Promotional Products Around the Globe: A Two-Part Series
What do the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Europe all have in common? Try combined global assets of approximately $32 billion in promotional product sales and a fierce commitment to raising the bar in the promotional products industry across the globe.
It began approximately five years ago when, after having met informally for a number of years, six not-for-profit promotional products associations joined forces and formally established the International Federation of Promotional Products Associations (IFPPA). However, while IFPPA has been in existence for years, the organization has remained largely obscure.
As the world’s residents continue to fuse at lightning speeds in the proverbial melting pot, PMNow! took an in-depth look at how promotional products are playing out on the world’s stage.
The Federation, whose primary purpose is to “foster the development of business and trade among the constituencies of its association members,” consists of the Asociacion Mexicana Profesionales de la Promocion, (AMPPRO), representing Mexico; the Australasian Promotional Products Association (APPA), representing Australia and New Zealand; the European Promotional Products Association (EPPA), representing several European national associations; the Promotional Merchandise Trade Association (PROMOTO), representing the United Kingdom; the Promotional Products Association of Canada (PPAC), representing Canada; and the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), representing primarily the United States.
Of all its efforts, helping association members meet the challenge of Asian manufacturing and its impact on the industry has been the Federation’s immediate focus.
“We’ve embarked on a number of initiatives, including making connections with various organizations in Hong Kong and China to have discussions on how we can be of value in educating Asian manufacturers on the way we do business around the world,” said Steve Slagle, president of Irving, Texas-based IFPPA and PPAI.
Undoubtedly, the business model Slagle speaks of is the supplier/distributor/end-user channel that Federation members have adopted and enjoyed for a long time. “It’s a pretty big problem [in Asia] because there are so many manufacturers throughout that region that it is impossible to reach them all at once,” he said. “They’re not designed on the same model that we are. There is not a network of distributors and suppliers working together; it’s pretty much associations of suppliers or manufacturers representing different product lines or product categories. Their interests are pretty one-directional, which is to export their products for consumption around the globe.”