The Briman Group has become an effective voice advocating British manufacturing. Mark Alderson explains its development

Welcome to the launch edition of Briman Voice. Over the coming months, this column will explore a range of topics affecting British manufacturing within the promotional industry. It seems sensible to start at the beginning and look at the formation of the Briman Group and some of the benefits its members have already shared.

A brainchild of the BPMA, the first group meeting took place in 2016. Following enthusiastic discussion, a small steering group evolved, which in subsequent meetings identified five key objectives (see box).

Much of the success of the early meetings can be attributed to the presence of members of different generations. The youthful enthusiasm of the Millennials was steered by some older, wiser heads creating a unique blend of ideas.

The Briman Group comprises many representatives from independent, family run businesses – 17 in total – but additionally benefits from the presence of members from some of the industry’s largest players.

Branding Briman

With clear goals and some inspirational ideas, the group set out to create a brand image to match. Using a wide selection of marketing mediums, including our own trusty promotional items, the brand awareness of the group grew. A significant success story in this respect was the Briman Treasure Hunt.

This ever-popular event has run at numerous national exhibitions and encourages exhibitors to visit stands they may otherwise have walked past. Michael Humphery-Smith, director, Ancestors of Dover says: “As a new supplier to the promotional industry, we found that participating in the Briman Treasure Hunt has offered us exposure to a large range of new clients.”

Shared knowledge

The group has worked hard to establish industry best practice and regularly discusses industry issues. Martyn Wood of Foremost Magnets says: “With all members regularly facing similar frustrations, listening to other members openly share their solutions has proved invaluable to our business. As a result of key information passed on by one of the Briman members, many companies within the group have received significant cash injections in the form of EU Research and Development grants.

Within six months of Simon Adam, MD of WCM&A, presenting his own successful experiences to the group, many other members filed successful claims. Adam says: “It has been really satisfying seeing other members benefit from the scheme. Traditionally UK-based companies have been far slower to benefit from R&D grants than our European neighbours. It is a great scheme and has really aided WCM&A’s new product development.”

Building bonds The group has engaged in numerous networking events, none more prestigious than a dinner at the Houses of Parliament with MP Jonathan Djanogly. Here the wine flowed, and discussion ranged across a variety of issues including Brexit, the impact of high minimum wage increases and the decline of many British manufacturing sectors.

Collaboration between individual group members, each offering their own specific elements has reaped rewards over a selection of projects. Tony Phillips, MD Great Central Plastics says: “Since joining the Briman group we have undertaken work for several other members within the group. It is a real pleasure working with likeminded British manufacturers and the group has certainly enhanced our business.” The group, now 23 members strong, is looking forward to the Merchandise World exhibition in September.

Many members have taken advantage of the group stand and can be found next to the branding zone. For those wanting more information please visit us at Merchandise World or log on to the group website

Briman’s objectives

  • To promote British manufacturing.
  • To support members by sharing best practice.
  • To educate distributors on the benefits of buying British.
  • To share group marketing and networking opportunities.
  • To develop and grow the industry sector.

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