On Monday afternoon, PPAI gave attendees at the North American Leadership Conference an advance look at the Association’s PPAI 100 rankings, including the companies that made the list and their order.

Held during a networking reception at the close of the conference’s first day, the unveiling brought cheers and applause from attendees.

PPAI 100

First, a little background. PPAI 100 ranks 50 distributors and 50 suppliers and is unlike any list ever produced for companies in the promotional merchandise market. Fully backed by PPAI’s research, it not only tracks the previous year’s sales, but also weighs companies on a range of factors relevant to corporate leadership.

  • Earning a place on the annual PPAI 100 will become the highest recognition PPAI bestows on its exemplary member companies.
  • The inaugural PPAI 100 is slated to be released to the full industry later in June via PPAI Media and reported in the July issue of PPAI Magazine. The top 50 suppliers will be unveiled on June 20, and the top 50 distributors on June 27.
  • Benchmarking data on the leading companies will follow, with companies of all sizes able to learn from the business, technology and corporate social responsibility practices of the industry’s best.

Audience Reaction

The PPAI 100 announcement gave NALC attendees plenty to talk about, including many attendees whose companies made the list. The audience was abuzz as the companies on the ranking were unveiled, and much of the conversation in the room focused on its impact on the industry.

PPAI Media checked in with several attendees for their feedback on their announcement, and PPAI 100’s multi-faceted ranking system drew considerable attention.

• “The scoring system is totally rad,” says Jodie Schillinger, MAS, executive vice president at supplier Maple Ridge Farms. “It’s not just about revenue, but all the other qualities that companies can contribute to the industry as far as employee happiness, industry faith, etc. The list helps elevate the entire industry together.”

• “We’re obviously in the presence of a lot of great companies,” says Alex Vernon, strategic relationship manager at distributor The Vernon Company. “And personally, after a lot of the programming we’ve seen at NALC so far, it’s great to see it measuring something other than just top-line revenue. I appreciate that it incorporates some of the other elements into the ranking. Volume figures may be similar but other things are happening at these companies.”

• “I think it’s great that PPAI is doing something to recognize industry companies,” says Mike Harper, CEO of distributor Summit Group. “The good and the bad is, whenever you’re not just using volume as a metric, it gets subjective. It will be interesting to see more detail when it comes out in the publication, what do they have and what do they see.”

• “Making the list is a huge accomplishment,” says Josh Pospisil, MAS, national account manager at supplier Hirsch. “One is bragging rights. But I think what sets this list apart from others in the industry is that it’s not just revenue driven, it’s not based on your sales, it’s based on so many other metrics with that. It’s about exceptional ratings and customer service and everything else that goes into that, so it’s not just about sales, it’s about creating that engagement and that experience for your customers to come back and rate you so highly.”