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Q&A – Giving Something Back

bpma vice chair Graeme Smith has brought print industry nous into the promotional merchandise sector. Product Media, put the Cyan Group MD under the spotlight.

Q. Tell Us about the Cyan Group

A. Cyan Group is a print management and promotional distribution company. We are based in Twickenham and have been trading since 1997. Our clients are spread across many sectors but we are specialists in supporting the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry as well as leisure and the public sector.

At Cyan we are really focused on driving the highest standards for the industry and invest in a lot of training. We have developed the Cyan Academy which allows us to track the training development of our staff to ensure they have a broad but thorough understanding of the industries they are representing. The Cyan Academy programme is also available to upskill many of our clients who may be new or inexperienced to sourcing print and promotional products. We invest in our processes to ensure that we are as compliant as possible and subsequently, managing our client expectations is a given.

We are proud to hold the certifications for the ISO9001, ISO14001 as well as the bpma charter distributor status. Last year we were recognised as the PrintWeek Cross Media Company of the year for utilising multiple media elements to deliver the best results for our clients.

Q. You started out in print but now sell a lot of merchandise. Why is this?

A. Yes, that is true and it was quickly clear from our client contacts that they were not only sourcing printed materials but that they also had a broad range of requirements for many promotional products too. They said they liked how we did things on the print side of the business and wanted us also to provide them with their promotional products. More specifically our clients wanted to speak to us about a ‘campaign’ as part of a single source solution and by using only us they were confident the brand and quality of the products would be consistent across all the campaign. While this seems a simple transfer of ordering processes to the extended range of products we were able to offer, this also highlighted a skill gap which we needed to fill and this was achieved through the bpma Academy which I attended along with some key members of staff.

Q. How long have you been on the bpma board and why do you think it’s important to serve your industry?

A. I have been on the board since 2014. Being on the board is a big responsibility but I feel the commitment is worth it. As board members we are representing the wider membership and it is our goal to ensure that communications both to and from members is effective and relevant. For me the association should be a medium for offering education and inspiration as well as improving communications between members.

Q. What does the bpma board actually do?

A. They work very hard – I know that! As volunteers we are all there to help steer the association in the most appropriate way possible to deliver the needs of the members. We are constantly challenging and evaluating the strategic direction of the association to ensure

we remain relevant to our members and help them make the most of their businesses in the promotional merchandise industry.

Q. How do you think the promotional merchandise industry has changed over the past five years?

A. There have been many significant changes over the past five to 10 years but I think it is really the speed of change which is the most dramatic these days. Where products historically took time to pick up momentum they are now facing the viral demands of the modern marketplace. While there is now more competition for budget with new products coming on to the market each month, there does appear to be a move back to some of the more traditional desk items as these markets have become less saturated.

Q. Given the uncertain future for many within the industry right now, what advice would you give to companies?

A. Keep being proactive and communicate effectively with your clients and suppliers. The more effective you are, the stronger the relationships that result. The earlier you find out about upcoming projects, the more opportunity you have to offer advice and professionalism and to add real value.

Q. Why do you think people should support their trade association, and what made you join?

A. Education is the biggest benefit and the main reason I joined. Associations are there to support their members and the truth is that the more you put in, the more you get out. A group of like-minded and engaged members working together is a very powerful and positive environment. Not only does it allow you to work out the best way to do things, but it also results in the sharing of best practice to drive the highest standards for our industry.

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