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Industry Focus

  • Why promotional products still matter

    Getting it right

    Marketing has become a bit of an art form. No matter where you turn, you’ll invariably be subjected to some form of advertising. Whether it be television adverts, magazine adverts, online banners, or social media, it seems to be never ending and is becoming increasingly sophisticated.
    There is, however, still space for the more traditional forms of advertising. If you haven’t noticed Promotional Products are still going strong. Whilst many people may have assumed that this form of advertising and marketing was dead in the water - the opposite is, in fact, the case. Promotional products are deemed to be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Research indicates that the use of promotional merchandise represents an extremely cost-effective route.

    What Are the Most Popular Promotional Products

    What products you select will typically be dictated by the type of business, the nature of the target audience and by the budget available. In general, though, most organisations tend to opt for things from the ‘core’ product categories outlined below:

    • Writing instruments: Pens and pencils
    • Paper Products: Notebooks and notepads
    • Bags: Cotton shoppers, conference and lap top bags
    • Drinkware: Mugs and water bottles
    • Desk Accessories: Calendars, memo blocks and mouse mats
    • Clothing: T-shirts, hoodies, caps and jackets
    • Technology products: USB’s and power banks

    Whilst these are the bestselling items the reality is that the team at Bright Ideas has access to over 30,000 promotional products. That’s what we do, we help our clients to source the most suitable product for any eventuality. It’s worth spending the time looking at the possible options as often it’s the more inventive choices for promotional products - or the creative application of your branding - that help to create the most successful campaigns.

    Remember the Basics

    It’s sometimes easy to get carried away and distracted by the range of products available. The critical thing is never to forget the target audience and to look wherever possible for items that have longevity and are likely to be used again and again. There’s also a school of thought that suggests that more discrete branding can have a greater impact. The “less is more concept”, implies that products with subtle branding are more likely to be actively used, thereby increasing brand awareness / enhancing the effectiveness of any campaign.

    Bright Ideas Promotional
    We are Promotional Merchandise experts. If you’d like some assistance regarding any of your merchandising requirements then simply call us on 0800 644 4858 or drop us a line at info@brightideaspromotional.co.uk

  • Saving time money and resources


    Bright Ideas leads the way

    Bright Ideas is revolutionizing the ordering and management of branded merchandise and printed collateral with the development of a bespoke e-store for a British multinational facilities management and construction services company.

    The e-store, named Marketplace, makes use of Magento e-commerce functionality to provide a secure online ordering / e-commerce platform. This has been designed and developed completely in-house by the Birmingham & Bristol based branding and merchandise specialists.

    Richard Gardiner, Bright Ideas’ Managing Director commented, “As the preferred supplier for our clients’ promotional merchandise requirements, the creation of a best in class online presence for these products was a logical step. This will enable the in house Marketing team to better manage the product portfolio, reduce leakage, and protect the brand identity, as well as increasing the level of interest in the product range throughout the business.

    Designed with end users in mind, the e-store enables employees to order a core range of ‘approved’ branded merchandise, invariably available for next day delivery. The next phase of development will include a refresh of the product line, the introduction of a custom personalisation service to enable client facing teams to order bespoke personalised items tailored to their requirements, and the streamlining of the re-ordering process.

    Our client’s Head of Brand commented, “We are delighted with the new e-store. Bright Ideas has been a fantastic partner throughout this project. They have helped us to update the core product range and have suggested innovative ways to improve the way we manage merchandise. The project was professionally managed and delivered on time and on budget. We are extremely pleased with the final result.”

    If you'd like to hear more about this project please contact richard@brightideaspromotional.co.uk

    Did you know?

    Bright Ideas has been trading for over 25 years. We are a Charter member of the British Promotional Merchandise Association and operate out of offices in Birmingham and Bristol.

    If you’d like some assistance regarding any of your merchandising requirements then simply call us on 0800 644 4858 or drop us a line at info@brightideaspromotional.co.uk

  • Promotional ROI

    The proof is in the pudding

    The team at Bright Ideas are experts in the field of Promotional Merchandise. It really is what we do day-in day-out. We source, we design, we brand and we deliver promotional products of all sizes, shapes and price points. But perhaps more importantly, we recognise their value. But for our clients it can be different. Sometimes, it requires a bit of a leap of faith to embrace the power of promo!

    That's why we thought it would be helpful to share some valuable information to showcase just what can be achieved.

