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Category: News

Tap into grant for upgrading broadband

Your business can get a connection voucher of up to £3,000 for faster, better broadband through the Government’s Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme.

Businesses within the promotional merchandise industry are eligible for the grant after the Government extended its Connection Voucher Scheme to 50 cities across the UK with £40m of funding.  The scheme is managed by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a unit within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 

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Outstanding Branding make it a hat trick

Outstanding Branding made it a hat trick of awards this year when they took the top prize of Group Member of the Year at the 15th Advantage Catalogue awards and launch dinner.

Andy Thorne and Sarah Penn took to the floor to thank all the suppliers who had voted for their company, with Andy commenting: “To get the continued backing and support from our supply chain is very humbling. This is our third award in seven months and really does pay testament to a brilliant team we have at Outstanding Branding coupled with truly remarkable suppliers.”

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The hidden financial benefits of bpma membership

Mandy Hastie, managing director of Liquid Lens and part of the membership committee at the bpma

While the core benefits of bpma membership are well known such as enhanced reputation, professional development and business opportunities, not everyone knows about the hidden support and discounted services they can take advantage of as a member.

When you become a bpma member, you become part of a supportive group, one that can offer expert advice, specialist services and financial support when you need it most, but there’s an added benefit too….

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Get set for Promotional Products Week!

Promotional Products Week (PPW) takes place from September 14 to 18, showcasing promotional merchandise at its best and highlighting its essential role in the marketing mix.

Lots of distributors and suppliers are getting involved, and here are the bpma’s tips for making the most of the opportunity:

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New member for Ignite

The Merchandise House, based in West Sussex, has joined the Ignite group of distributors. It was set up last year by Tanya Cooper who is well known to many suppliers from her work with Sourcing City and, prior to that, Promota.

Richard Pettinger from Ignite said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome The Merchandise House to our group. I have known Tanya for many years and have no doubt that her in-depth industry knowledge will enable her new company to flourish. We hope that we can assist and be part of that success.”

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Frontline Image wins in BTC activewear promotion

Frontline Image has become the second winner in a VIP promotion run by clothing specialists Gildan and BTC activewear.

Matthew Mackay, sales director at Frontline Image, went to The Open in St Andrews in July with a guest with his prize of two VIP tickets. They had access to an exclusive private garden with putting green and free wine, beer and snacks alongside other VIP benefits.

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Bright Ideas acquires Business Gift Company

After 26 successful years, The Business Gift Company (TBGC) has been acquired by Bright Ideas Business Gifts.

TBGC owner Keith Rowe felt the time was right to pursue other interests and believes that Bright Ideas’ wealth of experience and complementary services will enable the business to continue to develop while retaining its high levels of customer satisfaction.

Bright Ideas CEO Richard Gardiner, who heads the business with Tim Farnfield, said: “TBGC has developed in recent years by being client focused
and taking considerable pride in understanding the commercial objectives of their customers. The majority of clients have been working with the company for many years. This client-centric culture will remain at the heart of the business.” 

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Wild Thang backs river festival

Liverpool-based Wild Thang raised its profile after being chosen as headline sponsor of the International Mersey River Festival.

It carried out street, programme and website branding and social media and gave away more than 1,000 balloons and mint cards over the event weekend in June. It also designed a range of River Festival merchandise that sold out during the visit of Cunard’s “Three Queens”, the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 cruise ships.

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Speedbird celebrates 10th anniversary

Speedbird Promotions in Suffolk has won a contract to supply one of the UK’s leading transport and logistics companies as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Maritime Transport, based in Felixstowe in Suffolk, selected Speedbird and its manufacturing partner Tekno to replicate its blue and white livery on a range of DAF XF Euro 6 and Scania R-Series Streamline model trucks, accompanied by curtainside and 40ft container trailers.

Speedbird’s managing director, Ben Lord, said: “Maritime was always a company I wanted to see in our portfolio as it is one of the great names in the British transport scene, and especially being a local, Suffolk-based success story as well.”

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Business continuity award for Ark-H Handling

Ark-H Handling, a leading handling and fulfilment provider, has won a national award for its business continuity strategies.

