefer QR codes for clients. NFCs are typically invisible, meaning that unless your design or imprint shows where the chip is and prompts the recipient to scan, it goes unnoticed. QRs, on the other hand, are recognizable as something to be scanned. Sure, they can look ugly, but DuckDuckGo “QR code Midjourney” to see some cool AI solutions for that. You might need to upsell a second imprint location for the QR code – but hey, that’s just a bonus for you! One more thing, use URL parameters to personalize your digital destination. Your client’s marketing technology team will know! Eric Granata Chief Technology Officer Brand Fuel Raleigh, North Carolina PPAI 277900, D8 8 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS TO BE UNIVERSALLY VALUED Essentials 09.23 GOOD TASTE How Sweet It Is! Sweeten your promo this holiday season with custom cookies and other treats. page 24 CREATIVE CALENDAR p. 13 USE CASE p. 14 IN STYLE p. 20 Marina Tachinska / Shutterstock.com PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 11

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Creative Calendar | Essentials If this calendar is helpful or if you have ideas for ways that we can better provide this information, email the editors at magazine@ppai.org October 1 NATIONAL PUMPKIN SPICE DAY 14 NATIONAL CHESS DAY 30 NATIONAL CHOCOLATE DAY November 4 NATIONAL CANDY DAY 15 NATIONAL PHILANTHROPY DAY 26 NATIONAL CAKE DAY December NATIONAL WOMEN’S SMALL BUSINESS MONTH Product idea: Keep this Game Set at the office or take it when you travel. Inside the wooden box is everything you need for a fun game of cards, dice, chess, checkers, dominoes or cribbage. Koozie Group / PPAI 114187, S13 kooziegroup.com 4 NATIONAL SOCK DAY 15 NATIONAL CUPCAKE DAY 29 NATIONAL BACON DAY Exceptional Promotions NATIONAL GRATITUDE MONTH Product idea: The Slice’N Serve-It works in any kitchen. Its strong, sleek design stands up to the thickest of cakes or pies. The serrated edge cuts through tough crusts. It’s also top rack dishwasher safe. Evans Manufacturing / PPAI 110747, S10 evans-mfg.com SPECIAL OBSERVANCES CALL FOR NATIONAL TIE MONTH Product idea: Get a grip with this Bacon-Shaped Stress Reliever. Perfect for restaurants or food service workers, this stress reliever is the perfect gag gift. Ariel Premium Supply / PPAI 161650, S11 arielpremium.com Use these special occasions to ignite your imagination for relevant – and distinct – client promotions. Compiled by Kristina Valdez PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 13

Essentials | Use Case Into The Woods Industry pros reveal the products they use, the products they want and the products they would suggest. These insiders' picks are perfect for stargazing in the great outdoors. Compiled by Kristina Valdez ALLYSON KOSKO, MAS Program Manager APISource PPAI 102261, D10 Greenbelt, Maryland Kosko faithfully uses this handy bowl. “I use my Gemline W&P Porter ceramic bowl faithfully for lunch every day. The silicone sleeve around the bowl and secure lid would make it perfect for camping. The silicone sleeve keeps the bowl safe, and the lid keeps bugs out of my food.” The Porter Bowl is a premium ceramic lunch bowl that features a protective silicone wrap, rigid plastic lid and snap-tight silicone strap. Perfect for wherever life may take you, it can eliminate more than 200 days’ worth of plastic takeout packaging each year. Gemline / PPAI 113948, S11 / gemline.com The Porter Bowl can eliminate more than 200 days’ worth of plastic takeout packaging each year. AstroStar / Shutterstock.com 14 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

