International Business Director at Brandia Central, Lisbon and Vice Chairman-elect and Member of the Board of Directors, ICOM+IN, Rollinsville, Colorado, USA (former President of IN)
Born: Vila Real, Portugal
Key Clients Include: Vodafone telecom, Union of European Football Associations, IKEA, APCOR (Portuguese Cork Association), Wines of Portugal, Airport Authority of Portugal, Nestle’s Buondi coffee, Abu Dhabi pearls, BIC bank, Beach Park water resort, Tiara Hotels & Resorts and RTP TV network.
Worked in: Spain: Valero Y Asociados and TBWA; Portugal: Cinevoz, MKT and Brandia Central, Angola. Now in Brazil; responsible for developing business in international markets. During the last five years has racked up substantial air miles around the world mainly in: Spain, France, U.K., Netherlands, Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Estonia, India, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, U.S., Argentina, Brazil, UAE.
These two individuals, Patrick Walhain and Miguel Magalhães Santos, made an innovative move in combining two independent global networks, something that had never been done before. Combining the two networks brings together more human and financial resources for business development than any network of independent agencies. As the two execs viewed the moves being made by the multinational agency groups, they asked themselves why not grow that way themselves rather than the traditional independent path of recruiting agencies market by market. The idea started as a conversation between two friends, each a member of a different network. The more they talked, the more coming together seemed to be an opportunity to leverage the best of both networks.
Personal international trivia:
Walhain: Just after the fall of Berlin Wall, launched the first Ikea store in Central Europe (innovatively telling Eastern Europeans that the Ikea catalogue will bring a better life than “Das Kapital” by Karl Marx); launched Peugeot cars in Russia; successfully promoted California wines to French consumers.
Santos: Learned that there are subtle cultural “codes” that are very important in working in other countries.
Why do people see you as an innovator?
Walhain: Because of strong convictions and taking actions based on them. Has started two agencies from scratch demonstrating his “fearlessness.”
Santos: Because of belief in investment to gain insight and to understand a brand’s culture and its DNA so that programs can be tailored to each market.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects?
Walhain: Resistance to change. “I am always surprised at how conservative people are no matter how old they are or where they come from.”
Santos: Continually learning about the culture of local markets and the nature of how business is done in each.
Some basic beliefs:
Walhain: Believe in your observations. Learn to recognize signals and follow them.
Santos: Capitalize on the soul of each brand.
Final note from Walhain: While the result was seemingly obvious, coming up with the new name was one of the biggest and most amusing challenges. When all was said and done after many hours and many ideas, ICOM+IN is the one that everyone believed showed mutual respect.
Final note from Santos: It is always funny when you mix in the same meeting room different people from different markets and cultures. “I can assure you the English we talked was, let's say... innovative!”