Darius Fisher has become an expert at managing the digital reputation of everyone from athletes to politicians.

But the co-founder and chief executive of Status Labs, headquartered in Austin, Texas, saw an opportunity to help more clients with the opening of its Culver City office this month.

Fisher said the new office was due to a spike in demand for the firm’s reputation management services for companies and individuals.

“After many red-eye flights, Status Labs decided to plant roots here to service our technology and entertainment clients,” he said in a statement.

The firm named Spencer Blye as business development director for the new location, and he’s also tasked with overseeing the agency’s West Coast expansion. Blye previously served as a strategist for communications firm Weber Shandwick.

Fisher said he’s happy to have Blye, with his extensive experience in public relations and digital strategy with clients such as Unilever, Sonos Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc., on board.

Status Labs was founded by Fisher and former Chief Executive Jordan French in 2010.

Status Labs helps clients with the management of their online reputations and crisis communications. It serves more than 1,500 clients in 40 countries with offices in New York and São Paulo.

The agency was recently named as one of the fastest growing private companies in the Inc. 500 list, ranking 339 for growing more than 1,000 percent between 2012 and 2015. Reported revenue for last year was $5.4 million.

New Digs

Status Labs isn’t the only company new to town.

One of the largest independent digital ad agencies in China has set up shop in Santa Monica.

Hylink Digital opened its first U.S. office in September and named Humphrey Ho its U.S. managing partner.

Ho said the agency’s goal is to help bridge the connection between its Chinese clients and American brands.

“There hasn’t been an agency that represents Chinese companies to help them settle in better in the U.S. and North America,” he said in a statement. “Others are acquiring companies in the U.S. but we’re here to curate partners and find the products our Chinese clients need to get into this market better.”

Hylink offers services such as creative, media planning and buying, and data analytics services. It also operates its own exchange. It works with Chinese media giants Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings, and Sina Corp.

The agency was founded in 1994 and has a staff of 2,200 across 14 offices, including its Santa Monica location. It also plans to open a New York office early next year and has announced its intention to go public in the next few months.

The goal with its entrance into the United States is to service Chinese tourists and consumers who are not being targeted by local firms.

Ho acknowledged that Hylink is relatively unknown in the States, but the Santa Monica office will serve as the center of the company’s expansion.

“We are here to better help North American clients position their media and content strategies in China, as well as help Chinese brands looking to enter local markets, (and) identify partners to work within the digital technology space,” he said.

Agencies & Accounts

Advertising agency M&C Saatchi LA in Santa Monica has promoted Maria Smith to executive creative director. Smith previously served as a creative director. … Communications and public relations firm Ketchum has promoted Kevin Oates to associate director for Ketchum West. Oates, who will continue to be based out of its Playa Vista office, previously served as corporate practice director. … Downtown L.A. ad tech firm Social Reality Inc. (see story on page 7) named J.P. Hannan chief financial officer. Hannan previously served as chief financial officer at Cumulus Media Inc. … Hollywood branding and marketing agency Troika has named Lara Fischman account director and Nuri Djavit general manager. Fischman previously served as group director of account management at Westwood branding firm Siegel+Gale. Djavit previously served as chief marketing officer at San Francisco tech company Emotiv. … Hollywood travel and hospitality marketing firm Wagstaff Worldwide announced the opening of its newest office in Vancouver, British Columbia, last month. The office is led by Ernst Flach, regional director. Flach previously held senior marketing roles with the Canadian Tourism Commission. … New York public relations and financial communications firm Prosek Partners acquired Westwood corporate and financial communications agency Muirfield Partners for an undisclosed sum last month. Mickey Mandelbaum, founder and president of Muirfield, was named partner at Prosek.

Staff reporter Subrina Hudson can be reached at shudson@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 251.

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