Q&A WITH OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE.
In the fast moving, dynamic world of pay-to-play leisure entertainment any brand that stands still is effectively going backwards as competitors evolve and consumers become increasingly demanding. Huge credit should therefore be paid to those progressive entrepreneurs that seize the moment and with it the initiative. Such is the case with Andrew Ludlow who has retired the NRM name which has served the industry so well for three decades and replaced it with the more agile and contemporary Boomerang Digital.
The new structure will not only bring NRM, ISD and Big Deal Games into a single entity but most importantly it will also deliver a raft of customer benefits.
Q: You have invested time and effort establishing NRM’s reputation as the technology partner of choice for many consumer-facing brands in the industry: does the re-brand throw all of that hard work away?
A: Andrew Ludlow:” Absolutely not! The strategy that we are deploying is take the heritage and the outcomes of close to 30-years great creative thinking and if you forgive the vernacular ‘really hard graft’ to create a platform for the next important phase of the Group’s development under the shiny new badge of Boomerang Digital.
In the 11-years that I’ve had the privilege of being MD we have been on quite some journey which has seen us come together with our fabulous partners in Finland, Air Dice, leverage our best-in-class team of people and best in class technology in order to diversify our product offering to the extent that the old NRM no longer accurately represents who we are. However, look under the bonnet of Boomerang Digital and customers will see the same steadfast principles, personality and industry passion stamped on the engine block.
Boomerang Digital has been structured in a way that is representative of what we do, innovate, getting close to our customers, appropriately diversifying whilst keeping a close eye on new technologies, regulatory change and of course the needs of our customers. In order to meet the entertainment and engagement demands of tech savvy consumers our customers have evolved and so have we. It’s an exciting time and the team cannot wait to bring the Boomerang Digital vision to life!”
Q: Is this just a cosmetic exercise if not what are the wins for the company?
A: Andrew Ludlow: “We’ve been mulling over our ‘next steps’ for a long while but I think the moment you start spending money on something it sort of becomes a bit more serious. Project Harmony, which as the name suggests is about aligning the different elements and marching to the same tune, officially kicked-off some months after the purchase of ISD in early 2023.
Working with a trusted group of external partners we set out to con-struct an organisational structure fit for the future and to help with the brand architecture and positioning. We have explored what the business could look like in the future set against an industry that’s powered by advances in technology but ultimately one that’s also tightly regulated. Bringing NRM, ISD and Big Deal games into a single entity is an exciting inflection point for our business.
In terms of the wins, I think Boomerang will enable us to engage with existing and new customers more effectively in existing markets but also to start conversations with new customers in new market sectors. On a practical level replacing a multi-company structure with a streamlined organisation such as Boomerang reduces the level of wasteful duplication as well as providing a focus and identity for every team member.
The change in structure also means that we will be able to play to individual strengths, introduce clear succession planning linked to career pathways and grow the business both organically and via acquisition. A single and much more unified voice can also inspire internal and external stakeholders in a profound and powerful way.
Q: How will customers benefit from the rebrand and what will be the key differences?
A: “Andrew Ludlow: Bringing all our complementary skillsets under the Boomerang structure means that we can build a more focused and sustain-able portfolio of products and services for our key offline sectors and the customers we work so closely with. It also supports the efficient development of our on-line activities, leveraging the skills, the knowledge, the creativity, and the contacts that we have to the betterment of our growing customer base and to the industry.
Because Boomerang Digital is a single entity offering a range of solutions it means that customers can now talk to us much more holistically about their requirement for end-to-end solutions. For example, we have an array of customers operating Jigsaw, Mobile App, Membership, SMS, hand-held tablets, and compliance platforms – under Boomerang we can ensure that the technology ecosystem is appropriate and streamlined which means having a commonality of hardware and software integration. Boomerang offers a single view, single engagement, and an important frictionless customer journey.”
Q: Where did the new name come from: it’s got a consumer feel to it: should we read anything into that?
A: “Andrew Ludlow: If I said that we got the biggest brains in branding together, came up with a long-list of possible names, road-tested the options with extensive market research and landed on Boomerang Digital – that would be a little disingenuous!
In my previous lives at Modern Games, Global Games and Games Media we came-up with what I believe were great company names but also some brilliant machine names many of which were ‘of the moment’, Boomerang Digital falls very much into that category for me. Each time, the winning name was usually the result of an evening in the pub or a restaurant sharing the best bottles of red that we could afford! Our industry is built on intuition and going with your gut: I’m absolutely delighted to confirm that Boomerang Digital is based on gut, intuition, and 40-years of experience. It has got a consumer feel and yes, the opportunities to engage with consumers is always on the agenda!”
Q: Will there be any changes to the team?
A: “Andrew Ludlow: When businesses start talking about restructuring the alarm bells can start to ring. However, in our case the only changes will be adding the right, harmonious blend of super-talented people to the Boomerang Digital team – there will be no casualties.
To grow the business, we need the right calibre people, and we continue to recruit the additional talent we need. We recently announced several promotions in the business that were all so well deserved. To compliment these and the bringing together the group of companies I am delighted to say that Chris Wrigley will be moving to the newly created post of COO and Wayne Forster Director of Product, membership and mobile, both working along-side the current management team of the business.”
Q: The NRM mantra which you’ve quoted on a number of occasions is ‘whatever it takes’: will you be retaining that quite ballsy philosophy/approach?
A: “Andrew Ludlow: That’s what I would term a non-negotiable! It’s a cornerstone of what we do and how we do it. ‘Whatever it takes’ empowers the team to make things happen, it’s a progressive, no-nonsense pledge that’s set in tablets of stone – and I swear by it. In fact, we could make it into an oath when new starters join the Boomerang team!”
Q: When can readers experience the Boomerang Digital brand?
A: “Andrew Ludlow: Our first industry appearance will be as part of the Bingo Hub at EAG and we look for-ward to welcoming everyone to ExCeL London in January. We’ve got lots to talk about, lots to share and lots of exciting and invigorating plans. EAG can’t come quickly enough, and at my age I shouldn’t really be wishing my life away.”