Young Spikes Winners Share How to Stay Creative
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Malaysian Young Spikes Winners Share How to Keep Creative Juices Flowing

Spikes Asia Advertising Festival recently kicked off its inaugural competition in Malaysia for creative and marketing communications professionals aged 30 and below.

Aimed at giving young professionals recognition for their ideas, the prestigious event saw companies like airasia.com, Unifi and Astro joining hands in efforts to highlight these amazing Malaysian talents to industry players across Asia Pacific.

With a number of categories offered including Media, Integrated, Public Relations and Digital, each teams of two had 24 hours (48 hours for the Integrated category) to come up with their pitch.

Spencer Lee, airasia.com chief operating officer (standing, orange shirt) with Young Spikes Malaysia winners recently.

Other than the trophy and passes to Astro’s Reconnect Camp to turn their ideas into reality, Young Spikes Malaysia Gold winners of their respective categories get to compete on the Asia Pacific level at Spikes Asia in Singapore on 25 September 2019.

travel360.com got in touch with the winners and here’s what they have to say about their success:

Integrated Category Winning Team

Carmen Lee, 25, and Alyafarah Zainudin, 27, of Fishermen Integrated

Tell us about your winning campaign. What’s the inspiration behind it and how did you come up with a strategy in such a short time?

We were inspired by the idea of happiness. There’s no definitive secret to happiness but we thought that the sentiment is attainable with AirAsia. It’s a brand that delivers happiness, from low fares to competitive travel packages. AirAsia Credit Card, for instance, is a mecca of happiness as the benefits and possibilities are endless. Buying things with AirAsia Credit Card comes with BIG Points that will allow users to fly to over 130 destinations across Asia. If that isn’t happiness, then what is?

But.

We found out that Malaysians are unhappy. World Happiness Report 2019 found Malaysians are getting unhappier as we have dropped from 35th in the ranking order in 2018 to 80th this year. Yikes.

So we thought, how can a brand encourage unhappy Malaysians to bring happiness forward and live life in the now with their product that essentially provides happiness?

In 48 hours, we scoured the internet for data to back us up and tried our best to make sense of the weird parts of our brains. We came up with a phrase called “Wee!” to invite Malaysians to embrace a new way of life. A life that promises happiness because if it makes them smile, it’ll take them miles.

Is there a broad difference between offline and digital marketing? Which one do you think provides a bigger impact on the audience today?

Good ideas will always create a big impact regardless of the platform. But it’s always fun when you get to be innovative and combine both digital and traditional, in a way disrupting each landscape. We love mind-bending stuff.

What’s the secret behind your successful marketing communication strategy?

We asked ourselves this a lot: Why would anyone beyond us care about this idea, about this campaign?

We wanted our campaign to resonate well with our target audience. So, we made sure we were clear on our strategy and messaging before we get creative on it.

Coming up with original content can be a constant struggle. What did you do to overcome such a setback?

We slept on it. Once we’ve decided to go with “Wee!”, we told ourselves that if we still like it in the morning, then we’ll know that it’s the one. Creating good content is hard work. In a way, we’re both content creators. We create content for brands and we always make it a point to understand who we’re talking to and continue digging for insights that would allow us to be original.

Content credibility is vital. A recent study found Malaysian influencers are losing credibility because of fake engagement. Do you think companies should still invest on influencers or should they look elsewhere?

Brands should always invest on influencers who are on-brand to ensure credibility. We think influencers are great. They’re doing what they love and they have a following that love what they do. If the message is right with the messenger then most probably there will be legit engagements.

How would you turn a challenging market (property, for example) into a successful portfolio?

Wing it? Just kidding! Whenever we get a challenging brief, we would always try to simplify it and look at who we are talking to. That way we would know how to come up with a campaign that works.

Digital Category Winning Team

Valentina Ho, 23, and Ravin Shunmugarajan, 22, of Merdeka LHS

Tell us about your winning campaign. What’s the inspiration behind it and how did you come up with a strategy in such a short time?

V: One of my first thoughts after getting the brief for airasia.com was that travel revolves so much around what’s on social media nowadays. I recently went on a trip because I wanted to go to a cool destination I read about online, so the influence of FOMO (fear of missing out) was the main inspiration. We called the campaign the ‘Insta-Itinerary’ because a large part of it hinged on Instagram as the main channel. The main proposal was basically hijacking Instagram’s geotags of popular tourist locations, like Gardens by the Bay, to redirect people to book the activity at airasia.com.

Is there a broad difference between offline and digital marketing? Which one do you think provides a bigger impact on the audience today?

R: Each has its own merits. Everything boils down to the target audience. You can’t reach baby boomers via TikTok and expect a big impact. It doesn’t work like that. Once you know your audience, that’s when you can start crafting your message.

What’s the secret behind your successful marketing communication strategy?

V: Having a strong audience insight. It should be something personal that people can relate to.

Coming up with original content can be a constant struggle. What did you do to overcome such a setback?

R: When you’re stuck on an idea, take a break and stop thinking about it.
V: Taking a nap helps. Sometimes you just need time to recharge.

Content credibility is vital. A recent study found Malaysian influencers are losing credibility because of fake engagement. Do you think companies should still invest in influencers or should they look elsewhere?

