Michael Gullan, MD
The combination of the agency members of ICOM, based in Rollinsville, Colorado (USA), 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 US$3.5 billion with gross income exceeding US$500 million
"Never before has anything like this been done in the world of independent agency networks," said Patrick Walhain, president of ICOM (www.icomagencies.com
). "The most important outcome of this exciting endeavour is that 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."
Michael Gullan, managing director of Gullan&Gullan said, "For Gullan&Gullan, this means we can offer clients a full range of services in collaboration with our ICOM+IN network partners, anywhere in the world."
Gullan&Gullan is an innovative brand-centric communications agency that assists some of South Africa's, and the world's, most successful brands to cut through the clutter with breakthrough creativity, news, publicity and engaging conversations. The team at Gullan&Gullan are specialists at inventing new ways, and re-engineering traditional ways, of enhancing brand value. The agency does this with the ultimate goal of producing measurable results for their clients.
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 organisations. In early 2013, a revised Board structure will be created. ICOM Executive Director Gary Burandt will become managing director of the new organisation.
Based in the U.S., 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, president of IN (www.inglobalnet.com
). "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 that ICOM had scheduled in Milan, Santa Monica and Bali in the fall.