2022 | Bronze | People & Community— Planner of the Year
Advertiser: - Brand: - Creative Agency: - Credits: Maaz Ahmad Khan - General Manager, OPENMIND Malaysia, a division of WPP Marketing Communications (M) Sdn Bhd
Great planners don’t just plan, they build. Maaz Khan is proof. Maaz builds systems. He creates better ways of working, thinking, and solving client’s business challenges. Every project, account and team Maaz has led runs better thereafter. He builds teams. He works with every member of his team to make them better, synchronizing their personal development with work goals, and eventually used this experience investing in people to build an entire agency organization within GroupM. He builds on himself, constantly. He creates learning moments that allow him and his team to improve their capabilities together, effectively levelling up to meet bigger challenges. There’s a reason why Maaz elevated quickly from Business Lead to GM of his own agency within the group, why he has consistently won new business pitches and established and led one of the most awarded planning teams in Malaysia the past 5 years. The reason is fundamental: Maaz Khan builds.
What’s Special about You & Key Achievements
1- Maaz won THE pitch, bringing Nestle home. He led end-to-end the planning assignment for one of the most critical pitches in GroupM Malaysia history, the Nestle account pitch, a gruelling 6-month “fight” for the business that in the end saw Maaz and his team successfully win the RM120M account, a commercial value larger than the entire portfolio of many established agencies. He then effectively onboarded the business by creating his own agency within GroupM called OpenMind, a Nestle-dedicated organization built from the ground-up, talent-sourced and led by Maaz himself. This monumental achievement was not “lightning in a bottle.” Working off the momentum of successive new business pitch wins he led – highlighted by 3 consecutive wins in 2017 – Domino’s, PLUS and Nespresso, Maaz worked to earn the right to lead and champion at the next level, so that when Nestle came knocking, he was ready. 2- He brought the future of planning forward. Maaz created “Campathon” – a system for planning and launching campaigns within 24 hours for jump que projects, currently used locally for various MediaCom clients, and is being rolled out globally, effectively fulfilling what was deemed impossible: agile media planning and execution at warp-speed, often demanded of agencies by clients to match today’s dynamic marketplace. Beyond agility, Maaz believes in open learning and open source, building up his Python coding capabilities to develop a media planning package released under MIT license. He then parlayed his built-up knowledge, to work with and speak the same language with future-forward media owners, creating one of the most innovative and sustained campaigns in Shell Malaysia history. Working with media owner’s digital developers, Maaz created dynamic and real-time customized billboard messaging, informed by an image-recognition learning algorithm developed using TensorFlow. The AI/ML models established for customize billboard ads first trained on Maaz’ campaigns are now part of the industry standard in the Malaysian advertising landscape.
1- Maaz invests in people. As a Business Lead and later as Head of Product and Innovation, Maaz set up working teams from the ground up at MediaCom, developing people from widely different backgrounds without any media planning knowledge, and training them to be media professionals, carving out their own unique niche: • A junior writer from a small publication was trained by Maaz in 4 short years towards being named Planner of the Year in Malaysia. • A luxury industry PR event coordinator for small-scale clients trained up to lead planner for 3 accounts, doing regional work for Southeast Asian markets. • A doctor by profession, but not by personal calling, was trained by Maaz to successfully pivot into the media industry as a planner, all in 3 months. Maaz’ team enjoyed 80% retention rate, twice the industry standard, because of his commitment to their personal progress. To successfully onboard the newly won Nestle business, Maaz had the vision to create a dedicated agency for the account: OpenMind, putting the entire 43-strong team in place in just 2 months, sourcing, and casting talent, and collaborating with Nestle and GroupM to develop the work systems and practices to get the agency fully onboard and ready to roll. At a time when agencies are experiencing massive resignations, OpenMind has maintained 0% attrition! 2- He drives his team with thought leadership, then gives them the stage. Maaz’ direction drove his business unit to the creation of some of the most innovative and well recognized campaigns across markets, becoming the highest awarded and most recognized team at MediaCom Malaysia five years straight: • 15 medals across local, regional, and global awards, with 8 golds in 2018 alone, and 11x a finalist, with Maaz showcasing every planner on-project by name. • A Planner of the Year gold recipient for a direct report in 2020. • And a Shell campaign that created a bespoke footfall attribution framework named under WARC 100 most innovative media campaigns of the world, previously known as the GUNN report.