Episode 69: The Rise, Fall, and Rise of a Successful Promotional Products Career with Bill Petrie, PromoCorner

2 min read

“Contrary to what we usually believe … the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

Many who find their way to a promotional products career discover that it’s fun, rewarding, and incredibly challenging. Outsiders who are unfamiliar with the industry have no idea that it is a complex, high-demand, and often stressful business. And a successful career is usually full of ups and downs and, as in the quote above from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow, it’s a career that stretches and pushes one’s mind and capabilities to its limits. Which is why so many of us find it so damn compelling.

Our guest today is Bill Petrie, well-known and loved by many, but also, someone who has experienced both the valleys and the mountaintops in a career that spans over 17 years in executive leadership positions in the industry. In 2014, Bill launched brandivate, the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium-sized promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business. In 2017, brandivate was acquired by PromoCorner where he now serves as President.

A featured speaker at numerous national and international industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients. 

Bill is also the co-host of the popular industry podcast Unscripted where he and his fellow co-host Kirby Hasseman talk about current events that shape our business culture and our industry.

Bill is known for his articulate, strong opinions, but our conversation takes a very vulnerable turn as we shift the spotlight to Bill and discuss his story, a story of setbacks, personal challenges, and successes that have shaped who he is today. 

Our recording took place in the new PromoCorner headquarters in Franklin, TN, where Mark Graham, commonsku’s co-founder and Chief Platform Officer, and I were stopping through while on a five-city tour that took us through Tennessee, George, Louisiana, and Texas.


commonsku is an effortless business management platform that empowers you to process more orders and handle more business. Learn more at commonsku.com.


Also published on Medium.