The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on businesses in every industry, and promotional products have been no exception. However, promo companies have shown considerable flexibility and creativity in adapting to the new normal.

I believe the state of the industry has been changing with the pandemic and focusing more on safety and PPE items. Direct mailings and gifts have also become more prominent, as well as online virtual meetings in all industries. Suppliers and distributors are coming together and working and partnering together. Many businesses are still closed and hopefully will open up soon. Funds are tight for many industries and companies, and everyone has to be more creative to make things happen.

Beth M. Levine
Multi Media Promotions
Plainview, New York
PPAI 283255, D2


A survey in August, reported in PPB Newslink, shows that most American workers describe themselves as “burned out” and about one-in-three attribute that feeling directly to the pressures and stress of the pandemic. These numbers are up from a similar survey conducted in the spring, suggesting that as time goes on, workers may be feeling the effects of the coronavirus’s impact on their lives more intensely than before.

We’re experiencing this firsthand but not with our team. It’s apparent, by what it takes to get decisions and process orders, that the pandemic—or how we responded to it—has taken its toll on customers and providers as well. Most people are on edge—distracted and disrupted—and it takes a high level of empathy and an enormous amount of patience to keep the train moving. Is this the “second wave” we were warned about?

Jae M. Rang, MAS
Founder and CEO
JAE associates Ltd.
Oakville, Ontario
PPAI 561178, D4


On August 18, when it wasn’t possible to deliver its annual in-person trade show in Irving, Texas, SAGE produced its first virtual show. The event featured 14 education sessions, drew 4,000 attendees and was the industry’s largest online event ever according to SAGE and reports in PPB Newslink. And while this inaugural show ran into some technical difficulties, with lessons learned, SAGE scheduled a follow-up event on September 22-23.

SAGE Show Virtual was great! I had some problems early on with slow chat, crashing or slow moving around, and I got out of the system a couple of times and waited an hour each time before getting back in. When in, I had some great interactions with exhibitors and made contact with a new label vendor. I commend SAGE for the hard work it took to put this together and especially [to solve] the technical issues. That is no small feat, especially after seeing 4,000 people on the system. Great job! I loved touring the booths without having to put 20 miles a day on my feet.

Cindy Powell
Creative Specialties, LLC
Denver, Colorado
PPAI 728704, D2


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.