4 Good Reasons to Use Promotional Gifts

By Cre8tive Brand Ideas- 16/01/19

In a hyper-competitive market, you have to do more to stand out. 

It’s not your customer’s job to remember to do business with you. It sounds obvious, but it’s up to you to remind them. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll leave a whole heap of unexplored opportunities on the table. 

But how do you stay on the radar in a way that ensures you cut through the noise and stay memorable? 

Thanks to digital media, it’s easier than ever to get your message ‘out there’. 

But a presence alone isn’t enough. 

Inboxes are crowded and social media is cluttered – what chance do you have to stand out and build your all-important
 know, like, trust factor? 

Perhaps it’s time to take a different approach. 

While there’s little elbow room in the digital space, if you include physical items in your marketing, you could find your competition disappears. 

That’s because if you invest in promotional merchandise, you unlock benefits you just don’t find with digital alternatives.  

Want to discover what they are? Well you will only have to wait until next week, when we will start to reveal the impact a branded gift can have.  

Your Business Is Your Story…Don’t let it stagnate!

Ernie Boxall- 11/01/19

Episode 1 – “I don’t know where to start!”

What is the Number One fear about speaking in public?

Actually, there is no number one fear. There’s a whole range of physical and psychological reasons why some people hate speaking in public. But who knows what the business and personal benefits could be from improving how you present yourself to a live audience or camera.

For example, have you been attracted to someone’s story before you were even sure what it was exactly what they did?

Speaking is your ‘audible’ business card. It is your verbal brand. 

  • Having a story makes you Memorable, it helps you create a reputation.

People hate being sold to on a first meeting, so the first meeting shouldn’t be about selling…unless it’s selling yourself.

  • It creates Empathy and Loyalty.

I can almost guarantee that somewhere in your story is a point where the client thinks, “Yes! I’ve been there.” Or “That’s what’s happening to me now.”

  • It helps make you recognisable, as the best person to go to, for what you offer, ahead of your competitors.

There is more than just yourself offering the solutions people are looking for, but you have been open about your ups and downs on the way to where you are now. Do you think that might give you an edge?

  • It helps increase Know-Like and Trust better than most other forms of branding.

Banners, flyers, business cards, generally, they all carry one message no matter where you take them or who you show them to, correct? But, audiences are different, locations are different, so you need different messages. The best way to be different is to tell a slightly different story where ever you are. You can change which story you tell or change the way you tell it.

  • It can make you become even more professional.

Your story is your brand. You have told your story honestly. Now you need to live up to your story or the brand is ruined.

  • It can increase your business’s premium image, you can charge a premium price.

You tell your story for the first time and people are interested. They may buy into you. But when you deliver on the promises your story encapsulates you can increase your offers.

  • The longer-term impact of speaking will mean you have a higher budget for other marketing costs as it will be your reputation and your story that will be bringing you in your new business.

Unless you have a rich benefactor behind you from the start, you will need to grow a client base. In my experience, the surest way to grow an audience is to speak to people.
But everyone knows that to talk to clients on a 1-2-1 basis is costly in time and money. By your ability to talk to a group and persuade them to call you budget costs can be directed to other areas.

  • For your customers, there is a less perceived risk as you have a reputation for trustworthiness and openness.

Do you hear people say “Yes! You can trust them. Look at their banner.” Or “Yes! You can trust them, They do what they SAY.”

  • Overall you end up with an Improved image.

You have had problems speaking to a large audience for many years,  but, after some training, you stand up for the first time and deliver a presentation you have prepared, practised and performed confidently, how much more confident will your posture be next time? How much more energy will you be able to put into the presentation, next time? How much more impact will your speech have next time.?

  • You will be able to attract the best talent and the best investors with your story.    You are aiming to create a Unique Selling Promotion with your story – i.e. people will come to you instead of your competitors because they have heard your story.

Your personality will become your Attraction Point, so your business needs to have become a personality. Your business needs your story to be told. But…it needs to be told well. Next time we will explore how that can be achieved.
So, a good place to start any conversation at a group meeting is “Tell us all a little bit about yourself.”

How confident would you feel if you were asked that question?

