AIA Corporation Named Counselor Top 40 Distributor 

AIA Corporation Named Counselor Top 40 Distributor 

APPLETON, Wis. —The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI), which serves a network of 25,000 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the promotional products industry, recently announced AIA Corporation was ranked 10, up three spots from last year, on the 2020 list of Counselor Top 40 Distributor.

During an online ceremony, ASI unveiled the Top 40 Supplier and Top 40 Distributor rankings – the largest companies in the promotional products industry based on 2019 revenue. 

The annual Counselor® awards, nominated by industry peers and chosen by the editors of ASI’s award-winning Counselor magazine, recognize the industry’s outstanding individuals and companies and are featured in the annual Counselor State of the Industry issue. 

For the first time, the awards ceremony was a virtual presentation (#ASIawards), hosted by ASI President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy M. Andrews. Watch the recording of the awards ceremony on YouTube.  

“I’m proud of every one of our Counselor Award-winning companies, who displayed ingenuity, creativity and leadership,” said Andrews.

“We are honored to once again be included in ASI’s Top 40 Distributor list,” said Nancy Schmidt, CEO of AIA Corporation. “AIA has an unwavering commitment to its Owners and their success. This year’s increase in our rank is a testament to AIA’s investments in marketing programs, technology and best-in-class service. But at the heart of it all, it’s our Community who truly makes the difference. Our dedicated Owners, supplier partners and employees all play a critical role in making AIA one of the industry’s best companies.”  

About AIA
AIA partners with distributors in the promotional products industry and provides them with the professional services they need to run an efficient and profitable business. With AIA, distributors maintain their independence, gain the support of like-minded entrepreneurs and are empowered to Be Boldly You. AIA distributors have access to advanced technology to streamline sales and operations; back office support and order financing; supplier relations; sales coaching and planning; and marketing programs. These business services enable distributors to work smarter, freeing up time and resources to focus on professional and personal goals. For more information, visit www.aiacommunity.com or call 800-460-7836.

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®; asicentral.com) serves a network of 25,000 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $25.8 billion promotional products industry. ASI’s flagship product, the technology platform ESP®, manages the industry’s entire supply and marketing chain. ASI also produces award-winning digital and print content, live events and educational programs that enable companies in 53 countries to be more efficient, productive and profitable. ASI’s Counselor® magazine provides the most authoritative business content in the industry, and the ASI Certification Program features 500+ live and online education courses for over 40,000 professionals. The company, family-owned and -operated since 1962, is proud to have been consistently ranked among the “Best Places to Work” in Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA.

AIA Switches to Virtual Format for 2020 National Sales Meeting

AIA Switches to Virtual Format for 2020 National Sales Meeting

Owners and MVP Suppliers Adapt and Plan for Four Days of Remote Collaboration

APPLETON, Wis. (July 27, 2020)—AIA Corporation (AIA) is going virtual this year as the company recently announced that its annual National Sales Meeting will take place online, Sept. 14-17, from the comfort and safety of its distributors’ homes. Aptly titled 2020 Reimagined, AIA quickly adjusted its plans in light of COVID-19 to ensure its Owner Community still has access to learning and networking for personal and professional growth.

“While we are unable to convene in Washington D.C. as originally planned, we are very excited to unite our Owner and MVP Supplier Communities for four days of collaboration and education,” said Nancy Schmidt, CEO of AIA. “It’s essential that our Owners and Supplier partners lean on each other, learn from each other, and with AIA by their side, plan for their new normal. Our Owners have helped shape the agenda based on their personal experiences. We are thrilled to have a handful of Owners lead training sessions and participate on panels to bring their key learnings and insights to our broader community.”

