It’s been said before—change is the only constant in this world. But how quickly you can transform to keep up or to stay ahead of the curve of change—that’s what really matters.

When the pandemic began churning across the globe, closing companies’ doors, cancelling events and shutting all but essential workers in their homes for weeks and months on end, it was clear. Ready or not, change had arrived.

At PPAI, our mission called us to act quickly to help our members by delivering the essential knowledge, resources and community needed to ensure their success and that of our industry. We immediately put into place on our website a growing roster of resources on everything from basic information on the virus to government weblinks, webinars, articles, interactive supplier updates and more. We began sending out a weekly email update and video from our President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE. We developed webinars to share vital information on the virus, including the first one featuring a panel of leading global experts on the topic.

On March 24, my team and I promptly launched our inaugural PromoTalks podcast—a conversation on the coronavirus’s impact on the promo industry with PPAI’s foremost leaders. As of early July, we’ve produced seven podcasts—not all of them are COVID-related, but all of them reflect the new, uncharted landscape that people everywhere are now having to navigate for their businesses and their personal lives.

On May 19, we introduced PPAI PromoPolls, an informal way to measure anecdotal industry opinion on the important questions of the day. The first question we asked in that day’s PPB Newslink helped us determine where our members saw themselves in this pandemic. “Where do you think we are on the timeline of COVID-19’s impact on our industry?” More than 450 people responded, and 40 percent said, “In the middle;” 31 percent said, “Still in the beginning;” 23 percent said, “We’ve hit bottom and are close to starting to climb out of it;” and six percent said, “Not sure.” PromoPolls appears in every issue of PPB Newslink and you can take the current poll and see results of all of our 13 questions and counting at

PPAI board and staff leaders have also been meeting quite frequently since March to help steer the Association through the roiling changes left in the wake of the pandemic, and plan the next steps for our education events, trade shows and all products and services. The good news is the PPAI Expo, the industry’s largest and best-loved trade show, is scheduled to return on January 11-13, 2021 in Las Vegas with some modifications for the health and safety of all involved. It will, no doubt, be a bit smaller by design to allow for social distancing, but its purpose remains as huge as ever: to provide community, knowledge and a forum for doing business. I hope I’ll see you there.

And there’s more good news. Companies all across North America are reopening and restarting—and they need the help of smart distributors who can recommend products to help prepare their business environment for reopening, keep returning employees and customers safe and healthy, and get the word out that the doors are open again for business. We’ve just released a new PPB supplement, The Playbook To Restart Businesses, that provides a visual journey through seven different business environments, from a hair salon to a retail store, with a checklist of product ideas and suggestions to help distributors incorporate them into their clients’ reopening plans. The supplement is free to download at and an ad-free version is also available for distributors to share with their buyers.

These reimagined favorites and new initiatives are just a tiny snapshot of the myriad ways PPAI is tirelessly working to ensure our members’ success. What else can we do for you? 


Tina Berres Filipski is associate editor of PPB.