New Year, New Beginning – Top Tips for Achieving in 2019

Daniel Browne 10/01/19

As a brand-new year gets going, many of you may be thinking about what you would like to achieve in 2019. New Year’s resolutions are made by millions of people each year, but so many of us don’t end up achieving them. Whether it’s losing weight, quitting smoking or making a completely new start in life, there are ways you can help yourself.

When working on goal setting with my clients I like to use the SMART method. It helps to create a watertight plan of action that can result in you achieving your goals more easily.

The SMART method is:

Specific – Think about exactly what you want to achieve. This will help to make your goal clearer. Consider what is motivating you to make changes. If you’re strongly motivated this will help you to overcome any obstacles more easily. If your goal is to lose weight or eat more healthily, make it a bit more specific than telling yourself you are going to eat more healthily. Instead say that you are going to eat fruit in the evening instead of a bar of chocolate. What you decide as being the goal sets you up for whether you are going to achieve it or not, so it’s good to make sure it is a very specific goal that you have in mind rather than something general.

Measurable – Putting a number on what you want to achieve can make it more doable. It’s important to be able to track your progress and know when you have succeeded in achieving what you set out to do. Using losing weight as an example again, if you want to do more exercise, say that you will go swimming twice a week or running three times a week.

Achievable – If you want to become president leader of the free world or be cast as the next Bond girl opposite Daniel Craig, you may find you end up disappointed when you don’t achieve those things. When setting any goal, you need to make sure it’s realistic and can actually be achieved. The last thing you want is to feel like a failure when your goal isn’t achieved, so it’s ok to start small and build up your goals. So, if you want to eventually run a marathon, start small and tell yourself that you will aim to run for twenty minutes. Once you have mastered that you can build up until eventually you can run that marathon.

Relevant – Does your goal make sense to you? It should, otherwise how are you going to achieve it? Your goal should apply to you, so don’t commit to doing something that you don’t actually want to do. If you decide you need to eat a banana for a snack each day but don’t really like bananas, don’t set it as a goal.

Timely – To stop procrastination from taking hold it’s good to have a clear deadline in mind when setting your goal. When you have a deadline set, put in on your calendar or in your diary and mark off the days. Make sure your deadline is realistic though. If you are overweight and want to lose six stone, don’t put extra pressure on yourself by saying you’ll lose all of that weight in just two months. Give yourself the year to do it and take your time. The outcome will be much more positive.

Once you’ve made sure the things you want to achieve are SMART, there are a number of other things to keep in mind that will help you to reach your goals.

1. Every day can be a starting point. If you don’t get started on your plan as soon as the New Year arrives, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you don’t get started, there will always be tomorrow. Of course, that’s not an invitation to procrastinate and not do anything to achieve your goal, but keep in mind that there are 365 days in a year so it’s ok if you get half way through January and realise you haven’t done what you said you were going to do.
2. Don’t be scared. If you want to do something in 2019then go for it and don’t allow fear to hold you back. It may be a difficult journey to get to where you want to be in life but tell yourself every day that you have the power to believe and achieve.
3. Take action. Talking about it doesn’t result in something positive happening. It’s taking action that will help you to achieve your goal.
4. Use your support networks. Involve family and friends in your goals and use them as a source of motivation. They may even have the same goals as you and then you can work on achieving them together. Going it alone may work better for you, but if you have supportive people around you don’t be afraid to use them.
5. Remember the SMART method.

Daniel Browne is a hypnotherapist based in Leamington Spa town centre. You can find out more about his work at http://www.daniel-browne.co.uk.

The Problem of Pain

Natalie Snodgrass Tan- 08/01/19

I’ve been thinking about pain. A number of things have converged in recent weeks to cause this: my reinjured knee (currently waiting for MRI results and follow-up with the orthopod, my mother’s grief over the loss of her beloved cat, Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”(if you haven’t read this, I thoroughly recommend buying it), and the daily catalogue of unhappy news from around the world. (On a lighter note, also the individuation report that I idly signed up for a while ago that told me I thrived on suffering. Apparently I have a ‘strange appreciation for pain’, although they did go on to clarify that they didn’t mean masochistically, which was helpful.) It seemed quite fitting that while participating in a group guided meditation a couple of weeks ago, one of the messages that came into my head was ‘pain is a teacher.’

