Industry Commentary

What if Our Clients Were Like Our Dogs?

I confess that I am a dog lover. We have three dogs, Barlow, Spud and Kobe, each with their own odd personalities. Our black lab Barlow plays a role in one of my favorite videos, The Most Expensive Product Review Ever.

A Supplier Loses It...and a Business Opportunity As Well!


We all have our breaking points in our personal and business lives. For some of us, it’s easy to get frustrated and lose our cool. I can get mad occasionally. Through the years though, I have become more controlled in my response. A supplier recently did get mad at me and I was not controlled in responding. The experience got me thinking about different approaches to handling business situations. 

What Happens in Vegas…SHOULDN'T Stay in Vegas!

The PPAI Expo is clearly the most significant event in our industry. Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is taken over with two huge floors of supplier booths, top-notch education, and incredible keynote presentations. There is a Brand section showcasing incentives, a New Products Pavilion, a Decorate area, and a variety of social events.

The $75.00 Travel Mug…and a New Competitor?

I love good coffee. I’m the one who wants to hit all the coffee plantations when we are in Kona, Hawaii, even though we have been to these places multiple times before. I even have to watch our airline weight limits because of how much I buy. Hey…it’s Kona Coffee fresh from Kona and I've got to have it!

A Facebook Trend I'm Thankful For!

Although I am not as active as many, I am on Facebook. The “friend” interactions can be positive. Sometimes we hear from old friends we had a good relationship with. Sometimes we hear from old friends we don’t want to have anything to do with. Thankfully, we have a choice with “friend” requests.

What Do Liberty Balls Represent?

This article addresses one of the most frightening topics I have ever covered. It threatens our livelihoods and puts a bright spotlight on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act - CPSIA. Don’t get me wrong…Increasing awareness for product safety and CPSIA regulations is a good thing.

The Advertising Medium that Remains to Be Seen!

Our last few articles have focused on changing communication strategies, lack of innovation and ongoing challenges in our industry. This time, let’s pause a moment to talk about a communication aspect of our industry that really does work. If you missed these commentaries you can find them here.

Evolving Communication Trends

How do you communicate the benefits of your product or service? Does what you present make people want to do business with you? Distributors…why would someone buy from you instead of online or from another distributor? Suppliers…in many cases several companies offer the same product you do. Why should a distributor buy it from you?

Whose Fault Is It?

In my last article, No Single Raindrop Believes it is to Blame for the Flood, I touched on a nerve. That wasn’t really a surprise. We assumed some might be offended and that we would receive some good comments. We received some great feedback. If you missed the article, it can be found here.

Even as a commodity, what we sell is a branding and awareness building staple. It’s fascinating to me that those who degrade our industry with fervor STILL use these products.

No Single Raindrop Believes it is to Blame for the Flood?

Our industry has been much maligned. We may dislike it, but the proven effective branding strategies we offer have been devalued in many ways. We’ve embraced terms like swag and tchotchkes, because the terms are so commonly used. It may be argued this contributes to the image of our industry as trinkets and trash.

Where Were You on September 11th 2001

America was changed forever on September 11, 2001. As we reflect on the anniversary of this tragedy, I wanted to share something we have presented to the audience through the years on this date. This story shared by past PPAI Chairman, and 2015 Hall of Fame HonoreePaul Kiewiet, MAS+ is quite inspirational.

10 Ninja Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses…

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, representing more than 2000 consumer electronics companies was one of the keynote speakers at the 2013 PPAI North American Leadership Conference.

Why Do We Do This?


There are many things in life and business that are important to us. We have a passion for what we do in our personal and professional lives. And many of us are quite passionate…myself included.

A byproduct that stems from social media is the open window into the lives of our business and non-business friends. One of the things that fascinate me is how committed many of my colleagues are to their work. Of course it’s their job, but this isn’t a simple case of working for a paycheck.

Time for a Cool Change…

Article titles and content sometimes come to me in the strangest ways. This one came to me as I was enjoying the cool weather outside the Long Beach Convention Center, as the 2013 SAAC Show was about to begin.

Brilliant Minds Think Alike!

In our efforts to cover unique and relevant content to the industry, we are sharing some thoughts here from some of the brightest minds in the industry. When I was at the recent PMANC Regional Association event in beautiful Monterey, Calif., someone suggested that we cover the PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC), which this year happened to be just three hours away, in San Diego.