2015 was the best year in Ballou PR’s history, and I’m grateful to our fantastic teams in London, Paris and Berlin for what they have achieved, and for the faith that our clients have shown in us. I believe we’re stronger than we’ve ever been, but I’ve learned it’s prudent to be cautious. Icarus comes to mind as a cautionary tale.
One thing we’ll endeavour to do even better in 2016 is provide meaningful client counsel. I would never want any of my colleagues to agree to something with a client if they know it isn’t the best course of action. I think the fear of upsetting the proverbial apple cart lies behind this, and I sincerely hope my colleagues know they will never be criticised for holding firm to their values.
We don’t aim for Ballou PR to be the biggest tech PR firm, although we do believe we can grow significantly over the next three to five years. At this moment, we have no plans to open new offices beyond the three that we have, but that could change as new markets prove compelling for us.
We had a great ‘end of term’ party in Paris in December. It was a joy to witness the camaraderie on display as our teams got together to enjoy some downtime. It was great to be in Paris too, a city I love, and which endured such horror only a few weeks previously. Although not our core business, we were also honoured to be asked to handle Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s media relations when he visited the COP21 climate change summit in December. He was sensational, a lovely man with a mission to use his celebrity for something worthwhile: the media adored him, and so did we.
No doubt 2016 will be a rollercoaster. Global stock markets have begun the year negatively as they respond to slowing growth in China. Austerity remains a real challenge for governments in much of the western world. But I find that, on the whole, the technology industry remains utterly buoyant. If I could make one prediction for 2016, it would be that commentators will cast ever more cynical eyes upon start-up valuations, and will want to see more evidence of sustainable business models.
Given this, developing the right narrative is more important than ever.
Wishing you all a happy new year.