    Promotional products have been a popular choice for building brand recognition for many years. In the digital age where most things can be tracked it has become increasingly important to show that promotional products and branded gifts have a positive effect not only on brand awareness but also on sales.

    The British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) has conducted several surveys that provide evidence that there is a direct correlation between promotional product advertising and an improvement in brand recognition and increase in sales. In addition to brand awareness and better sales, this form of advertising also yields a better return on investment.

    The results speak for themselves

    Here are some of the key findings from a recent study conducted by the BPMA. The research included surveying close to 15,000 people who had received a promotional product within the previous year.

    Key findings

    • 66% claimed they could recall the brand on the promotional product
    • 79% would be likely to do business with the company again
    • 87% kept a promotional item for longer than a year
    • 56% said their impression of the company improved after receiving the promotional item

    The research also highlighted that the ROI on promotional products was better than investment on other channels such as radio and outdoor advertising, and is equal to TV and print.

    The most popular promotional products in terms of favorites listed by those who were surveyed were:

    • USB drives
    • Pens
    • Notebooks, and
    • Mugs

    Practicality and longevity are key

    When it comes to how long a promotional product is kept, there's a direct correlation between how genuinely useful the item is. The longer a promotional product is kept, the more impressions it makes on the recipient and anyone else that sees the recipient using the item. That's why mugs and USB's prove to be so popular. Indeed, it's not uncommon for these types of items to 'hang around' for years. From the survey, 87% said they kept a promotional item for longer than a year and nearly 30% kept a promotional product for up to 4 years. The impact of these products can, therefore, be great.

    Bright Ideas Promotional
    We are Promotional Merchandise experts. If you’d like some assistance regarding any of your merchandising requirements then simply call us on 0800 644 4858 or drop us a line at info@brightideaspromotional.co.uk

  • Promotional products work for small business

    Size really doesn't matter

    Just because your business has a turnover in the thousands rather than millions doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from the use of promotional merchandise. The reality is small businesses have just as much to gain. There are also many factors working in your favour. Small businesses can often be more creative, the chain of command is simpler and it's possible to go to market quicker. Here are 5 key factors supporting the use of promotional products:

    Increased Brand Recognition

    A goal for businesses, big and small, is often brand recognition. How can you make your brand not only stand out from the competition, but also remain in the minds of customers, both current and potential? One way is to get creative with your marketing. Promotional products are a simple tool that can help increase brand awareness for your small business. By ‘decorating’ an item that a customer can use in his or her everyday life with your logo you can keep your business top of mind. Invariably, the more creative the better.

    Mass outreach at a low cost

    With a tight budget, it can often be difficult to choose exactly what marketing approaches make the most sense for your small business, and what will give you the most “bang for your buck.” With a small price tag but large, lasting impact, promotional products represent great value and significant ROI. Keep this in mind: A simple giveaway is a great way to increase customer loyalty. For example, if you run a retail operation including a fun giveaway with purchases is a nice way to say thanks!

    Alternative business card

    While business cards will always be a valuable business staple, promotional products are a fun, creative way to showcase your contact information. Instead of just leaving a potential customer with your business card, for example, consider leaving behind your business card AND another tangible, branded product. Think bespoke stress balls, USB’s, key rings, et al. Relating the item to who you are and what you do will make people remember your business.


    When it comes to marketing your business, another thing to keep in mind is repeat exposure. How can you keep what you do, and your business, consistently in front of customers without consistently spending a ton of money? Easy: Think about what items your customers will want to keep around. If you own a spa, for instance, why not create a stylish fridge magnet to help evoke positive memories and perhaps also double up as an appointment reminder. A simple trick to help keep your business front of mind.

    Keeping it fresh – Making the most of your marketing platform

    What does your marketing portfolio look like? Think about this: If you had to choose between eating the same pizza, twice a week, every week, for lunch, or getting two different lunches each week instead, what would you pick? We think most of you would choose variety. The same principle can be applied to your business. Although having staple marketing products is important, being able to vary what you’re using to brand your business is important, too!

    Bright Ideas Promotional
    We are Promotional Merchandise experts. If you’d like some assistance regarding any of your merchandising requirements then simply call us on 0800 644 4858 or drop us a line at info@brightideaspromotional.co.uk

  • The history of the promotional merchandise industry

    Like a fine wine: it gets better with age

    For the team at Bright Ideas Promotional Products are a standard part of our daily lives. We source them, we manufacture them, and we brand them. We also talk about them incessantly.

