If you’re a distributor who’s looking for a helping hand, Bill Petrie wants to be your go-to guy—so much so, in fact, that he spends his days at Franklin, Tennessee, business services provider brandivate (UPIC: BVATE), which he founded in 2014, looking for new ways to engage industry professionals and provide them with solutions to the everyday problems that pop up in the promotional products business.
Petrie, who spent 15 years in leadership roles at industry distributor companies, now focuses on serving small and medium-sized distributorships that are looking to grow. “I am passionate about the industry and would like to elevate it as much as possible,” says Petrie. “In fact, that’s how the name brandivate came to be: a combination of brand and elevate.”
Read on to see what a day in the life looks like for Petrie.
What kinds of projects or tasks might you tackle on a given day?
It really depends on the day. I may be working on an RFP response, creating an overall branding/marketing plan, consulting with a client on a particular challenge, conducting a sales training session or giving a webinar for one of the regional associations. I tend to do a lot of writing (I blog twice a week and write monthly articles for both PromoKitchen and DistributorCentral) and I speak at regional associations, so that takes up some of my day.
How does this job challenge you?
It challenges my way of thinking, and I’ve had to learn that my path to sales growth and success isn’t the only way. I endeavor to fully immerse myself with each client to fully understand where they are and where they want to go. It’s about active listening, joint-venturing a plan, then executing against that plan to achieve the goals we’ve laid out.
Describe your office atmosphere.
It’s casual. I use music as a background and have a wide variety of tastes, everything from the Beatles to Neil Diamond to the Ramones to Metallica to Foo Fighters … to my all-time favorite, Van Halen. My office is decorated with pictures of my family, a commonsku skubot, a Dwight Schrute bobble head, Batman, an Indiana Jones Lego, and a Groundskeeper Willie action figure from “The Simpsons.”
I also present the brandivate “Adult Beverage of the Week” every Friday afternoon. It’s been a blast to engage with people through social media and see how they unwind after a successful week. Bailey the Branding Dog—who is also the company’s CDO (Chief Distraction Officer)—is always close by.
How do you collaborate with co-workers?
I work with my dog and I’m pretty good at making sure she is fed and has water at all times. I wouldn’t call that collaboration as much as I would her dependence on me. But she is a really good CDO.
What do you love about your company?
I love that it is built on the foundation of serving the underserved. There are countless promotional products distributors who need strategic and tactical support but really don’t have anywhere to turn. Through brandivate, I am able to help clients build their business whether it’s through sales, marketing, training or employee engagement.
What changes or improvements have you recently implemented or do you plan to implement in the future?
I tend to be very active on all social media platforms, and managing those accounts can be a time vampire. Recently I’ve begun automating my email blog delivery through mailchimp, and my tweets through tweetjukebox—both of which have been amazing timesavers. Moving forward, I plan to automate more of my social media activities so I can remain fully engaged without sacrificing time.
What makes brandivate a valuable member of the promotional products community?
I’m a member of the board of directors for my regional association (Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South) as well as a volunteer through PPAI. Additionally, I am a mentor through PromoKitchen.
I am positioning brandivate to start and participate in conversations that we need to have in the promotional products industry: supply chain breakdown, eroding margins, the difficulty of distributor differentiation, attracting the next generation of professionals, and how technology will continue to disrupt how we conduct our business. These and other important topics need to be addressed for us to be fully recognized as the serious marketing medium we are.