Hello, I am Stephanie Madden, and it is my second year serving on the PPAF board. My husband Steve and I started a promotional marketing business, from scratch, out of our two- bedroom apartment back in 1995. He is our resident promo genius as President of Madden Branded Goods, but he often gets mistaken for the shoe guy! Steve’s brother Greg, and his wife, Lory, are also partners with us, and the tagline that I like to use for what we believe about the promotional products industry is, “Promo tells a brand’s story and builds brand love.”
This industry can be hectic and event driven, but as the culture queen at Madden, I never want our team to forget that our first brand value is that our business is built on personal relationships. I thought it was terrific that the PPAF board decided to start this blog and use the first posts to introduce each of our board members, because that is the first step in forging a new relationship…a proper introduction.
Along with being small business owners, Steve and I have raised six children: five boys and one girl. Oldest to youngest is John Michael- 27, married to Ashley with three cute kids. Next comes Amelia, who works with us at Madden as our Marketing Coordinator. Number three and four are in college- George, who is finishing his senior year at West Point and Robert, a junior at University of Florida-Go Gators! We still have two at home-a senior, Thomas, who will be joining Robert at UF and Ben, a freshman, who loves being able to play HS lacrosse with Thomas this year-we were worried the season would be another casualty of COVID.
It has been a crazy ride, building a business and raising a big family, but relationships are the glue that hold us all together. Relegating relationships to virtual platforms this past year has people longing for real-live connections. Just today I was attending a webinar for the American Public Power Association, I know, “Why were YOU there? Don’t you sell swag for a living?” Well, I am also a city commissioner for the great city of Lakeland, Florida. We have a public power utility that has served our citizens reliably for over 100 years, and I am the commissioner appointed to serve on the Policy Makers Council for this organization. It was interesting to scan through the zoom pics and see people logged in from public utilities across the country. Yes, the educational content was quite a bit different from our PPAF webinars, but the sentiments from the viewers at the end of the sessions were the same-they all mentioned how much they missed seeing each other in person, and looked forward to attending live events again.
In the promotional marketing business, we know how important making relationships is to building a successful business. We know that our ability to increase brand awareness and ultimately customer engagement depends on making an emotional connection. A book that illustrates this point well is, “Romancing the Brand,” by Tim Halloran. I’ll never forget the hook that caught my attention and inspired me to order a copy, it was a quote from the book and it leapt off the page of an article I was skimming,
“It’s always with me, no matter what happens…It never lets me down. I can always count on it. To sum it up, Diet Coke is my boyfriend.”
At Madden Branded Goods we believe in Brand Love, so I get excited to hear brand stories that confirm that it’s true. Dependable brands consistently show their commitment to the consumer and in so doing, they build lasting relationships.
That is what we want to do here at PPAF…help connect you with wonderful suppliers in our industry, and give you ideas for the very best products for your customers—promo that builds brand love. We wanted to start off by introducing ourselves to you through this blog, however there is a BIG opportunity for human engagement that will be here before we know it—our annual PPAF Exhibit in Orlando—a real live trade show, remember those?!? I am certainly looking forward to that, but if you think of more ways we can add value to your membership in PPAF before then, please let us know. We are here to build relationships with you!