Hi, my name is Linda. As part of an internsthip I’m doing at Bitkom, Germany’s biggest Tech Association, I’ve spent the past two weeks working at Ballou PR in Berlin to get a little taste of what it’s like to work in an agency.
Although two weeks isn’t a huge amount of time, I got the chance to work on many different projects at Ballou.
Tasks ranged from writing a press release about how to buy your wardrobe, translating some text about tax issues to brainstorming for social media campaigns. It turns out working in a PR agency requires a pretty diverse mix of skills. It was challenging but really exciting to familiarise myself with lots of different business models and content themes.
One of the main things I learned at Ballou PR is that every company has an interesting story to tell, you just need to find it. Sometimes the challenge is to convince clients that this doesn’t have to be solely about their core business, but should always link to the wider ecosystem.
Big thanks to Ballou PR for a great two weeks, loads of new insights and making me feel like a part of your team!
Campanda, the world-leading online platform for RV rentals, has selected Ballou PR Germany and France for all corporate and B2C-communications in the French and German markets.
Drawing on Ballou PR’s extensive experience in communicating for platform-based business models as well as for the automotive and travel industries, we will support our new colleagues at Campanda in all communication activities in Germany and France through a coherent international campaign.
The campaign will be driven by two members of our French team and three members of our German team in close collaboration with the respective Campanda offices in both markets.
At www.campanda.com, users can search for RV rental deals around the world or offer their own motorhome or trailer to prospective customers. Campanda works with a large number of businesses and private RV owners in order to deliver the best possible choice. Customers can easily compare price, location and vehicle amenities on the Campanda website and then book their chosen camper online. International customers can choose from eight localized websites in English, German, French, Italian or Spanish.
Ballou PR Germany is now working with Starship Technologies (https://www.starship.xyz), the Estonian-based leading manufacturer of delivery robots. Ballou has already announced Starship’s collaboration with Domino’s Pizza to test the delivery robots in Hamburg.
Transforming the “last mile”
Founded in 2014 by the two Skype founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, Starship Technologies has developed an autonomous delivery robot that delivers packages, food and other goods within a radius of five km in 15-30 minutes. The delivery robots move autonomously and are monitored in a control centre by people who can intervene at any time to control their behaviour.
Working with Starship allows Ballou Germany to leverage their experience in the logistics and delivery space – current clients also include market leaders in delivery, Liefery and time-matters.
As you may already have noticed, our Berlin team has shown no signs of slowing down its growth in 2017. We welcome five new fresh faces to the team.
Verena Singmann joins Ballou PR from the communications team of travel search engine KAYAK. Verena studied East Asian Studies in Montreal and International Affairs in Beijing before starting her career in PR. A mother of two girls, Verena is an avid volleyball player and has signed up to run a half marathon next month.
Jörn Dunker joins us as an Account Manager, having worked as a PR consultant for renowned music label Universal. Jorn wrote his university thesis about the Berlin techno music scene and has even performed gigs as a hiphop DJ.
Anne-Christin Iser joins Ballou as an economics graduate, which sparked her interest in the startup world and all things tech. Anne-Christin enjoys yoga, sushi and has dreams of hitchhiking through Europe one day.
Previously at a boutique PR agency, Fabian Wollgast joined Ballou so he could work with visionary founders in technology. He studied journalism and came to us highly recommended by another team member. Outside the office, Fabian supports his football team FC Union, and loves a crime documentary!
Last but not least we welcome Julia Ströhle to the team. Julia has previously handled communications for tech startups like udoq and Misfit by Fossil. She is also a classically trained singer so we very much look forward to her contribution in our team karaoke sessions.
Welcome to the team guys!
Ballou PR France further expands its clients list with Popchef, Secret Escapes, Trip.com and Campanda.
Campanda is a platform based on the ‘sharing economy’ principle: campervan owners can rent out their vehicles to travellers at an affordable price. Campanda has more than 26,000 campervans available in 42 countries.
Secret Escapes is an online travel agency specialising in luxury holidays in France and abroad.
Trip.com, previously GoGoBot, is a trip-planning application which provides users with recommandations based on their interests. Ballou PR will help to launch the app in France.
Popchef, a startup that delivers lunchtime meals to hungry customers, is one of the main operators in the French foodtech sector. Ballou PR look forward to working with Popchef again after they handled the PR around their last fundraising round.
Ballou PR has been appointed to increase the visibility of their new clients in the French media by developing strategic B2C campaigns.
As technology develops, more and more jobs will be replaced by technology. But what will this mean for writers and storytellers?
Cordy Griffiths is head of Ballou’s UK office. This article first appeared on Virgin. You can find the full article here.
In marketing, content has long been king. In today’s connected world, the brands that get ahead are those that create compelling content, be it stories, blogs, Facebook posts or tweets, to be enjoyed by their customers on their platforms of choice. Engagement with target audiences is every brand’s goal and generating compelling copy is key to achieving that aim.
