Jim Bull: Co-Founder & CCO, Moving Brands®

My NativeAdVice:

Jim Bull co-founded Moving Brands® in 1998. He was instrumental in developing the innovative Moving Brands approach to branding, storytelling and experience design which has seen the company become the leading independent, global creative company it is today. As Chief Creative Officer, Jim is responsible for the creative output of the business across its studios in London, Zurich, San Francisco and New York. He is based in San Francisco where he has creatively led engagements with clients such as Microsoft, Google, Sony, Apple and Netflix.

My NativeAdVice:

How did you get into the Advertising industry?

We think about what we do as using creativity to solve business challenges. I consider myself a creative working in business. How did I get here? I started my own agency back in 1998, straight out of college with enough money for one month's rent on a studio space, a couple of laptops and 4 friends.

Tell us about Moving Brands. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?

Because we started up ourselves and were very young, our beginning was a little more unusual than other agencies’ stories. We did not work a few jobs and build a career in the industry before creating our own thing. Even at 25 years old and freshly graduated, my Co-Founders and I had a vision to build and deliver “creativity for business” combined with an attitude of “getting on with it” – we wanted to build the best creative business in the world. We are still on that journey.

What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Moving Brand's success?

We have a very extensive group of skilled practitioners and businesses around Moving Brands that we refer to as our ecosystem – partnering with people from within our ecosystem allows us to deliver on almost any kind of creative or strategic need. The other main differentiating factor that we have passionately and actively nurtured since our beginning is our independence. We are proudly independent and it’s becoming more valuable for our clients who are valuing an independent voice. As more of our competitors sell, our business becomes more differentiated and valuable.

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

There is a multi-faceted trend that I see influencing design over the last few years. I refer to it as “the sea of sameness” where a very homogenous, easily replicable design language has emerged that has engulfed most if not all brands – from fast-food through startups to global technology businesses – they all look the same. I’ve been quoted as saying “design trends are the graveyards of creativity” and for me it’s very true. We capitalize on this by remaining creatively focused and by being willing to differentiate a business through design.

Life Motto?

It’s easy for tinfoil to shine in shit.

Your greatest success as Co-Founder/CCO of Moving Brands? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

Taking the business into another country was a great moment because it opened our business up to a whole new market of possibilities. As I personally moved from London to San Francisco it has special meaning, coupled with the fact it was the same period in which I transitioned from a Co-Founder to a CCO. It’s been a busy few years to say the least. But it wasn’t a single moment that turned this move into a success, it has been a whole series of moments, challenges, learnings and wins over a six year period that has turned that decision into a success. Building Moving Brands in America has been about adapting and remixing ourselves for that market. That flexibility is working well – so much so that we have recently added a New York studio in the heart of SoHo to our list of locations.

Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Get on with it.

Describe the ideal experience using Moving Brands.

Moving Brands is perfect for solving complex, multi-faceted business challenges using creativity and design. We have an offer that spans Branding, Communications, Experience Design and Business Design so we are able to deliver from ideation, to strategy, through to brand and into design and communications as well as product and services. If you need to create change, there is nowhere better.

How do you motivate your employees?

We make sure that every person at Moving Brands feels empowered, involved, shares their opinion, feels challenged, creates responsibility and has progression. We don’t think of ourselves as employees, we started as 5 friends and now we are more than 100 friends working fluidly across our business.

What's next for Moving Brands?

We are pushing for growth in our Experience Design and Business Design offer as we continue to extend our reach in the US. We are continuing to invest in our own R&D and IP which will mean that you’ll start to see Moving Brands create its own products as well as its own creative content in the not so distant future.