New ICA chair Krupski introduces innovation manifesto

Andy Krupski has taken over as chair of the Institute of Communications Agencies (ICA), with a stated goal of helping Canadian agencies improve their performance during a tough time.

“The industry is at an inflection point and… I do believe the ICA can help steer the industry through it,” said Krupski, longtime chair of Toronto agency The Hive.

His vision for the industry was outlined in a “manifesto” released by the ICA Monday.

“We do need to look forward and consider the challenges, from evolving platforms [to] the consultancy firms, and address the pressure on margins, technological disruption and the rising role of procurement in commoditizing the industry,” he wrote.

The solution to these challenges? Innovation. “Above all, the ICA’s role is to drag the industry out of the commoditized, time sheet-driven, business model towards one based on value creation ignited by innovation,” he wrote.

The ICA can do that in two ways, he said in an interview with The Message on Monday afternoon: It can share and amplify innovative thinking but, equally important, it has to promote the innovation that already resides in many agencies.

“My goal is to drive the notion that we are an industry that creates tremendous value for companies,” he said. “And we do it through innovation—whether that be a new idea or new platform or whatever—and really communicate it, so clients see there is real value in working with agencies.”

Among its specific objectives, the ICA wants to share more cases of agency membership success. That has traditionally been tough in Canada, with many reluctant to share their success stories.

“I’m hoping to get the industry to be a little more open…and share positive innovations,” he said.

Innovation can also be shared and amplified though conferences, events and seminars—new ideas and ways of thinking and doing things that directly improve agency performance. Krupski said that a seminar on compensation models, for example, had a “major impact,” on The Hive’s revenue and profits.

“We are stepping away from pricing things on an hourly rate and pricing them on a project basis, but delineating what the client will get for what price point,” he said. If a client wants access to the CEO for a project, they know to pick the package that has the most CEO time.

Also new to the ICA board this year are Stephanie Hurst of John St.; Matt Hassell of Forsman & Bodenfors; and Lance Saunders of DDB. Key dates on the ICA calendar for the first half of the year include the Agency Transformation Summit May 5-6, and the Effie Canada Gala, June 6.

– David Brown


David Brown