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01 February 2024

Getting to Know the APPA Board: 10 Questions for APPA President Robert Williams

APPA: Tell us a little bit about yourself- what is your role at your company and what does this involve?
Robert Williams: I’m the owner of Your Brand Unleashed, a promotional products distributor operating for more than 24 years. The role entails a bit of everything – from ordering to quoting, to chasing new customers and everything in between. I’ve also been on the APPA Board for eight years now, six of which I have served as President.

APPA: What made you want to work in the promotional products industry?
RW: I enjoyed seeing and using promotional products in another business I ran, and saw a great opportunity to do the same with our corporate clients. More than two decades later I am still enjoying every moment, including those rushed deadlines!

APPA: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
RW: A pilot!

APPA: What is the most memorable promotional campaign you've ever seen, and why did it stand out to you?
RW: There's definitely been a number of memorable campaigns. However, the most memorable was probably when a client of ours asked for some branded Roman togas for a conference/birthday. Believe it or not, they ended up looking amazing! Togas were definitely not the easiest items to find or brand, with the team eventually calling up a costume-maker to custom make the set.

APPA: What is your prediction for the promotional products industry in 2024? Are there any trends you can foresee taking off?
RW: I think it may be a bit of a slower start to 2024 due to everything going on economically and politically here and abroad. While I believe that eco-responsibility/sustainability will continue to trend upwards this year, the biggest trend/topic of 2024 is definitely going to be AI its role in the promotional products industry.

APPA: What's the most unusual or interesting request you've ever received from a client?
RW: I can't think of anything more unusual than the togas!

APPA: What's the biggest misconception people have about the promotional industry, and why is it not true?
RW: People too often accuse the industry of being and selling products that are quick, cheap and nasty, which is not the case. It is really disappointing to see some distributors in the industry marketing their products in a way that does nothing to dispel the negative perception of the industry. If we offer clients the right solutions that matches their needs AND take the time to talk with them and understand what they want, we can create a product that will give them a big return on investment for their project. This also helps us build a strong and beneficial relationship with the client and prove that we are the experts in promotional products and promotional marketing.

APPA: Can you share a funny or memorable experience you've had at an industry event or trade show?
RW: I’ve always enjoyed attending all the industry events in Australia and New Zealand- including the gala dinners. I also found a lot of value in APPA's old Leadership Conference so am really excited to attend the new industry conference in August- the first time we have done something like it in years!

APPA: If you could create a promotional product for a famous celebrity, who would it be and what would the product be?
RW: I think anything with bling on it and for Tay Tay would do the job!

APPA: If the promotional products industry had a theme song, what would it be and why?
RW: "When the going get tough, the tough get going"…I think this summarises our tumultuous industry to a tee. While we always have challenges and seem to always be putting out fires, overall it’s a great industry full of amazing opportunities, people and experiences.

Want to get in touch with Robert? Please email to discuss anything about APPA, the industry or the day-to-day challenges that come with navigating the world of promo.

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