2021 Top Distributors: How HALO Branded Solutions Took the No. 1 Spot
As part of Print+Promo Marketing's 2021 Top Distributors list, we asked some of the top-ranked distributors about how they fared during the first year of the pandemic, their thoughts on the industry, their future plans and more. Here, we talked to Marc Simon of HALO Branded Solutions, the No. 1 company on our 2021 Top Distributors list.
HALO Branded Solutions took the top spot on our list for the first time, overtaking perennial No. 1 promo distributor 4imprint. While 4imprint struggled during the pandemic, HALO last year nearly matched its 2019 sales totals, finishing 2020 with $765.7 million (versus $787 million in 2019). Maintaining sales figures that high in a normal year would be impressive enough. But HALO did it in a year where overall industry sales declined by as much as 30%—a feat CEO Marc Simon chalked up to HALO’s people.
“We came into the pandemic with an exceedingly skilled and determined account executive team and a wide array of expertise in operations, marketing and sales, technology, supply chain and distribution,” he said. “Our sales and support teams were quick to identify opportunities and capitalize on our core strengths to create solutions to address the changing landscape quickly and effectively. That fact that we accomplished so much in so many areas, in arguably the most challenging global crisis we have faced, is itself an incredible achievement. We maintained our revenue, improved our technology and enhanced our brand, which is a testament to the commitment and passion every member of our organization brings to work each day.”
Outlook: HALO may have topped the list this year, but Simon was quick to note that nothing is guaranteed for the future. Promo distributors still have a number of immediate, pandemic-related challenges to overcome, he said, including increased costs, fluctuating product availability, longer lead times and more. To combat those issues, HALO is continuing to invest in technology. It’s also prioritizing communication, transparency and, above all, innovation as it looks to strengthen relationships with its customers and suppliers.
“Our greatest learning was that it is impossible to predict what the future holds,” said Simon. “As a result, one must always possess the maximum flexibility to respond to whatever comes our way. Additionally, the pace of change in every aspect of business is increasing and will continue to move quickly. Strategically, we must retain flexibility as well as have the vision to foresee as many of these changes as we can, and constantly utilize our resources to innovate to address change. For HALO, and for the industry in general, we must continue to bring an entrepreneurial mindset that aligns resources with opportunities in order to continue to thrive.”
View the full 2021 Top Distributors list (including a list of the fastest-growing distributors and top distributors by product category) here, or click here for stats, trends and analysis from the list.