Circle Graphics: Visual Communications Solution for Advertising, Business, and Decor
OOH Today’s Conversation with Circle Graphics Chairman and CEO —Andrew Cousin
Andrew Cousin is the Chairman and CEO of Circle Graphics headquartered in Longmont, Colorado and joined the Company in 2012 after leading an investor group that acquired the business from its founder.
Prior to Circle Graphics, he was the Chairman and CEO of Amersham Corporation a privately held group of operating companies supplying products to the Aerospace, Automotive, Medical Device and Electronics industries. Mr. Cousin has over 25 years of experience in the acquisition and operation of businesses. Mr. Cousin earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bristol and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Circle Graphics is a grand and large format digital printer that is the leading provider of #billboards in the United States. The Company also produces personalized on demand wall décor through its consumer division. Circle Graphics operates from four facilities located in North Carolina, Louisiana, Colorado and California. Since its founding in 2000, Circle Graphics has introduced many significant innovations to the printing industry which have contributed to dramatic growth (200% growth since the acquisition in 2012).
—OOH Today interview with Andrew Cousin, CEO of Circle Graphics—
Before becoming CEO, Andrew Cousin led an investment group that acquired Circle Graphics in 2012.
BB: Why did you decide to invest in Circle Graphics?
AC: Circle Graphics has always had a history of disruption in the OOH Advertising industry – including the recyclable single-sheet poster, recyclable EcoFlexx billboard material and the cable system that made it safer and faster for installers. We identified and valued the culture of innovation and knew we could leverage it across the other emerging Circle Graphics divisions.
BB: What are some of the changes that you have made since the acquisition?
AC: We have dedicated a significant amount of resources to continuous improvement and innovation for the OOH industry. Our mission is to offer a broad range of quality products, great service, excellent value and fast turn times.
We have improved the ease of doing business with Circle Graphics, primarily through expanding our IT capabilities. We are committed to helping our customers order any of our products – whether it be a Wallscape in Times Square or a promotional banner for a storefront – we have designed solutions to make it easier for our customers to order, manage their order and even re-order with accuracy and minimal effort.
We currently have five locations across the U.S. which operate our 107 printers 24 hours a day, 7-days a week.
In 2012, Circle Graphics had a single location located in Boulder, Colorado. We currently have five locations across the U.S. which operate our 107 printers 24 hours a day, 7-days a week. This increase in capacity has allowed us to print closer to our customers and increase our speed of delivery.
Since 2012, in addition to our OOH business, we have dramatically grown our personalized Wall Décor business, producing over 3 million units in 2017. We have also experienced significant growth in our business signage division – Signature Visual Solutions.
BB: Let’s talk more about Signature Visual Solutions- what was the inspiration for that division?
AC: There were two drivers to formalizing our Signature Visual Solutions division three years ago. Local OOH advertisers also require many other types of signs for day-to-day branding and promotional needs. These customers were asking us for these products.
As we evaluated this market opportunity, we decided to bring the core Circle Graphics differentiators of quality, speed and value to this expanded category of products, including: vinyl and mesh banners, retractable banners, lawn signs and floor/wall/window decals. We also saw an opportunity to bring Circle Graphics’ innovation to the market, with products such as the recyclable Alumiflexx and our best-in-class smog-eating coating, developed by our chemists in Colorado.
In order to address this local day-to-day signage market, we have created several unique signage websites for our OOH customers which are branded with their own logos. This allows those media companies to stay focused on the primary task of selling billboards but refer local signage customers to “their own” branded website. The sites allow the end customer to access a large template library, upload a logo or other imagery, create and edit a sign online and checkout with full ecommerce capability. Products are delivered “white-labelled” with the media company’s logo on packaging and labels.
to address this local day-to-day signage market, we have created several unique signage websites for our OOH customers
BB: CG was and still is a leader in faster, better, lowest cost. CG is credited with creating and maintaining the low-cost environment in large format print for OOH. Is there a next significant tech change on the horizon for CG and printing?
AC: We continue to devote substantial IT, R&D and engineering resources to deliver products better, faster and at lower price points. We have a culture of relentless improvement and are always looking for ways to improve how we operate in all aspects of the business. New products, equipment and processes are critical to providing better value to our customers.
BB: If you had a magic wand, what would you change about the industry today?
AC: If I had a magic wand, I would accelerate advertisers’ understanding of the value of OOH Advertising. There is a great deal of data available to support higher levels of #OOH spend as part of any advertising campaign and budget. OAAA continues to beat this drum, but it would be great for this message to be better received and understood.
BB: Please share with our readers a little bit about you – how about a secret talent or something people don’t know about you?
AC: Born in the UK, I moved to the US in 1987 and have been married for 25 years. We have three teenage children in college and high-school. One fact that people may not know is that I trained as a military pilot in the Royal Air Force in the early 80’s and have been flying recreationally for the past 30 years.
Charirman and CEO,