Advertiser: - Brand: - Creative Agency: - Credits: Bala Pomaleh - Mediabrands Malaysia, Chief Executive Officer Muralitharan Ramasamy - Mediabrands Malaysia, Chief Financial Officer Debica Sigamani - Mediabrands Malaysia, Director of Human Resources Gavina Rajendran - Mediabrands Malaysia, Director of Marketing and Communication Linnga Kumar - Mediabrands Malaysia, Senior Human Resources Manager Valerie Aw - Mediabrands Malaysia, Manager, Human Resource Business Partner Aina Afiqah - Mediabrands Malaysia, Communication Executive Zhi Yeng Lim - Mediabrands Malaysia, Human Resource Business Partner Audrey Chong - Universal McCann (UM), Chief Executive Officer Stanley Clement - Mediabrands Content Studio, Chief Executive Officer Darren Yuen - Initiative & BPN, Chief Executive Officer Sujith Rao - Reprise, Managing Director of Reprise Performance & Technology Fan Chen Yip - Orion, Chief Investment Officer Mei Jeng Phang - Ensemble Worldwide, Managing Director
An estimated 4.5 million Malaysians have a disability, and less than 0.5% have any form of employment. The disabled community in Malaysia faces tremendous obstacles, not only a lack of disabled friendly infrastructure, but a lack of education opportunities, discrimination, and the pervasive misconception that those with disabilities are not useful – leading to the disabled being underserved and not seen. Our objective: to become an employer of choice for PwD and foster a climate of respect and inclusivity.
The Strategy & Execution
Our first task was connecting with leading PwD authorities: 1. Senator Datuk Ras Adiba: Malaysian senator, a PwD advocate & Chairman of Bernama media 2. Representatives of PwD NGOs: to understand the unique challenges of various disability groups 3. University programme coordinators: to understand representation and state of PwD graduates 4. Perkeso: to understand the landscape and hiring 5. Certified Disability Equality Training trainers: to understand needs and training required Through conversations we became more informed and passionate about our intent, gaining confidence, direction & insights which shaped our 3-pronged action plan. 1. Adapt recruitment practices: Diversity initiatives needed to extend to recruitment efforts. Through key partnerships with NGOs and universities, we increased our PwD talent pipeline. Till end Q1, we successfully interviewed 48 PwD candidates, forming 16% of interviews overall. In a typical interview process, every placement requires 3 candidates to be interviewed. With PwD hires, more time is taken to ensure a deeper understanding of applicants. COVID restrictions created additional challenges with online interviews, proving a vastly different experience for HR and hiring managers. 2. Increase awareness amongst Employees: a. Disability Equality Training: Intensive sessions designed specifically for senior management, leads, support staff & teams with incoming PwD to shed light on different disabilities and how best to interact with PwD colleagues. b. Disability Awareness Workshops: Formulated as bite-sized sessions for all staff to align understanding and remove barriers. c. Specialist sessions: A year-long plan of talks on different disabilities: Autism Awareness, Learning Disabilities, Learning Sign Language d. HR Team Roundtable: Open dialogue for staff to raise concerns or suggestions e. In-house Inclusion & Mental Health Resources: Constant communication on a wide variety of online resources and bespoke in-house programmes like Mental Health Week 3. Organisational Preparedness: A tailored PwD policy encompassed the entire employee experience cycle from recruitment practices, training, to end of employment. Changes were also made to existing policies & procedures, eg. an additional declaration question for disabilities in the employment form. Strict data privacy guidelines and enforcements were put in place and relevant employees who would have access to information were given an e-learning course. Whistleblowing and SOPs when dealing with discrimination were also enacted and disseminated to all employees so managers were best informed. An equity parity toolkit was created to ensure we are providing the best possible working environment for PwD. Aligned through assessment forms, it lays out the types of training for different PwD, and additional support provided eg. Isolated workplaces, reasonable extensions of task deadlines, additional insurance, screenreaders etc. Finally, PwD personal assistance buddies were assigned and guided to act as a point of contact and support.
By end 2021, we hired 6 PwD, 1.5% of our headcount, higher than the 1% mandate for public sector. Our goal is to expand this to 3% in 2022. Moving forward, 10% of positions we hire for will require at least 1 PwD candidate in the final candidate shortlist. Within 4 months, 40% of managers & teams with PwD colleagues have completed the Diversity Equality Training, with 35% of other employees completing awareness sessions, aiming for 100% completion by year end. We have noted a stark increase in employee net promoter scores (NPS) since our first PwD colleagues joined us. In April 2021 before the initiative was launched, NPS was 8, rising steadily to 21 in November 2021 and 43 at Q1 2022 – a 35-point improvement. This is testament that employees appreciate and are committed to building a more diverse and inclusive working environment. Senior management continues to support and endorse the initiative at every turn, taking the time to personally attend trainings and round table discussions, driving conversation around inclusivity. Our journey to become a more diverse and inclusive workplace has gained press recognition, with CEO Bala Pomaleh leading the charge to champion the initiative in the industry. Internally, the programme roadmap and communication materials are being shared with the intention to replicate it regionally. This journey has been one of discovery and enlightenment, yet there is still more to learn as building an inclusive ecosystem for PwD is ever-changing. Encouragingly, in the process of preparing for our PwD colleagues, we also ended up making Mediabrands Malaysia more inclusive for all employees.
