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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Unsure how to choose the right promotional product for YOUR business?

Great news, the new issue of GIFTED magazine is out and you can view it now by clicking on the image below.

Inside this issue:
  • Ideas´s for your Jubilee & Olympic promotions
  • Brand new promo products for 2012
  • Our pick of the best branded confectionary & usb sticks
  • Why choose promo mugs
  • Great deals on branded workwear
I hope you enjoy this edition of GIFTED. If you have any queries about anything featured, or would like some advice on which products to choose for your event or promotion, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 01332 614607.

Kind Regards
Sam Johnson
Branded Merchandise Specialist

Monday, 27 February 2012

Look and Learn:- nothing to do with office supplies, business print, office furniture or promotional products

A very short post on the Trigan Empire

Triggered by this. The Nokia 808.

As a young boy back in the mid 1960's I read the educational comic Look and Learn.  I actually preferred to read my younger brothers The Beezer.  However, Look and Learn did have the Trigan Empire science fiction comic strip which I always looked forward to.  Through a child's eyes to see laser guns and space craft on a planet where also lived primitive peoples riding around on horseback seemed ludicrous and a major flaw.  How wrong I was ....It's pretty much were the world has been since way back ..  Cell phones and starvation. It still doesn't make sense.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Ideas for Environmentally Friendly Design and Print Production


Environmentally friendly printing, eco-friendly printing, green printing…whatever you want to call it, your printers should be committed to doing everything they can to minimise their carbon footprint and, through their advice and expertise, that of their clients.

Printing is estimated to be the UK’s 4th most polluting industry, due to high energy, chemical use and associated waste and every year more than 11m tonnes of paper are consumed in the UK. So as decision makers and influencers in our businesses, we need to start looking at more environmentally friendly printing and its impact on design and production.

Environmentally friendly printing processes should be at the heart of your printers business. With no plates or film to image, digital printing processes do not produce the hazardous wastes associated with traditional offset litho printing processes. In addition, large machines like the digital Xerox iGen3 press not only use eco-friendly inks, but also requires less energy to operate, and uses less waste in make ready.

One of the key challenges in print production is that approximately 30% of all print materials are thrown away due to obsolescence. Digital provides a more environmentally friendly form of printing and addresses this challenge head on; digital printing’s ability to deliver smaller volumes more efficiently (i.e. print only what you need, when you need it) is making a significant impact in reducing wastage.

Printers should do everything they can to advocate the use of more environmentally friendly printing processes, practical steps to make a difference include:

Use Greener Paper
Contribute to more environmentally friendly printing by using paper which is 100%, processed chlorine free (PCF), uncoated and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Also, include verifiable information about the environmentally friendly aspects on the communication piece itself.

Consider Size
More environmentally friendly printing can be achieved by designing smaller pieces to reduce the amount of paper and other materials used overall. Does it really need to be A4? Design without bleeds to reduce trim waste and talk to your printer about maximising the press sheet.

Consider Volumes
Contribute to more environmentally friendly printing by only printing what you need. If you only need 243 copies, don’t order 500. Instead of printing and storing hundreds or thousands of printed items and then wasting them as they’ve gone out of date before they could all be used, just print what you need, when you need it with Print on Demand.

Less White Space
Gone are the days of superfluous white space: design that is beautiful from the inside out means making good use of the space you have.

Target your Marketing
Be smarter with your data, refine your message and target specific prospects or customers. Targeted marketing makes an impact not only in terms of response but also in making a direct contribution to more environmentally friendly printing through reduced print runs, page counts and wastage.

Embrace Digital Print-on-Demand
This means that jobs can be produced as and when required (and in exact run lengths), saving on paper, printing and storage, and greatly reducing waste through unwanted stock. It also eliminates the warehousing of pre-printed materials – saving space and resources, therefore eliminating the obsolescence of printed materials, reducing waste by as much as 30%.

Monday, 13 February 2012

History, not just for Geeks!

Ask a youngster what their least favourite school subject is and many will say ‘History, it’s boring!’ However, thanks to more enlightened teaching methods and the power of the Internet, it suddenly becomes as gripping as an episode of Eastenders or Hollyoaks

Having worked at living history activity centre and taught at a further education college, I know that young people love blood, gore, murder, bodily functions and skeletons to mention but a few of their favourite story topics; my ‘true crime’ and ghost tours aimed to cater for at least some of those delights.  It would seem though, that adults also enjoy a good scare or a tale of cloak and dagger intrigue.  So what happens when they cannot come on a tour, but as ex-pats or second-generation Aberdonians reside in far flung corners of the globe?  They can read the Hidden Aberdeen blog of course!

Last time I described how useful social media had been for promoting my walking tours business; now I give you the tale of how I started blogging for our national television company. 

I have had several blogs for years, covering topics such as holidays, folklore and local history.  I started a one recently called Quite Interesting Aberdeen, after that excellent BBC panel show presented by Stephen Fry.  The idea was to write about the peculiar things I discovered as part of my walking tours including maps, pictures and quotes.  I could ramble on at length about my discoveries and share them with the fans of my company Facebook page and ‘Tweeps’ (Twitter followers).  The response was positive.

I then received an email from the editor of Scottish Television’s Aberdeen website asking if I would consider writing a blog for them on this theme of curiosities from the city’s past.  The challenge was to do so in four hundred words! Most of my blog posts were over 500 words and ranged about wherever I pleased!  Anyway, I agreed to do it.  The first post appeared as a feature on STV Local Aberdeen in August 2011 telling the story of the 17th century Spa Well which sits in a rather forlorn fashion outside a car park with nothing to explain its curious presence there.

