Archive for the UK Category

Top Tip – Use a Professional Graphic Designer

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, Promotional Gifts, UK on March 22, 2017 by Richard
Use a Graphic Designer

Use a Graphic Designer

In my opinon (humble of course), the difference between success and failure can often be the ‘design’.

I wonder how many of you reading this could tell me the name of a company that designs and builds luxury yachts and which is based in Poole, in the UK? Would you be able to describe their logo? I’m pretty sure most of you will have guessed correctly at Sunseeker, and that their logo is an oval of laurel leaves with their name running through the middle. Now that’s a fairly complicated logo, but still impressive if you were able to accurately describe it.

Think about how many businesses are trying to get our attention, and then think about how many are successful at doing so.

As a business owner – RT Promotions – I work with other businesses throughout the UK, some small and some not-so small, and when it comes to printing their message onto an item of promotional merchandise or work-wear (notebooks, keyrings, coffee coasters, etc), they all have one thing in common – they want to ensure their message is clearly seen, and if possible, positively remembered.

Many of our clients simply choose an item from the 5,000 plus on our website, then send us their artwork file. We use this file to then print onto the item – sometimes a simple print, onto a pen for example, but quite often it can be a more complex print – perhaps onto a pull-up banner, or even onto a coffee mug. We can always tell when the artwork has been created by a professional – ALWAYS. “So what” I hear you ask? Well let me tell you, if I laid out on my desk the last 50 or so coffee coasters I’ve produced and asked you to select your favourite five, I bet I could predict which ones you’d choose.

They’re all just coffee coasters, they all do the same job – but, given a choice, only five will make the grade and be chosen to be kept on the recipients desks. That’s the power of a well-designed promotional gift. It will reach your target prospect, and be retained.

My top tip. Use a professional graphic designer whenever you can


What factors are impacting the way you buy promotional gifts and how – the industry leader clarifies things

Posted in Promotional Gifts, UK with tags , on September 18, 2014 by Richard

Welcome to the third and final blog post in this series, where I’ve been seeking some clarity from Gordon Glenister, the Director General of the British Promotional Merchandising Association (BPMA), on a range of important issues facing promotional gift buyers.

My timing could hardly be more appropriate as the UK’s second Promotional Products Week event kicked off this week on the 15th September, which you can find out more about here

This third blog post focuses Gordon’s attention on three factors that have helped to shape the promotional gifts marketplace in recent years, and how they might impact on your promotional gift buying going forward.

1: Gordon, recent legislation from the EU is beginning to have an impact on the UK promotional gifts industry, so what’s next? Will all promotional pens, for example, have to be made to a standard size?

1: I don’t think some of the EU legislation will have the same impact on our promotional gifts industry as it has had in the UK in, say, the retail sector. Product traceability, however, is an important directive and the source of a gift’s origin is likely to be an area of development. But, the reach of the EU constantly evolves – just look at the recent headlines regarding vacuum cleaners – so the industry and gift buyers should keep an eye on European developments.

2: There seems to be a trend for customers requiring their promotional gifts much faster, often within the same week, and increasingly in full colour. How do you see this trend developing?

2: I see the growth in short term lead times as part of a ‘want it now’ society we live in. I do think that some of the demands are creating real challenges in the supply chain. If everyone wants products in a week and there are limited production slots, then it’s simply not possible. My view is that as there is more pressure and less choice in short time periods. So if buyers plan more time into their deadlines, this enables them to consider a greater range of product ideas and what creative messages works best.

3: A few years ago everyone was demanding their promotional gifts be ‘eco friendly’ or recycled. Has demand dropped for green gifts or is there a lack of variety of products available to tempt the customers?

3: Actually, there is the widest choice possible for eco friendly products nowadays, although I do think there has been some slippage here. Again, much depends on the objectives of the gift buyer and what type of message they wish to be promoting. For example, do they want to be seen in a positive ecological light?

4: Finally Gordon, what are these ‘Deskies’ we’ve been hearing about in the business?

4: This is our fun way to promote our second National Promotional Products Week, which runs between 15th and 19th September, and to engage our industry and its buyers. In order to promote the value of promotional branded gifts we are encouraging people to take photos of their desks – hence the ‘Deskie’ – to help us glean which promotional gifts are the most popular. Research shows that 89% of people will keep a gift if it’s useful, so we’re expecting lots of ‘Deskies’ which can be uploaded to our site at

My thanks again to BPMA Director General, Gordon Glenister, for helping me to put this three blog-post series together.

As importantly, thank you for reading. I hope you found these question and answer sessions useful. Does your opinion and experience reflect Gordon’s answers? Please feel free to leave me your comments.

And don’t forget to give us a call when you need friendly, helpful, expert and experienced advice on all things promotional gift.

How to choose your promotional gifts supplier – the industry expert gives us his guidance

Posted in Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment, UK with tags , , on September 16, 2014 by Richard

Welcome to the second of my blog posts in a series of three, in which I ask some pointed questions of the Director General of the British Promotional Merchandising Association (BPMA), Gordon Glenister.

