APPA Interview with Ty Bramley – Celebrating 30 years in business!

Posted: 9 January 2018

Ty from Specialty Printed BalloonsSpecialty Balloons is celebrating 30 years in business! What key or special moments come to mind when you think over this amazing accomplishment?

I guess my immediate thought when I think back over this period is to how far we’ve come. I remember starting off with just me and one other staff member. And, early on, as things started to ramp up for us, there was a night where I was up printing balloons myself at 1am! We also used to work on weekends a lot in the early days. Now I employ four full-time printers and we have a total of 15 staff. We’ve come a long way!

How long have you been an APPA member and what member benefits do you utilise to get the most out of your membership?

We’ve been with APPA for close to 10 years now. We get the most out of this by attending the trade shows, both the Roadshows and CONVEX, by staying in touch with the member and non-member base, and by participating in other APPA marketing channels such as this magazine.

Do you believe there is a pattern or formula to creating a successful and enduring brand in the promo industry?

Yes. I believe, first and foremost, you must have and retain integrity in the quality of your products and the customer service you provide. That’s paramount. From there, I believe it’s important to add into those key ingredients the drive to both innovate and stay up to date with all your processes – product development, sales, marketing, production, admin… the works!
I believe your customers expect all of the above, and they respond positively and remain loyal to a brand that does all those things well.

Balloon printing is a specialist field. You need to be across quality control, ink matching etc how do you ensure you get the best results for your customers?

Listening and attention to detail. That’s crucial. But then you have to have the quality processes in place that you can rely on to deliver the product as per the customer’s order. We also rely heavily on our seasoned expertise and experience here – if there’s a better or smarter way to achieve a result for a customer, then we’re always on the lookout for such a thing, and that is something which is generally very well received by a customer. Everyone loves to get the best result possible, and we genuinely enjoy finding and delivering elements that can achieve this.

Earlier this year in your Specialty Balloon Printers blog you posted an entry entitled “There can be little doubt

In the blog post you said that the promotional products industry is a community, all about the people involved. You spoke about engaging with all of the APPA members at the Roadshows. Can you elaborate on your experiences at this year’s Roadshows – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, I know you attended them all!

How can a supplier best utilise their time at the shows to foster great business relationships?

Yep. I believe APPA is a community, and on both sides of the fence – suppliers and distributors. There are a bunch of familiar faces on the supplier side that we know reasonably well as acquaintances and whom I always look forward to catching-up with each year. It’s always great to hear what they’ve been up to personally and what new things are happening with their businesses. Same goes for the distributor side: there are the regulars that you catch up with and foster a relationship with, demonstrate your new wares, and that also helps bring new members, the fresh faces, into the community with some assurance and confidence. We’ve always found it a very welcome place to be, no matter where the shows are, and I think that’s key to the ongoing success of the Roadshows and CONVEX – providing that environment.

How do you make sure you are up to date with the latest printing processes?

We stay abreast of the latest technologies and consumables available. We do regular research online, we attend supplier trade events when possible, and we usually visit our suppliers once a year to stay on top of what’s new and ensure the best possible materials and processes are being used.

What is your customer service philosophy?

As I’m sure readers of this magazine would be aware, the promotional products industry is often very competitive and deadline-driven. So all our staff have very strict KPIs around customer service – it’s just so important. And because we’re essentially a custom balloon printing manufacturer our philosophy is centred on going the extra mile to accommodate the client’s needs and delivering a product that matches their desires as close as is humanly possible. And the journey to get to that point must be smooth, hassle-free, and very convenient – as any consumer process should be.

Who have been some of your most memorable customers over the years?

Can we get away with saying they’re all memorable, or is that too cheesy? To be honest, I couldn’t really single any select group of customers out. We do have stronger relations with some, but generally speaking we really do have a wonderful customer base, and we quite often get compliments on our service and customer relations from distributors who visit us at the APPA shows.

What would you like everyone to know about SBP?

That we’re the best, of course! Ha ha… But seriously, I think the 30 years in business says it all. We’re doing a lot to get that message out there, because our longevity is just such a powerful testament to our quality and customer satisfaction. It plainly says: these guys must be doing something right!

How do you generate new ideas after so long in the industry?

You have to listen to the industry. Ideas are tactics, in essence, and tactics tend to flow easily from a strong strategic position. So if you position your business well by being attentive to the industry it serves, then you’ll find that new ideas are almost easy to come by.

How do you go about marketing your business?
What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Three things have been very successful for us: the move into all forms of digital marketing – Adwords, Social Media, Email Marketing, etc.; participating in industry tradeshows and events, such as APPA; and opening up a dialogue with our customers – strong human relations are always key to good marketing.

If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

I would love to talk to George Harrison. I loved The Beatles and George’s solo career was one of the best, too. A great person who wrote music that changed the world. And what amazing tales I imagine he could tell from his Beatles’ days and his life in general.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

There are so many inspiring people in my life, both people I know personally and people I simply look up to and respect greatly, that it’s hard to name just one. However, I think because of my passion for success in business, I’d have to go with Richard Branson. I just believe he’s such a great entrepreneur – a person driven by being a great innovator and possessing a razor-sharp business savvy and intellect.

What book has inspired you the most? (Or, what is your favourite book?)

Richard Branson’s Business Stripped Bare. As I said, I’m a great admirer of Branson’s and this book is a fascinating insight into his life and business adventures. It’s a fantastic guide to success in business and just an inspirational tale all round.

This article was original printed in the APPA Promotional Products Marketing Magazine Dec 2017

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Dominos
Subaru
Woolworths
Westpac
Wet n Wild - Gold Coast
Sea World
Sea World Resort
Mercedes Benz
Paradise Country
Bunnings Warehouse
Target
Coles
Event Cinemas
Big W
Australian Outback Spectacular
Hungry Jacks
Motorama
David Jones
Lorna Jane
Goodlife Health Clubs
Coffee Club
Movie World
Harvey Norman
Coca Cola
APPA