V: Influencers are still valuable to a certain extent, but the market is oversaturated now. Most content from lifestyle influencers looks similar to me. Out of the people I follow, I pay more attention to creators whose content is more niche. They may not necessarily have a large following, but they appeal to me better because their content is more tailored.
R: Brands should know the right person they want to work with. They shouldn’t pick an influencer just because they have a certain number of followers.

Anything else to add?

V: It’s nerve-wracking to be flying to Singapore for the next leg of the competition, but we hope to be able to learn and absorb as much as possible through the experience.

Media Category Winning Team

Raymond Liew, 30, and Tam Sher Ren, 27, of OMD Malaysia

Tell us about your winning campaign. What’s the inspiration behind it and how did you come up with a strategy in such a short time?

As consumers living in constant connectivity, not getting any internet connection scares us more than not having our wallet with us. Whether it is a delay in getting a Grab ride, or lag in our drama streaming or worse yet, when playing PUBG, this is what most of us would want to avoid. Unifi’s new product completes the connectivity journey from home broadband, seamlessly to becoming unifi 4G and onto public unifi WiFi.

‘Zero Downtime’ was our big idea across key touch points for launch and amplification. This includes creative media executions and specific targeting on digital platforms to bring to live and demonstrate what ‘Zero Downtime’ is to consumers.

Is there a broad difference between offline and digital marketing? Which one do you think provides a bigger impact on the audience today?

The main difference between offline and digital marketing is precision and personalisation. With digital marketing, we can target customers with customised messaging and precise targeting depending on platforms used whereas offline marketing may appeal more to the masses of Malaysia with high reach.

No one can dispute that digitisation has impacted our lives in ways that we can’t imagine and it is already part of our lives. In fact, the analog/digital line divide should not exist. When we have clear business objectives and goals, we would be able to identify our consumers and their journey to formulate an integrated media plan across touchpoints to impact desired business outcomes.

What’s the secret behind your successful marketing communication strategy?

We did a quick research and had corridor surveys for better understanding on the brand, category and consumers before coming up with the two-prong approach of (a) brand refresh and (b) applying smart media as our media strategy.

As we are broadband and mobile users ourselves, it’s easy for us to understand the issues and find the sweet spot that addresses consumers needs.

Coming up with original content can be a constant struggle. What did you do to overcome such a setback?

We also seek inspiration from local and global innovative cases to get our creative juices flowing.

We are both content junkies and curious cats! Our styles differ slightly though, I like to chat with people and browse though social media to get inspiration. Raymond prefers to sit at a corner with his headphones and music blasting when he is ideating.

Once we have some thought on the idea, we will test water with people. We did multiple corridor-surveys and numerous calls to a broader group of the intended consumers, to test our approach and big idea. We then test, tweak, repeat.

Content credibility is vital. A recent study found Malaysian influencers are losing credibility because of fake engagement. Do you think companies should still invest on influencers or should they look elsewhere?

It depends on the brand and campaign objectives. There are clients who are pro it and some less for it. It will boil down to selection of influencers, how the brand integrates itself within the content and how we leverage on the influencers’ unique style to communicate and engage with consumers.

There have been numerous success stories on influencers impacting perception or uplift of business for clients. Brands need to constantly refine their influencers’ strategy to stay authentic with consumers

How would you turn a challenging market (property, for example) into a successful portfolio?

A clear and detailed understanding of the category, brand and consumer; current state and opportunities. We believe that a transparent and trusting relationship with client and agencies can work wonders and overcome any situation.

Anything else to add?

We believe that for any successful marketing programme, the decision always begins and ends with the consumer. Only if we put ourselves in the consumers shoes can we craft the ideal solution for them. Most often this is ignored and it shouldn’t be.

Public Relations Category Winning Team

Farah Rabiah Ahmad Farid, 26, and Joanna Mak, 26, of TBWA

Tell us about your winning campaign. What’s the inspiration behind it and how did you come up with a strategy in such a short time?

When given a brief, I usually put myself in the audiences’ shoes. And thankful enough the target market for the campaign was ME. So my art director and I thought about what we would do in regard with the campaign.

Is there a broad difference between offline and digital marketing? Which one do you think provides a bigger impact on the audience today?

Of course, there is. In a technologically advanced world, we’re pretty much familiar with anything that’s digital. Easy access information, quick online purchase and so on. So if we want to reach a faster/bigger impact, why not do it through platforms people are familiar with.

What’s the secret behind your successful marketing communication strategy?

My art director and I wanted to come up with something practical. We didn’t want to come up with anything too complicated because we might lose our audiences’ attention. So, we kept it simple. By showing people how even small actions can create a bigger impact.

Coming up with original content can be a constant struggle. What did you do to overcome such a setback?

Research, research, research! Vomit all of them on an A3 paper, draw mind maps and see the bigger picture!

Content credibility is vital. A recent study found Malaysian influencers are losing credibility because of fake engagement. Do you think companies should still invest in influencers or should they look elsewhere?

We can’t deny that some of us still look to influencers for inspiration. But not all campaigns/causes/products need influencers to spread the message. I truly believe that at times, there are better ways to ‘influence’ the audience.

How would you turn a challenging market (property, for example) into a successful portfolio?

Make it fun! Give each property personality. A fun write up would be great.

For details about Young Spikes, visit spikes.asia.

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