Case studies

Giving WWT the Edge in telecommunications

To establish World Wide Technology as an authority in the Edge computing space, and to position itself as a partner for service providers looking to provide Edge capability to their customers.

WWT is known and trusted in the IT industry as a system integrator capable of complex deployments at scale. It wanted to capitalise on the emerging opportunities presented by new connectivity technologies, and specifically, Edge computing – a foundational technology for 5G, and an area of deep expertise for its partners (Dell and Intel, among others).

The approach

Nelson Bostock consulted on a piece of research of enterprise decision makers in businesses with revenue of greater than $1bn in the UK, US, Japan and Germany. They were asked about the drivers and barriers to adoption of Edge, the key use cases, and who they considered to be the natural partners for the deployment of the technology. Through this research, conducted by Analysys Mason, we established the scale of Edge investment, the sectors most likely to benefit from the technology and the steps that telecommunications providers needed to take to sell it to their customers.

These findings formed the basis of a report, The Edge Disconnect, which was the cornerstone of an integrated campaign spanning PR, a media partnership and lead gen activity across social and display advertising. In addition to the report, we created a series of supporting assets, including a downloadable strategy guide, ad units, a landing page, three podcasts and a series of blogs and LinkedIn Pulse posts.

Over two years after campaign launch, The Edge Disconnect is still being promoted and continues to gather leads for WWT’s US marketing team.

Case studies

GoCardless: launching a consumer influencer campaign for a B2B fintech

Goal: Be the leading voice on late payments

Work: ‘Late payments’ is an ongoing problem for British SMEs and an area with which GoCardless wants to be associated. We wanted to do something bold that could create a human-interest story and could reach new and relevant audiences. Nelson Bostock helped GoCardless launch its first-ever consumer campaign with an influencer…and “Awkward Money” was born.

We brought the issue to light with a suite of assets:

  • Research: to gain new insights into the emotional side of late payments
  • Influencer: to amplify our reach to new audiences in consumer media and social
  • Real life SME stories: to normalise the issue and bring the research to life

To add authenticity to the campaign and meet our objective of reaching new consumer media and social audiences, we partnered with Emma Gannon.

Case studies News

Business travel: do we still need it?

Last week, one of our colleagues went to Lisbon, for a client event at WebSummit. Everyone was giddy. Abroad? On a plane?! It’s like you’re in Mad Men! We’ve spent so long inside our own houses that going abroad still seems wild, even more so if it’s for work.

After a year of broadcasted events and Teams calls, many organisations have found the transition surprisingly successful, despite being cut off from real-life interaction. With such good evidence, will business leaders be able to justify that business travel is needed to meet targets?

Meanwhile, it’s more than ROI we need to think about; more fundamental questions are at stake. Following COP26, the UK treasury has said that firms will now have to demonstrate their plans to achieve net zero when it comes to carbon emissions[1]. Given that plane travel is listed as the number one emissions offender, international travel has started to look like an elephant in the room.

So, do we really need to travel for business anymore?

Boom and bust

The key driver behind business travel is usually to allow in-person interaction. Face-to-face hobnobbing – whether it’s sales meetings, pitches, events or networking – have always been viewed as a crucial part of successful business; a not-so-secret component to how relationships have been forged, and deals struck.

The media world in particular has held a reputation for putting face-to-face relationship-building at the heart of the business model. As Absolutely Fabulous captured so well, this was typically done via long lunches curtesy of the company credit card.

Journalists and PRs alike lament the decline an era when businesses regularly flew cohorts of journalists (and accompanying PR execs) out on business-class, all-expenses-paid jaunts, all in the name of top tier coverage.

This is the hangover from a long period of boom where there seemed to be far less scrutiny than there is today over outgoings, expenses and ROI. Bill Bryson recalled working at The Times in the 1980s: “Overmanning and slack output were prodigious…To say that Fleet Street in the 1980s was out of control barely hints at the scale of the matters. The National Graphic Association, the printer’s union, decided how many people were needed on each paper (hundreds and hundreds)…Managements didn’t even know how many they employed. I have before me a headline from December 1985 saying: ‘Auditors find 300 extra printing staff at Telegraph’. That is to say, the Telegraph was paying salaries to 300 people who actually didn’t work there.”

This era of free-and-easy spending has long been in decline for a number of reasons. Firstly, there’s a lot less money sloshing around in the economy following the financial crash. Even before the pandemic, businesses and agencies needed to provide a robust business case for any expenditure like business travel and client entertainment.

Technology also played a part in the decline; it had begun to provide more creative ways to communicate with business contacts. Why travel to Birmingham for a customer meeting when you can video call? Why run an event in Spain when the whole thing can be broadcast online?

From an agency perspective, it’s become a lot harder to get journalists out of the office. Publishers are short staffed and struggling to get by; an afternoon out of the office needs to be worth it.

The new normal

2020 really expedited this trend. Global business travel expenses contracted by 52% in the face of lockdowns and ongoing restrictions. Yet, despite no face-to-face meetings or events taking place, the world continued to turn – we simply went online. So, in the aftermath of Covid-19, it’ll be harder than ever to justify expense to finance departments.

Meanwhile, many of us have got used to working from home, spending less time in the city and becoming less available – or indeed willing – to travel to meet others. People don’t want to do their old commute anymore, let alone haul themselves to another city for a coffee with a customer in the name of relationship maintenance. In fact, in a recent piece of research by McKinsey, only 15% of B2Bs expect in-person sales meetings to be the norm going forward.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s over. McKinsey finds that firms think that sales reps have more confidence in a hybrid approach which doesn’t always default to one way or the other: “83 percent of B2B leaders believe that omnichannel selling is a more successful way to prospect and secure new business than traditional, “face-to-face only” sales approaches.”

