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It’s always Boom time for new firm with designs on the future

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 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 foresaw.

“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 Boyd. “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 1995 I was learning how companies could familiarise themselves 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.”

A highlight of Boyd’s career was having conceived, designed and developed the UK and Ireland’s first online celebrity auction on behalf of the Omagh Fund — a fundraising 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.

Having reached the top of his tree, Boyd is excited about going back to basics. BOOM is in final negotiations with new clients. The focus of these discussions is how companies can maximise the opportunity of the internet through interactive websites, 3-D environments, mobile applications, e-commerce and social media.

“The internet should be an investment that generates a return,” says Boyd. “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.

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