New year predictions: Rob Kelly, Displayways

Printweek team
Thursday, December 31, 2020

For Rob Kelly, CEO of the Displayways group of companies, the impact of Covid-19 became abundantly apparent in the first quarter of 2020 as exhibitions and events became the first casualties of the pandemic. He used the hiatus to review and diversify and enter new markets.

Kelly: the market is anticipating a move to hybrid events for the future
Kelly: the market is anticipating a move to hybrid events for the future

If possible, what positives are you able to draw on from the experiences of 2020?
Adversity always brings opportunity, agile businesses will have used the down time to reassess their operations, marketing and target markets.

We have conducted a top to bottom review, reorganised operations, identified markets where we can grow market share, entered new markets and started a new business, all with some success. Whilst successful and growing Displayways would not have concentrated on these areas of the business. The result is a more diversified client base that will create a safer business with less percentage of sales reliant on the event marketplace. Once the events business begins to return through 2021 and 2022 we anticipate growth beyond pre-Covid levels.

What trend do you think has been accelerated because of the pandemic?
Online events, the marketplace is anticipating a move to hybrid events for the future where greater audiences are reached online in conjunction with physical attendance of the event.

What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2021 and why?
Online transactional commercial print and design, packaging production as product sales move further out of retail shops and online and I believe large format printing for the events industry, probably in 2022, when larger brands will value the cut-through face-to-face delivers for their products and are comfortable with their staff travelling.

What are your hopes for 2021?
Further sales growth from the markets we have identified to grow share and the new markets we have entered. A return of some level of event activity.

We can't believe we're asking this question for the fourth year running: what is your one-word view on Brexit?
Mistake.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Value people.

What, if anything, will you do differently in 2021?
Work on the businesses direction and value added services even harder than before.

Sprouts: yes or no?
No.

Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what?
Never have, why do we need a new year to make a change. Never understood that?

 

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