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Showing posts from 2017

A bespoke seasonal gift that doesn’t cost a fortune

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Photo Copyright: Rhona Hartley
I’m always surprised when people say to me “But I thought corporate gifts died after the Millennium!” I smile and tell them that branded gifts are very much alive and well. There will always be a time, in the life-cycle of every organisation, when it suddenly finds a need for branded merchandise or requires personalised incentives to reward staff achievements.

Often the next statement I hear is “But we can just go online to find what we need.” True. You can. But ask yourself will the items you select be original, appropriate and have longevity? Probably not. That’s why my clients come to Branding Up. They recognise my ability to think creatively, value my wealth of product knowledge, and rely on me to deliver to their time and budget constraints. To demonstrate all these points, here’s a little example of what I’m talking about.

I noticed that a UK high street retailer - the one that’s all magic and sparkle - is promoting its corporate gifts this holiday…

Helping to brand those, who are dedicated to helping others

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Have I told you that Branding Up works with Erskine, who have been caring for UK veterans throughout Scotland since 1916? The observant readers amongst you will have looked at that founding date, and already worked out that this wonderful charity recently celebrated their centenary anniversary.

In the run up to their historic celebrations, Erskine contacted me and asked if I could source several items that they could incorporate into their 2016 Centenary Merchandise. My suggestions included a mini decanter set, a pashmina, gentleman’s tie, a compact mirror, and an Erskine Centenary pin badge.

All these items were stylishly branded with a logo that was derived from a broach worn by Princes Louise. Louise was the sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and gave her name to the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital, which was what Erskine was originally called when it was first established.

Thrilled to report that Erskine were so delighted with the quality of the gifts I found fo…

Halloween treats that will leave everyone screaming for more!

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Photo: Copyright: didesign021 / 123RF Stock Photo

“Scary Biscuits!” The little girl shrieked.

“Yes,” said her mum, as she finished brushing the black and green hair and popped the witch’s hat on top of her daughter. “So don’t forget to take the basket for your goodies!”

“Can you remember your poem?” the mother asked.

The little girl thought briefly, took a deep breath and then recited:

“One dark cold October night,
Three little witches gave you a fright.
One was in red, and one was in green,
And the third one was screaming ‘It’s Halloweeeeeeeeeeen!’”

Traditionally Halloween was celebrated by the Celts. It marked the end of summer and the harvest-time with the beginning of the darker winter months. The Celts believed that this point in the year was also when the worlds of the living and dead interacted with one another, and ghosts returned to earth to cause mischief and mayhem.

These days Halloween is an altogether more commercial event. Parents now purchase elaborate costumes for t…

Creating Promotional Items for the Edinburgh Festival

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Singing and dancing and having fun,
The Edinburgh Festival is 70 years young!


Ahhhh breathe in that atmosphere! As I reach the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, I turn around to catch my breath and look down the Royal Mile. The street is bustling full of people, both locals and tourists, who are wandering from venue to venue. Yes, you’ve guessed it! The Edinburgh Festival is up and running and is celebrating its 70th birthday.

It’s hard to comprehend that Scotland’s capital city has been hosting this festival of art, music, theatre, and comedy for so long. As if Edinburgh wasn’t beautiful enough at this time of year, both the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe have made the city a “have to be there” August destination for visitors from around the world.

As I wander down passed St Giles’ Cathedral, I’m accosted by an assortment of sights and sounds. Musicians busking and singing their wee hearts outs, a fire-breathing unicyclist, a comedy escapologist in …

Making sure your club or company team is smartly turned out

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FFFFOOORRE! 
It doesn't matter where or what time of year you're in Scotland, but you'll hear this warning being bellowed somewhere. On hearing the sound, my advice is to immediately crouch down with your hands over your head, to protect it from small, white, rubber-filled missles that may ricochet off of it! 
Out here in East Lothian we're the home of the Golf Coast. We have 22 "must-play" golf courses along 30 miles of stunning coastline, and all within 30 minutes of Scotland's capital city. So it's not uncommon to find bewildered golfers, golf club still in hand, wandering around a beach searching for their lost ball amongst the white seashells that litter our beautiful shoreline.


Sadly I've never been properly introduced to golf. This is particularly strange, given that the majority of my Scottish childhood holidays involved male members of the family going off to play a round of golf. I drew the short straw and was taken shopping instead, wh…

Embroidered branded apparel is always a centre-court winner!

