Marketing Excellence Awards judge Zalman Zainal on simplicity and effectiveness


Hong Leong Bank's (HLB) chief marketing and communications officer Zalman Aefendy Zainal Abidin (pictured) has more than two decades of experience in the marketing industry, starting off his career in the telco industry with Digi before heading on to Celcom. He last helmed the role of CMO at Celcom in 2018 before moving on to HLB earlier last year.

Zalman's industry experience has allowed him to amass a successful track record in strategically marketing to achieve commercial and business objectives. In this day and age where brands are often looking for the next best idea to stand out, Zalman believes any good campaign will still stem from simplicity of thought and idea, as well as creative and effective execution. He shares with A+M about the type of work he is keen to see for the upcoming Marketing Excellence Awards.

[The Marketing Excellence Awards is back in Malaysia for its seventh year to recognise and award Malaysia’s outstanding marketing campaigns With 33 categories open for entry, don’t forget to submit by 23 August 2019. Visit our website to find out more today.]

A+M: What do you hope to see in the submissions for Marketing Excellence Awards Malaysia 2019?

Zalman: I’m looking forward to seeing works that can engage consumers with brands that have that simplicity of thought and idea, execute creatively while maintaining effectiveness in execution, reach and budget.

A+M: What type of work stands out to you as a marketer?

Zalman: Work containing simplicity of ideas, thoughtfulness of the context, audience and brands yet still stands out from the clutter, and genuinely builds the primary brand or product USPs through creative expressions and effective executions.

A+M: What do you look out for when working with agencies?

Zalman: The agencies should be collaborators and partners for the clients.

We look for that agility to think fast and adapt to changes in consumer perception and behaviour, able to really understand the business challenges so the creative becomes more relevant.

A+M: What do you feel is the biggest challenge marketers in Malaysia face today?

Zalman: With the always-on, marketing agnostic channels that we have these days, whether it is social media or the shopping aisle, consumers suffer from "goldfish syndrome" as they are constantly being bombarded with advertising that’s homogeneous across these channels.

It’s not just about getting quick attention, it’s also making sure that the messaging is strengthening affinity towards the brand long term.

A+M: Where is the standard at for Malaysia's marketing industry? How else can the industry improve as a whole?

Zalman: The industry has advanced a lot of the past few years from generating really good creative ideas to more effective use of the multiple channels and mediums available to us.

There’s still more room to grow in terms of tightening the messaging and applying more personalisation in how we communicate.

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