| May 23, 2023
The People Behind the Brands: Spotlight on Arnold Print Communications, LaManna Consulting Group and Peerless Umbrella
By Rachel Schollmeier
In part one of our new member spotlight series, Brand Chain members Pablo Prahl, vice president of marketing at A&G Marketing by Proforma and John Vo, owner of WHOOPLA, shared their experiences in the branding community.
This month, we’re passing the mic to Greg Paul, president at Arnold Printed Communications, Rock LaManna, president and CEO of LaManna Consulting Group and Katie Kailik, national account manager at Peerless Umbrella.
How did you get your start in brand solutions?
Greg Paul: When we decided to invest heavily in brand solutions, we did so for a few reasons. The first reason was differentiation. We knew what we had was special and wanted to show that to our current and future customers. The next was trust and credibility. A well-established brand creates trust and credibility among current and potential customers. Last, but certainly not least, was employee alignment and engagement. We wanted our team to be completely aligned with our brand values. Our team is what makes our company special. It only makes sense that our team values align and complement our brand values.
Rock LaManna: I've been serving brands for 48 years. Beginning with 3M, a global company, and Vomela, which I’ve served for 25 years. I’ve been creating my own personal brand for 20 years, too, which has helped secure clients in the packing, graphics, specialty promotions, wide format signage and real estate, to name just a few.
Katie Kailik: Like many, I found my way into this industry by accident. I had just finished my final college exams and was out celebrating with some friends. One of them asked what my communications degree was about, and after I explained, he said it sounded very similar to what his dad does. His dad turned out to be Stan Gallen, one of Debco’s former owners. It wasn't what I thought it would be — it was so much better. Almost 16 years later, I love it just as much as I did at the start.
What would the movie title of your company's story be?
GP: "Have Your Cake and Eat It Too"
We always say how blessed we are as a company. You can be profitable and consistently show growth while taking care of your team members and your customers!
RL: “The Deal Flow Guy”
KK: Obvious answer — “Singin’ in the Rain.” Outside answer — “Risky Business.”
What is something you’ve learned in the past year, industry-related or not?
GP: You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Things are constantly evolving, now more than ever. If you aren't willing to adapt, you'll get left behind.
RL: Business owners are searching for connections, industry experts, specific knowledge and experience. They want to know when best to transition their printing businesses, operational facilities and real estate investments.
KK: I've leaned heavily into deviating from the prescribed path and experimenting with new ways to bring value to market. At Promotional Products Association International (PPAI)'s NATCON this past January, Peerless hosted a suite in tandem with ProTowels for a cross-merchandise tailgate themed experience. We took cues directly from our distributor partners' merchandising strategy and presented how our best sellers integrate together. It was a success, and it presented our clients with a new perspective on traditional suite meetings.
I've also learned the tremendous value of being strategic and consistent with follow up. I gave myself a mission and a plan to improve this year, and I'm already seeing the results. It's true that fortune is in the follow-up.
How does your company define success?
GP: Success for us is defined by three things:
Delighting our customers in all that we do.
- Making Arnold the home of choice for our employees.
- Being the partner of choice for our suppliers.
If we are hitting on all three of these things, the growth will always come.
RL: Success for us is closing win-win deals. Our long-time clients connect us with the top industry connections, and my firm begins our matchmaking approach in collaboration with the print industries top business owners, influencers and decision-makers.
KK: Sales will always be a key indicator for success, along with profitability and efficiencies. Those are important elements we take into consideration as a company. But one of the most defining characteristics of Peerless is how human we are as a company. It matters to senior leadership that we want to come to work each day, and they take an active interest to ensure we are happy and proud to be on the Peerless team. We have a significant number of employees who have been with the company for almost 25 years — which doesn't happen by accident. That's success to us.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
GP: Hands down the way that our team has come together and risen to every occasion the past few years. First we dealt with COVID-19, then a down year and after, came to a season of significant growth with addition of team members. Everyone has had to adjust and learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. We are most proud of this amazing group we get to work alongside every day!
RL: I’m most proud of contributing to a generational legacy that values integrity, hope and peace.
KK: My most significant accomplishment has been the process of learning to trust myself and my voice. I couldn't be more proud of who I am today and how I continue to evolve. My fellow board members at Brain Chain were instrumental in supporting me along that path. They helped inspire the confidence that started this journey, and being a part of this board is something I am very proud of.