Highlights of the National Sales Meeting will include:

  • A keynote from Stacy Tuschl, a best-selling author and speaker, owner of multiple successful businesses and the creator of the Foot Traffic Formula. Through her in-depth process, Stacy helps small business owners get more customers in their doors and more profit in their pockets by helping them solve challenges, operate at their highest potential and create self-sustaining businesses—all without sacrificing their families or lifestyles.
  • A LinkedIn training session with Jay Busselle, PromoKitchen chef, founder of #promochat and marketing director at Equipment Zone, Inc. As a LinkedIn expert, Busselle will work with Owners to help them discover the best ways to leverage LinkedIn to find new clients, engage with current ones and connect with other industry leaders.
  • A panel with Schmidt, Paul Bellantone, president and CEO of PPAI, and a supplier partner to discuss the current state and future of the promotional products industry.
  • A discussion focused on the current trends in promo with Vicki Ostrom, a trend analyst at SanMar. For more than eight years, Ostrom has had her finger on the pulse of what’s popular in promo. She will provide Owners with insights into how societal and commerce trends are linked; research that informs product design; and consumer marketing strategies.
  • Positive Activity™ presentation led by AIA Owners, Neil and Lori Rogers. Together they will guide their peers through the practice of making incremental changes to one’s mindset that can lead to increased positivity, productivity, income, sales and a more open mind for creative solution-oriented thinking.

In addition, Owner-led panel discussions will provide attendees with a forum for collaborative conversations with their peers. These discussions will focus on timely topics with the goal of helping to reignite and reimagine their business in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agenda also includes supplier presentations, live music and the annual AIA awards ceremony.

“These sessions were thoughtfully crafted to help Owners achieve their goals, especially as we navigate these uncharted waters,” said Clay Hall, vice president of Owner Success and Business Development. “AIA is a strong company with a collaborative community, where everybody is somebody. While we can’t wait to be together again next year, we remain committed to educating our Owners to help them work smarter––whether it’s through marketing, innovative business solutions or personalized coaching.”

About AIA
AIA partners with distributors in the promotional products industry and provides them with the professional services they need to run an efficient and profitable business. With AIA, distributors maintain their independence, gain the support of like-minded entrepreneurs and are empowered to Be Boldly You. AIA distributors have access to advanced technology to streamline sales and operations; back office support and order financing; supplier relations; sales coaching and planning; and marketing programs. These business services enable distributors to work smarter, freeing up time and resources to focus on professional and personal goals. For more information, visit www.aiacommunity.com or call 800-460-7836.

AIA Launches On-Demand Training Portal for Owners

AIA Launches On-Demand Training Portal for Owners

AIA University provides distributors with virtual training and support at any time from any device

APPLETON, Wis. (July 15, 2020)—AIA Corporation (AIA) today announced the introduction of AIA University, an on-demand, cloud-based training portal that distributors can access from any internet-enabled device. The robust keyword search feature quickly connects users with relevant video tutorials and reference materials on more than 28 topics. Content includes tutorials for the Experience AIA platform, Google G Suite, Workplace by Facebook and Company Stores, as well as recordings of Town Hall meetings and access to MVP Central, a portal for supplier information.

“AIA understands Owners often don’t work a traditional 9-to-5 schedule––with AIA University, they can access the information and support they need wherever, whenever,” said Carrie Howle, MAS, manager of training and onboarding at AIA. “Owners also can use the portal to augment their own staff training programs by assigning training modules to team members as needed. It’s one more way AIA helps Owners work smarter.”

AIA University offers more than 75 courses and is continuously updated with new training curriculums, as well as timely resources related to Covid-19, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) supplier updates. As such, Owners have immediate access to this information, without the hassle of storing it on their own servers or cloud services. In addition, AIA monitors what content is most often searched and viewed, using this data to inform the development of future curriculum.

AIA University joins AIA’s portfolio of in-person and online tools aimed at helping Owners collaborate, improve productivity and streamline their businesses. This includes personalized sales and business coaching with a dedicated success manager, as well as online resources such as Workplace by Facebook, Google G Suite and Experience AIA, the company’s proprietary business technology platform.