In my more philosophical moments, I have mulled over the ‘problem of pain’ and why God allows suffering to happen. I am no theologian or philosopher, but you see, I think pain is part of life in all its fullness.

A few questions occur to me. Is pain necessary? What would life be like without it? What happens when you fight or run from pain? I’ll be clear upfront – I have no definitive answers to any of these questions. But it strikes me that these are worthwhile things to consider.

Is pain necessary? What would life be like without it?

Whenever I mull over what a life without any pain would be like I’m reminded of two things. The first is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and its citizens getting high on soma, which, as Huxley comments, has “all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects”. Except does it? People blissed out on soma are dull and torpid. The second is the childhood memory of when I learnt about leprosy and discovered that because lepers don’t feel any pain they end up losing parts of their extremities because of repeated and unnoticed wounds and infections. Pain, then, is a natural signal to us to stop and take stock of our reality.

I think pain allows us to become fully human. Is pleasure all we want in our lives? How can you value happiness if you never know anything else? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think suffering is necessary in order to find meaning and happiness. Seeking it out would just be masochistic. I just think that if it does find you, you have to embrace it, and find out what it’s teaching you, and then discover that your joy, whenever it comes, is all the more precious because of the contrast.

The Indian poet Rumi said this: “Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter.” And then there’s one of my favourite verses in Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”

What happens when you fight or run from pain?

I think that often our first instinct, when confronted with pain, is to control or get rid of it somehow. Fight it, run from it, suppress it, avoid it. Sometimes this is reasonable and sensible to avoid unnecessary suffering, like anaesthesia during operations or pain relief in childbirth. Sometimes, though, it’s not so easy to figure out what control we have over our situation, or indeed whether we should be trying to exert control over it in the first place.

If you’re in an unhappy position, I think you first have to ask yourself: “Is there anything I can do to change the situation or get away from it?” If there is, however, there then comes a second question: “Does it help me to do so?” If the answers to both of these questions are yes, then you take the necessary and appropriate action. But what happens if either or both answers are no? I think the key word for what I want to talk about here is acceptance.

Eh? Acceptance?

I often tell my clients that acceptance is not the same thing as resignation. It’s not about some sort of reluctant acquiescence or passiveness in the face of defeat. Jon Kabat-Zinn, in “Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness”, phrases it beautifully: “Acceptance doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, mean passive resignation. Quite the opposite. It takes a huge amount of fortitude and motivation to accept what is – especially when you don’t like it – and then work wisely and effectively as best you possibly can with the circumstances you find yourself in and with the resources at your disposal, both inner and outer, to mitigate, heal, redirect, and change what can be changed.”

I also love the way Eckhart Tolle puts it: “When there is no way out, there is still always a way through.”

Surrendering like this – letting go of resistance and working with rather than against your situation – may not come naturally, but I think learning how to live in this way is so worth it. You start by acknowledging that you are resistant, and then step away from yourself to observe what’s going on in your mind and what the pain is like. Then you allow the pain and the resistance to just be there, rather than pushing it away or trying to escape.

Here’s a little exercise* to show you what I mean. Pick up a large book (the heavier the better) and imagine that it represents all the pain and tears and unhappy thoughts that you’re fighting. Now grip it as tightly as you can, as if you’re trying to stop someone taking it away from you. Hold it up in front of you, gripping tightly all the while, and keep doing that for three minutes.


Now, place it against the wall, and push the book away from you, as hard as you can. Just keep pushing away all that pain. You’re managing to keep the pain at arm’s length, great. How long do you think you’ll be able to keep going?

And if I were to ask you now, while you’re pushing hard, to have an important conversation, or hug someone you love, how easy would you find that?

Every time you push something away, it’s at a cost to you. It may seem that the situation you’re in is causing your pain – and this may well be true – but the truth is, your resistance (and fear, and resentment, and anger) is also making it worse.

If you’re hurting, and if I were to ask you what you were running from, what would you say? Our personal demons come in all shapes and sizes. The trouble with running is that as long as you are doing this, your demon has a much greater capacity to hurt you. The key is in changing your relationship with it, understanding that you don’t necessarily have to identify with it, fight it, or get rid of it. It’s part of life right now. It is what it is.

