The Downlow: AMIN Worldwide Global Conference
AMIN Worldwide is a global network comprising 60 independent agency brands across 27 countries.
DPR&Co became the founding APAC member agency in 2015, and DPR&Co co-founder and Agency Principal Phil Huzzard is the current AMIN Global Board President, having held board roles since 2021. Along with my ‘day job’ as Account Manager for my wonderful clients at DPR&Co, I assist Phil as AMIN APAC Region Coordinator.
Until recently, all AMIN Senior Leadership conferences had been staged in the Americas or EAME. APAC’s first opportunity to host a conference was originally slated for 2021 but was delayed twice due to COVID-19.
In early October of this year, we were finally able to see our conference come to life.
The planning committee consisted of Phil and me, as well as fellow APAC members Marc Laban (AsiaWorks – Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore), Robert Heldt (Custom Media – Japan) and Jignesh Maniar (OnAds – India).
Other major contributors to the success of the conference were AMIN Worldwide Executive Director, Kristi Anderson – without whom none of this would have come to fruition – and our in-country coordinator Apple Nathamon Tanapurihiran, who ensured our experience of Thailand was entertaining and culturally rich.
The DPR&Co contingent included Phil, myself, Domenic and Richard.
With AMIN we have allies
The AMIN Wordwide positions around the premise that ‘you have allies’ – a sentiment that was evident throughout the conference where we could connect on an agency-to-agency and whole-of-network level, discussing both business and personal leadership challenges.
AMIN Bangkok ’23 was the first time not just in Thailand, but in Southeast Asia, for many members. There were some culture shocks for the uninitiated but, in all-in-all, it was a great way to build networks through shared experiences.
AMIN APAC is an important part of the global network. The sheer scale of our region, however, means we’re isolated by distance and time zones.
We connect through monthly online meetings, where we work on group initiatives, provide support, and connect socially. This was especially important during the period of COVID-19 lockdowns, where our members experienced similar challenges from a business perspective, but vastly different experiences from a cultural standpoint.
There is, however, no substitute for in-person connections. AMIN Worldwide global conferences give us amazing opportunities to mix with members from other regions and draw from their knowledge and insights.
AMIN APAC and its influence
The AMIN APAC effort to pull together an amazing conference began last year when the APAC members gathered in Bali to meet in person, some for the first time.
During that meeting, Custom Media’s Robert Heldt raised the idea of creating an AMIN APAC white paper to launch at the conference and provide an overview of the APAC market for members in other regions. The rationale for the paper was to support our fellow agencies in cases where their clients were requesting assistance with market entries to Asia.
The white paper was co-authored by Manisha Chawla, former Head of Marketing and Digital for Mercer, and DPR&Co board member and former Accenture Partner, Neville Jones. After presenting the white paper, Manisha participated in a panel titled ‘Doing Business in Asia’, which was hosted by Phil and included contributions from Marc, Robert and Mike Golden from Brandigo (China).
Through the sea of raised hands, it was easy to see that the white paper made a great impact on the delegates.
Through the paper, we showed the other regions that, not only are we a knowledgeable regional partner but, through our connections and market insights, we also can make a profound difference in cases where member agencies have a client need in Asia Pacific.
My key conference takeaways:
The APAC global conference allowed a platform for knowledge sharing on key topics that unite our industry. Keynotes included a presentation and breakout by Behavioural Scientist, Richard Shotton; Samyutha Reddy, Jasper AI; and Motokai Tani, Co-Founder and Board Director of Animoca Brands (ABKK) Japan. In addition to the keynotes, we heard case studies and were briefed on best practices by several AMIN agencies, including presentations on various topics at a more granular agency leadership level. Here are my key takeaways from our time in Bangkok:
- AI - it’s not just a buzzword. It enhances productivity, it saves time, and if time is invested into mastering the platforms, it can become just as commonplace as Microsoft Teams or the Adobe Suite. There are agencies globally that have already established tech stacks of AI platforms that quite simply make things better. Ultimately, we know that nothing will replace human interaction and attention to detail, but what a learning experience! DPR&Co’s determination to master AI platforms that will enhance the skills of our team, and bring value to our clients was given greater urgency and direction.
- The science behind consumer behaviour means that perceived ‘flaws’ are a hidden goldmine in developing an emotional pull to product and service advertising (the Pratfall Effect).
- Our AMIN allies are ready and waiting to connect and assist. Whether that’s referring to local production partners, introducing members to other partner agencies, or sense-checking material from a local perspective.
Overall, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work on and attend this conference. Before COVID-19 and DPR&Co, I was a corporate event and travel manager, so it was nice to flex those muscles again!
AMIN is all about the network, but it’s also about learning from one another. I look forward to strengthening those connections and sharing the knowledge we acquired during the conference with the team at DPR&Co.