NEW YORK: Beth Balsam is launching her own agency, known as X2PR, four months after exiting her role as U.S. president and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies.
The shop will be New York-based. Its name is pronounced, "times-two PR," because she is promising twice the talent, strategy, and results, Balsam said. She added that the female-owned firm’s name is also a nod to the double X chromosome.
"Any product or service that is targeted to a consumer audience will be my specialty," she said. "We offer innovative and customized solutions from a holistic perspective."
X2PR is launching with couple of part-time staffers. Balsam said she is also building strategic partnerships with like-minded firms that specialize in areas such as consumer, crisis, finance, and media relations.
At launch, X2 is partnering with Match Marketing Group, an independent consumer engagement agency that has seven offices and works with more than 40 Fortune 500 companies, Balsam said.
"This partnership gives X2 access to talent, data, and executional assets that round out my firm’s offering," said Balsam. "And it provides Match and their clients with communications expertise."
X2 is working with clients including wearable technology company Revolutionary Tracker and Rally Rd., a marketplace for making investments in classic cars the same way stocks are bought and sold.
Balsam added that she sees an opportunity to build an agency from the ground up that is progressive, client-focused, and results-driven. She said she is also focused on gender issues in the PR industry, noting that women in PR are underpaid, under promoted, and underappreciated.
"I am not looking to create a haven for women, because I certainly plan to also hire men," said Balsam. "My plan is to have an agency that offers great gender equality and just pulls all the politics out of it so people can just focus on the clients."
Balsam joined H+K in the fall of 2015. Previously, she worked at Citizen Relations for 11 years, most recently as MD of its New York office and global lead on the firm’s Procter & Gamble relationship. Prior to joining Citizen Relations, Balsam worked at Fleishman Hillard, Revlon, and Marina Maher Communications.