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By Justin Albert

For both well-established and emerging businesses, the struggle to set themselves apart and create an image that portrays what they represent has always been a key ingredient to future success. Finding this creativity doesn’t typically come easy, and it takes a certain kind of individual to be able to pinpoint that creative spark to get things off the ground and set ideas into motion. Alfredo Muccino does this for a living.

As the co-founder and chief creative officer of San Jose-based Liquid Agency Brand Marketing, Muccino is at the helm of a company of creative professionals, a branding agency that helps businesses both local and worldwide achieve a unique identity, from the creation of sound brand strategies to the launch of thought-provoking advertising campaigns.

Muccino has worked with numerous clients, including Ask, Microsoft, Seagate and Sony, further defining him as a veteran whose knowledge and expertise of marketing, advertising and design is to be respected. We tracked him down for a few questions.

How long have you been living and working in San Jose?
I moved here from Rome, Italy,which is where I am from, and attended the University of Santa Clara. I have been living in the South Bay since then. To avoid the risk of dating myself, let’s say it was a long time ago—just imagine the fact that neither the Tech Museum nor the Fairmont graced our downtown, and that may give you a hint.

In choosing a location to house your offices, why was San Jose an ideal place for the Liquid Agency to first open its doors?
San Jose is the heart of Silicon Valley, and Silicon Valley is the birthplace of some of the most innovative companies in the world. This made it the perfect place for Liquid to have an office because it puts us in close vicinity to some amazing clients. On top of that, over the years we’ve seen San Jose evolve into a dynamic and vibrant urban community, making it fun to live and work here. We’re very proud to be located in a city that is considered the epicenter of technology and innovation.

What do you like most about San Jose?
San Jose is small enough to feel intimate, yet it also offers plenty of diversity. Our growing population includes people of many different ethnicities and diverse professional backgrounds. Combine that with many options for entertainment, dining and other activities and the result is a place where you can meet interesting people, enjoy good conversations and be exposed to new viewpoints and opinions—not to mention great food from all sorts of different cultures.

Where are your favorite places to go for a night on the town? Any San Jose hot spots? Where do you go to unwind?
Some of my favorite spots include Caffe Frascati because it reminds me of many of the bars/caffes that I used to frequent in Rome. It’s a great place for a cappuccino in the morning or a beer during happy hour. Other spots that I enjoy include Mezcal Restaurant (The only place I know where you can get crickets for lunch);  Original Joe’s (Because it is a classic); and The Grill (A great place to have a martini or bring a client to dinner). I had included Single Barrell, but I am sitting here right now and I have decided it’s a bit too complicated and not client-friendly enough to make my list!

Who are some of your local clients?
We work with many important companies that are based in Silicon Valley, such as Intel, Cisco, HP, LSI, etc. We also work with many smaller clients like PlasticJungle, Mighty Leaf Tea, Slice. Finally, we also work with clients that are more community based, such as Caffe Frascati, ZER01, The SJ Downtown Business Development Association, Cinequest, and others.

What role did you play in Cafe Trieste’s reimaging/transformation to Caffe Frascati?
I have been working closely with Roger Springall as an advisor and brand architect during the transformation process. Caffe Trieste is a well known brand in San Francisco, but the brand equity did not transfer to San Jose. We felt that it would be better to develop a brand that was more unique to his personal story and created a new tradition for San Jose.

Frascati is the town in Italy where Roger fell in love with Italian culture and where he was inspired to start a caffe, so it became a natural name for the new place. Liquid Agency has been responsible for crafting the brand strategy, developing the brand identity, and helping remodel the environment in a way that it brings an authentic ltalian experience to San Jose. For example, we’re creating a library upstairs with great collection of books about Italy, and we’ll be playing classic Italian films like “La Dolce Vita.” Soon, we hope to see the Vespa club use Caffe Frascati as their monthly meeting place. Wouldn’t it be fun to see a bunch of vintage Vespas parked outside the caffe?

Who is the most interesting person you know in San Jose?
I find interesting every person who lives here and is dedicated to challenging conventional thinking and creating opportunities to positively change our communities and our world. That could be an engineer, an artist, a politician, a teacher—even a reporter!