Our story starts in November 2000 when Tom Nixon founded a web design agency called Aim23. The company was born out of a need for freedom and a chance to explore all of the opportunities and possibilities in the world, and this is still its purpose today, expanded in scope to creating freedom and opportunity for people globally. Tom always knew he’d do better with a co-founder, and in 2001 over a greasy breakfast in Cafe Bohemia on St James’s Street, Will McInnes agreed to come on board. The two split the company 50/50 and renamed it NixonMcInnes.
In our earliest incarnation we provided web services to SMEs. But it wasn’t what we did that made us different. From the start the company was based on new thinking and bold ideas.
When Tom and Will met they exchanged two important pieces of literature. Tom gave Will the prophetic Cluetrain Manifesto about how web conversations would change society and business. Will gave Tom an Inc. Magazine article about workplace democracy in a cardboard box factory. These two ideas went right to the core of the NixonMcInnes DNA, where they remain to this day.
In 2008, we started helping organisations understand and harness the power of the social web, as it moved from the edges to mainstream. We quickly became one of the first specialist social media agencies in the UK, forming cross-industry working groups like MeasurementCamp, sharing ideas and practices at events and sparking relationships with major brands.
We have featured on WorldBlu’s list of Most Democratic Workplaces in the World every year since 2009. We realised that the work we did in digital – creating more openness, authenticity, freedom and trust – was exactly the same as the principles by which we ran the company.
By 2011 our work had become more strategic and broader than simply running campaigns. We were helping large organisations negotiate the compliance and regulations governing how you provide customer service on the social web and creating board-led social strategies that would change whole organisations. We were helping companies redesign their businesses to effectively engage in a digitally connected world.
Tom Nixon left the company in May 2011 for what turned out to be an epic two-and-a-half-year sabbatical – exercising his need for freedom – and returned in October 2013 with more energy than ever before. Will McInnes took full control of the reins while he was away, before taking a new direction himself once Tom was back. Max St John became the new managing director.
Today we remain a pioneer in digital and social thinking, but with our sights set higher than ever. Our goal is to develop purposeful organisations that deliver meaningful results in order to expand freedom and opportunity globally. This is the logical conclusion of our journey from social media, to digital transformation and finally to making entire organisations more purposeful.
Wherever your organisation is on its journey, join us for the next chapter: Say hello.