Let’s Share the Love

The promotional industries in Australia and New Zealand share many of the aims and ambitions of the UK, says Maree Lawless.

Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom. Our landscapes and climates may differ greatly, but we have much in common – our love for promotional merchandise for one, and the enthusiasm of our respective industry bodies, the BPMA and APPA (Australasian Promotional Products Association) to raise the profile of our industry.

As an APPA board director on a recent trip to London, I had the pleasure of meeting with Gordon Glenister and many of the patrons of the BPMA. I was overwhelmed at the passion for our industry, and the professionalism with which it was approached. Chatting with Gordon made us realise the extent of our synergies, and the need to open some dialogue.

So, who are we? Formed in 1986, APPA is the only association for the promotional products industry in Australia and New Zealand, and is under the leadership of CEO, Steve Granland, who has been with the association for just over 12 months. Steve’s experience with not-for-profit associations is extensive, and he understands the value of communication. As a result, APPA is strengthening its ties with allies like BPMA.

APPA’s focus is on building member value, industry growth and influence, setting and maintaining high standards of professionalism, and providing market-driven and leading events and education. On an educational level, APPA’s board of 10 directors now includes an appointee who is a professor of marketing at an Australian university.

This inclusion allows APPA to work towards the creation of a unit within a marketing degree that focuses on promotional merchandise. For marketing graduates to enter the workforce with a directly learned knowledge of our creative industry and aspire to work in it would be the ultimate achievement. These same graduates may also enter marketing roles where they will purchase promotional merchandise with a much greater understanding and focus on their value.

Similarly, BPMA’s industry-specific education focus will continue to promote and validate our industry, and help in attracting quality candidates. To exchange ideas between our associations on this level can only benefit all.

Communicate. It’s what promotional merchandise does, and does well. It’s what we all need to do, to continue to grow our industry.We love it when suppliers and distributors connect in the traditional model on which our industries were built, providing quality, creative solutions-solutions that are ethically sourced, and meet safety compliance standards. And through these connections, great partnerships are born that breed more of the same.

Now that BPMA and APPA have made a real connection, we hope to work together in sharing information. We’d like to see our two industry bodies collaborate in helping distributors find regional partners for servicing global accounts; share ideas on our education models; explore new benefits of membership; trade show structures; ethical sourcing standards; product safety compliance; website developments, and more.

For BPMA members who are visiting Australia, we offer an open invitation to meet with us. Tell us about your business, and we’ll tell you about ours. Imagine a job exchange board between our countries. You’re used to hearing this because you work in promotional merchandise, but the possibilities are endless. Let’s explore them together and see if we really can share the love.

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