Consumer and business-to-business technology consultancy
Before they came together to launch their own firm in 1987, Roger Nelson and Martin Bostock had worked at some of the U.K.’s largest public relations firms—Bostock worked at Good Relations and Extel, focused primarily on the consumer sector, while Nelson, another Extel veteran, has experience in the business-to-business and tech arenas—and they were determined to create a different kind of consultancy, one that eschewed bureaucracy and encouraged creativity, that combined a relaxed, informal work environment with an overriding client ethos.
The fact that Nelson Bostock recently ranked among the top 10 in our Best Consultancies to Work For survey for the second consecutive year indicates the extent to which they succeeded. Nelson Bostock is “going from strength to strength,” says one respondent. “The team spirit and togetherness is fantastic and prospective new clients really buy into the agency ethos and culture… The ‘hothouse’ environment helps people cultivate their skills and knowledge. At the same time it’s a relaxed and enjoyable place to work, and our clients benefit from the enthusiasm and dedication that that agency culture fosters.” Adds another: “The more I hear about other agencies from friends and colleagues, the luckier I know I am to work at NBC. The fact we have so many former staff return from other agencies is testament to this.”
The firm has strengths in both consumer and business-to-business communications, with practice areas spanning media and analyst relations, events and promotions, sponsorships, research, and employee communications. In the consumer sector, Nelson Bostock has experience in food and drink (with clients including Bacardi, Martini. Southern Comfort); home and lifestyle (the London Dungeon, the Post Office, Swatch); and consumer tech (Canon, Google, Toshiba). In the business-to-business realm, expertise includes telecoms (Juniper, NEC, NTL); mobile content and services (Elata, Palmsource, Volantis); and IT and business solutions (AMD, Sterling Commerce, WorldPay).
Projected fee income for the year was around £4.3 million, up about 8 percent—on top of 15 percent growth last year—enough to allow Nelson Bostock to hold on to a spot in the top 15 in the PR Week league table (the firm ranks among the top five technology PR firms). New business included the Bollinger, Warner Home Video, and Vonage. In the corporate branding realm, the firm managed a pan-European programme to support Canon’s CSR goals and its involvement with European football, focusing on the behind-the-scenes lives of 25 Champions League stars and generating more than 300 pieces of coverage across Europe. In the business-to-business arena, the firm launched U.S. VoIP leader Vonage into the U.K., reaching early adopters through 1000 pieces of coverage in six weeks. And in the consumer sector, Nelson Bostock’s work for Swatch included full title sponsorship for Swatch Alternative Fashion Week in 2005, including two major new design awards. The quality of its work netted Nelson Bostock six PRCA Frontline Awards in 2004.
Nelson Bostock was acquired in September of 2003 by marketing services group Creston, which demonstrated its commitment to creating an international network of PR firms with its acquisition in 2005 of healthcare specialist Red Door, and which includes advertising, market research and channel marketing units. In addition, NBC has plenty of experience handling pan-European business, serving clients such as Canon, Pilkington Glass and America’s True Position through a network of affiliates in continental Europe. The firm has at least two affiliate agencies in each major market. It also has worked extensively with tech agencies such as A&R in the U.S.