60 seconds with... Zibrant's Nigel Cooper

Zibrant's managing director Nigel Cooper talks to C&IT about the agency's financial outlook for the coming year and its future projects.

Zibrant's Nigel Cooper
Zibrant's Nigel Cooper

What is the financial outlook for 2015-16?

It’s looking quite positive. We’ve got some significant new business wins impacting over the course of the next year, particularly in the accommodation sector. These include the accommodation booking and system management for the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow and a win with Fresh Montgomery. This business will be driving income quite significantly over the next six to eight months. We’ve also been rostered with two or three major UK PLCs for venues, which we’re expecting to see growth from. The existing business is steady, with a few ups and downs based on client performance. Overall, we’re expecting a reasonable year.

What changes have you implemented since the buyout last year?

We’ve been implementing changes prior to the buyout. One area we’re looking at is improving technology and creativity. 18 months ago we launched Zibrant Live. We subsequently created two separate brands, Zibrant Venues and Meeting Management, then in October we moved into the associations services sector. There’s been significant growth and expansion, which is continually ongoing.

What's been the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was separating the business, which was part of a major group. Firewalls, intranet, payroll, HR systems, and so on. Getting all of that in place in a short space of time was very tough. We were operating on the same HR system as Motivcom for example. We had to get everything standalone, which involved a huge amount of people and costs. It was a significant piece of work and a major achievement.

What’s been the highlight of the past year?

The change in the business and positive atmosphere has been the highlight for me. We’ve got the right people doing the right things now. We’re more energetic and younger and we’ve got a really good strong senior team with a lot of focus.

Some key director-level people have left this year - is that a natural movement?

We have a team that’s specialist in the areas that we want to specialise in. We’ve brought Hannah Wilkinson (director of business strategy) back, we have people like Alex James (director of client engagement) and Adam Morris (commercial director-venues). We have a wide range of different services and a lot of people focused on what we want to do going forward. It’s not that other people were wrong for the business, it’s just that we’re not doing all the same things we used to do. I think it’s a natural progression. Everybody here now is happy with what they’re doing which is great.

What’s the main focus for Zibrant moving forward?

We’re in a place where we’ve got really good infrastructure and we’re ready to develop the business we want to deliver. It’s been a major investment and overhaul, but it’s what we needed to propel the business forward. We’re ready to expand into the accommodation sector and we feel we have the right people with us to drive the business forward.

More:

Zibrant sees profit and turnover rise despite net loss

Zibrant's Okrafo-Smart joins Absolute Corporate Events

Top 50 Agencies 2015: Zibrant (1)

Zibrant's Coyle-Dowling joins BCD Meetings & Events

Zibrant wins four-year PCO contract

Nigel Cooper: 'Zibrant will be stronger now'

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C&IT's definitive report on the key trends and challenges facing the UK events industry in 2015 and beyond.


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