With the UK’s second Promotional Products Week event under way (it commenced on Monday 15th September), I felt this was the perfect time to glean Gordon’s invaluable insights for buyers of promotional gifts, and how such gifts and give-aways might help you to grow your business and brand.

My first blog post in this series was all about what makes a good promotional gift, this one focuses on helping you to choose your promotional gifts supplier.

1: With the click of a mouse, buyers can find a plethora of promotional gift distributors offering the same kind of thing – pens, coffee mugs, coaters, etc, – how should they decide which company is most suitable?

1: I know buyers want maximum value with minimum risk when searching for promotional items. But with so much choice, they need to be able make an informed decision about what products are best suited to their needs. By talking to a BPMA member distributor, many of whom have years of experience and are trained to an industry standard, a buyer will feel reassured that they are working with an expert. If buyers clearly explain the type of activity they are planning, it’s likely there are a range of ideas and options available. Other signs of a potentially good gifts supplier are case studies. Look at what other companies they have worked with already and the results, feedback or testimonials they have achieved. The most capable suppliers have often won industry awards, too.

2: The promotional gifts industry used to be driven by mailing-out brochures but has seen a gradual move away to promotional tools like e-shots; where do you see this going?

2: It’s definitely true that catalogues have dropped in popularity but not by a staggering amount as there are still people who like to view ideas away from the computer. It’s sometimes easier, for example, to talk with colleagues while viewing a catalogue rather than on a screen or hard copy e-mail. In addition, e-mails are extremely cheap to deliver but I would also ask how many even get through to recipients in this day and age with so many spam filters. As a society we are overwhelmed with messages, receiving thousands every day. In some instances we’ve become oblivious to them. Furthermore, for me at least, one of the most effective methods for gifts suppliers to get their message over is through word of mouth and referral marketing – which are the kinds of signals buyers should be listening for as well. Tailored and focused direct mail is seeing a resurgence.

3: Gordon, you have worked alongside the biggest and the smallest in this industry – what tips would you give to a company seeking to source a UK distributor?

3: If a company wants to source a UK distributor, it all depends again on what they are trying to achieve and what they are looking for in a partner. Are they looking for a local company they can meet regularly and discuss ideas and options for campaigns? Are they looking for a company that can help them create a merchandise scheme or collection for a large brand with a sizeable budget? Are they looking for in-house design or a company that can cater for their tender requirements? Once they’ve decided upon what type of company they are looking for, they should then select from BPMA members, all of whom have been financially vetted and sign up to a code of conduct. What’s more, some BPMA members have taken steps to becoming  super compliant by gaining “Charter” status. All these companies have customer service procedures, proper complaint processes, ethical policies and many also have CSR polices. All of which are just some of the reasons why promotional gift buyers should also talk to BPMA members first!

That’s it for this blog post and our thanks to BPMA Director General, Gordon Glenister, for his detailed answers.

In the third post in this blog series, I’ll be asking Gordon to help me with three factors which have had an impact on the promotional gifts industry in recent years – EU legislation, environmental concerns and ever decreasing delivery deadlines.

Keep it here then for blog post three but if you’d like to know more about any of the matters Gordon has discussed, please feel free to give us a call.

Also, to discover more about Promotional Products Week you’ll find it here:

What makes a good promotional gift – I ask the industry expert

Posted in Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment, UK with tags , on September 14, 2014 by Richard

As we run up to the UK’s second Promotional Products Week event, which starts on 15th September, I thought I’d put Gordon Glenister, the Director General of the British Promotional Merchandising Association (BPMA), on the spot and ask him a number of searching questions about the state of the industry.

If you buy – or are thinking about buying – promotional gifts to help your enterprise with its  sales, marketing, PR and brand building, this and the next couple of my blog posts are essential reading.

1: Gordon, as Director general of the BPMA, you must see lots of really good examples of promotional gifts, care to describe your favourite?

1: Yes, I see a lot of great promotional gifts but my favourite gifts are those that have some relevance to a theme. One of my favourites is something I have kept for over 15 years – I picked up what looked like a piece of wood only to be told it was whistle and made the noise of a great steam train. Given the company was called Commission Junction, I liked the link. Not only have I shown this gift to thousands of people in my seminars, all our research suggests those items that have relevance and usefulness are likely to be kept for the longest.

2: For clients looking for a memorable promotional gift, which style offers the best ROI? Quirky/unusual or regular/standard?

2: That’s an important question, especially in today’s still economically challenging times. I have to say that much depends on the target audience. If you are targeting a cool, young and trendy audience as, for example, you would be if you’re in the fashion industry, you might source unusual items that are relevant to that group. However, all the research suggests that the stable products such as pens, mugs, clothing, usb sticks and so on still lead the way. I know that sounds like I’m recommending safe or dull choices but it’s amazing, for example, what the Google brand does on a standard mug – I’ve seen the reaction! The other big question gift buyers should ask themselves is how the gift is being presented. For example, is it being given away at an exhibition, is it to be mailed, is it an on-pack promotion or is it being resold? These factors will impact on the effectiveness of the response a gift generates and therefore the ROI the sourcing business enjoys.

