by Rafe Morrissey
GCA Vice President, Public Affairs Committee
A Historic Challenge Awaits the New Postmaster General; GCA is Ready to Help
It is an interesting coincidence that, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of America’s victory in World War Two, the nation’s 75th Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, assumes his post. As I think about the task ahead of him, I am reminded about how Admiral Chester Nimitz must have felt when he was appointed to take over the Pacific Fleet after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. With most of the battleships still sunken and smoldering, he was expected to find a way to overcome the disaster and achieve the ultimate victory.
Financially speaking, the Postal Service that Mr. DeJoy inherits is in similar shape. The Postal Service reported yet another multi-billion quarterly loss last month for a period that ended before the impact of the Coronavirus response took full effect. The Postal Service estimates that COVID-19 will cost as much as $55 billion in lost revenue over the next decade on top of the existing financial burdens of the retiree healthcare prefunding requirement that greatly exacerbated the impact of electronic diversion and the Great Recession of 2008. This echoes the type of challenge the country faced at the beginning of World War Two when the economy was still struggling to recover from the Great Depression and had to absorb the shock of an unexpected attack.
As difficult as this challenge was, there are also other parallels that offer some encouragement. Just as the public came together to support the war effort, the Postal Service is one of the few government agencies that enjoys almost universal support. In fact, the Pew Research Center has consistently found that the Postal Service is supported by more than 90-percent of the American public. Moreover, recent research conducted by the Postal Service at the suggestion of GCA, reveals that large numbers of Americans are looking to the mail as a means of staying connected and bridging social distancing. Maintaining that goodwill will be essential in successfully charting a course for the Postal Service.
At the time, many in the naval bureaucracy questioned Nimitz’s fitness to command the Pacific Fleet having been promoted over other more senior officers, but his experience leading the Bureau of Navigation put him in the best position to make the right choices. Sadly, DeJoy has been similarly written-off by some Members of Congress and postal unions due to his record of political giving to the President. His success in leading New Breed Logistics, Inc. from a small family-owned transportation company with 10 employees into a national technology-driven logistics solutions provider for the Postal Service employing more than 9,000 suggests that he will bring highly-relevant expertise to the position.
One of Admiral Nimitz’s greatest strengths was in listening to and relying on capable people underneath him to accomplish the mission assigned. The track record of the GCA’s collaboration with the USPS marketing team to reverse multi-year volume declines for greeting cards and increase volume in the mail by 160 million cards in the last three years shows there are opportunities to find success even for the most volume-challenged product categories and people in the management ranks DeJoy can rely on to help him win.
It is critical for all who have a stake in the Postal Service to offer the new Postmaster General support and the best advice possible on how to successfully stabilize this essential service. There is also great wisdom in leaders appointing capable people and letting them get on with it without interference. In December, 1941, President Roosevelt ordered Nimitz to go out to Pearl Harbor and not come home until the fleet sailed into Tokyo Bay. Less than four years later, it did. Hopefully, Postmaster General DeJoy will achieve similar success but will need help from all stakeholders. GCA stands ready.
LOUIE Awards 2020
by LOUIE Awards Committee
We want to thank you all for your patience as you waited to hear how we would proceed with the LOUIE Awards this year. Our committee has been working hard to determine the best course of action and how to celebrate our finalists and announce our winners. Originally, we had hoped to partner with Atlanta Market and have an in-person event where we could celebrate and see your faces! However, what we have determined is that, unfortunately, an in-person event is not in the cards for this year. But we have great news for you, as we now plan to host a Virtual LOUIE Awards on July 30th!
We are honored and appreciative of the support shown to the GCA by Atlanta Market. In addition, the Market will present a showcase (physical display) of the 2020 winners of the LOUIE Awards at their August 13-18 market. The winners – as selected by a panel of industry experts from 55 finalists chosen from 140+ companies and 600+ entries – will be announced in our virtual event on July 30. More information on our finalists is available at https://greetingcard.secure-platform.com/a/gallery?roundId=27.
“While we are disappointed that COVID has forced us to cancel the LOUIE live event twice this year—first at Noted in May and then the rescheduled event at the July Atlanta show—we are very pleased that we will be conducting the very first LOUIE Awards virtual presentation, in partnership with IMC. The marketing and other support IMC will provide will introduce LOUIE Award winners to tens of thousands of retailers, and virtual watch parties (are you planning one?) will ensure broader exposure to makers, retailers, and sales reps alike. “We hope #LouieWatchParty will trend nicely!!” says George White, GCA President.
Thinking of You Week 2020
Nicky Burton, Calypso Cards, Subcommittee Chair
The Thinking of You Week website now includes a gallery of cards suitable for sending in times of corona – thinking of you, thank you, friendship. Consumers can click on the cards in the gallery to go to the publisher’s website to purchase. We welcome more submissions using this form. We are working on building consumer awareness through a social media campaign based around Muriel’s story. We are soliciting video clips of people opening cards, and also looking for anyone with video editing skills who would be able to donate a little time to the campaign. Please follow @thinkingofyouweekusa on Instagram and Facebook and tag us when you post. We have an opportunity now more than ever to promote the important role greeting cards can play in helping people to connect and bridge the distance.
Alan Friedman, Great Arrow Graphics, Committee Chair
As we all work to chart a course forward during a time that is anything but business as usual, I hope you are managing to stay well. The GCA has been actively focusing on new communication channels to keep our members connected, informed, and supported. The always popular mentorship program has gone live. A growing group now regularly dials into GCA Town Hall meetings where we chat, share news, ask questions and see friendly faces from around our industry. After weeks of working in isolation, these Zoom meetings with greeting card colleagues have been events to look forward to. The Mentorship Committee (Susan, Carlos, Amanda and myself) have been collecting our most often asked mentor questions as topics for live Q&A roundtables. These Card Talk Live broadcasts are a worthwhile listen – now ready for prime time and available to all members here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V03UEUDcWaI&feature=youtu.be, https://youtu.be/ns4BKwMiW3c, and https://youtu.be/zp3Ib9FG00Q.
There has never been a more important time to be connected, and the GCA is your go-to tool for staying in the loop. If you have any questions on how to take advantage of everything your membership has to offer… or how to volunteer and take part in the many GCA initiatives and programs, just give me a holler!
PR & Communications Committee
Dave Phipps, Avanti Press, Committee Chair
Do you have an idea for a greeting card campaign? Let the GCA help make it a reality! We are looking for a disruptive and engaging campaign that reminds consumers in an ongoing way about the power of sending and receiving greeting cards. The “winning idea” will be chosen by fellow publishers and consumers in a publicly available survey. The GCA will work with the winner to transform the idea into a broad consumer-facing campaign that has industry-wide support.
Submit Your Idea Here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCAPRCampaign2020
John Smyth, A Smyth Co, Committee Co-Chair
On May 1st, Noted went virtual. For a little over two hours the community gathered for a Pitch Program, the Noted @ Noted Awards, and a panel discussion on the Change World due to the pandemic. More than 200 people joined the event and, overall, the programming was well received. Thank you to everyone for participating! If you weren’t able to join us, you can see the Noted @ Noted Awards at https://youtu.be/44Wbn2iWBKk.
The Noted Committee is looking forward to 2021 and evaluating the options. They hope to have a path ahead by mid-June. Everyone is hoping we will be able to get the community together safely next spring.