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Omaha Magazine

Promoting Themselves by Promoting Others

Sep 26, 2019 01:07PM ● By Liz Stevens

An unassuming building at 95th and F streets houses a company with a national reach that surprises many of their local clients.

“It has to do with people thinking that we are promotion peddlers,” Bergman Incentives Vice President Kevin Gilinsky said, “as opposed to being an extension of the brand.”

Bergman Incentives is a branding solutions company that strives to use their products to help companies shape their brand. The business is currently run by Kevin and his brother, David.

Under the direction of the Gilinsky family, Bergman started in Omaha in 1888 as a jewelry company. It began by repairing watches for local railroad companies, Kevin said, and eventually started selling watch parts to local jewelry stores. As the business evolved, the company began to focus on the wholesale industry.

In the 1970s, Bergman evolved with the idea of corporate gift sales. The Gilinskys’ father partnered with First National Bank and Woodmen of the World Insurance, and helped them with wedding gifts for employees. They took corporate gift sales to a new level in the 1990s with the concept of a company store, Gilinsky said. From that point on, they started working closely with companies to create quality branded promotional materials.

While they recently opened locations in Kansas City and Lincoln, Bergman’s headquarters is still located in Omaha. “Our roots are here,” Gilinsky said, “Omaha is our home.”

Bergman Incentives services clients in the Omaha area, but Gilinsky says roughly 60 percent of his clients are outside of Nebraska, such as the nationally-known Trek Bicycles.

“We love to be in our backyard and have that connection with the Omaha community, and the Omaha community has been phenomenal for us,” Gilinsky said. “Just because the distributor is in someone’s back yard doesn’t mean the client is getting what they need.” It isn’t always necessary to be right in front of the client, Gilinsky says. Today, Bergman attributes a lot of their successes to working with quality favorites and effective client communication.

Roughly 10 years ago, Bergman Incentives was one of the first distributors to partner with Facilisgroup. This buying group represents roughly 16,000 distributors that Gilinsky says make up about $800 billion dollars in revenue. By working together, it ensures that Bergman has access to high-quality factories that produce goods that are safe for consumers.

Ultimately, the relationship Bergman maintains with its factories allows the company to better fulfill client needs. “When it comes to servicing clients it is the small details,” Gilinsky said. “It has a lot to do with communication.” Through strong teamwork and effective client communication, Bergman prides itself on being able to focus on the small details that lead to overall customer satisfaction, like quickly relaying price quotes and shipping timelines.

“When things go sideways, we’ve chosen good factories that back us up. That is how we land larger scale clients,” Gilinsky said. “Our factories have to adhere to certain levels of compliance. We have certificates from their labs that tells us the extensive level of testing involved.”

Currently, Bergman Incentives serves clients from diverse industries. The account executives strive to get to the bottom of what their clients need and tailor merchandise to their audience.

Gilinsky said one thing Bergman Incentives always tries to do is embrace technology to better serve clients. For example, they will create websites for a small group of their client’s employees, so they can order merchandise.

“We are an extension of a client’s marketing department,” Gilinsky said, “Marketing departments have entrusted us to know their brand guidelines.”

Gilinsky said it is about more than just printing items. It is about partnering with a company and becoming a branding solution.

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This article was printed in the October 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

From left, Kevin Gilinsky and David Gilinsky

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