The posts continued using topics from the tours, but unlike QI Aberdeen, they were precise, bite-sized pieces of local history.  I really began to enjoy fitting facts to my word limit in this snappy editorial style.  An ex-colleague from the college commented on this, “Ideal for the students,” he said.  Exactly!  Something that caught the attention because of its quirky subject matter, for example ‘The Aberdeen Body Snatchers’, yet presented the story with the speed and brevity of a tabloid article.  Proof that history could never be boring if packaged in the right way!  And if people want to know more, they can come on a tour the next time they visit.  Local history, it’s not just for geeks! 
(Hidden Aberdeen blog appears on STV’s Local Aberdeen features page every fortnight:

By Dr Fiona-Jane Brown
Tour Director
Hidden Aberdeen Tours
(501 words - ©FJB 2012)

Friday, 10 February 2012

Classic errors to avoid when relocating office

Classic errors to avoid when relocating office

Happy Birthday Deborah!

Time to party!

Image personalisation can dramatically improve response rates to direct marketing by creating unique, personalised photographic images which instantly capture a recipient’s attention. 

Personalised images enable tailored messaging to be integrated within photography enabling the development of marketing materials that are both intriguing and personal. Working from either a library of images or from a custom application created out of any suitable photograph, your data is integrated to create communications with personalised images that cut through mass media.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Don't Just Buy Print.

No more costly overruns. No more out-of-date materials. Just the marketing you need, quickly and efficiently.

Quite simply, print on demand gives organisations the flexibility to order their print as and when it’s needed, in the exact quantity required, thus negating the need to stock large volumes of print. Industry studies show an estimated 30% of printed material becomes outdated and ultimately gets thrown out. But the beauty of on-demand printing coupled with the powerful customisation features of an iCu Marketing Resource Centre ensures your marketing messages; in brochures, flyers, corporate stationery and even point-of-sale materials; are always bang up to date and relevant.

The benefits for your business:

• Only order what you need, when you need it
• No need for excessive stocks
• Reduced print costs and storage charges
• No minimum order quantities
• No out-of-date collateral so no print waste
• Keep documents relevant
• Enables a quicker route to market and reaction to market conditions through fast turnaround times (24-72 hours)
• Reduced production and less waste = lower carbon footprint

Space. The Final Frontier.

These are the voyages of the star ship, Irongate.  Her 35 year mission to explore strange new products and services, to seek out new customers and organisations. To boldly go where no office products dealer has gone before.

Click to journey through SPACE

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Four Stages of "Getting" Twitter

I came across this earlier and just had to share it.

And here's a short post I did in 2011 .... 

My Top 5 Least Favourite Tweets

1) Top 5 lists  (are you loving the irony?)

2) Morning Tweeps  (argggh - add some value!!) 

3) Outrageous claims

4) 99% of inspirational quotes and any tweet with a statistic in it

5) Surprising tweets which have been shared from Facebook so you cant read all withou

Friday, 3 February 2012

A Blog is not the place for a job advertisement

Says who?

Customer satisfaction is my primary goal and recruiting the right people into the right positions is where this it all starts!  Who knows who this post may reach. I didn't win Etailer of the year 2011 by sitting inside a box or following all the rules ...


Fixed-Term Maternity Cover (9-months)

37 ½ hours per week
£14,790 per annum (pro-rata)
Based at the Derby Office, Kingsway Park Close

The Irongate Group Ltd is currently seeking a professional and motivated individual to cover maternity leave, to commence as soon as possible.  You will take responsibility for the satisfaction of Irongate Print customers with whom you liaise and ensure their print requirements are satisfied efficiently, accurately, profitably, and in accordance ISO policies and agreed procedures.
You will have customer liaison and print supplier experience, and knowledge of print processes, and computer based sales and order processes.

The Irongate Group Ltd is a multi-million pound office products and furniture supplier, with the Head Office based in Derby and a second office in Birmingham.

For further information please email:

Closing date for applications:

12.00pm on TUESDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2012

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Are you Sick of Marketing Buzz Words?

Well here are some really powerful buzz words ...

Cross media marketing
Web to print
Print on demand
One to one marketing

Intrigued? Please click the links above for more information.

What has an Auto Shredder got in common with an M16 or a Photocopier?

You load it with paper ... and leave it to run ...

Macho men may prefer to Lock and Load

All businesses as well as private individuals have the occasion to throw out confidential data. If in doubt, SHRED IT".  Business have an additional burden of responsibility - complying with data protection regulations.  Do you print cost-price lists or quotations?  Ever stopped to think how valuable these would be to you competitor or how damaging it could be to trade if your customer somehow got hold of them?  What about that salesman who just left.  Has he made off with a briefcase stuffed with customer quotations?  Does he have cost price lists? Customer and supplier lists?  What does he have on that USB stick?  He's not going to a competitor of yours?  Frightening eh?

Financial records, payroll records, personnel files, legal documents, cancelled cheques, account ledgers/records, competitor information, computer print outs, medical records, advertising misprints, lottery tickets, maps and blue prints, new product proposals, inventory lists, confidential correspondence, customer lists, tax records, supplier lists, outdated business records, microfilm and fiche, invoices, price lists.

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