Last year Purity took the decision to extend it’s services across the Atlantic by opening an office in New York. At the helm is Business Director Baqer Keshwani who takes us through a snapshot of his experience over the past 12 months.
First year in the Big Apple:
Purity’s first year in the Big Apple was a great success. We have grown from strength to strength by creating a strong pool of quality brand ambassadors, partnered with some great brands and made some strong business partner connections
Similarities or Differences:
I found the two markets to have more differences than similarities. Sure enough, we work with similar brands on both sides of the Atlantic however due to the difference in the consumer market; the way a brand is approached makes it a complete different challenge. The sheer geography of the place means that teams are more often on the road than back in the UK. In US, this industry makes up for over $5bn, which means the competition is extremely high too.
I learnt very earlier on, even before we opened the doors that US clients prefer local partners. This was further reinforced when we started talking to clients about having an office here and finally working with them in local time zones. The notion of ‘America’s got everything’ is extremely true. Clients prefer agencies that understand the international market but that have a local presence.
Another steep learning curve was understanding the sheer size of this country and even just New York. In my first week I got a call from a client who asked us to supply brand ambassadors for an event in ‘Upstate New York’. I heard the words New York and just assumed it was close. Not so! It’s at least 4 hours’ drive from where I sit. Needless to say, it was a learning curve.
Our first year’s goal was to learn about the market and establish our presence. Not only did we achieve that, we possess a really strong pool of brand ambassadors across the major markets in the country, have delivered some noteworthy campaigns with enormous brands and created an in-house team who understand the local experiential markets. Next on the agenda is to go out and build on that without losing any of the quality we are known for.
The scope for opportunity both in the States and cross-border initiatives:
Our approach has always been two-fold. Whilst we are a local company looking to win local US business, we are in fact a multinational name and trade on that too. Our work with HBO’s Game of Thrones is testament to this where we successfully recruited and managed a substantial team of brand ambassadors in Stockholm, Sweden.
There is a massive scope for opportunities of this kind and it further shows that a US based client prefers a local agency to work with but feels confident they can deliver internationally.