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Strawberries and cream make me dream, of that time of year that I hold so dear.
The sweat, the tears, the standing-ovation, becoming the champion with sheer determination.
Being presented with a trophy to hold up high, so everyone sees it gleam against a summer sky.

– Rhona Hartley, June 2017



The Wimbledon Tennis Championship will soon be upon us. I remember, as a child, being glued to the television. Chris Evertt, Martina Navratilova, Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors would whack and thwack tennis balls at each other. Through the air they'd fly back and forth. “New balls please!”, the umpire would shout. I'd then watch with envy, as the ball boys and girls would spring into action across the tennis court, all dressed in their smart uniforms.

This event has come a long way since its humble beginnings back in 1877, when it was originally a men's tennis tournament held at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, in the south-west London suburb of Wimbledon. Now, like most m…

Why bags are a perfect promotional item, especially during the summer

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The summer sun was high in the sky. A blazing ball of warmth.
The sky so blue, the sand a shimmering white.
The little girl screamed and whooped with delight, as she ran from the waves on the Scottish shore.
“Mummy! Mummy! Look at me!” she called, as she raced in and out of the water.

Her mother smiled and beckoned the little girl to come, as she pulled a cooler bag towards her. Unzipping its lid, a feast of sandwiches, fruit and juice were revealed.
Placing a selection of treats on a plate, also contained within the bag, she handed them to the little girl.
As she watched her daughter satisfy her appetite, the mother secretly thanked the ‘Bag God’ for creating such a handy vessel to easily carry everything to the beach.

– Rhona Hartley, May 2017


BAGS! You have got to love a bag! Give me bags! Beach bags, bum bags, handbags, golf bags!

But how much do we know about bags? When, for example, was the humble ‘plastic bag’ created? Not knowing the answer myself, I decided to do a little bit of re…

Why you should consider green promotional gifts for 2017

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Green, green where have you been?
For six whole months you haven't been seen.
Now you appear like a long lost friend, with us again until Summer must end.

– Rhona Hartley, April 2017

I am reminded today with the sun beating through the window that spring has arrived.

Looking out onto the little garden, that I can see from Branding Up’s HQ, I see suddenly how green the grass is looking. All the leaves on the various trees are starting to spring into action too, stippling the otherwise dull brown branches with green, glorious green!
Now why am I banging on about green? Well, last December, the Pantone Color Institute revealed that it's colour of the year for 2017 was Greenery. 
For the past seventeen years the Pantone Color Institute has chosen a colour that encapsulates the current cultural climate. Historically this specific colour has influenced trends in all areas of design over the next 12 months – from architecture and interior decor, to fashion, graphics and branding, and…

A gift from the Easter Bunny that lasts longer than chocolate

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“Who are you?” asked the child, eyes as big as saucers.

The Easter Bunny stood there, before him, dressed in a little suit and carrying a wicker basket laden with chocolates. 
He plucked a little mug with a picture of himself branded on it. It contained colourful foil wrapped eggs and was wrapped in cellophane tied with a beautiful ribbon. 
“I am The Easter Bunny” he said softly. 
Then like a fine mist, on a March morning, he disappeared.
– Rhona Hartley 2017

Do you remember the anticipation of what lay in store the night before The Easter Bunny hunt?? The fear of finding a giant White Bunny wearing a Beatrix Potter Victorian Style suit?? Surely it couldn't be true??? But who planted all those eggs all around the garden?? 
The excitement would build as you were handed a little decorated basket and set free along with cousins, brothers and sisters… What a racket!! Great fun though! But where did The Easter Bunny originate from?? 
According to some sources, the Easter bunny first ar…

Gift ideas to make your Burns Night complete

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No sooner are the Christmas decs packed away and back in the attic, and it's time to start thinking about Burns Night on 25 January. After Hogmanay, this is Scotland's first major celebration of the year, and is an event that's commemorated by Scots around the world.

Robert "Rabbie" Burns is regarded to be Scotland's national poet. Writing in the Scots language, a light Scots dialect and in English, his poems, writings, commentaries and songs became accessible to a wide audience. After his death his influence continued to inspire liberals and socialists. It wasn't long before he was considered to be a cultural icon of Scotland.

Out here in East Lothian, Redside neighbours usually gather together for an informal Burns Night Supper when, like everyone, we celebrate the Bard of Ayrshire’s life and works. With this event in mind, I did a few clickerty-clicks online and found some gift ideas that may help your Burns Night go Scots Wha Hae!

Rabbie Burns Mug



Is …