Use Case | Essentials Kosko wants to try a personal coffee press, a coffee lover’s dream on the go. “I must have my coffee! I would love to try the Bodum Tribute Coffee Press with Double Wall Beaker from Hirsch. It says it’s easy to use and clean. Yes, please!” The Bodum Tribute Press Coffee Maker is a stylish and unique way to enjoy your morning coffee. Based on the beloved French press brewing system, this coffee maker features a stainless-steel double wall body that keeps your coffee hotter for longer. Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10 / hirschpromo.com Kosko would suggest a multi-purpose tool like the Portable Solar Charger Bank with LED light, SOS mode, carabiner and compass from Active Life Promo. “No matter what kind of camping you’re doing, this all-in-one item makes it perfect to take along with you.” Active Life Promo PPAI 436753, S1 activelifepromo.com No Minimums FREE SETUP Aluminum Hex Frame Tent EQP Sale! PPAI/582106 SAGE/50398 Go To DiscountMarketingProducts.com to see all Sale Display Kits Valid thru 8/31/23 1.75” Post 1.2mm Guage ABS Nylon Connectors Full Color Imprint Free PMS Color Matches Free Wheeled Carry Bag TCT11100 - 10’x10’ Aluminum Hex Frame Tent Regular Price $872 (C) Now Just Must use Promo Code PP0923 $773 (C) Valid thru 12/31/23 5 on Frame Add full back wall printed 1 side for just $215(C) PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 15

Essentials | Use Case TYLER MERRIAM, MAS President/Co-owner Adirondack Awards and Promotions PPAI 276905, D2 Lake Placid, New York Merriam faithfully uses this giant jug. “I’m a big fan of the RTIC Gallon Jug. It’s simple, well made and the perfect size for an overnight trip for two people. I wouldn’t carry it on a backpacking or canoe camping trip, but it’s a great addition for a short-term car camping or glamping trip where staying hydrated is still key.” RTIC Jugs are made with stainless steel and are double-wall vacuum insulated. This keeps drinks ice-cold longer, plus it works for hot beverages. There’s an extra-wide opening for easy filling, drinking and cleaning. Diamondback Branding / PPAI 655170, S6 diamondbackbranding.com Merriam wants to try this car-friendly cooler. “I’ve definitely wanted to try the Herschel Pop Quiz 12-Can Cooler. Herschel has a great reputation for quality products, and I love that they use recycled fabric to manufacture this and other coolers. Plus, the key clip bottle opener is a nice touch.” PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15 / pcna.com Merriam would suggest this safety gear. “I always suggest that clients consider headlamps as a great camping product. They’re practical and convenient and have a high chance of being used and seen in a variety of circumstances. A rechargeable option, like the Wave Sensor LED Rechargeable Headlight, has the added benefit of impressions both while in use and while charging.” Starline / PPAI 112719, S10 / starline.com “Herschel has a great reputation for quality products, and I love that they use recycled fabric to manufacture this and other coolers.” 16 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

Use Case | Essentials AMELIA MADL Vice President of Supplier Sales PromoCorner PPAI 110698 Middleboro, Massachusetts Madl wants to try a campsite must-have. “Once you get settled at your campsite, it’s nice to relax and unwind. I’d love to test out the Basecamp Hammock. They are lightweight, include a carrying pouch and even have a beverage holder so you don’t have to worry about knocking over your drink. It will also hold up to 500 pounds, so there is plenty of space for the kids to climb in and cuddle.” SnugZ USA / PPAI 112982, S11 / snugzusa.com Madl would suggest something to sit in around the campfire. “A must-have is a good camping chair. If you camp like I do, there is a lot of sitting happening, and a good chair can be the difference between enjoying your outing or needing a massage at the end of your trip. I prefer a chair that has a drink holder and a deeper pocket to store your phone or sunglasses in when not using them. Camping chairs are so versatile. I also keep one in my car most of the year, just in case there isn’t seating at my kids’ sports events.” The Sourcing Department / PPAI 223864, S6 brentwoodline.com Madl faithfully uses this durable cooler. “Camping is all about the great outdoors, and the one thing that has to be packed is the cooler. For camping, I prefer something that can take a beating and will keep my beverages chilled for days. Pelican offers several sizes to choose from so you are covered for a day outing or an extended weekend. Plus, they are made in the USA and have a lifetime guarantee.” The 80-Quart Pelican Elite wheeled cooler performs to the highest of standards, better and tougher than any other cold locker or icebox. Extreme insulation keeps ice for up to eight days. Logomark / PPAI 110898, S11 / logomark.com PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 17

