CEO of Naga DDB Tribal

“I’ve always been an admirer of the arts, from literature, paintings and movies, because their ability to trigger emotions is something I found myself in awe of. The idea of someone capable of creating works that can evoke such a powerful response was so inspiring to me, and I soon discovered that advertising was an ideal way to cultivate my interest in the arts… which is serendipitous as it was in the stars for me to follow this path that was already a family business. I had to prove myself, though. My father once told my teenage self that I had to get out and uphold myself to a certain standard before I would even be allowed to set foot in any of his businesses!

While many would like to believe that my life at Naga DDB Tribal is Mad Men come to life, it’s not true at all! I have found that the role of a CEO demands a perspective on both the big picture and the urgency of the immediate present. My current focus is on two things, which are the people and the product. Speaking with clients and working with various team members to figure out ways to improve our level of service from every aspect is a mainstay of my day. We also make it a point as often as possible to conjure methods and executions to improve the experience of working at Naga DDB Tribal.

The industry is currently experiencing an exponential rate of evolution and we need to be on our toes to adapt to that change. New technology is giving us new canvases to create with and, while that is exciting, there are few things more thrilling than witnessing the incredible capabilities of human creativity. The future of advertising definitely lies in the ability to marry this creativity with the ability to adapt.

The demand on advertising and on agencies, in particular, is to understand what drives consumers and society as a whole. Powerful advertising – through any medium – can serve to trigger emotions, tell a story and influence behaviour. The onus is on us to figure out what makes them tick and how to subtly serve messages that don’t come across as forced. The key, in my humble opinion, is to ascertain relevancy. At the core of it, consumers want to be informed but also entertained at the same time. Therefore, creativity and storytelling should be considered as viable assets because it is getting harder to capture audiences’ attention with the unending stimuli around them.

I think that advertising has played a large role, probably more than most people realise in the development of society, especially in the past few decades or so, and that’s something that needs to be recognised, appreciated and celebrated.

We’ve had terrific opportunities to work with some of the biggest local and global brands from a multitude of consumer categories. To be given an opportunity to sit with the heads of these established institutions while engaging in conversations about their business is something worth waking up to everyday and I’m reminded to be grateful to have a career in this field.”


This article first appeared in the June 2017 issue of The Peak Malaysia.

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