DT : daren & tiff

October 23, 2006

Michael Tang featured in THE STAR

Filed under: Daren, DEETEE, News, Tiff — delephant @ 10:50 pm

So coolness!!!  Tiff’s dad was featured in the STAR newspaper recently, with his involvement with Spencer Azizul Advertising firm and how they build up the business despite losing the Tourism Malaysia account a couple of years ago. 

Check out the Article below . . .

Spencer Azizul soldiers on

Ad agency shows its mettle amid tough times.  

LIFE has not been a beach for Spencer Azizul Advertising since losing its biggest account – Tourism Malaysia’s domestic business – at the end of 2004. But the agency, which has proven to be a long-term survivor among local agencies, is set to bounce back. 

Executive director Michael Tang says it has already secured new clients to mitigate the loss of Cuti-Cuti Malaysia account, which the agency had handled for seven years. 

“We’re starting to grow again,” he tells BizWeek in Kuala Lumpur. 

Malaysian Debt Ventures ad created by Spencer Azizul

It added three sizeable new accounts this year – IT financier Malaysian Debt Ventures (MDV), car navigational system provider Navi & Map, and Ministry of Health (Healthy lifestyle campaign) – to its client roster that already included Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), Petronas (Mesra card and the convenience store) and Lam Soon. 

There is still some way to go, though. The Cuti-Cuti Malaysia account was worth more than RM15mil, which means this year Spencer Azizul will not be back to the record 2004 billings level of RM39mil. 

However, despite the current tough market conditions, Spencer Azizul is in a sustainable mode and is forecast to hit RM30mil in billings, Tang says. 

The agency has also recruited an experienced marketer, Muhammad Zain Ibrahim, into its management team in April. This is expected to provide the impetus to grow further in non-advertising disciplines and to secure more consumer-oriented accounts. 

Formerly L’Oreal (M) Sdn Bhd external affairs and marketing services manager, Zain is Spencer Azizul’s first general manager.  

“It’s part and parcel of a succession plan that we’re working towards,” explains Tang. “It makes business sense to think about who’s going to eventually run the company. 

“It’s not that we (Tang and Spencer Azizul founders Azizul Kallahan and Spencer Wing) are thinking about retirement but it makes sense to have someone to support you.” 

Zain, 39, graduated with a degree in economics and a minor in business from the University of Iowa in 1990, and has since worked in marketing in multinational companies such as Nestle Malaysia and Colgate-Palmolive. He was at Ogilvy & Mather for one year as associate account director, but apart from that stint, he was always on the client side. 

Tang, himself a former Ogilvy & Mather man, says: “We think Zain has the right background because, firstly, he has worked many years in marketing.  

 Michael Tang

Tang (left) and Z

ain plan to make the agency into a total marketing solutions provider

“Secondly, he has worked in mass consumer goods business. That kind of experience is very important in the ad industry, because at the day, advertising deals with consumers. If you were a fast-moving consumer goods marketer, you would have a basic tendency to align your thoughts to what the consumers think and want. 

“The third factor is he has worked on strong international brands, including L’Oreal.” 

Zain was also involved in the launch of Everyday Filled Milk and Fab Lemon, and he helped turn Maybelline into one of the country’s strongest cosmetic brands. 

With Zain’s knowledge and experience in consumer product marketing, Spencer Azizul is well equipped to pursue more potential clients in the consumer goods sector. 

According to Tang, Spencer Azizul’s business has been slanted “unfortunately far too much” in corporate advertising. “We have to start opening ourselves more in the area of consumer goods,” he says. 

Zain says given his experience, he will also build Spencer Azizul to become a total marketing solutions provider – that is, going beyond just advertising. 

He has been involved in events and promotions such as the KL Fashion Week, which has been organised by The Star and presented by L’Oreal for four years (this year there are additional organisers and sponsors).  

Zain also says the agency would like to do more market research. “Basic market intelligence and research is available everywhere, such as in publications and on the Web. It’s a matter of how you tap on that,” he adds. 

On becoming a total communication solutions provider, Tang says Spencer Azizul has already set up a public relations (PR) division in July last year. 

“PR is a very important component of the total communication strategy, and we found that oftentimes, if we had to work with an external party, those involved tended to have different goals and objectives. 

“But by having a PR unit under Spencer Azizul, we have better synergy. We have a better understanding of what the client needs are and are able to work jointly together to meet these needs,” he says. 

The PR division, which is self-sustaining now, currently have a staff of six and the agency hopes to grow it further. 

“The division also does event management such as product launches, but we try to focus on profiling clients. We also conduct media training for clients and intend to move into crisis management,” Tang says. 

The agency is currently discussing with an international Australian crisis management and business continuity consultant for a strategic partnership. “We hope to seal the agreement by the end of the year,” he says. 

Spencer Azizul, founded in 1985, has survived through the recessions when many other local agencies folded. And one can well expect the agency, with its solid strategies, to not only weather the current tough times but to expand further. 

Source : Star

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