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Colette Ballou, Founder, Ballou PR

April 16, 2016 • Female Leadership In Our Time, Women in Leadership

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If you have a strong reputation, you have a better chance of charging a premium for your products, even in price-sensitive times; you have a better chance of withstanding negative events – and of earning repeat business that eventually turns into the lifelong loyalty associated with the most-respected brands.
Colette is the founder of Ballou PR, a European communications and strategy agency that works with high-growth technology and technology-enabled companies, as well as technology investors. Ballou PR has three wholly-owned offices in Berlin, Paris, and London, and the Ballou PR team has had a string of well-documented client success stories including the exit of Musiwave for $100M+, the successful entry of Facebook and Pinterest in France, and has worked with WhatsApp, Box, Waze, Expedia and AOL.  Colette is also active angel investor.

 

Click here to download your free copy of the Female Leadership in Our Time

 

ON GENDER AND FINANCING

There are many things about Ballou PR that I am proud of, and one of them is that we have grown using our own cash, we’ve never taken any debt or financing of any kind. We are incredibly careful with our cash flow, and believe in having at least 6 month’s worth of operating expenses in the bank at all times, and our entire management team has financial expertise.

 

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

My guiding principles for success leadership are simple, and are regardless of gender:

1. Learn the numbers; I’m shocked at how few people in creative industries understand the metrics of their industry, what their margins should be, etc.

2. Hire great people, give them responsibility, and get out of their way.

3. Do great work – which means counseling clients, and often telling them things they don’t want to hear. Many agencies simply say “yes’ to client assignments they know won’t work. We find that reprehensible. Our job, our responsibility is to be counselors to our clients.

 

METHODS AND MEANS

We don’t have special relationships with the media so that they cover our clients: we have to earn media attention for our clients by understanding how what they do fits into the news agenda. This involves an in-depth understanding of our client’s businesses, but also where each company needs to go, which is why we insist on a direct line to the top-level management.

 

SUCCESS IN PR

PR, at it’s best, gives you a strategic advantage. Sure, it can be just tactical – but the most successful companies use PR strategically.

Good PR is about corporate reputation; that is, how you are perceived by your stakeholders – employees, competitors, partners, suppliers, journalists, influencers, investors – and targeting right audience at right time with the right message that drives the business forward.

Now, some facets of corporate reputation come readily to mind: the quality of your products and services. How you respond to a crisis. If you’re a listed company: your results and your share price. All of these factors contribute to the shaping of your corporate reputation.

A strong corporate reputation is important for so many reasons: people want to associate with and buy from companies they trust. If you have a strong reputation, you have a better chance of charging a premium for your products, even in price-sensitive times. If you have a strong reputation, you have a better chance of withstanding negative events – and of earning repeat business that eventually turns into the lifelong loyalty associated with the most-respected brands.

 

CHALLENGES AND AMBITIONS

My big challenge is to double Ballou PR in size in the next few years – that’s a challenge that I am looking forward to.

 

Click here to download your free copy of the Female Leadership in Our Time

 

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