Conor McNicholas

Conor McNicholas

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Content & Disruption Strategist, Former NME Editor

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Having transformed the NME from weekly music stalwart to a brand stretching from TV to tours, Conor moved to help companies including Barclays, Argos and Adidas to produce exciting new content, overhaul their internal structures, and connect with consumers who should now be seen more like an audience.


Conor McNicholas is an award-winning creative content, brand and disruption consultant. A former Editor of the NME, he considers how the online world can help change how an organisation interacts with its customers, as well as how they fundamentally operate. Faced with a constant barrage of information and content that can seem almost impossible to cut through, Conor looks at how brands can make themselves heard, stay relevant, and generate a coherent, productive conversation.

Whilst at the NME Conor found the renowned weekly being squeezed between a struggling music industry and an audience connecting with bands directly online. By establishing tours and live events, TV and radio stations, awards and other spin-offs he helped move the NME from a print publication to being a successful music brand. He then went on to edit Top Gear magazine and relaunch both print on online formats.

Conor took the lessons in dealing with disruption to the wider business and marketing world as it dealt with competition from online and a new, instantaneous media environment. Leaving journalism he led the creation of an innovative data-led content agency, working with the likes of Adidas and Lexus on their marketing strategies. By looking at how technology is being used, and its possibilities, he has helped businesses including Virgin Media, Reckitt Benckiser, Volvo and The National Lottery tackle specific problems and review their internal processes beyond marketing and communications.

Working with Barclays, Conor helped build a content editorial team and encouraged them to question the established sign-off system, shortening the website content process from over six weeks to just seven days. Away from marketing he helped make Argos the most successful online retailer in the UK on Black Friday. By harnessing social media, making decisions in real-time, and challenging them to again breakdown their internal processes, the retailer surpassed even Amazon during the cut-throat 24 hour period. His work has highlighted structural problems in an age when social media spreads messages (bad and good) within minutes and the demand for new, relevant content is constant.

Conor tackles the disruption all businesses are experiencing and looks at how they can stay one step ahead. In the realm of brand and marketing he examines the messages, values and images you portray and how they connect with your audience (who should no longer be thought of as consumers) as well as your own people. Named as one of the 1,000 most influential people in London by the Evening Standard he’s also been sued by Morrissey, featured in Russell Brand’s autobiography and been held responsible for the Kaiser Chiefs, so there have been problems along the way.

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