We’ve been thinking a lot about culture lately. It’s a funny one. Some people say that “corporate culture” is an oxymoron, while others flat out don’t understand the difference between perks and culture.
Nelson Bostock is an agency built around people. There are some who worship at the altar of big ideas first, more still who hold big clients as their idols. We’ve always been about people – if you get the right people, the rest will all follow. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll have a bloody good time trying.
It’s hard to define culture though, and harder still to explain it. Perhaps the easiest way is through examples.
- Pizza Friday is not a part of our culture. It’s a perk, something which anyone else can imitate. However our culture around Pizza Friday is engrained in us. Our culture is that we take Pizza Friday seriously. We submit our scores, slices and crusts, to be read out at Friday @5 and we get competitive about it. Not only that, but we worked out our own Duckworth-Lewis Method for when the crusts are particularly tough – four slices, four crusts beats five slices, two crusts. No-one will ever dare to take on Luke’s old record (a massive eleven and eleven if you’re asking)
- We have a table football table which Martin and Roger bought over 15 years ago. Every agency has one, but again, our history is in the table. The teams are in blue and red, for Portsmouth and Manchester United, Martin and Roger’s teams respectively (although Roger was probably more of a Red Socks fan than Red Devils). It is still in beautiful condition, and you’ll routinely find a number of us trying to take Owen and Marc’s crown. Joe *will* score with a volley soon, and Nuria will be utterly ruthless while smiling sweetly
- Atletico NBG – our football team. No we’re not very good, yes we take it too seriously, and yes we laugh at ourselves…lots. The football team provides regular tongue-in-cheek match reports, and every now and then opens the voting to the agency to choose “fans player of the season” – an accolade currently held by captain-in-waiting Dan M. We’ve seen the hard times, gone on glorious cup runs, almost achieved an Invincible season, and slipped back to mediocrity. It’s a lot of fun
- Related to the football. Immortal players have nicknames. Roberto Baggio was the Divine Ponytail, Wayne Rooney is Wazza, Cristiano Ronaldo is CR7. Lee Nugent is the Velour Tracksuit. He’s been a great MD and CEO, but he’s not infallible. His biggest error in his career haunts him to this day, having turned up to play for Atletico in his velour tracksuit. WHY
- The Silver Fox. The man, the myth, the legend. Along with Martin and Lee, Phil played a huge part in shaping our agency. When it was easier for us to work in siloes, he brought us together, when we had rough spells, he made sure we found our feet. Our mercurial (now retired) CFO bucked every cliché and stereotype about his job title. An ardent supporter of Atletico NBG, the team unveiled a new logo dedicated to him. He hands over to the Great Kiwi, who’s already living up to the formidable precedent
- We have Bake-offs, where Will’s Aunt (Patisserie) Valerie makes a regular appearance, and we have the mini-table tennis world cup where everyone from MD to AA can get involved – who can forget the Spitting Cobra, or the French Smash. At the end of a big night out, we’ll all confuse the DJ by demanding “Hey Jude” be the final song of the night. Cue a big ‘circle’ of us desperately anticipating the big chorus, tripping over each other, someone properly stacking it, and lots of naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, naaaaaaa, na na na naaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAA…
We’ve given you a lot of fun examples there. Working in PR isn’t always fun. But the stories above help to explain why, the week before a global launch, you’ll see the team do whatever is needed. We’ll work hard for the client, but we’re there just as much for the agency and for each other. You won’t see that launch team when they leave the office at gone midnight, and they’ll likely arrive back before you get in. But you will see others go over and check on them, take them treats, and try to help however they can.
If you like any of that, keep us in mind if you’re looking for an agency to hire or to work at. We’re Nelson Bostock.