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Why The Hoffman Agency chose 2023 to expand into Malaysia

Why The Hoffman Agency chose 2023 to expand into Malaysia

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The Hoffman Agency recently widened its global network with an expansion into Kuala Lampur, bringing its total number of offices in APAC to 10. Now, Hoffman Southeast Asia is a 50-strong team and has its eyes set on helping global and regional technology as well as helping B2B companies solve direct business challenges and build their presence across key Southeast Asian markets.

In a conversation with A+M, Maureen Tseng (pictured left), managing director of Hoffman Southeast Asia said that Malaysia has always been a strategic market for the agency in Southeast Asia. The agency's decision to open an office in the country was born out of a confluence of factors. For one, the current economy is the fastest-growing rate of the Malaysian economy in over 20 years at 8.7% and the technology sector following suit at nearly 10%. As such, Malaysia is seen to be a hotbed for companies to invest in.

Moreover, evident in the rising demand by its international clients for in-market support, Malaysia has also been attracting the lion’s share of FDI in the Southeast Asian region. This coupled with the skilled workforce that is able to work competently in an international setting, convinced the team that it was “absolutely the right time to set up shop.” For Hoffman, Malaysia provides unique opportunities for the agency to lean into its technological capabilities and grow them, explained Tseng.

With the stronger push for digitalisation, Vicky Wong (pictured right), general manager at Hoffman Malaysia, added that there is also a rise in demand for content that is hyper-localised. Wong was formerly head of corporate communications at Digital Nasional Berhad, a Malaysian government-owned entity supporting the proliferation of 5G infrastructure in the country. She has previously held leadership roles at agencies such as Lumos Hill & Knowlton Strategies and Text 100 (now Archetype) and supported an array of multinational brands spanning the technology, corporate, energy, healthcare and consumer sectors.

“Technology and B2B companies are also increasingly requesting support around brand advocacy and influencer marketing,” she said. The common thread here is the demand for localised, multifaceted content that can reach and connect with various stakeholders and Malaysia is a boon to these developments with the agency.

Moreover, Wong also commented on the calibre of good talent in Malaysia who have yet to be nurtured or harnessed to the extent they should be, because relatively seasoned executives are moving too fast in between roles. “Building solid experience requires time and patience. We see people jumping ship within a year or two and when they are hired to be a manager the lack of experience shows,” she added.

Don't miss: The Hoffman Agency sets up shop in Malaysia

However, setting up the office in Malaysia was not a journey devoid of obstacles. According to Wong, there is a fierce competition for talent, not just between agencies but for in-house roles as well. “This means companies have to work hard to offer the best packages they can, as well as regional and international exposure, she added.

Nonetheless the company is still looking to grow its talent. Wong said that finding the right talent is top priority so that there is a wide array of talent that can be tapped into when the need arises. This means that they are not hiring only for senior roles but rather at different levels. “We are focused on securing the right talent for our culture and for our clients.”

When asked what sets Hoffman apart, given that Malaysia is already home to several independent and global PR players, Wong said that the Hoffman’s team provides blend of skills and abilities that delivers according to client’s needs. Owing to their single profit and loss approach, teams and clients alike have access to resources and expertise across the agency’s international network as required.

Wong believes that the role of communications has elevated over the past few years to be widely seen as an investment directly linked to business strategy. Even though technology has an ever growing role in the world of communications, Wong is of the opinion that the human element can only be brought about via PR. “The world is not getting any simpler and we believe that this attitude is here to stay as organisations look for support to navigate disruption and potentially explosive geopolitical situations,” she added.

Great leadership, is born out of good planning, she said.  With that in mind, “Work backwards on what needs to be done to achieve that goal,” she said. For the youth to go the distance in the PR industry, she highlighted the importance of grit and determination, while being incredibly passionate about the work being done.

Related articles:
Hoffman SG's GM Maureen Tseng takes on added Indonesia remit
The Hoffman Agency rolls out Techplomacy practice in APAC
The Hoffman Agency makes SEA and Taiwan promotions as it eyes new markets


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