Essentials | Use Case RENEE HOLMES Sales Coordinator Brand Fuel PPAI 277900, D8 Raleigh, North Carolina Holmes faithfully uses this bug repellent. “One of my favorite products that I have sampled for myself recently is the Mosquito Repelling Lantern from PCNA. I personally love to unwind with a cocktail after work and watch the sunset in my front yard, but the mosquitos and flies will ruin the whole vibe in a matter of minutes. Problem solved! I can just hang this powerful little lantern from a lowhanging tree branch and let it work its magic, saving both the evening and my sanity. I know that this will be packed away on my next camping adventure, and it’s rechargeable, so no batteries are ever required, which is a major plus in my book.” PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15 / pcna.com Holmes would suggest the secret tool to make the perfect cup of Joe. “This product is not necessarily marketed as outdoor, but I can Asobu-lutely see it fitting right into a camping or glamping product presentation right along with the lanterns PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 888.287.7883 www.americanaccents.com Scan for more info! Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums Printed in the USA 50 piece minimums CORK COASTERS • 170+ stock shapes available • Custom shapes available • Digitally die cut; no extra fee • Digitally printed with 4-Color process • Made from 1/8” fine grain cork 18 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

Use Case | Essentials and grills. Coffee lovers cannot live without that morning cup, so the Asobu Pourover from Ad-N-Art would be my best suggestion in this case. All that is required to brew your hot coffee is the ground coffee itself plus hot water, and let the Pourover do the rest. Plus, the stainless-steel carafe stores 32 ounces and keeps it hot for 12 hours so you are all set for the entire day.” Ad-N-Art / PPAI 236926, S4 / adnart.com Holmes wants to try this portable grill. “I’ve had my eye on the Coleman Roadtrip Party Grill from IMAGEN Brands for a while now. It is absolutely the perfect camping companion! It comes complete with a carrying case for easy transport, has a push-button starter and an adjustable burner that is fueled off your standard propane cylinders. It states that the propane lasts for up to 2.5 hours on high, so you can cook your meal and fire it up later for s’mores and probably start all over the next day. I’ve already imagined several scenarios that this would come in handy, like camping and tailgating, or just grilling whenever inspiration strikes.” IMAGEN Brands / PPAI 114197, S10 / imagenbrands.com Valdez is an associate editor at PPAI. Retractable Ballpoint 9 Vibrant Colors Metal Clip Medium Black Ink EQP Sale Priced Thru 12/31/23 $.76(C) The All New... with the smoothest writing ink Perfect for Fall Events! #BK470 PPAI/113818 SAGE/56440 Pentelimprint.com PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 19

Igisheva Maria / Shutterstock.com 20 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI Essentials | In Style Get Cozy The shacket still rules when it comes to trends in outerwear for the colder months, and versatility and functionality remain top of mind for end users. By Rachel Zoch EL NIÑO WHO? Despite the record heat across the globe this summer, fall and winter are sure to bring chilly days. (Not to mention overzealous air conditioning in the office.) Brandable gear for cold weather, from jackets to beanies and beyond, makes a great foundation for or addition to any corporate apparel program, and it keeps your client’s brand visible as wearers layer up. 1. A one-size branded knit cap, like this Leeman Trellis Knit Beanie, can be an easy but effective giveaway. The rayon/ poly/nylon blend fiber is woven in a diamond trellis pattern for added style and texture, and the faux leather patch on the front cuff is ready for debossing. Available in three colors (oatmeal shown). alphabroder / PPAI 156993, S16 / alphabroder.com “Overall, branded jackets and vests offer a combination of professionalism, brand visibility and functionality, and build employee satisfaction, making them popular choices for corporate apparel items,” says Mitch Silver, vice president of sales and marketing for Chicagobased distributor Printable. Silver recommends Trimark for outerwear. “They have a fantastic selection of jackets and vests at a range of price points and also offer decoration services, which for distributors is a great one-invoice solution,” he says. “And with their Proud Path initiative, almost all product categories have a recycled material, environmental or social responsibility offering in them.”

PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 21 In Style | Essentials 2. Made from recycled polyester, the Trimark Asgard Eco Knit Jacket features multiple pockets and an anti-pill, textured exterior that is breathable, moisture-wicking and offers UPF 40+ sun protection. Available in men’s S-5X and women’s XS-3X, and five colors (dark charcoal shown). PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15 / pcna.com Jackets are a staple of any outerwear wardrobe, but this year, the shacket rules. Judith Jones of WhoWhatWear defines the shacket as “a slightly oversize shirt-jacket hybrid” that makes “the absolute perfect layering piece through fall, winter and spring.” Many promo suppliers offer shackets, with new designs emerging this fall. California-based supplier Fossa Apparel is introducing a reversible shacket inspired by its bestselling Adapt vest, with diamond quilting (another enduring trend) on a water-resistant exterior and soft flannel on the inside. “This is our first take on a shirt jacket, but it’s such a hot category in retail,” says Michelle Chen, president of Fossa Apparel. “You have the versatility of enjoying both sides, and people just love the concept of reversible wear. I mean, it’s kind of getting two for the price of one.” 3. The Diverge, a new, fully reversible 2-in-1 insulated shacket, features a waterresistant, diamond-quilted nylon exterior paired with a rugged but soft plaid flannel interior. The insulation of each shacket, available in men’s and women’s styles, contains at least four recycled plastic bottles. FOSSA Apparel / PPAI 330885, S1 fossaapparel.com Vicki Ostrom, trend analyst/futurist with PPAI 100 No. 1 supplier SanMar, thinks the trend toward longer lengths in outerwear – including SanMar’s new ladies’ shacket – stems from changing details, like larger pockets featured on the outside rather than tucked away. Inside Outside

22 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI Essentials | In Style 4. The new Mercer+Mettle Women’s Long Sleeve Twill Overshirt, made of a poly/rayon/spandex blend, offers stretch for comfort, as well as double chest pockets with button flaps and large lower patch pockets accommodated by the garment’s longer length. Available in women’s sizes XS-4S and black or gray (shown). SanMar / PPAI 110788, S16 / sanmar.com “It’s an ease-of-use concept that’s really becoming popular,” Ostrom says, “like I could carry anything I needed with me at any time. And when you have a larger pocket, you need a lot more real estate to put it on, so I think that’s part of the longer length conversation that’s going on.” Options abound for cold-weather accessories, too, from custom scarves to brandable beanies and knit caps. Bret Bonnet, co-founder and president of Illinoisbased Quality Logo Products, the No. 30 distributor of the PPAI 100, says beanies are definitely the most popular cold weather items with his customers, followed by quarter-zip fleeces. Price definitely plays a role with winter apparel, he adds, which can make for some tough conversations with clients who want a brand name but balk at the price tag. PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 Made & Printed in the USA Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums www.americanaccents.com | 888.287.7883 Scan for pricing! 50 piece minimums! BOOKMARKS •Choice of cardstock or Grip-It™ material •Several colors to choose from •Great for book fairs and school events! •Digitally die cut; no additional fee •20+ stock shapes available •Digitally printed with 4-Color process

PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 23 In Style | Essentials 5. This soft Unisex Quarter Zip Pullover Fleece, made of a blend of combed and ring-spun cotton and polyester, features hidden side pockets and a tearaway label for added comfort. Available in four colors (athletic heather shown) and sizes XS-5X. BELLA+CANVAS / PPAI 304892, S6 / bellacanvas.com Zoch is an associate editor at PPAI. “People are like, ‘Oh, I like that brand, but that’s too expensive,’” says Bonnet. “I do think a lot of companies miss the mark, though, when it comes to selecting the style or brand of apparel, because they focus too much on price. I think people are more brand-conscious when it comes to their winter gear than other categories.” But, he says, clients seem to better understand lately that if they want their promotions to work, quality matters. “An extremely high-quality winter apparel item can last for years and be something that your customers are actually proud of,” he says.

Essentials | Good Taste Marina Tachinska / Shutterstock.com How Sweet It Is! Sweeten your promo this holiday season with custom cookies and other treats. By Rachel Zoch ALMOST 20 YEARS AGO, Cookie Monster adopted the slogan “Cookies are a sometimes food” as part of a story arc about making healthier choices. But if cookies are reserved for special occasions, the holidays are definitely one of those sometimes. In anticipation of the holiday giving season, PPAI Media talked to Stephanie Rach, owner of California-based distributor and baker SuperLove Cookies & Gifts, and Mitch Silver, vice president of sales and marketing for Chicago-based distributor Printable – and self-proclaimed “voracious cookie eater” – about why cookies make great promo. 24 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

