An Introduction to Wireless Charging and the QI Standard

Wireless Charging Header

WWireless Charging Electric Toothbrushireless Charging is an amazing phenomenon simply on the basis that the execution of this technology has been around for a while now in many of our houses; we just never questioned it before.  Electric toothbrushes have been using inductive charging for quite a long time, but because of low efficiency rates, it was limited to these bathroom appliances due to the fact that nobody really cared if it took an excessive amount of time to charge their electric toothbrush. Over the last decade or so the technology started gaining traction, more research was being done in this area and it was introduced in more and more devices. Exactly ten years ago the Wireless Power Consortium was established and they introduced the QI standard for wireless charging.

Wireless Charging PadThe introduction of a standard was a key boost the technology needed to start gaining mainstream traction, and we started seeing it appear in a variety of products on the consumer electronics market, especially in smartphones. Fast forward to 2017 and some of the largest smartphone manufacturers are already using QI standard wireless charging and have been for a couple of years, but the key shift to mainstream comes through the introduction of wireless charging in the Apple iPhone devices. You can think what you like about Apple, love them or not, they know mobile peripherals and since the inclusion of wireless charging on the iPhone we have seen this technology take off not only in the consumer market, but in the world of promotional products also.

inductive chargingBut what is Wireless Charging? To get a full idea we need to go all the way back to 1891 where Nikola Tesla demonstrated that he could power an electric lamp without wires. Modern wireless power utilises the same principles Tesla did all those years ago, through the use of electromagnetic induction. To simplify how wireless charging works all you really need to understand is there are two main devices involved in the process, a ‘transmitter’ (wireless charging pads), and a ‘receiver’ (smart device with wireless charging technology).  The ‘transmitter’ device is constantly outputting a harmless electromagnetic transmission (when switched on) searching for a ‘receiver’ device. When the ‘receiver’ device enters this field the devices interact with each other and a concentrated current is transmitted from ‘transmitter’ to ‘receiver’ and thus the charging process begins.

Beware of Fake Wireless ChargersWith great power, comes great responsibility and unfortunately since the growth of the wireless charger, this has also led to an increase in low quality, counterfeit wireless charging products which are irresponsibly cheap in price, but the actual cost could be much higher. In the last few years, attention has been drawn to cheap and low quality Powerbanks, where in several cases the device overheats, causes fires and in some cases has exploded, the same is the case with cheaply made wireless devices. The previously mentioned Wireless Power Consortium are combatting this with the rigorous tests that surround QI certification. The WPC tests specific properties through multiple procedures, receivers have 10 properties tested and transmitters have 17, these tests validate compatibility and safety.

Like I said earlier we are seeing an influx in the promotional products industry of requests for wireless charging devices, and why not, they are new, topical, make for a great gadget and they have a fantastic branding surface. Our warning to those who have been offered ‘affordable’ options please check with your supplier whether these products are QI certified. QI certification does slightly increase the price in a product, but at the end of the day that slight increase in cost, is much less that the price you will pay ultimately if a non-compliant device malfunctions.

Brighten up your rainy days with Promotional Umbrellas

Promotional Umbrellas

Promotional UmbrellasNot long now till April arrives and the April showers are upon us, but let’s face it we live in the UK, no matter what month or season it is, you can pretty much guarantee it will rain at some point. Which is why I was surprised when the statistics highlighted that the UK was actually below the world average on number of umbrellas owned per capita. I had almost expected in a country world renowned for its rain, that each person would be recorded owning in the region of 4-5 umbrellas!

Well we’re here to convince you that not only do you need an umbrella because on average 1,154mm of rain falls on the UK each year, but also because they provide a fantastic opportunity for advertising. In the last survey by the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) the most important quality a promotional gift must have is usefulness. It was very interesting to see that usefulness ranked above price, lead time, relevance, uniqueness etc.

All Over Print UmbrellaFrom a business point of view, there aren’t many promotional products out there with as much branding surface area as an umbrella. One great feature the umbrella has is it is not just the branding you can adjust to your specification, there are several features that you can have bespoke to your branding, giving your promotional product a more executive feel. You can adjust the grip, the pole, the contrast colour and even have fully dye sublimated panels for an all over brand.

When it comes to design of your umbrella, although it may seem like a great idea, a bright umbrella that stands out in the crowd may not be for everyone, for example executives in financial organisations may prefer something a tad more subtle. With this in mind the biggest advice we can give in this manner is know your audience, this is where trend research really comes in handy. If you know your target audience, you can research their likes and dislikes, and then adjust your design to these specifications.

What can Elon Musk’s ‘The Boring Company’ teach us about Marketing?

Elon Musk


Elon Musk is definitely a man who needs no introduction, engineer, inventor, magnate, billionaire, visionary… the list goes on! He is most recently renowned for being CEO of electric car company Tesla, and his aspirational aerospace program SpaceX which successfully launched the Falcon Heavy Rocket this week! Elon has stated that all his professional goals revolve around his want to revolutionise the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming, creating sustainable energy, reducing the risk of human extinction and taking life to the solar system through establishing a human colony on Mars. It is this amazing and eccentric desire that puts him in the forefront of the world’s influencers.

Back in 2016 Elon sent a tweet out to his 18 million followers that he was fed up of traffic as it was ‘driving him nuts.’ He followed this statement up with the fact that he was going to start a company to build a tunnel network under LA, and that he would name it ‘The Boring Company.’ Elon not one to hang around started digging a trench on his SpaceX premises in February 2017. The end game is to have a fully traffic alleviating network of low cost tunnels enabling rapid transport in areas such as LA, New York, Washington DC etc. But what does all this have to do about marketing?

For starters we shall begin with the name of the company, a name he attributes it's creation of, to his ex-wife British actress Talulah Riley, “The Boring Company.”  This is a name that not only explains what the company does, but also provides comic relief. The play on the word ‘boring’ is a fantastic example of great PR material, I have seen hundreds of news articles all using the word ‘boring’ in a different contexts, gaining exposure that he possibily would not have attained without the smart word play on the name.

The part that particular interests us here at BTC Group was his marketing ploy of using the sale of promotional branded ‘boring company’ hats to raise funds for his company. The hat is a simple black baseball cap embroidered with the company logo (a logo he attributes the creation of to director JJ Abrams!) Elon only advertised the sale of 'The Boring Company' hats on his through his twitter account, but again thanks to the PR power of ‘The Boring Company’ name, word soon spread, and it was featuring in articles across the world. According to Elon in his own words he was going to build that tunnel ‘one hat at a time.’ In just over a month the 50,000 baseball caps Elon had invested in sold out, raising approximately one million dollars through sales!

It is this combination of utilising his social media influence, the cleverness of the company name and promotional product marketing that makes this campaign the marketing masterclass it has become. Believe it or not he then moved on to fundraising through $600 flamethrowers, another complete success, although we're not too sure how well branded flamethrowers would go down in the UK promotional market!

An Introduction to Personalised Marketing and Promotional Products

Introduction to Personalised Marketing and Promotional Products


In last week’s 'thank you blog series', during the episode of thanking people for their business, I briefly mentioned the topic of giving the customer a personalised marketing experience. Personalised marketing can be summed up as when a company aims to deliver individualised marketing material to suit the specific customer’s needs and requirements. These needs and requirements can be based on website behaviour (e.g. which parts and/or products on the website a customer visits tracked by cookies), data profiling and personal influence.

Promotional MarketingAmongst those who know what personalised marketing is, there is a common misconception that personalised marketing only works in a business to consumer environment. This is totally incorrect as buyers in a business to business environment are people too and are influenced exactly in the same manner as consumer buyers do. Ultimately there is a decision maker in every B2C and B2B purchase, personalised marketing material just need to be adjusted to that decision maker. 