    It should come as no surprise that we are all familiar with the origins of promotional products. It's actually quite an interesting tale so we thought we'd provide you with a brief insight into why this industry has been in existence for centuries and why it continues to play such an important role, on a global scale.

    The first promotional product wasn’t a pen, a stress ball or a key ring. When George Washington became the first President of the newly formed United States of America in 1789, commemorative buttons were produced to celebrate the momentous occasion. So the first U.S. President was in part responsible for producing the first promotional product!

    During the early 19th century, there were some advertising calendars, rulers, and wooden specialties, but there was no organized industry for the creation and distribution of promotional items until 1886.

    That distinction went to an Ohio newspaper man named Jasper Meek. In 1886, Meek approached a local shoe store owner with an idea: instead of letting his printing machinery go idle between editions of the newspaper, Meek realised he could use it to print a message advertising the shoe store onto bags which would be given away with every shoe purchase. That way, he reasoned, when kids used the bags to carry their school books, they would also advertise the store. Does that sound like a familiar approach?

    Henry Beach, another Ohio based printer and a competitor of Meek, picked up on the idea, and soon the two men were selling and printing marble bags, buggy whips, card cases, fans, calendars, cloth caps, aprons, and even hats for horses.

    By 1904 representatives of 12 promotional product companies had gathered to form the PPAI, an American trade association which is still in existence today. Promotional Products Association International currently has more than 10,000 global members.

    That is how this wonderful industry began but it wasn’t until the late 1950’s that corporate marketing, using promotional products, began in Britain. That was the beginning of this industry as we know it today.

    UK & Ireland

    The UK and Ireland promotional merchandise industry formally emerged as corporate marketing became more sophisticated during the late 1950s. Before this companies may have provided occasional gifts, but there was no recognised promotional merchandise industry. The real explosion in the growth of the promotional merchandise industry took place in the 1970s. At this time an ever increasing number of corporate companies recognised the benefits gained from promoting their corporate identity, brand or product, with the use of gifts featuring their own logo.

    Market Mechanics

    In the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland, companies and corporations mainly purchase their merchandise through promotional merchandise distributor companies. Nowadays, almost anything can be branded with a company’s name or logo and used for promotion. Common items include clothing, caps, notebooks, key rings, bags, pens, mugs, technology products and gadgets as well as a whole host of eco-friendly promotional products such as those created from recycled materials.

    Promotional merchandise is rarely bought directly by corporate companies from the actual manufacturers of the promotional products. A manufacturer's expertise lies in the physical production of the products, but getting a product in front of potential customers is a completely different skill set and a complex process.

    Within the UK & Ireland promotional merchandise industry a comprehensive network of promotional merchandise distributor companies exist and Bright Ideas is one of the leading exponents, being a Charter Member of the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA). We are experts at making things run smoothly, managing the artwork application and printing processes. In addition to this we also provide full support in processing orders, proofing, progress chasing, storage & delivery of promotional products from multiple manufacturing sources.

    The UK Market

    According to recent research completed in 2015 the UK and Ireland promotional merchandise industry has an overall value of circa £850m. Published research suggests that the top 10 promotional merchandise products are promotional pens, bags, clothing, notebooks, plastic items, USB memory sticks, mugs, leather items, polyurethane conference folders, and umbrellas.

    This might not be the biggest industry in the world but it’s certainly got history and, if the present day is anything to go by, it will continue to play a major part in promoting businesses and organisations of every size and nationality, for the foreseeable future and beyond.

    Bright Ideas Promotional
    We are Promotional Merchandise experts. If you’d like some assistance regarding any of your merchandising requirements then simply call us on 0800 644 4858 or drop us a line at info@brightideaspromotional.co.uk

  • Promotional merchandise works


    Cutting through the clutter

    The digital age means businesses are spoilt for choice when planning their marketing strategies. Online campaigns, social media, TV ads and print are all frequently used channels to engage with consumers. In this complicated landscape the use of Promotional merchandise can sometimes be forgotten or at best undervalued.

    Research by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) has shown the power promotional merchandise can have. When done well; it is more likely to invoke brand loyalty than the mediums of print, web, direct mail and TV.
    Continue reading

  • The role of promotional clothing

    A cost effective way to promote your business

    Branded clothing represents a cost effective way to promote your company, events and special occasions to help generate more and new business.

    As marketing strategies have developed in recent years the use of promotional clothing has increased sharply. A key driver being the wide range of fashionable clothing items that are now available for decoration, coupled with the success of ‘dress down’ days, and the acceptance of casual clothing in the work place. Continue reading

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