Invest NI Helps Animation Company Open Up New Markets

Invest Northern Ireland has helped Belfast company Big Lolly to open up new markets for its specialist services and secure a significant contract with a Scottish firm.

Big Lolly provides 3D visualisation and animation services primarily for the construction sector. With the contraction of the sector in Northern Ireland caused by the economic downturn, the company was faced with looking for alternative sources of business and approached Invest NI for help.

Invest NI provided expert advice through a mentor who helped the company to draw up a marketing strategy and action plan, and to identify firm leads. The strategy involved targeting construction companies in export markets and also exploring the potential of other sectors such as industrial engineering, marine engineering, and renewables.

Keith McClure of Big Lolly says: “The market insights and mentoring that we got from Invest NI allowed us to develop a strategy for targeting new customers in a systematic way. As a result of this assistance we secured an initial contract with Howden Glasgow which has the potential to deliver ongoing repeat business.

“That success has given us the confidence to approach other construction companies in export markets and also to begin targeting other sectors.”

Big Lolly, which employs five, won the Highly Commended award in Best Creative Business category of the 2011 Belfast Business Awards. The team consists of skilled artists, architects, designers and multimedia specialists who produce photo-realistic images, walk-through animations and films.

Oonagh Hinds, Manager of Invest NI’s Eastern Regional Office, says: “Big Lolly has specialist expertise and an innovative product offering which has the potential to service a wide range of industries and is highly suited to exporting. With our support it has drawn up a marketing strategy that will help it to exploit its potential and ensure that it can take advantage of a wider field of opportunities both within Northern Ireland and internationally.”