BOOM Interactive is a newly formed business based in Belfast’s Lisburn Road, which emerged from an established company Liquid Ice Design. Clients included Co-operation Ireland, Synergy Learning, British Airways and the University of Ulster. “We decided to change the brand, name, identity and offering,” says Alan Boyd, BOOM’s director of strategy.
The other directors of BOOM, Alessandro Masia and Gianluca Pinoci, were both previously with Liquid Ice.
Boyd was initially engaged by Liquid Ice Design as an outside consultant to advise on future direction and rebranding. But Boyd not only recommended a strategy with a fundamentally different market positioning for the business, but also jumped on board as a director because of the exciting potential that he observed.
“We decided to position the business at a different level,” explains Boyd. Rather than simply focus on design, the three partners realised the main opportunity was advising companies on how to use interactivity and the emerging web technologies to revolutionise their online presence.
“One-direction websites that ‘push’ information to the market are no longer enough in creating value,” says Alan. “To achieve success beyond that of the competition, companies now need to ‘pull’ their customers in by continually interacting with them through a variety of channels and platforms. Enhancing their brand experience and ensuring their loyalty.”
Boyd’s experience should place BOOM in a good market position. “I started off 20 plus years ago in advertising on the creative side,” reports Alan. “I was a senior art director then creative director with a top Northern Ireland advertising agency. When the internet took off in the UK in 1995 I was learning how companies could familiarise with new technologies and platforms. About five years ago I discovered how all these things could come together in terms of branding and I moved into branding consultancy.”
Among his activities at this time, Boyd’s highlight is having conceived, designed and developed the UK and Ireland’s first online celebrity auction on behalf of the Omagh Fund – a fund raising appeal for victims of the Omagh bombing, which raised £20,000 in three weeks. The auction website received 5,000 hits within three hours of going live.
But having reached the top of his tree, Alan is excited about now going back to basics. “We are a new company,” says Alan of BOOM. BOOM is now in final negotiations with several new clients. The focus of these discussions is how companies can maximise the opportunity of the internet through the use of interactive websites, 3-D environments, mobile applications, e-commerce and social media.
“We are focused on the business side of the clients that we will work for,” says Alan. “The internet should be an investment that generates a return. So we look at what a business needs to invest, how it needs to position itself, and how it can entice, engage and enthuse its market for a more positive return on its investment. In some cases, this will focus on how interactivity and social media can greatly enhance existing business relationships as well as be invaluable in establishing new ones.”
BOOM Interactive is adapting to a business reality that many firms seem not to have recognised – that the ‘new’ internet, incorporating social media, may transform the commercial operating environment just as fundamentally as the internet did when it arrived. Hold onto your metaphorical hats – it could be a bumpy ride.