I hope you enjoyed Gordon’s insights into the kind of promotional gifts and merchandise that tend to work best for business, and how to go about choosing them to benefit from maximum return on your investment.

In my second blog post in this series, my questions and Gordon’s responses deal with choosing a promotional gifts supplier. So don’t forget to check back soon.

In the meantime, if you’d like highly expert and experienced advice and guidance to help you make the right choice of promotional gift for your purposes, budget and deadline, please don’t hesitate to give me, or any of my team at RT Promotions a shout.

If you’d like to know more about Promotional Products Week simply visit

Attitudes and Perceptions of Promotional Products

Posted in Promotional Gifts, ROI - Return on Investment, UK with tags , on September 19, 2013 by Richard

Here in the UK, a survey of 1,000 consumers has been conducted on behalf of the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) by the independent research company Atomik. The survey was completed in September 2013 and has some interesting finding on the attitudes and perceptions regarding promotional products.

Take a look at the results – we’ve been supplied some brilliant infographics.

Promotional Products - Attitudes and Perceptions

Promotional Products – Attitudes and Perceptions

Trade Secrets – Promotional Coffee Coasters

Posted in Opinions & Comments, Promotional Gifts, Trivia, UK with tags , , , , , , , on April 21, 2013 by Richard

I know what you’re thinking – ‘what on earth is there that’s a ‘secret’ about a simple coffee coaster’? Well, believe it or not, there’s a few things I can tell you, that could make a BIG difference to your buying experience when you find yourself considering the options available to you within this sector of the promotional gifts market.

Promotional Coffee Coasters

Promotional Coffee Coasters

My company, RT Promotions, has a fairly comprehensive range of coasters on offer on our website, in excess of fifty in fact. They range from cheap and cheerful paper coasters, to plastic, acrylic, PVC, metal, leather, vinyl, gnalvic and glass – and I’ve probably missed a few!!! They all have their particular features – some can be printed onto in full colour, whilst others can only be printed in ‘spot colours’, some can even be embossed or engraved. But, I can hear you ask – what about the secrets??

The secrets come into play, when I consider what the coasters WONT do….

I’ll give you an example. There’s a promotional coffee coaster on the market, that’s been a best seller for years. My company has sold tens of thousands of them – and we’ve not had one single complaint. The manufacturer claims the coasters to be ‘virtually indestructible under normal use’, but I always warn my customers not to get them too wet. A bit odd don’t you think? A coffee coaster is going to get wet, spillages are going to occur, after all, that’s partly what they’re designed for isn’t it, to keep the spillages away from your desk or table? So here’s the secret, this particular coaster will be destroyed if placed in the washing up bowl. It will probably be irreversibly damaged if liquids are allowed to get under the base – and yet, it’s claimed to be ‘virtually indestructible under normal use’….. I must emphasise, the coaster has a lot going for it. It offers great colour reproduction, and is available at a great price. When I have customers visit my showroom, they almost always select this particular coaster from amongst the many samples we show them, and even when the clients are made aware of the coaster’s weakness, they usually proceed to purchase it regardless – but I often wonder how many people buying this coasters from other promotional gift suppliers are made aware of these facts in advance?

My favourite secret regarding a promotional coaster though is about the coaster that distorts and bubbles when you place a hot drink onto it!!! Can you believe it, a coaster that’s readily available, but which breaks when used for it’s intended purpose!!! I’ve removed this particular coaster from sale, it’s no longer on my company website, BUT – it’s still available from other companies, and being sold in the thousands.

Trade secrets eh? But then again, that’s the point about talking to my company – talk to seasoned experts in promotional products, and you’ll be advised properly.

How Do You Recognise Your Own Unique Skills?

Posted in Opinions & Comments, Trivia, UK with tags , , on April 8, 2013 by Richard

I’ve been pondering on this question for a while. Ever since I heard a presentation from a guy called Gary May. he runs a business called ‘Salesology‘, which is all about helping people and companies, realise their sales potential. Well, during his short presentation, he challenged the group to consider “Ten things You Should Consider When Purchasing (insert your product or services here)”.

The idea here is that you create a list of things, your customers should consider, when they’re about to make a purchase. The point of course, is that aside from being honest, it should focus on the ‘uniqueness’ of your products or service offering, something that your competitors probably don’t have, or at least if they do, they wont have all TEN of them. The challenge is this: every single one of the people in the the same group I was in, that heard the exact same presentation, ALL said – “what a brilliant idea, I’ll go away and work on those ten things right now” – and yet here we are, maybe five months later, and not a single one of them has done it yet.

I believe it’s mostly because they are struggling with understanding their ‘uniqueness’. What we’re really saying is, “why do people buy off of you, and not your competitors”? It’s really tough to blow your own trumpet isn’t it? So I say this, go talk to some close associates, people who truly understand your business, and ask them to tell you. After you’ve done that, why not ask your customers? You might be surprised at what you hear!!