Advertiser: - Brand: - Creative Agency: - Credits: Dheeraj Raina - dentsu Malaysia, CEO, Media Brands, dentsu Malaysia Winnie Chen-Head - dentsu Malaysia, Partner, Head of Product & Growth; Head of iProspect Vanitha Selvathurai - dentsu Malaysia, Partner, Head of carat Hemanth Jayaraman - dentsu Malaysia, Partner, Head of dentsu X Asha Nair - dentsu Malaysia, MD, Investment & Platform Activation Suhail Ahmed - dentsu Malaysia, Partner, Head of Programmatic, Data & Martech Paul Low - dentsu Malaysia, GM, Posterscope OOH MeiLian Gan - dentsu Malaysia, HR Director, dentsu Malaysia Ikhwan Tharwan - dentsu Malaysia, HR Partner, dentsu Malaysia
We believe that our strength lies in difference. Through our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, we pledge to seek out diverse perspectives, celebrate difference, and build an inclusive culture where everyone is empowered to bring their authentic self to work. We don’t just value differences, or different perspectives, we seek them out and we invite them in so we can tap into the collective power of everyone at Dentsu as a result, our ideas are better, our products are better, and our clients are better served. DEI is one of the key pillars of our Social Impact Strategy, as part of our commitment to create a fair and open society. We are on a journey to building a truly diverse and inclusive workplace of which we can all be proud! And the need for more open and honest conversations has never been more important than right now. We implement 4 strategic pillars of initiatives, each with key success KPIs mapped locally. 1. Transparency & Accountability: Female leaders representation to drive transparent reporting & leadership accountability 2. Representation & Sponsorship: Develop talent planning, initiatives & workforce representative of the society we serve 3. Education & Continuous Learning: Employee experience & engagement through Employee Resource Groups with improved scores on Employee Check In surveys 4. Client & Community Impact: Collaboration with clients, partners & industry communities on our DEI leadership & commitments
The Strategy & Execution
We believe our continued success depends on the diverse experiences and ideas all of you bring to the table. We are deeply invested to create an equal and inclusive workplace across across ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender, age, neurodiversity and differing physical abilities. Some of our key initiatives and achievements in 2021 includes: 1. Majority and/or equal representation of women not just in our workforce, but also within the Leadership team 2. DEI training, sharing and coaching programs, most prominently on hosting a fireside chat with women leaders of the industry this International Women’s Day 2022 in March with the theme of #BreakTheBias, we hosted a fireside chat with inspirational female leaders of the industry such as Jean Ler (Marketing Director, Pizza Hut APAC), Fiona Liao (Group CMO, Pos Malaysia) and Rozina Aziz (CoFounder & CEO, Metamorfosa 3. We develop a full suite of staff development, incentive and training programs such as Me2We to coach people leadership skills, NextGen Leaders on Digital Strategy with >60% female representation, and launched Future Leaders Program of rising star leaders under 30 years old across different agency teams who champion culture and people initiatives among our workforce. 4. Female leadership representation on industry panels, discussions and thought leadership across a variety of subject matter and topics
In the past year alone, we have made great strides and recognised great accomplishments in our DEI initiatives. 1. Over 66% of our workforce are represented by women 2. Half of our EXCO Leadership consist of female leaders in Asha Nair (MD, Investment & Platform Activation), Vanitha Selvathurai (Partner, Head of carat), Winnie ChenHead (Partner, Head of Product & Growth & iProspect) and Foo Jing Wen (ECommerce Director) 3. Over 200+ participants with active engagement in our International Women’s Day 2022 Fireside chat with women leaders 4. Over 50% of our Future Leaders Program, Passion Pioneers, are represented by young female rising star talents 5. Our Head of Product, Winnie ChenHead also contributed to the IAB SEA + India Gaming & Esports Livestream panel in March 22, representing Media Agencies’s point of view as one half of the female representation on the panel. 6. Our Head of carat, Vanitha Selvathurai, serves as a Secretary council member on the Media Specialist Association of Malaysia. 7. Our MD of Investment & Platform, Asha Nair, contributed in a panel discussion in Programmatic Pioneers Virtual Summit Asia in Nov 2021. 8. As an EXCO leadership, Happiness index ( which is a measured by the positive change we bring) is one of the key Goals we carry in our Annual ratings 9. Dentsu Media Malaysia’s annual Employee CheckIn score in 2021 has shown a year on year improvement on “force for Good” DEI Score which is 1 point higher than Dentsu International
Advertiser: - Brand: - Creative Agency: - Credits: Mohammed Suhail Ahmed - Partner - Head of programmatic, data and Martech, Carat Media Services (M) Sdn Bhd
Future of TV is becoming more digital & data-driven. Digital consumption pattern has changed on how we consume media, especially video content. It was important to define the state of play for consumers, broadcasters so brands are able to smartly invest in emerging channels such as OTT & CTV.
