There is no doubt that a company is as extraordinary as its employees and talent will always be one of the main concerns in companies. RGF International Recruitment’s Talent in Asia report released earlier this year said that nearly half of Malaysian employers surveyed said they are struggling to attract and hire the right candidates across all industries and job levels. They also cited low hiring budgets (19%) and the struggle to find talent to fit their company culture (13%) as a challenge to finding good talent.
With 2019 coming to an end, one agency looking to start the new year on the right note is McCann Malaysia, which aims to focus on its people. During a conversation with A+M, CEO Sean Sim said his plan for 2020 is to build up its employees. The agency has plenty of young employees who are eager to learn and get to grips with the challenges of the marketing world. However, due to work pressure and deadlines, the industry expects young graduates to immediately jump in and know stuff, but they don’t.
“Without proper instruction, a lot of them struggle and get disenchanted,” Sim said, adding:
They need development. Not just in technical skills, but in developing their strategic, critical and creative thinking, especially in fundamental ‘back-to-basics-101’ education.
He added that McCann made a serious commitment to invest in training for 2020. It will cover not just the basic, but also the intermediate and advance levels. “It will ultimately benefit our clients, because smart people come up with smart solutions,” Sim explained. Meanwhile, other global network agency leaders also share with A+M their vision for the upcoming new year.
Nicky Lim, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network Malaysia
The year 2020 will see Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) Malaysia experience our continued journey to realise our data transformation strategy. Traditional media channels have been reduced to a commodity and so the coming year will see DAN strengthening the competitiveness of our core business. Digital and data are the new frontiers and it will be about creating new value in these areas which surpass the boundaries of the conventional marketing domain.
As DAN continues to evolve, we hold true to our strategy of being a business that is ideas-led, data-driven and tech-enabled – and that is a powerful proposition.
We are data-driven to drive effectiveness and efficiency of marketing spend, enabled by digital technology; tech-enabled through world class systems and platforms; and ideas-led with innovation central to everything we do. Our people sit at the very heart of DAN and ensuring we can seamlessly weave their innovative ideas with data and technology will inevitably create value for our brands and clients.
Bala Pomaleh, CEO, IPG Mediabrands Malaysia
Increasing pressures mean that 2020 will prove to be both exciting and a test to our mettle. We have streamlined three priorities as we go into 2020:
1. Simplify: We see opportunities for us to simplify our offerings, organisational structure and most importantly client teams, to manage the business more seamlessly and effectively.
2. Innovate: Being good in campaign innovation is not enough. I believe we need to focus on sustainability related initiatives and innovate more thoughtfully on how our real world and the digital reality converge.
For clients, this can be in product, packaging and even distribution; internally, innovation in processes can minimise effort and increase productivity.
3. Passion: Talents struggle to keep the pace of our industry, inadvertently losing passion and suffering from burnout. We will continue to invest in our talents, identify internal talents to promote and seek external talents to ensure our clients are delighted with our service.
Andrew Lee, group managing director, Havas Malaysia
Thirteen years ago, a friend told me he hated seeing the word “race” in a form and that he will always write “human” under “race”. I thought he was just trying to be difficult then. Today, as a citizen of Malaysia, we want to be called Malaysian and nothing else. But as a marketer, we call our target Malays, Chinese, Indians and others.
We should do our part to shape this nation and put an end to racial profiling.
At Havas, we do not target based on ethnicity; we look at consumer mindset, values and culture to create a meaningful brand idea. Then we build a media experience that connects the brand with its target – in the context of where they are, through the content they pay attention to. And finally, the language of the medium is selected based on the target’s preferred touch-point that is most meaningful to them. That is how we build meaningful brands for our clients that foster trust, loyalty and results.
We are doing our part to end racial profiling and we have been successful in building meaningful brands without it. In 2020, we hope the marketing community will do the same to build a meaningful nation of Malaysians.
(Read also: Havas Group Malaysia promotes Andrew Lee)
Ranga Somanathan, CEO, Omnicom Media Group Malaysia and Singapore
Omnicom Media Group’s (OMG) recent consumer research study suggests that consumer confidence is bouncing back in Malaysia. However, as geo-political dynamics continue to affect the country, consumers are expected to be cautious about big-ticket items in 2020, while indulging in micro treats. In order to win over these consumers, marketers will have to stay invested in driving spontaneous awareness and build brand affinity, significantly.
OMG agencies have their own bespoke approaches for brands to win in the marketplace in 2020. At PHD, it’s about embracing challenger thinking – challenging the norms and pushing boundaries to drive disproportionate growth. At OMD, it’s about leveraging the right tools and processes in order to make better decisions, faster in an increasingly competitive space.
At a group level, we are ensuring our organisational practices and workplace environments inspire and empower our people to deliver the best solutions for our clients.
As a result of our efforts in these areas, we are going into 2020 with couple of big new client wins and more importantly, strong referral ratings scores from our existing clients. Given this momentum, I am excited for 2020 and look forward to a year of growth and prosperity for the industry.
Nizwani Shahar, co-chief executive, Ogilvy Malaysia
One of the big learnings from 2019 which we must take into 2020 is evolve or evaporate. The ever-changing behaviour of consumers are fast displacing communication and advertising agencies from what we think we know. What used to be a world in which we (advertisers) decide what consumers see, do, buy, drink, eat, invest, etc is now one where consumer’s behaviour shapes the communications world.
In a world of agility and efficiencies, we saw so many agencies creating more work, at lower costs and faster turnaround times. While some work needs to be designed this way for us to be intuitive and on-time with consumer demands, some larger initiatives endured the same speeds and cost-cuts which resulted in a broadening collection of shallow, ineffective, forgettable work – all because of a misconception that it should be cheaper if it’s “digital”.
Advertisers who are getting a better handle at modern marketing began learning about the power of negotiation and integration versus fragmentation. Smart, driven clients have moved towards integration, pinning all brand communication responsibilities with one partner or network. They will have a single, seamless view of the customer experience that can drive meaningful engagement.
What have we seen the last of or should die a natural death in 2020? I hope we will have see less brand builders and clients fragment their brands across different advertising, PR, digital, social, shopper, CRM, search, media (you name it…!) agencies.
This fragmentation is visible in the work and will weaken brands over time.
Not many savvy clients realise that the more fragmented communication is the more important the one, single view of the customer experience is crucial.
That said, I am excited to see advertising as we know it get bigger, brighter and a lot more interesting in 2020. “Transformation” as a buzzword is practically over. Ogilvy for example, has undergone our own journey of transformation and are bleeding proudly red more than ever. I see the future of advertising in 2020 dominated by large integrated agencies as we invest in building quality creative and modern marketing specialist talents that can lead big brand platform conversations and are also adept at driving everyday on-brand pulse content and communication.
Ben Chew, MD, BBDO Malaysia
The year 2020 is going to be a great year for BBDO Malaysia. We have spent the last few months equipping our teams to understand and deploy great data driven optimisation campaigns, building the right performance metrics that ensure the right tools and techniques are employed when measuring the creative campaigns we developed, as well as ensuring each team member has proficiency working across digital platforms.
Given a year-on-year growth of 20% in digital spend, there is nothing more important than making sure we deliver the very best work for our clients across multiple channels. We are really excited to see what the new year brings. The last few years have proven that trends, tools and technologies can change and be created in the blink of an eye; so as a business, we must be agile and creative to adapt to the constantly changing environment.