Profiling PR companies used to be a usual feature at Everything PR News. For a while, we slowed the pace, swamped in news that, although bear little ethical value (like the Tiger Woods affair) they provide valuable lessons for PRs. However, we always felt that focusing on PR companies, their people and their values should be a constant. We will revive an old (and popular) habit, that brings to your attention a number of PR companies from all over the world. Today, Ballantines PR (BPR).
The first impression, when you land on Ballantines PR’s home page, is that you are dealing with a traditionalist enterprise. The design, old fashioned and a bit messy if opened with Opera (so I switched to Firefox for a better view), is yet simple, discoverable, and sends the message straightforward. No need to guess what BPR is all about: it’s all there, in your face, crystal clear.
Then, if you dig deeper, you discover a company with a warm heart, entirely dedicated to its customers. You’ll see that they care more about a clear message than about a pretty package. This is a company that understands hard times and works with customers to find a solution that benefits both agency and client. Look at BPR Blue (yet not so blue), “a low cost short term PR Blast to a small, select number of worthy companies that with the right PR support have the potential to move past this recession and grow exponentially.”
We admire this effort, as we understand it better than anyone else. We provided, and we still do provide, similar services to a selected number of European-based companies ourselves, although, in the past year, we no longer took in new customers (as we prefer to focus on news, and other projects). But this is not about us.
BPR chose a fair-play approach to the PR business. They don’t sell DIY “secret formulas” and don’t charge a small fortune for seminars, workshops and luncheons. They don’t promise a magic social media outreach that transforms companies over night. Some companies are not cut for social media anyway, no matter how much a PR advisor tries to build their image. Ballantines is focused on a number of traditional strategies for a good reason: they work.
There are a number of reasons why we love boutique companies, aside identifying with them. The most important is that small companies are more interested in providing a successful campaign than the big dogs. Often, their services are more targeted, and work faster and better than what big companies can offer. They have personal relationships with their media contacts, and they go in a project, heart and soul. As you already guessed, Ballantines is a boutique company.
The headquarters are in Los Angeles, but the company also has satellite offices in London, New York, and Santa Fe. The company was founded by Sarah Robarts, a nice lady, who always answers to your questions if you have any – we encourage you to follow her on Twitter, to see what we mean.
Ballantines is pretty focused on hospitality, travel and tourism PR, but they have a number of clients from all industries. In fact, if you check it out, you’ll notice an amazing portfolio since 2000, when Mrs. Robarts founded the company, till today. They have book clients, art and architecture clients, advertising clients and so on.
One notable PR expert in the team is Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D – the technology director of the company – an SEO and SM expert who made presentations for the New Mexico Governor’s Conference, for the Vocus User’s Conference, and for many groups of the US Chamber of Commerce.
BPR offers a number of interesting, valuable services, including ghost blogging, SEO, social media optimization, strategic planning, brand creation, and the main skill:high-end positioning of luxury products and services to reach affluent lifestyle-driven readers.
My only critique, as much as I hate bringing this up again, is the outdated aspect of the site. Sure, this opinion may be seen as subjective, but I base it on a very extensive experience in the field. As the web evolves, we have to keep up with the trends. Saying that we know social media, but publishing a link to a profile with a very weak social media presence and involvement lowers our credibility. I face this, personally, every day. A bit over 100 followers on Twitter are not enough to brand someone as a social media expert. Heck, even a bit over 1000 is still too low, believe me, I got enough flack for my profile, and for Everything PR, although this last profile is young and we never promote it.
But if you are a customer, looking for a PR who can boast your social media presence, you should learn to look past these “signs.” A PR focused on building his/her own community is too busy to take care of yours. Sometimes, PR people are busy networking for their clients, and their own brands come in second.
That’s why, I personally believe that Ballantines is genuine. They know their business, they don’t waste time with “me-me-me” campaigns, focusing on their customers instead. They work quietly, modestly, polite, unlike the annoying guru types. I think, Ballantines is a PR Notable candidate. What do you think?
Do you have a PR company you would like to nominate for a review? Contact me – you’ll find me details in the author box.