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On with the show

July 1, 2005 |

Exhibitions and events have had a tough time over the past few years. The global economic slowdown, talk of recession, 9/11 and Iraq have all caused companies to be more careful with budgets and as ever, marketing was hit first. Unfortunately, as an extension of this, exhibitions and events, with their focus on sales, new business and profile raising, usually fall under the control of those marketing managers forced into making cuts. “The day the statue of Saddam was pulled down, it was like a switch being turned on, ” said Garry Clements-Boggis, creative director of Nimlok, the world leading integrated event exhibition and display specialists. In the period since there has something of a turnaround: crowds are up, so is demand for space and an exhibition is, once again, an exciting, buzzy place to visit. Clements-Boggis argues that the fundamental benefit of an exhibition or live event is the face to face experience – “nothing compares to standing in front of your target audience, secure in the knowledge you have the products and service they require. ” Companies want to show their wares and exhibitions are the most efficient way of getting their message across to a large quantity of the right people in a short space of time, whilst qualifying potential sales leads at the earliest possible stage. The exhibition business is changing and Nimlok, which has been in the market for 35 years (a lot longer than most) has a solid enough foundation to meet client needs, be flexible and change for the future. As a global player, with either direct operations or partners in over 56 nations including the USA, the Netherlands, Russia, the Far East and the Middle East, Nimlok has created that presence and growth through service. “Service is the essential Nimlok innovation, ” Clements-Boggis said. The company was founded in 1970 when Neil Nimmo, a photographer, wanted a background for his displays, one that could be transported from place to place. He invented and developed the interlock system as a solution – hence the Nimlok name. The business was built on strict family values of service and customer satisfaction and is still family owned. Clements-Boggis is keen to stress that “Nimlok’s survival is due not only to high service standards but also to innovation. Most exhibition companies are ‘hammer and nails’ providers: they make stands out of MDF and fabric, paint them and away they go. That conventional route isn’t very forward thinking or environmentally friendly – the stands go into the skip at the end of each show. ” Nimlok designs and makes stands from extrusions and timber, buying in the raw materials and manufacturing the end product at its plants here and in the USA. This method allows it to provide a higher quality end product that can be previewed, fine tuned and used again, providing greater choice and service. “We provide modular stands, allowing us to offer the choice of one-off rentals or a purchase option when it makes financial sense to the client – if, for example, it will be used more than three times. ” he explained. “And our global service partners allow us to reproduce stands locally. We can hold the stands in store out of season and use them as the basis of redesigned stands next year. We offer a complete turnkey operation, including advice for pre-show marketing and stand staff training – the right staff make all the difference at a show. ” Nimlok’s graphics capability is another area where, with over L500,000 of production equipment, they really stand out from the crowd. “We’re a major printer of banners, displays and digital equipment, ” he said. “Our graphics capabilities have brought about a big change in exhibitions. Large format digital printing has transformed the industry from the traditional fabric-backed-with-photos display. Today’s stand is the means of holding the graphics together. ” Nimlok’s printing capabilities include fabric dye sublimation and DSG (direct to substrate graphics). “DSG uses inks that are UV-sensitive. They dry in situ, they don’t need laminates and so they don’t peel. It will also print onto anything – even toast! The equipment has massively increased our workplace productivity and enables us to set new standards. We were the first to use dye sublimation and we’re the only company using DSG. ” Modular stands, trans-national partners, environmental awareness, commitment to service and – above all – innovation have combined to make Nimlok the leader in its market, able to globally serve worldwide. Being prepared to take a further step has been the hallmark of the company since its foundation. “We have to keep pushing the envelope and developing, ” Clements-Boggis said. “In 10 years, we’ve gone from a company with a product range to a global solutions business, and it will not stop here as we intend to treble our size over the next five years. ” Garry Clement-Boggis, Creative Director, Nimlok Limited

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