Successfully co-authored industry thought leadership article which became a playbook for brands to successfully build emerging channel strategy.
Led industry discussion with key stakeholders across clients, publishers and broadcasters on the the Unstoppable Rise Of OTT & CTV in Asia.
Advertiser: - Brand: - Creative Agency: - Credits: Saravanan Asogan - Business Director, MediaCompete Sdn Bhd Wan Lih Chan - General Manager, Mediacompete Sdn. Bhd., Rana Himanshu - General Manager, Mediacompete Sdn. Bhd., Jaz Lee - Creative Director, Ogilvy and Mather Shawn Siew - Senior Communication Manager, Mediacompete Sdn. Bhd. Nurul Hidayah - Communication Manager, Mediacompete Sdn. Bhd.
While everyone loves an underdog story, not many realize the amount of blood, sweat and tears that are shed in this ruthless and unforgiving industry where for every three things that get resolved, other five arises. Success doesn’t come overnight. Success here in advertising lies in the tedious grind day-in and day-out for weeks and sometimes months before one sees the light at the end of the tunnel. It requires a lot of hard work, but above everything it demands grit and humility. And it brings me great pleasure to be writing this entry for Saravanan Asogan, an individual who embodies these characteristics.
What’s Special about You & Key Achievements
Out to make to make a mark and a legacy in the industry, Saravanan has and continues to push himself beyond media and the status quo to deliver fresh and outside-of-the-box solutions: 1. How He Turned a Coke Can into a Nationwide CNY Greetings? During a period where people couldn’t travel back home for CNY, Saravanan led the team to the launch Coke’s first AR campaign in Malaysia. Malaysians were able to send personalised AR Greetings to their loved ones by scanning an actual Coke can. It changed the way how campaigns were traditionally executed beyond the conventional touchpoints and resulted in positive growth in brand attributes, ‘Brand I Love’ by 8+ points in Malaysia and +1 in Singapore. 2. Wooing Malaysian Mums with the Launch of Anmum Essential Gold The driving force behind the launch of the Essential Gold product variant in Malaysia. Saravanan lead the team to a digital takeover strategy through Google Max activation on display and video, followed with a 360-content strategy as well as expanding the brand’s e-commerce capabilities to include both on and off platform commerce inventories. Within 8 months, the brand snatched 1.6% market share and the e-com business grew in size by more than 2x making Malaysia a top 5 market. 3. Geofencing Malaysian to an Uplift in Vaccination During the Pandemic Instead of opting for a conventional digital campaign in support of Redoxon’s partnership with MOH, he lead the team to design a hyperlocalised mobile campaign to ensure maximum localisation. All yellow and red zones were geofenced with customized messaging in which all banners were made to dynamically change daily based on the status of a particular region, delivering a more precise communication! Vaccination registration increased by 10 mil while vaccination rate increased 50% during this period of time! Redoxon’s new product searches drove +153% search increased and +40% traffic vs. P6M.
Through his tenure with us, he has been nothing short of dynamic and was able to deliver consistent and great results and below are key highlights where his leadershipship skills shine the brightest: 1. Thoughtleadership : Turbocharging Fonterra E-Com Full-Suite Activation Across Malaysia and Vietnam Saravanan understood the importance of an e-commerce first approach during the pandemic and led the implementation of a full suite of on-platform and off-platform inventories across Google, Facebook, Shopee and Lazada. He subsequently also designed a 4-quadrant framework which enables micro-optimization on an SKU level instead. The results: Fonterra E-Com in Malaysia and Vietnam are now consistently within the top 5 performing market in Southeast Asia. 2. Finesse in Account Leadership / Management : Leading TCCC and Fonterra to One of The Best Client Rating Point in 5 Years Within 18 months, Saravanan provided stability and innovation in the highly competitive FMCG category through his tenacity and grit, achieving one of the best client ratings since: “Throughout the span of this turbulent year (pandemic), Sara has been a giant rock as our media partner, being consistenly agile and dynamic to address multiple business challenges the brand faced.” – Marketing Director Fonterra “As a team leader I saw how he helped enable and grow his team through patient guidance while from a business standpoint, he helped pushed us into innovative digital media executions that led to several indusry awards!” – Global Social Engagement Director, The Coca-Cola Company 3. Ability to Lead, Nurture and Grow : Driving Force Being the Agency’s Super Pitch Team Being the jack of all trades, Saravanan is also a part of the leadership team of the Agency Super Ptich Team which in the past 6 months as achieved: 25 clients engaged; 16 clients pitched; 6 new clients won! These includes e-hailing giants across Asia, one of the biggest airline companies in Asia, Malaysia’s top food aggregator app, world’s top 15 bank, and a few key govermental clients. In totality he brought in over RM35mil worth of billing in FY21 / FY22! The success Saravanan enjoys today was not achieved overnight, it was endless cycles of constant learning. From analysing data, building partnerships, understanding a business’s needs to knowing what it takes to lead and nurture a team, every lesson has led him to where he is today.
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.