“Cookies are loved by people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Silver. “They are a universally appreciated treat, making them an ideal gift that can appeal to a wide audience.” Whether your target audience includes children or adults, he adds, most people enjoy indulging in a delicious cookie. Promo is all about making connections and memories, and a cookie is the perfect way to achieve “an immediate trigger to home connections and comfort,” says Rach. “People always comment that it’s just an immediate good feeling,” she adds. “It may go away quickly, but the memories last longer.” Plus, a gift that engages the senses, especially taste and smell, grabs the recipient’s attention in a way that apparel and hard goods simply can’t, Rach says. Food gifts also come with the potential for a low- or no-waste experience. Look for suppliers who offer keepsake containers or packaging that is recyclable or compostable so that when the goodies are gone, the wrapping doesn’t end up in a landfill. For example, SuperLove uses a food-safe, compostable wrap and offers kits with cookies stuffed in a branded tumbler or mug, which both enhances the gift and reduces the packaging needed to keep the cookies intact. “We always use eco-friendly or keepsake packaging. Everything can be discarded mindfully,” says Rach, adding that for clients with environmental and corporate social responsibility targets, promo that helps them achieve those goals is “a win for everyone.” Kits are another winner, and combining cookies with other related items, like branded recipes and cookie cutters, can help keep the sweet times coming after the initial goodies are gone. “Just thinking about freshly baked cookies make me smile,” says Roni Wright, MAS, vice president of The Book Company, a supplier based in Florida, and 2020 PPAI Hall of Fame inductee. “That’s why cookies, and in turn, cookie cookbooks, have a universal appeal. Promotional products that create a positive message, provide long-term exposure and are useful and practical always sell well.” Bottom line, she adds, cookies make people happy. Here are some sweet treats to consider for your holiday self-promos and client programs: Silver sent this Milk & Cookies Gift Box to top clients to celebrate his company’s 30th anniversary. Each includes two 8-inch cookie canisters and a shelf-stable bottle of milk in a custom-designed box. “Not only are the bite-sized cookies tasty, but the cookies can be direct mailed in airtight canisters without additional packaging,” he says. “Sofia’s can even include personalized messages on the outside of the tin, including recipient names.” Sofia’s Cookies / PPAI 481271, S1 / sofiascookies.com Send Sugar Cookie Dots solo or stuffed in a branded mug or tumbler (shown) for added impact and reduced packaging. These bite-sized sugar cookies are baked crisp and buttery to perfection, then topped with Guittard white chocolate and sprinkled with sugar in your choice of color(s). Every order contributes to care packages for military and emergency services personnel working in the U.S. and abroad. SuperLove Cookies & Gifts / PPAI 810506, D1 superlovecookies.com PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 25 Good Taste | Essentials

Stamp your client’s logo on buttery Vanilla Shortbread Cookies for a delicious way to increase brand awareness. Give them to clients as a thank-you gift, treat employees on birthdays or retirements or hand them out as party favors. Delight Patisserie / PPAI 821786 / delightpatisserie.com Cookie Shots are cookies shaped as a shot glass for a dunk-free (but slam-dunk) twist. Choose from classic chocolate chip, decadent double chocolate, rich red velvet or fragrant cinnamon churro (with vegan and kosher options). Order by individual, two or six made-to-order branded cookie shots in a custom-decorated box. Dirty Cookie / PPAI 814973, S1 / thedirtycookieoc.com Give an interactive experience with the Sugar Cookie Decorating Kit, which includes 12 sugar cookies ready to deck out with mini M&M’s, chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, rainbow nonpareils, two Nutella packets, three icing packets and two spoons in a brandable box. Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, S3 / midnitesnax.com What’s better than a cup of hot cocoa on a chilly winter night? Cocoa and cookies, of course! Give both with the Cookies, Brownies & Hot Cocoa Gift Box, which contains a dozen chewy cookies and brownies, two each of six varieties, plus two hot chocolate packets. These treats come in a silver gift box tied with a white ribbon foil-stamped with your client’s logo. Maple Ridge Farms / PPAI 114165, S8 / mapleridge.com 26 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI Essentials | Good Taste

