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The Winning Minds Awards: September 2023

September 2023 was a big month for everyone. It was the warmest September ever on record, a river of wine coursed down the streets of Portugal, and Nelson Bostock launched their brand new Winning Minds Awards!

With the creation of our brand new division Unlimited B2B, which comprises both the team in Nelson Bostock and our friends over at TMW Business, a new set of awards were required so we could ensure that everyone was celebrated.

The new Winning Minds Awards are split into four sections that celebrate each facet of our incredible division, making it the biggest and best award ceremony yet! 

Our winners were nominated by their colleagues for the brilliant impact they’ve generated for the agency or their clients. Each of them have been living our values of Bold, Open, Real and Give a Damn.

Read below to see the new awards and our winners!

PR Minds – Ibby Bridges

“Ibby has been an absolute powerhouse in the weeks leading up to the event, from compiling an extensive analyst list for invites and drafting invites, to pitching post-show briefings and building briefings docs – the list goes on!”

“The client is ecstatic and it’s all down to Ibby’s hard work”. 

Marketing Minds – Stephen Hastings 

“The client is really happy with where things are at and it’s an account that looks like it’ll grow and grow – much of which is thanks to Stephen’s persistence and patience to get the job done.”

Creative, Content and Planning Minds – Bella Green 

“Flexible, fast without losing any attention to detail – and when under some tight deadlines too. Positive and prepared to go the extra mile to ensure all is ok.”

“A dream to work with and always smashes it out of the park.”

Greatest of All Time Award (GOAT) – Em Brine

“They’re absolutely living our new values (especially ‘Give a Damn’) with all the great work they’ve been doing on the DEI committee – but also in keeping our culture alive, supporting everyone with a friendly face, and making sure our divisional days are a joy to attend.”

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I was recently asked how people can get the most out of their PR career. It is such a personal question. For some, money is everything. For others, it’s about promotion, recognition and progression. And that’s before you even talk about the work itself. Whatever your motivations, satisfaction comes down to being happy. Find that thing – and do it on repeat. 

PR is a brilliant career. It offers a really special blend of challenge, reward and satisfaction. So much focus today is – and rightly so – given to breaking into the industry. About talent, diversity and opportunity. But it is also vital that people have the confidence to build and own their careers as they progress within PR. That is a vital principle of life at Nelson Bostock; and why we pride ourselves on our brilliant people and unique culture.

My advice is to be brave and curious. Never stand still. Try and learn something new every day. Work with new people. Get involved in projects that sound interesting and might stretch you in different ways.

That might lead you to find the one thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning. It could be working with a global brand on global campaigns; working on bleeding-edge innovation; losing yourself in the crazy and dynamic start up world; or dedicating yourself to a vital challenge facing the world like sustainability.

The key to happiness is to know yourself. Then, find a company that helps you to explore your potential. Never underestimate the importance of your team and environment. If they value you, they will listen and support your ambitions. Only then will you live your best PR life!

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Data Visualisation

In recent times, we’ve started to realise the potential of data visualisation.

Its appeal is obvious. Breaking down complex data and presenting it in an easy-to-understand way. Representing data visually can help spot trends and patterns. Not only that, but it can actually be quite artistic and inspiring.

The beauty of data visualisation is something we particularly like, and it’s a concept that is often channelled by our fantastic in-house design team.

One example in particular has caught our eye this week, in the form of designs by Rick Hincks. He looked at famous goals from Manchester derbies through the years and mapped the unforgettable moments onto minimalist posters.

Football is a sport that’s packed full of tension and action, and that’s heightened when local rivals clash. Hincks’ work reduces all of that to the bare components, but still captures movement and drama with simple elegance.



Photo: Rick Hincks

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Mobile is eating the world

Today’s essential reading is Ben Evans’ presentation, Mobile is eating the world.

As you’d expect, it’s packed full of interesting statistics and insights into changing behaviour.

For example, did you know that 7.5 trillion SMS are sent every year, and 7.2 trillion WhatsApp messages are sent every year.

Or how about the fact that the smartphone industry now dwarfs the PC market, with 4 billion people buying smartphones every two years, instead of 1.6 billion every five years (for the PC industry).

Or that over 800 billion photos were shared on social networks this year.

It’s fascinating stuff, and well worth your time.

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Indistinguishable from Magic

Marc Weiser is a name that is synonymous with technology, so it makes perfect sense that a prediction he made in 1991 is now materialising and being realised. We love this Wired article on ‘nagging’ tech, which explains in-depth how Weiser’s thought that “the most profound technologies are those that disappear” is coming to life.

It’s an essential read for anyone who has noticed the recent bombardment of wearables, smart tech etc. Not just for its level of detail but also the idea that in the age of hyper-connectivity, the demands of consumers are transgressing back to technology that allows a quiet life.

The article points out that rather than disappearing, technology is actually becoming more visible, not for the reasons we’d usually assume, but because of the screens. Connectivity is largely determined by a device having a screen – screens make users look at them, digest the information and above all, pay attention.

The article suggests that the shift toward discreet, efficient products that operate in the background of a busy life poses an incredible opportunity for brands to rethink products. The idea is that brands should embed tech into “devices, vehicles, and environments [rather than] sticking another screen into our environment”.