About AIA
AIA partners with distributors in the promotional products industry and provides them with the professional services they need to run an efficient and profitable business. With AIA, distributors maintain their independence, gain the support of like-minded entrepreneurs and are empowered to Be Boldly You. AIA distributors have access to advanced technology to streamline sales and operations; back office support and order financing; supplier relations; sales coaching and planning; and marketing programs. These business services enable distributors to work smarter, freeing up time and resources to focus on professional and personal goals. For more information, visit www.aiacommunity.com or call 800-460-7836.

AIA Launches New Technology Platform

AIA Launches New Technology Platform

Cloud-based Experience AIA platform enables remote business and sales operations with integrated product search, order entry, billing, marketing and company store capabilities

APPLETON, Wis. (June 15, 2020)—AIA Corporation (AIA) today announced the launch of Experience AIA (EAIA), a best-in-breed technology platform built with customizations defined by AIA and implemented by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) on ASI’s ESP® platform. The platform, which is currently being rolled out to all AIA distributors, integrates ASI’s ESP system and infrastructure with AIA-exclusive tools and resources.

The aim of EAIA is to help distributors simplify, streamline and automate many aspects of running a business so they can save time, better serve customers and get paid faster. Using ASI’s ESP platform as a foundation, AIA integrated additional features, such as sales analytics, MVP supplier pricing and an expedited order-to-cash cycle, for a seamless experience only available to AIA distributors.

“Our goal was two-fold,” said Sharon Zarter, AIA’s vice president of Business Technology. “First, to provide AIA distributors with a comprehensive platform and toolset that supports all aspects of their business—from sourcing products and order entry and billing, to data analysis and marketing. And second, to anticipate and meet the evolving online shopping needs of end-users with capabilities like company stores and e-commerce sites.”

As COVID-19 pushes AIA distributors to quickly evolve their business and sales models, EAIA seamlessly provides real-time inventory updates for a large percentage of AIA MVP suppliers, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) keyword product searches and tagging certain PPE products to easily incorporate them in presentations or marketing collateral.

“In today’s all-virtual business environment, EAIA is enabling AIA distributors to operate their business remotely, stay connected with customers, and make smart buying decisions despite fluctuating inventory,” said Nancy Schmidt, CEO of AIA.

Additional platform features include:

  • Building upon ASI’s upgrades to its presentation features, AIA distributors can brand presentations with their logo or the end-users’ logo on featured products––this includes virtual presentations which are proving to be an invaluable tool to reach customers in this environment
  • eCommerce enabled and customizable websites that eliminate the need for multiple websites and catalogs––providing business content and sales all on one domain
  • Preferred supplier pricing that appears in product searches, allowing distributors to compare pricing and reduce emails and phone calls with suppliers to determine the AIA-negotiated rate
  • Order entry functionality that expedites PO delivery by creating shortcuts such as storing artwork for reorders, to streamline repeat orders with just a few clicks
  • Flags to designate new orders, revised orders and repeat orders, as well as priority flags to differentiate between firm and flexible in-hand dates to effectively communicate deadlines to suppliers
  • Order management functionality that provides continuous updates and is highly customizable depending on the workflow of a specific distributor

“AIA has been at the forefront of delivering advanced technology to better serve distributors and we’re thrilled they chose ASI’s ESP,” said Bob DeFord, ASI’s senior VP of distributor sales and marketing. “In addition to customizations on ESP that help AIA simplify order entry and processing, AIA has also leveraged their strong supplier relationships to integrate pricing and industry- and event-specific content so distributors can provide end users with tangible solutions they can use during this critical time of economic recovery.”

Following a trial launch and beta testing, AIA has migrated 95 distributors to the new platform, resulting in $65 million in sales processed through EAIA and over 50,000 purchase orders produced and sent from EAIA.