Before the Digital age, personalised marketing on a large scale was nigh on impossible, but now with the introduction of computers and the internet, everything is measurable. Through the data from customer buying habits and yearly spend combined with customer profiling, you can really narrow down what your customer is likely to buy and when they are going to buy it. For example you know that ‘

Customer X’ spends Y on buying items in Category Z during April every year. Using this information in February/March you can send an e-mail to Customer X, asking if they are due to place their order in April, as there have been some updates in Category Z which also work well with items in Categories A, B and C.

This communication not only encourages the customer to purchase from you by putting yourself in the forefront of their mind, but it also encourages them to spend more with your company by introducing them to product categories they may not have seen before. This example is just using three measurable factors, imagine how personalised you can make the buying experience with more identifiable information.

How does personalised marketing work with promotional products? This form of marketing is all about Personalised Calendarsproviding a customer experience that is unique to that person. As I mentioned in the thank you blog, we are seeing more and more of our manufacturing suppliers investing in machinery that can individually brand names. This trend is laregly down to people wanting to provide this personalised experience for the customer. The great thing a personalised product does is, it adds percieved value to the product. In the UK I specifically remember in my school years how cool it was to have stationary with your name on it, we don't lose this feeling years later, products just seem to hold, if not a higher monetary value, a higher sentimental value when they have your name on them. Here at BTC Group we obviously love branding, but we definitely love to see branding in unique ways, a fantastic example of this are these amazingly designed personalised calendars. Calendars are always useful, no matter who you are or what job role you are in, organisation is key! Each page has an different design incorporating your name in some way. 

Saying ‘thank you’ in a professional environment: Episode five – ‘Thank you’ to your employees

Thank You Employees

Handwritten Thank YouGratitude is a prime example of the saying ‘a little bit can go a long way’ especially in the workplace. According to research from reward gateway, almost half of British workers would leave the company the worked for if they didn’t feel like they were regularly thanked for their efforts. Even more interestingly the majority of people that took the survey said they would rather work for a company that had a culture of incentivising their staff, than a have 10% pay increase. This is an incredibly insightful statistic, but it does make sense, we will spend approximately 35% of our total waking hours during our working years in the workplace, why wouldn’t you want that to be an enjoyable experience? It doesn’t always have to be a monetary incentive; fans of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ know that a simple handshake and acknowledgement for good work can mean more than any other form of gratitude.

Be The Person you want to WorkThis is not just beneficial for the employees, happy employees mean happy business, and happy business means happy customers! Take something as simple as sick leave, happier employees are healthier employees. The 2008 ‘Gallup’s global health study’ managed to quantify the average cost of an unhappy employee. It found that those who are unhappy take significantly more sick leave, staying home on average of 1.25 days more a month! Happy employees not only cost less, they make more money, provide better customer service, are more creative and provide many more benefits, all by showing them regular genuine gratitude.

When thanking your employees it’s important to do so in a variety of ways, it may be a good idea to scale your methods of thanking, showing what you feel is appropriate gratitude for the great work they’ve done. For example if someone has shown an example of good customer service, publicly thank them (if they don’t mind) and tell everyone about their exemplary service.  If a staff member has constantly shown great service throughout the year, overcoming perplexing challenges, and still maintains a positive attitude, a great idea would be to present them with an award. An award shows recognition of excellence; it creates an emotional connection between employees and their company, a concept that if done correctly can resonate throughout your workforce, creating a team of brand advocates.

Glass Awards

If you’re looking for something more than a glass award, and/or plaque to reward your employees, there are a number of high-end corporate gifts that make perfect recognition incentives for your staff. We are seeing a great deal of tech companies investing in high-end tech products, individually branded, to give to their workers, products like, Bluetooth headphones, speakers even branded tablet computers, with personalised cases. Whilst on the subject of personalised cases, leather products work very well also. Leather items simply emanate sophistication and look amazing when stamped with a person’s initials.

Whatever your method is, no matter how big or small, all thank you’s are appreciated, whether they are in a professional environment, or personal, if you feel someone is well deserving, why not thank them today! Thank you for reading our #PPWeek2017 #ThankYouPPW inspired blogs, we update our blogs weekly with what we feel is useful not just for our customers, but for everyone in the marketing environment, I hope you continue to read on and stay tuned!

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