Strengthening the creative industry

4As presidential candidate wants to boost its appeal to young talents

DENTSU Aegis Network chief operating officer Nicky Lim, who is running for president at the upcoming Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia’s (4As) biennial general meeting (BGM), wants to make big changes to the association.

Lim, together with M&C Saatchi managing director Datin Sharifah Menyalara Hussein (better known as Lara to her peers) who is running for vice-president, believe there is more that the advertising industry can offer.

Lim and Lara have come out with an “eight-point manifesto” they feel can help promote the industry further.

Firstly, they believe that it has the potential to contribute significantly to the Malaysian economy.

“The creative industry contributed around 1.2% to Malaysia’s gross domestic product in 2012,” says Lim, who is the current vice-president of the 4As.

“However, it’s still significantly lower compared with other countries. In the United Kingdom (UK), the creative industry contributed 6.4% and in Singapore, it’s around 5.6%. So, it’s important for us to increase the contribution to the economy,” he adds.

According to reports last month, current president Datuk Johnny Mun did not volunteer for nomination at the BGM on March 27.

However, it is understood that other than Lim, three other individuals have been nominated for the position of 4As president.

Lim and Lara, who have 40 years’ experience within the industry between the two of them, say they want to help make the creative industry “sexy for the younger generation to be a part of.”

“Compared to a lot of other sectors, it’s not seen as a lucrative industry by a lot of talents today,” Lara says.

“It’s nice to be able to say that you’re in the medical or legal profession. But if you were to say to your mom ‘I’m working in the advertising industry,’ she would go ‘Whaat?’”

Lara says there needs to be more training programmes within the local creative industry to help nurture and retain talents.

Because acquiring and retaining good talents within the industry is difficult, many creative agencies are forced to work with whatever they can, she says.

“We’re so desperate to hire that we take in almost anyone!”

Apart from local talents, Lara says the 4As also wants to be able to tap Malaysian talents abroad.

“We would like to work with the United Kingdom & Eire Council of Malaysian Students (UKEC) and even Talent Corp to help tap them. We truly want the best talents for our industry.”

Lim concurs: “If we put in talents that are not suitable for the job, it will affect the agencies’ work.”

Going forward, he says the 4As would like to work closely with foreign universities to tap foreign talents as well.

“I think it would be good for the industry. We want to be able to attract talents, say, from the UK and have them work here. I think it would be good for our agencies to be exposed to them as well.

“We want to become a funnel for talent and leadership development.”

Lim says there is also a need to upskill local and bumiputra agencies in the country.

“We need to be able to reach out to these agencies.

“The profit pie is big enough for all. However, there is a huge gap in terms of capabilities for local talents. For bumiputra agencies, there are procurement issues when it comes to securing big clients.”

Additionally, Lim says, it is imperative for the 4As to engage with various external stakeholders.

“We want to engage bodies such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the National Film Corp Malaysia and even small and medium enterprises.

“By engaging these parties, we can become part of the conversation… the policy making.”

Lim says there is an important need to foster better co-existence between the creative, media and digital agencies for the benefit of members and the industry.

“About a decade ago, everyone went their separate ways. We need the co-existence of all three to be able to have a stronger voice,” he says.

Source: The Star