Initial AIA distributor feedback has been positive. According to Tina McNulty, Owner of Prime Promo in Amherst, NY, “In our first month with AIA we entered 1,000 orders and couldn’t believe how easy it was to use. What used to take 20-30 minutes to enter orders, now takes just a few minutes. As AIA continued its enhancements over the last year, we’ve benefited from the

intuitive and user-friendly shortcuts that make it easier to find products, process repeat orders and provide clients with quick turnaround on product ideas to meet their needs.”

AIA will transition its remaining distributors onto the platform in 2020. User training remains a priority to ensure a smooth transition and comprehensive understanding of all the ways the platform can improve productivity and increase sales.

About AIA
AIA partners with distributors in the promotional products industry and provides them with the professional services they need to run an efficient and profitable business. With AIA, distributors maintain their independence, gain the support of like-minded entrepreneurs and are empowered to Be Boldly You. AIA distributors have access to advanced technology to streamline sales and operations; back office support and order financing; supplier relations; sales coaching and planning; and marketing programs. These business services enable distributors to work smarter, freeing up time and resources to focus on professional and personal goals.  For more information, visit www.aiacommunity.com or call 800-460-7836.

AIA Helps Owners Diversify Product Offerings with Home Office and Business Supplies

AIA Helps Owners Diversify Product Offerings with Home Office and Business Supplies 

Distributors can provide in-demand home office, business, breakroom and sanitation supplies through partnership with AIA-owned OfficeZilla

APPLETON, Wis. (May 28, 2020)—As Covid-19 shifts how promotional products distributors run their businesses, AIA Corporation (AIA) is providing its Owner Community with the tools and resources to retain clients, attract new customers and, ultimately, manage a profitable business. Most recently, this includes offering home office and business products through a partnership with AIA-owned OfficeZilla, a leading business products distributorship that supports independent dealers. This service offering is just another way AIA is helping its Owners confidentially tap into alternate product offerings.

“The AIA Owner Community has shown versatility and strength during this time,” said Rochelle Blindauer, SVP of Owner and Employee Services, who oversees OfficeZilla. “We were happy to provide an opportunity for AIA Owners to diversify revenues by offering a partnership with OfficeZilla. By providing work-from-home essentials and the necessary business, breakroom and sanitation supplies to support companies whose workforces are returning to the office, AIA distributors can meet their customers’ changing needs with creative solutions.”  

Since April, 29 AIA distributors have also become OfficeZilla dealers, gaining access to over 60,000 SKUs in office, business, janitorial, sanitation, breakroom and safety supplies. During this same period, OfficeZilla has seen a 24% increase in sales in office products. Work-from-home products including furniture, technology such as printers and shredders, facility and breakroom supplies have also increased.   

According to Bob Simmons, AIA Owner of NDS Solutions in Sacramento, Calif., partnering with OfficeZilla offers another way to adjust our approach and stay connected to clients. “Given the impact of Covid-19, our partnership with OfficeZilla is a no-brainer,” said Simmons. “Their turnkey product offerings, combined with marketing efforts to reach customers, has helped us close the margin gap when other products don’t make sense at this time and in this market. By providing a wide range of products with quick delivery, we’ve seen an uptick in sales since we became a dealer.” 

AIA acquired OfficeZilla in January 2018 in an effort to broaden its offerings and services. In 2019, OfficeZilla partnered with wholesaler S.P. Richards to expand its product portfolio, provide aggressive pricing, competitive freight programs, sales support and new marketing programs to reach end customers. 

“AIA has been on the forefront of the trend in consolidation between the promotional and business products industries,” said Nancy Schmidt, CEO. “We acquired OfficeZilla with the knowledge that both industries serve like-minded customers in similar ways. This synergistic partnership has brought new energy and solutions for AIA Owners and OfficeZilla dealers.”

As a subsidiary of AIA, OfficeZilla remains fully committed to the independent dealer by providing a best-in-class technology platform and a high-level of service to support independent dealers.