Top Promo Gift For 2015

Posted in Memory Hook Ideas, Promotional Gifts with tags , , , , on February 16, 2015 by Richard

I get asked this question all the time, and this year (2015) – it’s easy……..

When asked, “what promotional product will be this years big seller” it can often be a challenge. So much depends on ‘who’ you are trying to reach – having a great promo gift is all very well, but you need to have the right tool for the right market and all too often, there simply isn’t just one product to meet all the various needs.

However, here I am at the beginning of 2015, and it’s an easy question for me to answer.

There’s no doubt that ‘Power Banks’ are the promo gift of choice right now, and boy, there’s loads of choice (often a good indicator of the next big thing). But out of all the products available in this sector, the one that stands out for me is this one:

Promotional Power Bank

Promotional Power Bank

It’s such a smart product I could ramble on for hours.

As with so many promotional gifts – the thing that made the difference was when I got my hands on one. This is a product that ooozed quality. Power Banks are designed to act as an additional/back up power source for your mobile devices. On the train and running out of power on your phone? Simply plug-in a Power Bank and your phone’s battery gets a full charge. The difference with this particular device is that it will often have the grunt to be able to do that not once, but several times over. In fact, it’s even got two USB ports to give you the facility to charge TWO devices at the same time. Finally, there’s the logo area, where we don’t simply ‘print’ your logo – we laser engrave it giving you an amazing, striking feature – your logo will now light-up when the device is activated. It’s so coooooool – yes, I LOVE it.








Top Ten Tips For Staff Name Badges

Posted in Promotional Gifts with tags , , , , , , on January 31, 2015 by Richard

Love them or hate them – there’s a time and a place for Staff Name Badges and I guess it boils down to the question – Do you need them?”

For the purposes of this article I’m going to assume that you’ve made the decision – you DO need them – and so I’m simply going to suggest my Top Ten Tips for Staff Names Badges.

Staff Name Badges

Staff Name Badges

1: For ‘public facing’ job roles – the preference these days is to use first names only. It gives a more ‘friendly’ look, but also has security benefits.

2: We recommend using a magnetic fastening badge. They’re really strong and secure and have the added benefit of not piercing/marking your staff’s garments.

3: Purchase badges that can easily be edited/amended. Staff come and go, and once you’ve printed their names in a permanent way, you’ll have a badge that’s of no use to the next member of staff.

4: Use the badge platform to promote your services – we have clients who change their badges each week – and put a different ‘sales message’ onto each one. Imagine the following message on a staff badge in a  garden centre – 10% off in our cafe all week.

5: Staff Name Badges don’t need to say ‘Here to help’ – simply wearing a name badge demonstrates you are indeed, here to help!

6: Choose a badge with a colour that compliments the style/colour of clothing your staff will be wearing.

7: Your branding/logo needs to be seen – but most importantly, make sure the staff names are clearly visible – they are after all ‘staff names badges’!

8: Have some fun with the space under the staff names – put personal messages there. We’ve worked with a cinema chain where each member of staff put ‘my all time favourite film is – (insert name here) – or consider staff name badges being used in a cake shop, – my favourite is Lemon Drizzle. Go on, have some fun, show the human side of your business.

9: Why buy hundreds at a time when you can buy DIY Name Badges with a minimum order quantity of just one?

10:  After countless surveys it’s an established FACT that the best place to position your staff names badge in on the left hand side of your chest.



How To Embroider Your Logo Onto Aprons

Posted in Clothing with tags , , , , , on January 11, 2015 by Richard

My company – RT Promotions – offers a wide range of aprons to suit any hospitality outlet. They range from long waist, to simple waist styles, and all come with challenges on how best to embroider and personalise them for your business.

Full length hospitality apron with pocket

Full length hospitality apron with pocket

I’ve noticed that when clients select a style of apron for their business, they put a great deal of time and effort into choosing the right ‘look’ the right colour and style, and then of course, the right price – but I recommend you give equal consideration to the application of the logo and branding and any other decoration that’s needed.

