That’s it, summer has just started and we take the opportunity to interview Hélène Renaud, co-founder of Absolute Agency. It’s a great opportunity to take the time to get to know more about her personality, her mindset, what drives her day to day as well as her personal vision of the future. Let’s get started!
Let’s start with a general question: who are you exactly?
First of all, let me say that it feels very strange to be interviewed, as I’ve been interviewing people on my podcasts for over a year now. But I’m happy to reverse the roles for the occasion. I’m a woman, a spouse, a mum, a colleague, … and an entrepreneur with a lot of ideas! I consider myself to be a simple person, who fully trusts people when I feel good around them. I also like to daydream and to leave room for my wildest dreams sometimes. I don’t have any particular passion, I’m more interested in a lot of things: the people who make up my life, the creative processes, etc.
Being of Italian origin, I have a strong notion of Family with a capital “F”. I like to bring people together, I like positive vibes, sharing, etc. I also like to talk! I am not shy by nature and I am fundamentally confident in whatever I do.
I am definitely an operational person rather than an academic one. I was always in a hurry to start working instead of studying. I have always had this hyperactivity and the desire to be useful and to make things happen. I had never imagined myself being at the head and origin of an agency. It was neither a childhood nor an adult dream. It just happened spontaneously. And of course, the freedom and independence quickly appealed to me – rather than working for someone else.
By the way, if you want to know more about the origins of the agency, I invite you to (re)discover Arnaud Buffet’s interview here: Meet the Team: Arnaud. All you need to know – and more !
What makes you tick?
Not an easy question! I would say that what makes me vibrate in life are human relationships in the most basic sense of the word. Human relations have always been an inspiration for me to detect new opportunities or develop new concepts. By granting my trust, I can then collaborate intelligently and start new projects. But beyond this professional and passionate facet, my children are my biggest inspiration.
But what I think is very important is my ability to shape my daily life in such a way that it suits me, and therefore thrills me and gives me the right amount of positive vibes to enable me to make each day unique and exciting.
How do you see Absolute’s evolution? And what about its maturity?
For about ten years, I would say that Absolute was at the childhood stage: carefree, very intuitive and organic. We were benefiting from a very comfortable and secure business context, which was easy to understand. Everything went with the flow.
Then the world became more complex in every way with the rise of digital communication and other trends. This was the agency’s adolescence cycle, punctuated by economic upheavals in the market, drastic changes in professional habits, an increased need to reposition ourselves, to market ourselves, to be more offensive in terms of prospecting, and to establish our ‘full service’ strategy, whereas we were resolutely print/magazine/copywriting specialists in the early stages.
We have now reached the adult stage of the agency: the challenge is to accompany the agency in its increasingly mature positioning, to set up an organisation based on collaborative governance to allow our internal talents to be deployed properly and to show greater initiative and autonomy. We are more ready than ever to be agile, to be aggressive in a competitive market, and to build our action plans based on clearly defined strategies with both creative and rational intelligence. We can only observe the increase in skills, experience and expertise of our teams and I am there to facilitate their growth in this direction. The notion of a liberated company has been resonating with me for some time, and we are right in the middle of it!
How do you see Absolute in 2026?
In 5 years, Absolute will be a company that will have continued to establish its reputation in a very assertive way. As a reminder, a few years ago, we had a lot of trouble putting ourselves forward and synchronising with our successes, and remained in the shadows for too long. Absolute will have continued to pamper its creativity in different directions and will have allowed our skills to continue to grow in strength: strategy, branding, video, digital, design, employer branding…
Little brothers, little sisters
The hidden gift of Covid was basically this for me: I was able to free up some time to think and then give birth to little brothers and sisters of Absolute. The idea for me has always been to develop projects that are in direct line with the agency’s expertise. I have therefore set up two series of podcasts (one about entrepreneurship and another about internal communication) and I am ready to launch a first series of master classes on the theme of parenting, so stay tuned! Behind these new “little brothers and sisters” of Absolute lies this insatiable thirst for learning, for connecting with current events and people’s current concerns. It is my personal way of responding to my bubbling fountain of ideas and also sorting out those that I fundamentally wish to see blossom, and those that I leave aside (for the moment) because they are less of a priority, too far-fetched or not mature enough in terms of concept!
I must admit that I’ve always had a lot of trouble with dusty managerial models. This is why I have always had an affinity with new management methods, such as “collective intelligence” or “collaborative governance”. I have always been firmly convinced that the best ideas and the best directions come from within organisations and not from a dictatorship on top. Together, we go further and, above all, in a more sustainable way. At the level of our agency and in our field of activity, this is a great way to transform ourselves and become better.
If I were to summarise where we are today, I would say that we have moved from an ultra-specialised model to a full service one, as we have had the internal talent and client projects that have allowed us to specialise in each of our areas of expertise. In short, we have benefited from the ‘full service’ that our clients like so much, while deploying an unparalleled level of expertise in our chosen fields. We have also been able to surround ourselves with the best experts in highly specialised fields (technical development, specialized copywriting, illustration, etc.).
The challenges of tomorrow
What are the great challenges of tomorrow’s world? The question is vast and so exciting too, so full of challenges! I think we all need to resolutely abandon the “chicken without head” mode and take a break, think strategically rather than accepting autopilot, take a step back and look at the big picture to act better. An increased dose of wisdom, a return to a more human way of working, to the true meaning of things. It is not by chance that we are in the midst of positioning ourselves as the partner of choice for supporting companies in their internal communication, their employer branding and their employee experience. Let’s rethink the foundations of our organisations to survive in the medium and long term.
Your life without Absolute?
I have no idea! I’ve always had an affinity for the creative world, but I admit I had an ability to adapt to different contexts and environments. I had a real advantage in positioning myself in a company or project and making it work and achieve its goals. But no, I didn’t have a little girl’s dream, I didn’t want to become Miss World and save endangered animals, nor did I want to become an Olympic champion in any sport!
Absolute in 3 words
I would say… Team with a capital “T”, Creativity, and “Seriously Funky”!