• Transform magazine
  • November 29, 2021


A brand new start


As brand consultancies continue to lay the foundations for global ubiquity, the sweeping challenges of balancing brand architecture with burgeoning regional demands are fiercer now more than ever. Global creative agency, Start Group, made the recent decision to offload a majority stake in its Hong Kong based division StartJG, opting to focus on its expanded portfolio providing cloud-based collaborative work platforms.

WPP-owned creative agency, FITCH, will now take over the space as FITCH Design. The acquisition comes after a long-established relationship between the two organisations and an agreement that stems from, for StartJG MD, Jonathan Cummings, "A common DNA."

With a number of studios in the Asia-Pacific, including Singapore and China, the acquisition seeks to strengthen FITCH's design progressions in the developing region. For StartJG, a number of nominations in the upcoming Transform Awards Asia-Pacific, including 'Best brand experience' and 'Best creative strategy,' hopes to put a successful endpoint to an eight year period.

Yet for Cummings, now chairman of FITCH HK and group director of FITCH Asia, it's very much business as usual, "There's a lot of consistencies between Start and FITCH, and links go back to the beginnings of Start. We fitted nicely into the FITCH network in Asia, although our capabilities differ slightly in terms of digital skills, the plan is to grow the business as it exists. We're looking to integrate more as an 'Asia entity' in China and Singapore and look to use this acquisition as a platform for fulfilling our creative ambitions across Asia."

For Start's president, Mike Curtis, the move also hopes to continue the focused approach to the existing client base, "Clients need more direct access to expert teams. We believe our future lies in smarter working practices regardless of location. Start's Connected Retail Platform already offers brands remote collaborative working environments. These tangible solutions allow our clients to develop closer, more insightful, relationships with their customers. We absolutely see this as indicative of smarter working. Now in our 20th year, it's time for a smarter Start."