During the 2013 IPREX annual meeting in Shanghai, HB/EMA worked with fellow leaders of marketing firms from around the world. As we collaborated on partner engagement methodology and best marketing practices, we kept asking, “Why do we all believe that the IPREX network is more effective for clients than a single global marketing firm?”
HB/EMA asked IPREX colleagues, who came to Shanghai from firms in the UK, India, Mainland China, Australia, Hong Kong, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Canada, Spain, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Singapore, Peru, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Malaysia, Canada and the US.
Here are the top five reasons he heard regarding why colleagues believe IPREX is more effective than traditional global marketing firms.
- Global agencies with in-depth local market knowledge are better than global branch offices. Many agencies establish offices around the world, but those offices are branches from a single tree. While that might give clients some assurance of centrally located control and command, it often works against true local knowledge and strategic counsel. Our clients’ goal shouldn’t be great translation. It should be uncompromising localization.
- Partnership and membership are at stake all the time. IPREX isn’t the kind of organization where you write a check and they let you in. Competency examinations, financial stability requirements, organizational reviews, interviews and agency visits are part of a stringent vetting process. Poor performance in a multi-agency engagement can mean the loss of reputation or membership. IPREX polices the partner agencies’ professional standards. Many offices of global firms are not under that kind of pressure, and it can translate to lower performance.
- We work with the partner we choose, not the one we must use. An IPREX partner in India might have the right competency to advance an international campaign. But if it doesn’t, we can choose a different partner that is better suited to the work. We are not obligated to go through any particular channel or office, which means we can choose the right agency for the right job.
- Best practices, globally sourced. The world is changing fast, and the best ideas and practices for PR and integrated marketing can come from any country. Unlike global agencies whose capabilities stem from a powerful headquarters, IPREX best practices come from around the world and evolve every year as the global agencies collaborate and discover new ways to remain relevant and effective.
- This is the age of speed. With no institutionalized chains of command, IPREX agencies can often do in a few days what takes global agencies a few weeks or months. We have the case studies to prove it.
The firms HB/EMAqueried in Shanghai represent only a fraction of IPREX’s 70 global partners (with 100 worldwide offices and 1,500 staff), which brings up the top reason: IPREX offers high-quality operations in every major market worldwide.
The resources IPREX partners put into traveling and meeting with each other also dwarf what many international agencies do. This creates collegial peer-group relationships that lead to high-quality work and a lot of fun doing the work. As one IPREX member put it, “If we didn’t believe this allows us to do better work for our clients, why would we be meeting here in Shanghai? And by the way, will I see you in Prague this fall?” Yes, he will.
IPREX was founded in 1983 to enable independent PR agencies to deliver high quality client work in major markets worldwide, and it has evolved into a tightly-knit peer group of more than 70 of the world’s most successful communication agencies.
In early 2012, HB was recruited into IPREX, which expands HB’s reach to include:
- 77 partners internationally
- 115 global offices in 33 countries
- More than 1,500 professional staff
- Annual billings of $200 million