It collected the top award for Business Continuity/Resilience Strategy through Partnership, part of CIR Magazine’s Business Continuity Awards, recognising business continuity programmes in partnership with external suppliers, covering overall philosophy, the use of innovation and successful implementation across the company.

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Fluid Branding acquires Falcon Promotions

Fluid Branding has acquired Falcon Print and Promotions, combining forces to grow the two businesses.

Having built a successful merchandise business over the last 28 years, Falcon owners Paul Peachey and Les Wright felt the time was right for change.  Fluid Branding’s experience and resource in digital marketing, creative services and systems development will enable Falcon to grow its existing customer base while retaining the high levels of customer satisfaction that Falcon is known for.

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The Pen Warehouse supports Nepal relief

Employees at The Pen Warehouse raised over £1,350 for a charity helping people affected by the Nepal earthquake.

The company, based in Aldershot in Hampshire, has a workforce reflecting the diversity of the local community so has many colleagues from Nepalese families. The money will support Maiti Nepal, an established charity that works exclusively with children and women and is currently sheltering about 200 children, mostly victims of the earthquake. They urgently need help to buy basic necessities such as tents, food, clothing and bottled water.

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Round-table explores product media in charity sector

The bpma joined the Institute of Fundraising (IOF) at a round-table event to explore the effects of branded merchandise in the charity sector.

During the lunch at the Grange Hotel in London’s Tower Hill in May, an interesting debate ensued about how much merchandise is used for promotional use and how much for revenue generation.  The bpma is producing a white paper for IOF members to help them make the most of product media.

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Knowledge is power

Phil Morgan, CEO of SPS, shares his advice on staying ahead.

In my youth, I kept myself out of trouble by playing squash. And I was pretty good, to be honest, ranking seventh in the country at one point. I spent hours and hours practising, seven days a week. In the end, I left it all behind for the glamorous world of promotional products, but I did bring a valuable lesson with me: you’ll never get good at anything unless you keep on learning!

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Why ‘Chartered’ businesses stand out

Andrew Hill, Managing Director of Senator in the UK and head of the Charter Committee at the bpma.

“We don’t have to prove ourselves to anyone”, a recent correspondent of mine proclaimed. “Our customers get the best deals and the quickest service, so if that’s not good enough then they can lump it.” Yet with an increasing demand for compliance and conformity within our industry, it is becoming clear that this price-driven commodity trading attitude will soon be a thing of the past.

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Dukes of London receives private equity investment

Dukes Global has received a significant investment from private equity firm Agathos to support growth including expansion globally.

Douglas Grays, Dukes’ CEO, will continue to lead the business and drive the growth of both the UK and Asian operations with the support of Stuart Shepherd, Sales Director. The Agathos team will provide financial, strategic and operational support to Dukes’ management team.

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Galpeg continues to grow Associate programme

Galpeg is continuing to grow its Associate programme and help them expand their businesses and knowledge.

The latest Associate is John Peel, who has launched Peel Promotions, based in Northampton, after working in the promotions industry for nearly 10 years. He said: “The opportunity to run my own business backed by the resources of Galpeg, expand my knowledge of promotional gifts and have access to the network of other Associates in the programme was a win-win situation for me.”

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Change in management at Senator Germany

Personnel changes in the management of the Senator Group at its global headquarters in Germany see the appointment of a new Managing Director Technology.

Dr Christian Korte left the company at the end of May to pursue new career opportunities and has been replaced by Senator’s previous chief operating officer, Dr Ulf Osmers.

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Wide impact of gay cake ruling

The impact of the Ashers branding discrimination case could affect promotional merchandise industry.

A recent legal ruling in Northern Ireland could have far-reaching legal implications. A judge ruled that a Christian-run bakery discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan. Ashers Baking Company, based in County Antrim, was taken to court by a gay rights activist, assisted by Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission.

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Wireless charging

Matt Pluckrose, managing director of Desktop Ideas, explains wireless charging and how it works.

Wireless charging, such as the Qi charging standard that many Android phones use, isn’t that new but, like all cutting-edge technology, it is just now starting to take off and get consumers and businesses buzzing about it.

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