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Lopito at 2018 Icom Global Congress in Tokyo

Lopito, Ileana & Howie, Inc. participated in 2018 Icom Global Congress in Tokyo. I had the opportunity to represent the agency at this Congress as the chair member of Latin America. Having this Congress in Tokyo, Japan gave me the vision of promoting a culture of change, respect and appreciation as communicators. This vision is based on the speed of technological advancement of our industry and the need to create positive and critical knowledge through genuine collaboration of the network for the benefit of our clients and agencies. And this should be attained with deep values, respect and appreciation for our peers, clients and associates. In this matter, true change and success will be achieved for all.



Jose Luis Álvarez, COO Lopito, Ileana & Howie

TOKYO, Japan – Change in the marketing communications world comes fast and furious, and with each new change and challenge, each new turn and trend, agencies must be nimble. Staying so and staying connected keeps agencies ahead of the game.

That’s what is happening here May 16-18 at the 2018 annual world meeting of the ICOM network of independent marketing communications agencies, hosted jointly by ICOM’s two Japanese agency members, ADEX Nihon Keizai Advertising Co. and K&L Inc. ICOM member agencies are coming together to “Recognize. Recalibrate. Reimagine” the twists and turns of the marketing world. ICOM is a leading global network of independent marketing and advertising agencies with more than 80 members in 60-plus countries.

“While we wish we could predict the future, we can’t precisely know how our industry will evolve nor describe the exact shape of the agency of tomorrow,” said Bob Morrison, ICOM board chairman and CEO-chairman of member agency Morrison in Atlanta, USA. “We do know that our agencies will face challenges and trends unseen before in the marketing communications business – everything from artificial intelligence, increasingly sophisticated data analytics, new competitors, attracting top talent, strategies for working with consultancies, and more.”

For these three conference days, agency principals and senior managers of ICOM agencies, including Lopito, Ileana & Howie, Inc., will share what they and the global brands they represent are doing to recalibrate and stay ahead of the game and discuss how they can better serve each other as network members. As they do so, they are encouraged and motivated by signs that independent agencies and their networks are being invited much more frequently to play in the big leagues for global assignments from clients.

“I’ve seen more requests for independent agencies to participate in global pitches than I have in a long time,” said Emma Keenan, ICOM executive director. “The other independent networks are saying the same thing while the holding company networks seem to be struggling more. It’s like our time has finally come.”

In fact, ICOM came out the big winner in two recent global assignments against multinational agency finalists. WestJet, a Canadian airline that began in the 1990s as a low-cost national alternative, appointed ICOM Canadian member Rethink as its lead strategic and creative agency now that the airline plans to go global and become a full-service carrier. ICOM participated in the presentation in Calgary to speak about the ICOM network philosophy and how ICOM operates and to share local market insights from ICOM member agencies in other countries. The other new global account will be announced soon.

At ICOM’s annual and regional meetings where programs are designed to be a mix of top speakers, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities, member agency principals and senior executives share best business practices, tools, and knowledge to stay at the top of their field. One session, “The Growing Importance of Global Capabilities and Connections for Clients,” led by ICOM board member Karen Seamen, COO-president, Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago, USA, and Mike Leeson, managing director, ICOM member Golley Slater, London/Cardiff, UK, will look at how ICOM agencies are handling global and regional business pitches and projects and discuss what clients look for in global communications resources.

“It feels fitting to be holding our meeting in a location such as Japan with its fascinating and multifaceted culture at a time when our industry is also incessantly shifting,” said Fumihiko Iwamoto, director at K&L in Tokyo. “On the one hand, Japan is steeped in the deepest of traditions dating back hundreds of years. On the other, it is a society in a continual state of rapid flux, with recurrent shifting fads, fashions, and technological developments constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.”

Peter O’Leary, CEO AMBA, Australia, and ICOM Asia-Pacific regional director, added, “Every part of Asia is unique and extraordinary. When it comes to global business, the region is dynamite. Growth is explosive; markets are opening. There is opportunity everywhere.”

O’Leary will share insights and perspective on what is happening in Asia in a presentation, titled “Understanding the Complexity and Opportunity That Is Asia.”

Another key highlight of the conference is a 60-minute interview of Katherine Melchior Ray, senior VP-chief marketing officer, Shiseido, Japan, who will talk about the pressures on clients to deliver within their own organizations and how agencies can help them strengthen their brands.

Professor Jenni Romaniuk, associate director (international) at Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science will talk about how science is now revealing, perhaps for the first time, the evidence on what drives growth and how people make decisions.

Attendees will also hear from Creative and Technical Director Seiichi Saito of the international award- winning production group Rhizomatiks he co-founded about his latest virtual reality project to link the past Olympic Games in 1964 to the coming 2020 Games, “1964 Tokyo VR.”

Said Kazu Sugimoto, ADEX chief operations officer, “We hope this global conference brings our fellow ICOM members further food for thought as we all reimagine our agencies’ futures for continued success.”

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