Vicky Boudreau and Marie-Noelle Hamelin, Co-Founders
This week we spotlight one of our Canadian members, communications agency BICOM. Co-founders Vicky Boudreau and Marie-Noelle Hamelin helm the company (that also has a digital content offshoot, Boîte à Contenu), whose impressive roster of clients includes the likes of Jimmy Choo, Safilo Group, Asics, Banana Republic and Veuve Clicquot.
How did you meet and come to start the agency?
We previously worked together at another agency where Marie-Noelle was Managing Partner. We instantly became best friends! We had a great dynamic and shared a similar vision of the business, and therefore when the associates separated I followed Marie-Noelle and together we cofounded BICOM Communications.
You started the business very young. Looking back, was this the best decision and why?
Yes, without a doubt. At that time we didn’t have any dependents or obligations beyond taking care of ourselves, so we were in the best position to take risks and make mistakes. Also, we had the drive and energy to build something new and take advantage of the emerging trend of social networks and the overall shift from traditional to digital media. We understood social networks because our generation was immersed in that reality and lifestyle.
You’ve said that you are both business partners and best friends. What have been the ingredients in this successful relationship?
Our number one strength is easily our compatibility from a business perspective. Our personal interests may be very different but we share the same core values. We do not take ourselves seriously and we value transparency, honesty and trust in relationships.
What have been some of your most exciting career moments?
We’ve shared many proud moments, but two really stand out.
We won the Canadian vitaminwater account (a Coca-Cola brand) while we were still a small agency and this significant proof of trust brought us to the next level.
We also handled the PR for the World Congress of IT and had to organize a global conference call with journalists from 10 different countries and Larry King as the spokesperson. He successfully delivered all the key-messages I prepared for him; it was an exciting moment.
What were the reasons behind the addition of a content division to the agency?
Boîte à Contenu provides a more extensive offering in terms of strategy, production and promotion of content, in particular in the case of influencer marketing. This evolution positions us to serve our clients more comprehensively across their various channels while maintaining a coherent and powerful message.
How is Bicom implementing influencer marketing into its client strategies and execution?
Influencer marketing is an important part of our PR's overall strategy; it is the closest point of contact for potential customers and consumers. In the short-term expansion, influencers will continue to play a very important role.
How do you think the PR industry differs in Canada vs the US?
Our media landscape is significantly smaller than the US. Our print outlets are shifting to digital-only formats and freelancers are on the rise, contributing to many different publications.
What are your major plans for the business in the next 5 years?
We work towards to acquiring more Canadian market share and aspire to develop strong relationships with partners in the US.
We work hard on creating an environment that stands out, to attract and keep the best talent on our team. That remains a priority always.