Moving Brands is poised to open a San Francisco office, which it hopes will attract clients from hi-tech companies in Silicon Valley and on the US West Coast.
The branding consultancy has secured a 140m2 studio in a converted factory [pictured] in the Soma area of San Francisco. Soma is known locally as ‘media gulch’, and Moving Brands managing director Geoff Linsell describes it as having ‘the feel of London’s Shoreditch’, adding, ‘we felt at home and very comfortable in the area’.
Linsell declines to confirm whether the new office has picked up any US clients, but claims that it is having ‘really interesting conversations with West Coast-based clients that we hope will lead to some interesting briefs’. He adds that ‘some’ of the group’s existing clients have US interests.
‘We will be using our eco-system of contacts to try to meet the best people,’adds Linsell.
Moving Brands intends to structure the new office in a similar way to its existing studios in London and Tokyo, ‘to ensure that the Moving Brands spirit is tangible across the three studios’.
Plans to appoint a director to head up the new office are still ‘being debated’, according to Linsell. He adds that once the office is up and running, he is keen to appoint ‘local talent trained in the great art schools’. Without disclosing an ideal headcount, Linsell says, ‘We’ll take it as we need to play it.’
The new office brings Moving Brands’ office portfolio up to three, including Tokyo and London. ‘All three offices will work together closely. Asia and the US are such different markets, but we think it will give us a really global view,’ says Linsell.
He adds that he is optimistic that ‘now is a good time to enter a new market’, observing that commercial rents in the US are about a third lower than they were before the recession.
‘But we are not expecting to breeze in and have an easy ride,’ says Linsell.
‘The downturn has hit the hi-tech industry as much as any other and we are going to have to work hard,’ he adds.
The group has no current plans to expand its operations further, preferring instead to consolidate existing ventures.
Moving brands’ current office network
London – 45 permanent and freelance staff
Tokyo – four staff
Zurich – has a ‘first point of contact for clients’, but no studio