Considering sustainability

Beyond just budget cutting and cultural change, sustainability is another powerful argument against business travel. Sustainability has become front and centre of discussions about corporate responsibility over the last couple of years. It’s not really good enough to say you ‘recycle (where possible)’ anymore.

It’s not just that the government is going to be scrutinising businesses, but it’s customers too. The last few years have seen a huge surge in interest, concern and activism around the impact we’re having on the planet. People simply don’t like buying from, or working with anyone who looks like ‘the bad guys’ anymore, so a lot of big brands are under pressure to demonstrate that they don’t fall in that camp.

IRL connecting

So, if there are 101 reasons to quit business travel, why is this even a discussion? Why are agencies still encouraging PRs to take journalists and clients out? Why do over 90% of businesses still expect in-person sales meetings and customer events to return – at some level – by Q1 2022?

The truth is, not everything can be replicated through even the best video calls. IRL bonding has a hugely important role to play in business. As every agency worker can tell you, you can make more headway in bonding with your client from two hours in the pub, than you can make in two years of emails.

People simply don’t behave the same way when they’re presenting themselves on camera as they do when they’re really spending time with someone. For a start, people are less guarded, more likely to say something ‘off-script’ which can tell you a lot more about them.

But also, we shouldn’t try and get away from the fact that we’re not really logical creatures. A lot of our decisions (even big financial ones) are not really based on the facts, but a deeper ‘gut sense’ that comes from how we feel. And face-to-face interactions are important to creating those lasting attachments.

So, what does this mean for responsible businesses? Like all sensible strategies, it involves balance. The era of throwing the credit card at customer and client entertainment might be dead. That’s probably a good thing for companies’ financial outlook, as well as for reducing unnecessary carbon emissions. But that doesn’t mean we should wave goodbye to face-to-face. We’re not all robots yet and strategic relationship building is so important, but maybe those crucial bonding conversations can happen in a pub a tube ride away instead of on a golf course in California.

Case studies

Building a social community for Equinix

Reach senior IT managers through social

To help Equinix reach its audience of senior IT management, we developed a social community programme that connects customers and prospects with events, trends and insight across Europe.

Case studies

Canon Pro: driving awareness of Canon’s product line-up

Drive positive press coverage for Canon’s product across 30 EMEA markets

As one of the world’s most recognisable brands, Canon’s presence at premium, pan-European trade events such as Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), NAB, photokina and International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) is essential for its brand and product awareness, sustained customer relationships and the industry’s purchasing cycles. To drive awareness to Canon’s product line-up, NBU orchestrates a hard-working media briefing programme to support 30 markets in EMEA, including the development of product messaging and launch materials, spokesperson media training, thought-leadership content and on-the-ground event support. For more than 10 years, NBU has helped Canon launch and secure positive coverage across the full spectrum of the professional imaging business – from DSLR cameras to broadcast quality lenses and projectors.

Case studies

Taking ownership of the UK’s self-driving story

Launch the “UK Connected and Automated Roadmap to 2030” the first of its kind, to industry, academia, government, and media.

To launch the ‘UK Connected and Automated Roadmap to 2030’, Nelson Bostock orchestrated an event at the Science Museum to capitalise on its exciting autonomous vehicle installation. The Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched the roadmap and presented to a full house of mobility stakeholders and press.

Through a programme of media relations and strategic thought leadership campaigns NBU secured 180+ pieces of broadcast, print, and online coverage, secured briefings with The Economist, The Observer, and Bloomberg, secured and hosted briefings at CES and MWC, and developed a story around the phasing out of motorway signage nicknamed “naked highways” which gained pickup in 16 countries.

Case studies

Building thought leadership in mobility

Make SHARE NOW a part of the conversation around London’s changing mobility landscape

Nelson Bostock worked with SHARE NOW to identify the issues which are going to affect Londoners the most, and developed robust consumer research stories to give SHARE NOW a voice in the media on these issues. We also developed a story around how public transport strikes in December 2019 would affect over half of Londoners.

NBU delivered national media coverage with the Daily Express and key trade publications including FleetPoint, Fleet World and Automotive Management, secured media briefings with VOGUE and Forbes as well as reviews with Vanity Fair, and engaged with influencers like Gadgetsboy to raise SHARE NOW’s profile among key audience demographics.

Case studies

Make Twilio the developer’s ‘go to’ platform

Build Twilio’s profile among developers to position it as the first choice to work with.

To connect with a savvy and sceptical developer audience, authenticity was key. Nelson Bostock tracked calendar events and emerging issues on community forums to create stories that would land.

Nelson Bostock delivered 40 pieces of tier one coverage, including The FT, BBC, and CNBC, and a 100% increase in developer signups on the day the BBC piece went live.

Case studies

Apptio, Creating a new category

Create air cover for Apptio and the discipline of Technology Business Management (TBM) in Europe

Acting as a hub for European PR, Nelson Bostock developed a localised campaign centred around key subject areas. We told stories via strong opinions backed by credible research.

We put TBM on the agenda of European journalists, securing over 60 pieces of European national and trade coverage, including Computer Weekly, IDG, ITPro, Le Monde Informatique and 0CloudComputingInsider.

Case studies

Zuora, A Nation Subscribed

Create a new category leader.

Zuora is driving the biggest consumption shift in the 21st century: from buying products outright to subscribing to services. But while many of us will have interacted with Zuora’s technology, not many will have heard of the company.

Our challenge was to change this, raising awareness amongst a large, national audience and building Zuora’s profile as the undisputed Subscription Economy thought leader.

Nelson Bostock used consumer research to craft original, eye-catching storylines that delivered unprecedented levels of coverage – including breaking into the UK nationals for the first time.