Boosting collaboration to raise competitiveness

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) aims to, among others, build strong relations with the relevant agencies and authorities with greater collaborative efforts that will empower local businesses to be more competitive, not just locally but regionally.

Speaking with StarBiz the association’s president Claudian Navin Stanislaus said the agenda of these meetings with the ministries, authorities and various regulatory bodies were more than courtesy calls.

He said MAA plans to work more cohesively with the ministries and all the other stakeholders in the industry to ensure a more conducive environment for brands and their respective businesses to thrive and not merely survive.

Knowing that cohesion needs to work for both sides, he said the association has offered to support initiatives to promote the respective objective of the various agencies, while seeking their support in return to push the industry’s agenda, while keeping the channels of discourse continuously open.

At the same time, he said MAA was also stepping up its engagement with the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.

Navin, who is also Baba Products (M) Sdn Bhd’s head of communication and consumer marketing, said, “As SMEs are a critical and important sector in the economy, MAA is engaging with the various trade association who represent them to foster better ties, with the hopes of formalised affiliations.

“While both sides will benefit from greater collaboration, we hope to open up the SME sector to the values of branding and advertising.

“This is so, especially now with the world’s two largest free trade agreements (FTAs) that Malaysia is signatory to – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – have opened local businesses to both the opportunities as well as threats of a regionally open market.”

Though MAA counts most of the largest brands in the country amongst its members, contributing to about 80% of the annual advertising expenditure and are key contributors to the currency circulating in the economy, he said it was the SME sector that as the backbone of the economy would need the support amid the challenging times.

MAA member companies cover brands in various industries like construction, services, food and beverage, technology, banking, manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods or FMCG.

Navin said MAA would also continue to spearhead the World Federation of Advertisers’ (WFA) initiatives not just locally but continue to play an active role in supporting their presence in the region.

“We are working closely with the WFA to release its diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) second wave survey imminently, and hope that the subsequent findings reflect and improvement from the previous benchmark findings.

“The association is also working closely with its regional office on strengthening cross-border ties between member associations.

“Greater collaboration with fellow advertiser associations in the region will also be mutually beneficial.

“This is as Asean is driven by the SME sector, and therefore, has very different perspectives, problems and agendas from brands rooted in other regions,” he noted.

The WFA, of which MAA is a member, last year introduced the global DEI Charter for Change at the Cannes Lions held in France.

The aim of the charter is to drive real action and improve the experience of various groups working in the advertising and marketing industry.

It identifies actions for organisations to undertake to ensure a better work experience.

In an effort to get greater awareness for the various codes that regulate advertising, Navin said MAA would be undertaking initiatives to educate industry practitioners, interns and students alike with the knowledge of the various regulations in play today.

To this end, the association would collaborate with the various authorities and relevant ministries, most notably, the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum and Advertising Standards Advisory, of which it is council members, as well as in direct engagement with institutes of higher learning and academies to offer relevant microcredit certifications.

The new MAA council has spent its time since coming into office in April last year to restructure the entire association to be more future focused, and building on strengths, shedding some tired heritage and embarking on new routes.

“We have a young and able council, along with some seasoned hands too.

“We will let the younger members decide on the respective paths, but will provide our experience when needed to help steer and overcome obstacles. That is the only way to remain relevant.”

This would also be reflected in its events too, which would not be the typical “one-size-fits-all” variety, but more custom curated content that would best fit the scope of different tiers of marketers, he said.

MAA kicks the year off with its first micro event entitled “Success through creative marketing and technology” hosted by Macrokiosk, with more to follow after the Chinese New Year break.

In its push to better prepare marketers for the ever-changing skills required, he said the association is also collaborating with relevant tech and media partners on possible certification programmes that would benefit both the staff and their organisations.

“We are also working closely with our industry partners, both the media owners and agency associations, and looking forward to the launch of the measurement framework for video and Out Of Home that has been a few years in the making.

“This is not a wish list for the year, but these are all initiatives already in play.

“They are driven by one singular objective though – to add more value into the industry and the economy at large and our members specifically,” he added.

Originally posted on The Star Online

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