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AMIN – A Network of Global Agencies Up for the Challenge

The increased importance of personalization in marketing is directly related to the complexity of doing so on a global level. But the significance doesn’t change; in fact, it’s amplified tenfold. Consumers want authentic, transparent brands that speak to them on a one-to-one level. Long gone are the days where you can create a concept, an ad, a message and just have it translated and run it in another country. On-the-ground local insights are necessary when executing a global marketing strategy.

And we’ve been watching, and delivering on, this trend for some time.

That’s why this past week was so important. As Simantel’s delegate to our annual global CEO summit through AMIN Worldwide (Advertising and Marketing Independent Network),my husband and I had the great pleasure of visiting Antwerp, Belgium to attend a conference led by fellow AMIN partner, Intracto, on the topic of Challenging our Reality. For those who may not know, AMIN is a network of 50 fiercely independent agencies from 30 countries around the globe that partner together on a confidential, non-compete basis to learn and grow from each other and also support our global client base.

As is always the case, the learning and global collaboration we experienced was thought-provoking, and I’ll be bringing many new ideas back to the agency to explore. We spent our days learning from other agency leaders, big brand marketers and technology futurists about where our industry is headed. And, we spent our nights visiting with other agency leaders through a series of networking and hospitality events.

Yet perhaps more “challenging” than even the content alone was the experience to once again connect with more and more of our AMIN partners and continue to build relationships. At times, it really is awe-inspiring to understand the power of this global network.

At our dinner table on the second night of the event, I found myself chatting with fellow agency leaders I knew from Belgium, Switzerland, Finland, Portugal, Turkey and more. In addition, I put new names and faces to partners newer to our network – including agencies from India, China, Singapore and Japan – to name just a few. Not to mention, each year our network of agencies from throughout the U.S. grows, and I find many with greater experience working in the key categories we serve.

Some of these friends have been partners with Simantel for several years. We have exchanged work and even visited them in their home countries. Other friendships are just beginning and I’m looking forward to leveraging relationships with the next generation of leaders as they transition into executive roles within their organizations.

Yet, even with all these familiar faces, there was a newness to this year’s event for me. This year, I was nominated to take on greater leadership within our network, serving on the Americas Board of Directors. I don’t take this role lightly. I view it as a great opportunity to glean even more value from the network, for our employees and for our clients.

You see for us, AMIN has become more than a club. Sure… conferences like this challenge us to keep pace. That alone has value. As my fellow AMIN leaders will tell you, in this business it’s common to take many falls and get back up again, so it’s good to get together and share our stories. Our best stories — when we’ve done something really great that makes a difference in the world (and we want our partners to steal our ideas!) And, our worst stories… when client challenges and employee issues are so fuzzy, we don’t know the best way forward. We take these opportunities to commiserate a bit and ask for help. Surely, we think, others have experienced something similar — and most of the time, they have.

But more than this, AMIN members have become our collaborative working partners as well. We’ve created a model that works better, we believe, than what the multi-national agencies, consultancies and niche local partners can provide. And, while we’re always the first to say we’ll partner with local agencies who may have existing partnerships with our clients, it’s really not the same as working with agencies that understand each other from the start in the way our AMIN partners do.

So, plain and simple: we need our global brand clients to see the value in this partnership. So often, these clients find their various regions of the globe are resource strapped, struggling to translate English-only content, or just needing some local photography and video support. The good news is that these are the exact types of projects that our AMIN network has led together, so those assignments come easily for us.

Yet, while project work is good, global programs assigned to a lead agency are even better. In that instance, I want our clients to know there is a blueprint for that type of job. We’ve done this before. And it works very well. I promise you.

Here’s how it goes:

  • If hired out of North America, Simantel serves as the “quarterback” agency, and we source any local partner from one of the 50 agencies around the globe.
  • Financially, Simantel is accountable to build the estimate, delivering one SOW to the client. Then, Simantel bills global partners and hold partners accountable for the work.
  • Culturally, this isn’t one of those “we build it in English and then translate it” kind of scenarios. No. From the ground up, we work with the partners to build a truly global plan (or at least regionally customized for culture, language, imagery and more.) Often this even includes getting voice of customer or dealer in each market.
  • Creatively, this means we create a framework for each region to live within, or we customize a plan to what each priority region needs.

In fact, we’ve been doing this since 2005 when Simantel first became an AMIN member. So we do have examples, if you need them:

So, you may be asking: why aren’t we doing more of this? I’m asking myself this as well. In chatting with other AMIN partners, we believe it has to do with relationship building. I’ve had the benefit of building these types of relationships with these highly talented leaders from around the world. After 15 years in this business, I’ve come to learn that clients don’t hire people unless they know them and trust them… and think they have great chemistry. But, in order to introduce you to these partners, we need an opportunity to leverage them.

So, here’s my call to you clients: reach out and talk to me:

  • What do you need to know about our AMIN network?
  • What global projects are on the horizon for you?
  • What ideas do you have on how to best bring this network to bear for your global success?
  • Are there upcoming global meetings where we could put some faces to these agency names?

Seriously, let’s talk about it.

I wouldn’t be taking up space on our blog writing about this group of folks if I didn’t believe they are smart people that could help you.

And, now, as a member of the AMIN board, I view my job at Simantel as a little bigger. Yes, we are always accountable to bring you the best ideas, but now, we are also accountable to bring you the best resources to bring the best ideas — even on a global scale.

And, if you’re a global brand, please know that Simantel has a path (even a blueprint) to help you make your global dreams a reality.

So, bring it on. Give us an assignment. One that takes into account global research, cultural differences, a variety of mass media channels and more. Challenge us — the AMIN network — with YOUR global reality and we’ll show you we’re up to the task.

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