Specialising in exhibition stand design, video production, pre- and post-show marketing, graphic design, return on investment assessment and much more, the firm has spent 15 years carving out a top-flight offering that now attracts clients from a variety of different sectors.
NeosCreative’s story stretches back to the late 1990s when founders Ian Chinnock and Tom Doumasiou were working together for a similar company.
It was the time of the dot.com boom, and Ian and Tom were keen to take the reins themselves – so they offered to buy out the owner. He refused, so they left to set up their own business.
The early days of NeosCreative were hard work. Ian became Managing Director, Tom took the role of Creative Director and Ian Hamilton later joined them as their Logistics Director. No longer part of a 100-strong team, they had to run the business with only five people and a large network of subcontractors.
Fortunately, most of Ian and Tom’s original clients followed them to NeosCreative and right from the outset there was never any shortage of work. Over the years they have grown to a team of 15 people and have won many competitive tenders on the strength of their work.
“We won one competitive tender to stage 18 shows per year,” Tom recalls. “We came up with a scheme for the life of the show, demonstrated how we’d maintain brand consistency and then ultimately went on to make a real success of the programme.”
Because NeosCreative specialises in working for a global industry, their work takes them all over the world. As Ian says: “At the current time, we’re working in Ireland, Australia, Norway, Russia, Australia and the United States. In any year, we are working for clients across all continents.”
Working across the globe makes well-oiled logistics absolutely essential. In the early days, NeosCreative would have to buy in the services of external logistics companies, but as it grew it opted for a much better solution – setting up its own. Both NeosLogistics, based in Surrey, and Ant Logistics in the West Midlands are now thriving. Not only do they support NeosCreative’s work, they are also used by competitors who don’t have a logistics arm of their own.
Offering logistics is, Ian believes, one of the four things which make NeosCreative stand out from its rivals. “Having our own logistics means we can guarantee the right things get sent to the right place in the world at the right time – and our reputation isn’t dependent on the performance of a third party. There’s also the significant financial advantage gained by not having to buy in logistics from elsewhere.”
Secondly, Ian says, “Creatively and practically we make our clients very happy. We are one of a few select firms with years of top-level experience working for the oil and gas industry, and that is now attracting big players in other sectors as well.”
Thirdly, NeosCreative can always offer something new or extra. “We can do really specialist things like measuring footfall to exhibition stands by using time-lapse photography. This helps us to demonstrate a return on investment, how effectively staff are operating, how many people walk past and what percentage of people come in. Our clients know what they are getting in return for their money.”
Finally, the company combines all these things to offer high, measurable standards. “Unusually in our area of work, we’re ISO 9001 accredited,” says Ian. “When it comes to quality control, we pretty much wrote the rulebook for our sector.”
THP has had a valuable role to play from the early days of NeosCreative and the advice given has evolved as the company has grown. The relationship began when their original accountant died and Ian Chinnock’s father-in-law introduced him to THP founding director Adrian Hart.
“Adrian was always on the end of the phone when we started,” recalls Ian. “Since then Lee Daley at THP’s Cheam Office has taken over that role, with Tom Brereton’s assistance. What I like about everyone at THP is that they consider things from an accountant’s point of view but don’t communicate or work in the same remote way as most ordinary firms of accountants. These days we consider both Lee and Tom to be part of our team, helping to guide our ideas and schemes in the right direction. We’re pretty blunt in our office, so they get sworn and shouted at as much as anyone, but they take it in just the right spirit. They’re great people.”
Lee and Tom also enjoy working with NeosCreative, which is just as well. “If there’s money involved, THP deal with it,” explains Ian. “They take care of our payroll, VAT, pensions, auto-enrolment, financial planning and much more. They even helped us interview our bookkeeper. What’s best about them, though, is that we always end up saving money by working with them.”
Long may that continue!