Outpost to Serve as Springboard for Its BrandStorm Consulting Business

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CINCINNATI ( -- A week after bigger Minneapolis ad agency Fallon Worldwide announced it was closing its New York office, Northlich, Cincinnati’s largest ad agency, is looking to develop a foothold in New York.
Northlich intends to use a New York office as a springboard for its BrandStorm consulting business.

The 125-employee agency will open a new office next month to be headed by former International Home Foods President John Bess, a former Procter & Gamble Co. vice president who is currently working in the package-goods practice of IBM Business Consulting.

Expanding consulting operation
Unlike Fallon, however, the idea isn’t to challenge New York firms in advertising but to use the New York office primarily as a springboard to expand its BrandStorm innovation consulting business with East Coast and global clients, said Mark Serriane, CEO of Northlich.

BrandStorm already serves a variety of clients from the package goods and consumer package goods sectors, including P&G, Johnson & Johnson, Georgia-Pacific Co., Brown-Forman, Cadbury-Schweppes and Humana in new-product and new-service consulting.

Consulting business growing faster
The consulting business has been growing faster and offering better margins than the rest of the marketing-services business for Northlich, said Jeff Dufresne, president of BrandStorm. The unit also has brought some crossover business for the advertising, public relations and influencer marketing parts of the business. Brown-Forman’s Finlandia, which started as a BrandStorm client last year, later became an advertising client.

“The No. 1 agenda item for CPG is how to grow, and that fits into the sweet spot at Northlich,” Mr. Bess said. He’ll also be working to further integrate the consulting business with the other parts of Northlich’s business in hopes of cross-selling services both ways, he said.

Mr. Serriane said he expects to be staffing the New York office with a combination of new hires and some transfers from Cincinnati.

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