SAN FRANCISCO: Ditto has opened a foothold on the West Coast and hired former Edelman MD Blain Rethmeier to run its operations there.
Rethmeier joined the Brooklyn, New York-based firm on June 26, reporting to CEO Trey Ditto. Rethmeier is the sole operator in the San Francisco office, but he said he plans to hire staffers immediately.
"In total, 15 people work for the firm," Rethmeier said. "The plan is to grow the West Coast operations to that number over the course of the next year and continue to expand not only in the cities we operate in, but also in size."
The firm is working with client ISDI Digital University out of its San Francisco office, Rethmeier added.
Ditto, founded in 2012, got its start in media relations and expanded into content creation, marketing, and digital strategy. It has clients in the consumer, technology, nonprofit, education, and financial services sectors. The firm is adding two services with the opening of its San Francisco office: crisis communications and "inside the Beltway" comms for Bay Area companies and startups seeking a voice in the Washington, DC, conversation.
"We are hoping to eventually have a strong DC presence, but that is probably a few years down the road," said Rethmeier. "There are a lot of companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco that have a lot of questions about how government regulation might affect their business. We are offering ways for companies to navigate that."
He added that Ditto works with small to mid-size companies that can’t afford a large PR firm.
"We are coming in at an affordable price point with a guarantee our results will meet our clients' expectations," said Rethmeier. "We have a startup mentality. That obviously blends well with the scrappy Brooklyn attitude and my experience in San Francisco."
Most recently, Rethmeier led the crisis and risk practice in Edelman’s Western region and was the firm’s Los Angeles corporate practice lead. He departed Edelman in June. Rethmeier has also worked in senior communications roles for the American Insurance Association and the U.S. Travel Association.
Earlier in his career, Rethmeier was special assistant to President George W. Bush for communications for both the National Economic Council and Homeland Security Council. More recently, he worked as an adviser to secure the Senate confirmation of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
An Edelman representative could not be immediately reached for comment on who is replacing Rethmeier.