The British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) held its 12th AGM in October in London, where it reiterated the association’s vision for the coming year. Chairman Matt Franks emphasised the importance of having a clear strategy and plan, along with communicating with members on a more frequent basis.

The BPMA aims to:
• Build advocacy through relationships with marketing trade bodies and end user engagement
• Further develop the BPMA’s industry research and benchmarking programme including mystery shopper
• Continue to support members in growing and developing their businesses
• Arbitrate on disputes and promote the code of conduct and best practice
• Educate members and continue to raise standards

The association has also set up focus groups, including a Clothing group for brands, decorators and wholesalers, along with the Briman group for British Manufacturing and the Education group. It has also announced the introduction of the End User Task Force, with the aim of driving the wider merchandise message forward.

Matt discussed the BPMA’s entrance into both the exhibition and publishing markets, acknowledging the controversy it had caused but emphasising that both ventures remain “a clear part of the organisation’s plans”.

Neal Beagles, president of the BPMA, highlighted some of the BPMA’s achievements over the past few years, including Promotional Products Week and education events.

Four new board directors were appointed: Brian Hayward from the Page Partnership, representing the catalogue groups; Jean-Francois Chodecki from Corporate Creations; Melissa Chevin, head of marketing at Cross Pens; and Andy Knight of CHX Products.