Remember – these garments are going to get some rough treatment and are certainly going to be washed regularly; so the decoration process has to be able to withstand the rigours of continual use.

Don’t forget – the washing instructions on the label only apply to the garment, not the decoration. With this in mind, we always recommend that only embroidery be used.

Embroidery is harder wearing than other decorative treatments, and is particularly suited to smaller designs and logos. It always has a quality look and feel and will often outlive the garment!!

Embroidery is far more versatile than people imagine – but – do give plenty of thought to the exact position for the logo or design when branding onto aprons.

The best example of getting it wrong is when branding onto a full length apron – as I’ve pictured here. Remember, that when in use, many of your staff will drop the top half of the apron, effectively folding it over, so if you’ve had your logo embroidered centrally and onto the top half – it’s not even going to be visible by the time your staff have folded it over!!!

Half sized or bar aprons, are becoming increasingly popular and pose fresh challenges for where to position your logo. Whatever you do, don’t embroider centrally onto these garments – the design brings far to much attention to the crotch area – not a good idea!!! A really effective position is onto the thigh area and it has the added advantage of being clear of any pockets.

Pink Bar Apron

Pink Bar Apron


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

How’s It Hanging?

Posted in Promotional Gifts, Trade Shows with tags , , , , , , , on June 29, 2014 by Richard

So you’ve decided to purchase some balloons for your event.

Printing Onto Promotional Balloons

Printing Onto Promotional Balloons

Quantity required – tick.

Colour required – tick.

Message/image to be printed onto the balloon – tick.

That’s pretty much it isn’t it? Job done surely?

Well – not quite, there’s one very important decision you need to make to be sure the finished product is exactly as you require.

How are you going to ‘hang’ the balloons?

Are you going to hang them neck down, or neck up?

It seems obvious doesn’t it? But when we print promotional balloons for our clients, and ask them this question, so many of them don’t know – and best of all, they wonder why on earth we are asking them such a stupid question. The reason is to make sure that when we print their artwork onto each balloon, we do so the RIGHT WAY UP. We can’t assume that everyone is going to display their printed balloons ‘neck down’.  Balloons will only hang neck down if you fill them with helium, or, put the balloons onto a cup-stick. If we print onto the balloons assuming you will be filling them with helium, and you then inflate them manually, the result is that your message is upside down.

Balloons Printed The Wrong Way

Balloons Printed The Wrong Way

Printed Balloons are a great, FUN, way to promote your business or service offering. Just think about all those wonderful colours – there’s sure to be a few colours that will compliment your brand identity?

My top seven tips for printing onto promotional balloons are:

1: Why not choose a colour or selection of colours that represent your brand identity?

2: If, for example you were ordering 1,000 balloons, why not split your order buy buying 250 Red, 250 Blue, 250 Black and 250 Purple? If you keep your print colour onto all of them the same (white for example) there’ll be no extra charge – but the result will be so much more colourful and impactful.

3: Keep your costs down by only printing in ONE COLOUR onto each balloon.

4: Keep your costs down by only printing in ONE position onto each balloon.

5: Inflating your balloons with helium is fine and dandy, but have you considered the costs? If you’re planning on using them for an outside event in particular, why bother? They wobble and move and crash around almost as much when filled with air?

6:  If you are going to fill them with helium, then ask for ‘Heli-Valves’ to be fitted. They self-seal and come complete with a ribbon – saving you loads of time and effort on the day.

7: Balloons are great for giving away at trade shows, or county fairs – so consider putting a ‘teaser’ message onto them. Visit us on stand 229 for a surprise gift is sure to get noticed and bring more visitors to your stand.

Holding an event and want advice on how best to get your balloons printed? Call any of the team at RT Promotions – we’d love to help.

Promotional Balloons

Promotional Balloons


Printed and Personalised Balloons

Printed and Personalised Balloons