Bill Petrie

Bill Petrie

Bill has over 20 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products companies, always working collaboratively to achieve the “wow” desired by the target audience.

A Managing Partner at brandivate, a full-service marketing services and advertising agency, Bill is featured speaker at numerous national and international events, a serial creator of content marketing, and co-host of the industry-leading podcast, Promo UPFront. Bill has extensive experience defining brand strategy, creating successful marketing campaigns, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.

A fierce advocate for the Promotional Products Industry, he is the Immediate Past President of the Regional Association Council (RAC) board, has worked closely with senior leadership at Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) on many committees and work groups. In appreciation of his years of service to the promotional products industry, Bill was named as an inaugural PPAI Fellow—a program designed to recognize influential individuals who have actively supported the industry through personal involvement.

Bill lives in Franklin, TN with his wife of 26 years, Sandy, and their 17-year-old twin boys, Drew and Mitch.

Matters of Convenience: Is Your Company Policy for the Client’s Benefit, or Yours?

How often do we say our decisions or policies are made for the benefit of the customer when the reality is they are self-serving? In business, one of the keys to fostering long-lasting relationships is transparency. People may not like specific policies or decisions, but they will accept them when they are carried out openly and honestly...

The Bueller Principle: Why Moving Too Fast Harms Your Clients and Your Business

We often move throughout our day with neither thought nor purpose. Sadly, this same whirlybird approach is applied to the work presented to clients on a far-too-regular basis—especially as it relates to promotional products. If you want to stand out from the product pushers and grow your business, it's time to not just work with thought and purpose, but to share that with your clients...

The Why of Whataburger: How Singular Focus on Being Different Leads to Success

If you choose to compete directly with the “big guys” by providing similar services and value propositions and extolling your “creativity,” your road to success is going to be bumpy at best. Instead, look internally to understand what you do better—and differently—than anyone else in the marketplace. Just like Whataburger found, the right clients are willing to pay for that...

Who Is Quarterbacking Your Company?

As anyone who watches football knows, the quarterback is the person that sets the tone for not only what happens on the field but off it as well. Nothing happens on the offensive side of the ball without the quarterback, period. When I look at a business, there’s a department that’s clearly the organization’s quarterback—and it’s not one you’d expect...

Your Big Mac Moment: The Comfort of Safety Versus the Promise of the Unknown

Throughout life, we all have Big Mac Moments—moments where you have to decide whether to do something that’s a little uncomfortable, that allows you to grow and forces you to do something different than you always have, or to continue to do what you’ve always done and yield the same results. As the year begins, it’s a perfect time to think about your Big Mac Moments...

5 Steps to Transform Your Promo Business (by Thinking Like an Ad Agency)

Distributors spend far too much time simply putting logos on merchandise and calling themselves marketers. This is an enormous problem—one that the supply chain stresses are only serving to exacerbate. However, distributors can follow five steps to create magic for their clients by thinking like an ad agency...

Pushing the Limit of Performance: Lessons From Formula 1 for Every Business

For the overall Formula 1 brand and its individual race teams, success comes down to a four factors: customers first, showcasing teams over drivers, highlighting the importance of quickly adapting to change, and displaying how critical it is to isolate issues swiftly. These all apply to running a successful business, too...

Concierge Sales: 3 Ways to Take Your Service to the Next Level

Much like a skilled hotel concierge, the No. 1 job of a salesperson is to help their clients get what they want with as little friction as possible. As such, the same traits that make a good concierge exceptional are the same ones that separate the extraordinary salespeople from the mediocre ones...

The Problem With Jim Beam (a Lesson for Promo Businesses)

In the world of promotional products, many make the mistake of trying to be like Jim Beam, thinking that simply because “everyone” buys branded merchandise, everyone is a potential client. But trying to be everything to everyone is a precarious position that undermines your brand...

Lines on a Grass Field: What Is Your Marketing Maintenance Schedule?

By carefully studying how your audience engages (or doesn’t) during a campaign, you can proactively make the efforts to brighten, enhance and, to stick with the analogy, repaint your marketing grass. This is the only way to keep your field of play looking fresh for your prospects and clients...

Good Enough Isn't Good Enough: 3 Ways to Immediately Move Away From Mediocre

If your clients describe you as being “good enough,” you can rest assured they will find a partner who consistently strives for greatness. Simply stated, good enough is mediocre, and mediocrity is the enemy of excellence. Here are three things that you can do immediately to move away from good enough...

Defending Leadership

While I’m not sure I’m any more or less qualified than anyone else to write on the topic of leadership, I felt compelled to after seeing a post on social media last week. In short, the post shared an experience someone had with an ineffective leader, and in all of the comments, there wasn’t a single one supporting leadership of any kind...