The & Partnership is to open an office in Manchester with 35 staff in the latest sign that the city is growing as a significant creative and media hub.
The London-based group has hired a four-strong leadership team to run the office, which is called The & Partnership Manchester and launches this month.
Andy Bunday has been named creative director, Nic Sadler as strategy director, Caroline Gutierrez as client services director and Mark Varley as media lead at M/SIX, the media agency arm.
The & Partnership Manchester has launched to serve TalkTalk, a long-standing client in London, which completed the move of its corporate headquarters to Manchester in July.
The agency will be located in MediaCityUK in Salford, where TalkTalk is based in the Soapworks building. Nearby media businesses include the BBC and ITV.
Nick Howarth, chief executive of The & Partnership Europe, said: "Manchester’s a great city with fantastic talent. When TalkTalk decided to move up, it was a no-brainer for us to follow them."
The & Partnership has expanded in recent years by embedding staff "on site" inside a client’s office alongside the in-house marketing team – a strategy that the agency has dubbed the "& model".
However, Howarth said the Manchester agency is launching with TalkTalk as a founding client, rather than the sole focus for an embedded agency team.
"Our first priority is to make sure we do a brilliant job for TalkTalk, but we’re also excited about introducing our integrated, full-service model to new clients," he said.
Howarth, who grew up in Lancashire, said the Manchester leadership team is "ambitious to grow the business".
Bunday was most recently at digital agency Delineo in Manchester and previously worked at London agencies including HHCL United and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R (now VMLY&R).
Newcastle-born Sadler was previously senior planning director of Manchester agency Blue Chip Marketing.
Gutierrez, who grew up in Australia, is a former head of account management at WCRS.
Manchester-born Varley is a former head of Havas Media Manchester and managing partner at MEC Interaction in the city.
The & Partnership Manchester is in the process of hiring most of the rest of the 35-strong team locally, with a handful coming from London.
'Follow your clients'
Johnny Hornby, global chief executive of The & Partnership, said the Manchester launch is following a strategy of building on client relationships.
"If you look at the expansion of the group into different geographies and disciplines, nine times out of 10 you follow your clients and see what they do," he said, referring to how The & Partnership launched in Scotland after winning the Royal Bank of Scotland and across Europe after winning Toyota.
The & Partnership was founded in 2001 as CHI & Partners and it has moved in the past decade beyond its roots in creative to offer a "full-service" range of capabilities, including media, content and PR.
"In Manchester, I think the full-service model is more natural, because the size of the businesses is more likely to want a one-stop solution, rather than four different agencies," Hornby said, noting there are a lot of "leaner and more agile" clients in sectors such as ecommerce.
Being in closer physical proximity to clients is becoming more important in an era of fast-turnaround, digital content, according to Hornby.
The & Partnership has about 100 people working for RBS in Scotland and more than 100 for Best Buy in Minneapolis, US.
"There are places you go [just] because the client needs you there and places where there’s a [bigger] market opportunity there," Hornby said, adding he sees Manchester in the latter category.
A growing number of media businesses have been investing in Manchester.
Amazon is set to open an office for 600 people later this year and WPP, which owns 49% of The & Partnership, has announced plans for a new campus for 800 staff by 2022.
The UK advertising market is still heavily skewed towards London. Only three of the big six global agency groups, WPP, Dentsu Aegis Network and Interpublic, have significant operations in and around Greater Manchester. Omnicom and Havas have a limited presence and Publicis Groupe has none.
The & Partnership is a top 20 UK agency for creative and M/SIX is ranked in the top 20 for media by Nielsen billings, according to Campaign’s 2019 School Reports.