This Holiday Cookies cookbook provides dozens of foolproof recipes for cookies, bars and savories of all textures, from simple holiday classics to more decadent fare like caramel cheesecake bars. Customize with a one-color imprint, belly band or promo page insert. The Book Company / PPAI 218850, S5 / thebookco.com For a gift that keeps on giving, try the bestselling Lodge and Fresh Beginnings Cookie Mix and Skillet Set. After baking a giant, shareable cookie using the customlabeled cookie mix, recipients can use the 6.5-inch preseasoned cast-iron skillet, which features a branded silicone sleeve handle, to cook up anything else they might want. NC Custom / PPAI 111662, S7 / nccustom.com PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 Made & Printed in the USA Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums www.americanaccents.com | 888.287.7883 Scan for pricing! •170+ stock shapes available •Custom shapes available •Digitally die cut; no additional fee •Available with or without handle •Made from 3mm white, rigid, PVC •Digitally printed with 4-Color process Handleless Rally Fan Handled Rally Fan 50 piece minimums! RALLY FANS PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 27 Good Taste | Essentials

www.boxup.com Offers Expire 9/30/23. PLUS, free shipping on a subsequent order! At checkout use promo code: PPAISANTASHIP PPAI SPECIAL! Your Message Here Get 12 FREE Custom Printed Boxes! Choose from 6 box styles, 28 sizes, and 200+ designs. Or, design your own online! Top selling 12” x 10” x 4” Display Mailer

This ready-to-assemble Gingerbread House Kit includes all the elements needed to build the memorable holiday classic, as well prominent branding on the custom-printed box. Corporate Confections / PPAI 649067, S1 corpconfections.com Beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas Plenty of people celebrate other fall and winter holidays, such as Hanukkah and Diwali. If your clients are looking for sweet treats to mark these occasions, make sure to find out the right date(s) and look for festive promo products that aren’t Christmas-themed. Both Hanukkah and Diwali festivities include lights and sweets, and both are celebrated on different dates each year. This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 7, and ends the evening of Friday, December 15. Diwali will be celebrated on Sunday, November 12 (but can be as early as October). Zoch is an associate editor at PPAI. Share a little light with a Scented Candle 2-Pack in Kraft Window Box, available in sugar cookie scent, as well as berry spice and lemon verbena. Choose silver or bronze screw-top tin with custom decoration on the lid. SnugZ USA / PPAI 112982, S11 / snugzusa.com Send sweet wishes with a Hanukkah Gift Box of individually wrapped, certified kosher brownies and cookies. Order from six to 48 pieces, with each gift presented in a holiday blue box or kraft box with festive sleeve. Fairytale Brownies / PPAI 317978, S5 / browniepromos.com PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 29 Good Taste | Essentials


IDEAS TO ADVANCE THE MARKETPLACE Voices 09.23 YOUR BUSINESS page 42 LISTENING ON A DEEPER LEVEL Customers and employees are telling you exactly how they want to communicate. Can you pick up on their cues? SOLUTIONS p. 32 RESPONSIBILITY p. 36 INNOVATION p. 40 Shchus / Shutterstock.com PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 31

Voices | Solutions Time Is Money Industry pros are quick to share expertise, insights and opinions on all things promo. Amid this batch of answered questions, distributors share how they set boundaries, fire customers and defend their work. Compiled by Kristina Valdez QA Distributor Asks: Through a referral, I’ve been working with a new restaurant client. I had done tons of T-shirt mockups, drinkware suggestions, ordered apparel samples and even corrected some issues with the PMS colors that had originally been assigned by their logo designer. But so far, they have only placed a small order for staff uniforms, as the restaurant is still under construction. They recently hired an assistant with design experience, and I’ve felt a shift. Three weeks later, the assistant wants me to “help her out,” and clarify the embroidery thread color we used on the first merch so she could get aprons done to match. It’s obvious they have gone elsewhere, but I’ve put in a lot of time and effort. How do I respond? Rise above it. Give her the info, and if she comes back, then great. At this point, you have nothing left to lose. It’s a tough lesson, but learn from it and move on. Don’t let them waste any more of your time. Best wishes and good luck. PAUL BUCHANAN Owner B. West Marketing Group Folsom, California PPAI 178448, D2 I am struggling with a similar situation. Created art and a logo and did all of the design work at no charge, with a spoken agreement that I’d get the merch orders. They are using someone else. I tried getting in touch with the original purchaser – she’s embarrassed and is blowing me off so as not to deal with it. The new purchaser just replies to me, “We are good on stock, thanks.” I have decided to send them an invoice for the work I’ve done. No amount of cajoling will convince them to use me, now they are ashamed of their bad behavior and it’s easier to say goodbye to me than look me in the eye and accept that they’ve done me wrong. JULIE WOODALL Owner HALO/Promotion Perfection Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin PPAI 716628, D1 Ljupco Smokovski / pixel creator / zieusin / Shutterstock.com 32 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

