Bolser’s founder first established the agency in 2001, when the industry was in its infancy, and despite Ashley’s feelings of being unemployable, the firm is thriving!
What is it the company does?
Bolser is a Digital marketing agency working for global clients, with an emphasis on large-scale, complex multi user/multi language web sites. We’ve worked in Mobile since 2007 and deliver mobile web and App solutions too.
Our unique psychological insight gives us an understanding of customers and the way they use digital, we map user journeys and deliver the best user experience, no matter what device consumers access information. We have teams creating strategy, design, front and backend coding as well as testing. Our latest developments include a new SEO department, analytics and app store optimisation.
Our expertise is recognised by clients like Microsoft, KFC, EE, Sky Betting and Gaming, Xbox, Battersea Power Station and Jet2.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
To create a clear strategy and to provide a stable, positive environment for people to do the best work they can. On a daily basis that means meetings with staff and clients helping to solve the problems that come up in a busy company. I’m big on delegation so I spend time thinking about who best to give work to. I also help with innovation in the agency producing ideas and solutions to client problems.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I started out by being a manager to a student band which went nowhere! That gave me a lot of experience in PR and begging for favours, which ultimately got me a job in the press office at the International Garden Festival in Liverpool. I moved over to Advertising and Marketing and helped found a fledgling Direct Marketing agency in Leeds in 1986. The principles that I learned back then, of getting people to do things, like find out more and buy stuff, are still vital in digital. Having been made redundant and basically being unemployable meant that I founded Bolser way back in 2001.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Not being me! But the qualities I like in other leaders are having a clarity of direction, to see the real issues and being able to motivate and enthuse people to do their absolute best.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
As always, managing people, getting them to believe in the cause. Also, due to the global nature of our client’s business, work goes away from us through no fault of our own, often with a global change of direction, for example Nokia, a significant client sold its mobile division. New business is always challenging.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Cycling, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate the joy of colleagues with a sense of humour.
And my dog comes in to work, she’s delightfully stress free.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Probably a farmer, I do live in a farmhouse and I do have a 1957 Ferguson vintage tractor, so I’m getting there!
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
Hate small thinking. Encourage big thinking. I want people to do the best work of their whole lives whilst working for Bolser. It has to be a memorable place to work!
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
Bigger, faster, smarter. Bigger in that we perhaps have an office on the West Coast of the US to help us service our clients? Faster in the adoption of the latest delivery technology and smarter in that we continue building AI systems to help process and understand the masses of data out there.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Do it. No-one knows better than you. I should have started my own business years before I did. Also help others as often and as much as you can, the payback can be fantastic.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Walk more, cycle more, enjoy the countryside. Work only with people you like.
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