Trafalgar PR principal Chris Nelson joined BAE Systems in 2005 from his position as PR Director of a full service Manchester-based marketing agency. His role was to project the Astute project as an example of engineering excellence, and raise the profile of the business on a national and international scale.
As Communications Manager he led a team with responsibilities for internal and external communications, and played a key role in crisis management planning for the nuclear licensed site. Chris developed and continuously refined the Astute narrative, working closely with the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Navy.
Activity targeted mainstream broadcast and print media including national newspapers, specialist engineering, defence and manufacturing print and on-line publications, and other titles as diverse as the NUTS men’s magazine and the BBC technology publication.
Outcome: Over a 5-year period the Astute programme was elevated to a national icon for engineering excellence and British innovation, or as one high-ranking Royal Navy officer described it: ‘A 7,000 tonne Swiss watch more complex than the Space Shuttle!’ The roll-out in 2007 made headlines around the world. Chris also led liaison with the production team on the BBC documentary ‘How to Build a Nuclear Submarine’ filmed over an 18 month period at the shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness.