In 1987, while T’Pau were belting out China in your Hands, Roger Nelson and I launched Nelson Bostock Communications
Our initial goal (apart from hoping to be able to stay in business until at least Christmas!) was to build an agency which could bridge the gap between the emerging technology sector and the consumer, for whom technology was often a closed book.
Our first major client win was Toshiba (and I’m incredibly proud to say that we still work for Tosh). Handling launches including the very first portable computers with colour screens, and the first range of TVs with build-in Dolby Surround set a pattern which has continued over the years.
Over the years, we have played a key role in demystifying and popularising a number of key technologies, including:-
- Digital TV (we worked on the launches of both Sky Digital and Freeview)
- Digital Radio (working for the Digital Radio Development Board we made DAB digital radios the top Christmas gift two years in a row)
- DVD (we launched the first range of DVD players in Europe with Toshiba) and successor format, HD DVD
- Digital music (we launched download and streaming services for MP3.com, Napster and Amazon)
- Digital photography (we have promoted cameras from world-leader, Canon, for more than a decade)
- Android smartphones (we launched the first range of Android smartphones in Europe for our client, HTC)
- High-speed mobile internet (we handled the launch this year of Britain’s first 4G service from our client EE)
But it’s not just about technology. We launched our consumer lifestyle agency, Fever, in 2010 and it’s already proved a huge success, wining a host of awards both for its campaigns and for its business performance.
Online conversations agency, Things with Wings, followed soon after. Together with our B2B/tech agency, Nelson Bostock Communications, these three now comprise the Nelson Bostock Group.
We’re now 75 people strong and were 2011 winners of both the SABRE Award for UK Consultancy of the Year and the PRCA’s award for Large Consultancy of The Year.
Quite proud of that, I was!
Throughout the years we’ve certainly weathered a storm or two. Our first Christmas saw us break for the holidays with no retained business at all – we almost gave up, and I’m glad we didn’t!
When the dot bomb followed the dot boom, we lost a lot of tech business, but thankfully our decision to diversify into consumer lifestyle PR helped balance the books and we actually grew the business overall in the ensuing years.
Since 2000, we’ve been part of the Creston Group. Having sister agencies in market research, digital marketing, healthcare and customer relationship management has helped us continue to grow and develop new services.
Although Roger left us in 2007 to return to his native New York, his spirit is still very much part of the company’s personality and ethos.
So where next?
Well, Lee Nugent, who started with us as an Account Manager in 1996, is now Chief Exec of the Nelson Bostock Group and has some ambitious plans for the future.
Lee, and his management team continue to grow the business, achieving revenue growth of 21% through the economically disastrous years following the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008. No mean achievement.
With an unrivalled ability to help clients engage with and influence their customers, whether on or off-line; whether B2B or consumer, Nelson Bostock Group is perfectly positioned to enter its second quarter century in robust health and ready for the next challenge.