Until recently, brand content was created by copywriters. Teams of trained writers would churn out copy based on their understanding of the brand’s values and voice. Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) mean that computers are increasingly involved in this copywriting process. While computers are not yet ‘intelligent’ enough to generate content from scratch, there are a range of programmes that a copywriter can use to help them optimise their copy as they write. Acrolinx, for example, works as a sidebar that will correct your grammar as you type, suggesting more succinct phraseology, a snappier headline or a clearer narrative. Grammarly does something similar, as does Atomic Reach and a host of other AI startups.
To date, assisting a human writer is the limit of the technology. However, it’s only a matter of time before this relationship between writer and computer switches around, with the copy being generated by the algorithm initially and a human editor adding the finishing touches and doing a final sense-check to that computer-generated text. In time, perhaps the human copywriter will be excluded from the process altogether – though this point is still technically a long way off.
The implications of AI for copywriting, and by extension marketing and PR, are huge though, even as the technology stands today. For brands, the whole process of content creation is becoming more efficient, more affordable and, in theory, more impactful. For copywriters, the rise of AI generated content may well mean their days are numbered.
Beyond the commercial world though, are human writers under threat? Will the great works of fiction of the future be written by computers not people? As long ago as 1993, US computer programmer Scott French wrote a romance novel in the style of his favourite author in conjunction with his Macintosh Ilex computer. The novel was very much a labour of love as French spent years ‘teaching’ his computer the style of the author it was emulating by scanning in extracts from her work. Eventually the computer learned the style sufficiently to be able to find the right tone and draft the novel.
Former Seven Hills Director Nick Taylor has taken up a new role at technology PR specialist Ballou PR as Associate Director. Charlie Simon, previously PR Manager at social media startup Yubl and Senior Consultant at Hanover, has joined as an Account Director.
Nick will work with Ballou’s Managing Director, Cordy Griffiths, to grow the Clerkenwell-based tech agency’s London arm.
Charlie will oversee a number of new business leads and provide strategic advice to Ballou’s existing client roster, particularly focusing on strong corporate narratives.
Nick’s experience includes advising high-growth tech and fintech entrepreneurs as well as CEOs of large listed companies. He has previously managed campaigns for clients including British Business Bank, MarketInvoice and Prodigy Finance. Meanwhile Charlie has had a wealth of corporate experience having advised De Beers, NFL, Tata Steel, UK Broadband and UPS.
Nick and Charlie are the latest in many new hires for the agency across its three offices. Ballou PR’s Paris office has tripled in size over the last year and its Berlin agency team has doubled.
Cordy Griffiths, Managing Director of Ballou PR, commented: “Nick and Charlie are two extremely strong hires bolstering the team’s experience and ensuring we offer the best, most strategic advice to our clients.”
Ballou PR France has expanded its client list by winning B2B briefs for enterprise data and cloud storage solution INFINIDAT and Eureka Certification, which offers certified training on blockchain technology.
INFINIDAT focuses on helping customers to eliminate compromises between cost, capacity, functionality and performance when it comes to their storage, enabling them to focus more on what makes their organisations competitive.
Eureka offers certified courses and training on technologies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum for developers, CIOs and financiers, as blockchain applications become more and more crucial to future businesses.
Ballou has been appointed to develop thought leadership campaigns for both companies, to increase their brand awareness and position them as strategic partners for business and growth in the French market.
2017 is already off to a good start over here at Ballou Germany, as we are welcoming new member Laura Welter to our team. Previously Laura has worked as a PR Consultant for a boutique PR firm specializing in clients from the furniture and smart home industry. As a certified sociologist she worked as an Editorial assistant for Germany’s Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youths and gained extensive knowledge in the voluntary sector working with kids of socially vulnerable families in Tanzania, Africa.
Tanzania is also where she was named Mama Matunda (Lady Fruit), apparently due to her obsession with fresh fruits. When she is not snacking on Mangos or working for BallouPR you can find Laura strolling over fleamarkets with her son or being stretched out on a couch with a psychological crime novel in the one and a moscow mule in the other hand.
Our team is growing! Last month we were delighted to welcome Julia Murray to the Ballou PR team in Germany. Julia is a Berlin-born German who loves travelling, cooking and photography. Before joining the Ballou crew, she was working for Getty Images as well as living on a farm near the Rocky Mountains in Canada which involved withstanding skunk attacks and chasing away foxes.
At Getty Images, Julia worked in contributor relations and informed clients and artists about image licensing and intellectual property rights. Prior to that, she was an editor for Goliath Books and responsible for their in-house PR and marketing. Most recently, Julia gained first-hand startup experience during her time as content manager at EyeEm in Berlin.
Welcome to the team, Julia!