So face the demon, and be tender with it. Hold it lightly, acknowledging its presence, and then put it to one side. Think about all the things you can do after you stop gripping that book and simply place it gently on the table next to you. It’s there, in the background, like some soft soundtrack that no longer demands you listen to it.

– Written by, Quiet Space Ltd

*adapted from ACT Made Simple, Russ Harris

Have you done these three things today on social media?

Every day I talk to people about social media and a few of them have asked me “what should I start doing?”. There are many things that I would recommend but the ones in this blog would have the most impact.

So, here are the top three things I would recommend people do straight away!

Stop selling and start talking!
Most people go onto social media and put posts out and not interact with people. This is forgetting the “Social” part of social media. You will gain more business and talk to more people by spending 80% of your time talking to people and the following 20% of your time selling.

The benefit of this is when they do see your selling posts, they will be more interested as they have spoken to you and like you.

Make sure you are posting consistently on the platforms that your customers are on. 
If you haven’t posted in the last day on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or LinkedIn then write a post and send it out. Most people do not post enough and as social media moves so quickly, your new visitor might have missed your posts. Aim to post on Facebook and LinkedIn once a day, Instagram- twice a day and Twitter- five times a day.

Post a picture, video or a Facebook Live
Pictures, Videos, and Live Streaming are brilliant tools that some people love or hate. The truth is they have a few brilliant benefits for people who do them:

  1. They get better engagement than a post with just text.
  2. People will look at them for longer and more likely to interact with them.
  3. They accelerate the buying process as people feel they already know you.
  4. They actually save you time as you can use this content on each of the different platforms (just keep videos between 60-90 seconds long and they will be ok on each platform).
  5. You will get better the more you do them. In the next few years, videos are only going to get more prominent on social media and I personally want to make all my mistakes now rather than then!

If you are not sure about what to post, give the viewers a top tip, talk about a Blog, your story or where you have been today. The best bit? You don’t have to post it if you don’t want to but at least you have practiced it!

I hope you enjoyed this blog and please do not be afraid to do any of the above. The worst thing to do is not post at all!

Speak to you soon!

Top tips for 2019 New Year resolutions

Christine Ingall- 03/01/19

Have you ever made a new-year resolution and not been able to stick to it? Given up after a few days of agony or in the face of temptation? Of course you have. We all have! But I think there are reasons for these failures that have nothing to do with temptation or poor resolve.

Here are my tips to help you to set better resolutions for yourself and, even better, to achieve them.

1. Focus on The ONE thing that you really want/need to change. Set ONE resolution not many resolutions. More often than not, it is trying to make changes in multiple areas that guarantee failure in most.

2. Make your resolution POSITIVE rather than negative. Don’t think in terms of giving something up (which is what you might do for Lent) or doing less of something. Instead, express your resolution in terms of what you want to achieve that will make you feel better in mind, body or spirit as a result. For example, rather than saying, ‘I’m going to give up booze,’ resolve to become sober; rather than lose 10lbs, resolve to get fitter/achieve a better body weight/ more muscle definition.

3. See your end result clearly and be SPECIFIC about what, by when and how you will achieve it. Make sure that your resolution is something that you can achieve realistically in the timescale and in your current position/ circumstances.

So, for example you could resolve to be sober throughout January, but that might not be realistic if you are going on holiday with friends who drink for 2 weeks in that month. Resolve to sober in February instead.

4. Write your resolution down and post it in places where you will see it regularly: a note on the fridge door, the bathroom mirror, in your diary or planner. You could even go as far as to make a chart and record stepping stones, deadlines and their achievement. You will be encouraged by evidence of success!.

5. Tell a friend, or enrol a buddy in the same resolution. It will help to have someone to check up on/discuss progress or issues with you, and to celebrate success when you (both) achieve your desired result. This year I decided to eat gluten free because I am intolerant to wheat, and most bread, even if advertised as rye or spelt for example, contains wheat. But I don’t enjoy eating gluten free bread or cakes. As there are more and more wheat- free flour products available, in 2019 my resolution is to learn how to make my own wheat-free bread.

Good luck with your resolutions for 2019, whatever they are!

Christine Ingall aka cjisolo

16 Queensway Court
Leamington Spa, CV31 3LS