The combination of the agency members of ICOM, based in Rollinsville, Colorado, and IN, coordinated from Paris, is creating the world’s largest independent network. ICOM+IN will have more than 100 agencies, the most number of agencies of any independent global network offering the broadest geographic coverage. The billings of the new network are expected to be $3.5-billion with gross income exceeding $500-million. Initially, both networks’ websites and) will reflect the changes and continue to be updated.
“Never before has anything like this been done in the world of independent agency networks,” said Patrick Walhain, president of ICOM. “The most important outcome of this exciting endeavor is we will have more talent and expertise in many more markets. We will be the first independent network to truly focus on serving international clients.”
Peter Jackson, group CEO of Volcano Group says, “For Volcano, the combination means we can offer clients a full range of options anywhere in the world, tapping into the collective resource, creativity and intelligence shared by our network partners.
“Volcano has grown to be one of the leading South African independent agencies, and the new network will only afford us an even greater opportunity to extend our services to global brands,” adds Jackson. “Having recorded tremendous successes with the likes of Sony, Garmin, Dulux and Alcatel here on a local scale, we are confident that our stringent work ethic and proven ability to navigate the global brand comms space will serve us well going forward.”
The new network will have an expanded global presence with integrated agencies in developed as well as new and emerging markets. Additionally, the network is enhanced by specialist agencies in areas such as digital, branding, social media, mobile, media, public relations, ethnic marketing – as well as experts in categories such as healthcare and luxury goods.
Initially, the new network Board will consist of all current Board members of the two organizations. In early 2013, a revised Board structure will be created. ICOM executive director Gary Burandt will become managing director of the new organization.
Based in the US, the network will be organised into five major regions: Asia/Pacific, Europe/Africa, Latin America, Middle East/ North Africa and North America with regional centers in Bangkok, Paris, Sao Paulo, Cairo and Atlanta.
“We expect a very smooth transition because our networks have similar legal structures, values, spirit of cooperation and dedication to the success of our clients,” said Miguel dos Santos, chairman of IN. “We are kindred spirits with the same high level of energy, flexibility and belief that the value of local knowledge and experience combined with the power of global partnerships can be an effective resource for any client, anywhere in the world. “
In many countries where both ICOM and IN have representatives, there is little overlap because many of the IN agencies are specialists in specific communications disciplines.
ICOM has a proven record of quality service to member agencies and experience in handling international campaigns over the years for clients such as Gallo wines, Navistar engines, Crocs shoes, Ebly foods, Atkins diet plan and Case construction equipment. “We have worked very hard to preserve a special culture of sharing, and we continue to do so,” Mr. Burandt said. In addition to the specialist agencies, IN brings a strong network of general agencies in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Members are expected to meet each other for the first time at regional meetings scheduled in Milano, Santa Monica and Bali in the fall.
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