While this is only the surface of the argument, it’s important, and it says a lot about the way technology is heading. There has been a flurry of connected devices released in the past few years, some of which have been met with relative success, some of which have quietly been discarded.

As consumers, our needs are changing – we want automation, personalisation and devices that can predict our next move and our needs, but aren’t as noticeable in our everyday lives. As Wired explains, this is a different approach to customer engagement, a more organic integration, as opposed to “tireless push notifications, alerts, or promotional emails”.

The idea that “the best way to predict the future is to create it” (Alan Kay) is more applicable to tech companies today than ever before.

Photo: Gary Waters/Getty Images

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Looking to the future with the PRCA

By Lee Nugent

This week saw my re-election to the PRCA Council (huge thanks to all who voted for me!) and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to remain involved. This will be my second year as a councillor, having been elected first time round just after our founder, Martin Bostock, stepped down from chairing the Council.

But, you might well ask, what is the PRCA Council; what does it do?

In the PRCA’s own words, the Council “provides a formal mechanism to consult with the industry’s most senior practitioners on the issues PR faces; acts as a think-tank for the industry; informs the PRCA’s strategic priorities; and produces helpful commentary, advice and best-practice guidance for PR professionals.”

But it’s not just words.

Some of the great work achieved in recent weeks has seen vice-chair, Tony Langham of Lansons, work with his team to pull together the #ReputationMatters programme. It outlines the importance and value of reputation to UK business, and is accompanied by the extremely handy Economics of Reputation Toolkit, and an explanatory infographic that summarises the research (beautifully designed by the team at Nelson Bostock).

The ‘Agency of the Future’ drive is another great initiative, which provides valuable insights into how agencies can and should innovate, restructure and change, in order to face the new world of communications and marketing.

Here at Nelson Bostock Group, we were delighted to be selected (along with our Things With Wings team) as one of the five future agencies that characterise how the industry is evolving. There’s some fantastic video content which takes a look at how each agency and group is structuring their business to address evolving client needs and challenges, so well worth checking out.

As you’ve seen, the work of the PRCA Council is not only forward-thinking, it’s also tremendously valuable and informative. And I’m really pleased to continue to have the opportunity to work with the wider team at the PRCA and help drive the industry’s continuous improvement.

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How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world

It’s a genre that often attracts controversy, and is very much a story of extremes. Some are sceptical, others are die hard fanatics. Truth be told, sci-fi films are sometimes classified as far-fetched and ludicrous. The imagination featured in such films is often extravagant, but who’s to say that such ideas are a product of a madman or a visionary?

The truth is blurred. The game changer? Technology. It’s the one thing that is advancing at such velocity that laughing off the likes of flying cars, hoverboards, invisibility and cyborg implants would be nonsensical – they have all, in some form, become reality.

The advances in technology mean that we’re catching up with what was once thought to be impossible. A genre that has mastered incredible and eccentric ideas into successful narratives is starting to look a lot like real life. Some of the best predictions from sci-fi classics have now been imitated in the real world, as explored in this piece by Dazed Digital. So take some time out of your day, and enjoy the fevered dreams of visionary sci-fi legends.

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Stop talking nonsense

We all fall into the jargon trap at times. It might be because we’re surrounded by it, or because there genuinely are esoteric terms which need to be used from a technical or legal stance.

But as Maija Palmer at the FT, and Houston PR point out, it makes things a bit meaningless.

It’s especially frustrating to see jargon in the technology industry. You might think they go hand-in-hand, but keep in mind Arthur C. Clarke’s immortal words, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

With a rich lexicon to draw from it’s a huge shame to see jargon weighing down the ambition and original intention of technology, which often improves lives. All it takes is a moment’s more thought to play about with words and concepts, and create something different. And it’s also way more fun.

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Ripe 69 – London

Last week we were lucky enough to attend RIPE 69, held in London.

RIPE meetings are held by the RIPE NCC, giving the technical community a chance to come together and talk about the burning Internet industry issues, learn from each other, network, and of course, have fun.

It’s a hugely educational week, with the opportunity to learn about everything from Internet Governance through to the ins and outs of latency experiments, and of course the latest on IPv6 deployment.

It’s fascinating stuff, and attendees include everyone from Microsoft and Google, to universities, IXPs, and beyond.

And of course, there are amazing t-shirts…

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The Internet of Things

As we edge closer to the end of this year, everyone’s attention is firmly on what’s coming next.

Gartner is quick out of the gate, with a prediction that there will be 25 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, outnumbering the global population by a ratio of over 3:1. While the Internet of Things has been a certain talking point, its impact on modern technology has only just started to be realised.

As always, it’s an exciting time for technology. Technological innovation is a topic that always manages to provoke emotion, and its power means that together we’re capable of things that are far beyond our individual capacity.

But as much as we love technology, we do also need to ask questions. At what point does it become too much? The Internet of Things has only just started, but how far should we allow it to go? How much privacy are you prepared to give up for convenience? Will people read the privacy policy for their Internet connected fridge – unlikely, so do we need to agree new international standards.

We’re on the cusp of an incredible technological era, but we shouldn’t rush into innovation for the sake of it, and forget what makes us human.