Solutions | Voices QA Distributor Asks: I need help crafting a polite and professional response. I have a customer who is complaining (via email) about multiple products she received. She reviewed and approved proofs for all these products. One item I urged her to go with a white imprint, but she insisted on a black imprint and now feels the imprint is difficult to read. I am not overly upset; I think she’s just venting. But I am struggling with a kind way to ask her what would make her feel better. I don’t want to knee-jerk offer her a discount or refund. I think if I reply in the right way, I can make her feel better. What would you say? I’d suggest doing pre-pro proofs next time so she can see the exact item with her imprint on it. If the factory does free spec samples, great. If they charge, charge her for them, and credit back a portion or all if they proceed with an order. RAY BILLOCK Owner Perfect Promotions Wadsworth, Illinois PPAI 143327, D2 Maybe something like this: I understand how disappointing it is when something doesn’t come out as anticipated. We always try our best to provide excellent service and make appropriate recommendations. Your feedback is helpful. How would you like to proceed? JODI SCHER-GAST Leader of the Pack Blue Wolf Marketing Hollywood, Florida PPAI 771778, D3 PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 Made & Printed in the USA Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums www.americanaccents.com | 888.287.7883 Scan for pricing! •Soft, durable texture adds gripping power •Custom shapes available •170+ stock shapes to choose from •Digitally die cut; no extra fee •Multiple color & size options •Digitally printed with 4-Color process GRIP-IT™ JAR OPENERS 50 piece minimums! PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 33

Voices | Solutions QA Distributor Asks: Have you found a polite, respectful way to explain to clients that time is money? I’m looking for creative ways to avoid getting stuck spending valuable time on projects that will have little to no return. Ask them upfront what their budget is and use your time accordingly. KATHRYN MCDONALD CEO The Global Toy Box Cardiff By The Sea, California PPAI 637758, D1 This will happen. You can’t avoid it, just be vigilant and professional. Ask what the purpose of the quote or the research is. In future projects, you have to decide how much value you will put into it. For example, a customer requested a quote for around 10 items in around 10,000 of each one, but never returned call or emails after quoting. A year passed by, and he called again. Guess what? I confronted the customer and let him know the time and effort that goes into a large quote. Basically, explain the value you are giving. RODOLFO PASCUAL Promotional Consultant The Vernon Company/ Pon Tu Logo San Juan, Puerto Rico PPAI 197585, D11 PPAI: 111248 | ASI: 35375 | SAGE: 50327 | UPIC: ACCENTS | DC: 101273 888.287.7883 www.americanaccents.com Scan for more info! Made & Printed in the USA Quick Turn Arounds Low Minimums • Coated paper plate • Metallic and neon ink colors available at no extra cost • 2 imprint methods available • Free PMS matching • Made from renewable resources WHITE PAPER PLATES 7” 9” 9” 100 piece minimums 34 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

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Greener By The Numbers Tracking the progress of sustainability efforts requires the right data. Here’s how to get started and what to measure. By Maurice Norris, MAS Voices | Responsibility AS ORGANIZATIONS IMPLEMENT sustainability initiatives, it is important to track their progress, success and impact. As famed management consultant Peter Drucker is credited with saying, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Where To Get Started Several tools are available to determine a company’s carbon footprint. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol has free training sessions on its website, and its guidance is divided into calculating the various levels of emissions: Scope 1, 2 and 3. • The Environmental Protection Agency describes Scope 1 emissions as generated from sources that are controlled or owned by an organization, for example, emissions associated with company-owned vehicles or furnaces. • The EPA describes Scope 2 emissions as those that are associated with the purchase of electricity, heat, steam or cooling. Even though the energy is not generated at the company’s location, Scope 2 emissions are the result of an organization’s energy use, so they are accounted for as part of that organization’s GHG calculations. • Scope 3 emissions are defined by the EPA as the result of activities from assets that are not owned or controlled by the reporting company but that the company indirectly affects in its value chains. Vaclav Volrab / Shutterstock.com 36 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI

In 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a rule to update required climate-related disclosures. This presents implications beyond large or publicly traded companies, as it requires those companies to delve into their supply chains, which often include promotional products businesses. Scope 3 emissions are an example of how although not all promo companies will be directly affected by the SEC’s proposed disclosure regulations, many industry members’ clients will be required to obtain relevant information from them. The first step in identifying your carbon footprint should be to ascertain the boundaries of your operation, specifically what items your company owns or holds investments in. This refers to buildings, vehicles and equipment. The next step involves decisions about how various calculations will be made. Depending on which carbon tracking tool a company decides to use, it may have the option to measure its carbon emissions based on either operational control or financial control: • Choosing operational control to measure carbon emissions means the company will need to consider those entities within the boundary that was determined in step one. These are items the company has operational control over and are managing as a normal part of their business. • Choosing financial control means the company is also going to be accounting for anything they might have investments in, even if those invested entities have their own management. Important parts of this decision include being as complete and accurate as possible and making a choice that can be sustained longterm, because year-over-year consistency is critical to measuring the company’s efforts. After these initial determinations, logistical endeavors can begin, such as figuring out who has access to the company’s utility bills and who has the relevant data for the needed calculations. These details include everything within the company’s boundaries that were outlined in step one. This information will enable the next step of beginning to calculate the company’s usage information applicable under Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. The Responsibility | Voices WarwickPublishing.com See All Stock Stlyes at Use our stock art as above or... Add your logo to our stock art or... Create your own full color art Your choice all at the same low price! 5 Stock Holiday Designs in 4 Pillowbox Sizes! We make the box... you add the Goodies! Stock Design Holiday Tuck Box Packaging! Made in USA PPAI/114154 SAGE/57590 As low as $.81(C) PPAI • SEPTEMBER 2023 • 37

EPA provides a GHG Emissions Calculator, updated in 2022, to help small businesses estimate their annual GHG emissions. How To Develop KPIs While the Greenhouse Gas Protocol is a useful instrument to measure carbon emissions, the Global Reporting Initiative is a widely used tool for determining key performance indicators. It outlines the process for determining which issues are material to a company, such as items the company has direct control over or things it can directly impact within the environmental, social and governance categories. The GRI lists a variety of metrics for companies to report, including the percentage of reclaimed materials a company uses in its products and the number of training sessions a company provides for its employees, among other things. One industry distributor created an employee group to periodically report internally on electricity and gas usage, as well as waste pickup and recycling rates. Other reporting concerns relate to supply chains, like the frequency of audits and the percentage of product offerings that could include any sustainability attributes. Setting Goals And Science-Based Targets In partnership with the UN Global Compact and other organizations, the Science Based Targets initiative provides companies with a defined pathway outlining how they can help meet their goals. The initiative considers companies’ size and emissions impact to determine actions tailored to their current abilities and projected growth. SBTi provides guidance on setting an appropriate target, and once the company commits, it has 24 months to set it. The company submits its target and supporting documents to SBTi, and upon receipt, the initiative reviews the materials to ensure that the target aligns with their requirements, offers feedback and asks any clarifying questions before approval. After approval, the company is obliged to report annually on its progress, as well as to revisit the target every two years with considerations for how the business has grown or changed and to ensure the goal is still valid. It is important to remember that sustainability initiatives are moving targets. Carbon Offsets And Renewable Energy Certificates Carbon-neutral claims, whether regarding a company’s processes or products, are typically supported by purchasing carbon offsets. The emissions still exist, but the offset generates a balancing project elsewhere that neutralizes the impact of the activity for which it was purchased. Carbon offsets typically cannot be used as part of a science-based targets program because offsets must support activities that are outside the normal course of business. Renewable energy certificates are tradable energy credits in the U.S. that represent 1 MWh of electricity generated from an eligible renewable energy resource and fed into the shared system of power. RECs can be used as part of a company’s science-based target commitment because they involve activities that fall within the normal course of business. Examples include installing solar panels or purchasing equivalent numbers of RECs from the utility provider to cover energy usage. One does not need to be an expert in this area to make a meaningful impact. However, it is important to record and measure any efforts that are made to learn and improve. Norris is PPAI’s public affairs manager. Voices | Responsibility 38 • SEPTEMBER 2023 • PPAI