A creative agency is one that focuses on a creative field or expertise. Such an agency can be very beneficial in the creation of marketing campaigns as well as in promoting and advertising products and services. If you are establishing your own creative agency, there are things to keep in mind, such as the countries and cultures involved, and how these cultures impact upon the creative aspect of your work. In this article, we will discuss these topics briefly and examine the impact of culture on creative agencies in Malaysia.
The initial background for creative agencies comes from the British post-war construction boom that saw many new construction projects spring up across the country. Many of these were geared towards providing a creative hub for architects and designers from Asia, as well as Europe. As these projects grew and progressed, the industry realized that it could also provide a service to the business community as well as the public. This new stream of work was not only a way for design firms and architects to make a name for themselves, but also a way of luring in new talent and clients from all over the world. Today, creative agencies exist in almost every country in Asia, as well as a few African nations.
The culture of creative agencies in Malaysia varies widely. In some areas, the creative industry is fairly new and relies heavily on imported designers and artists, while in other areas such as Kuala Lumpur (the capital city of Malaysia), creative agencies have been in existence for decades. In places like Singapore and Hong Kong, where B2B companies dominate the creative market, the industry is relatively developed and easy to break into. Meanwhile, towns like Melaka in rural Malaysia, and remote hamlets in central and west Malaysia tend to lack proper infrastructure and support for creative agencies. In these locations, creative agencies have been unable to establish strong footholds and rely mainly upon word of mouth advertising and traditional face-to-face interaction.
But while culture can largely be ignored by a company in a developing market, it can still play an important role in an emerging economy. Malaysia’s creative agency scene has recently shown great promise, thanks to growth in the tourism industry and online film production. As a result, many creative agencies have set up base in the country. Some of the more successful ones have launched local production units and gained local film festival prominence, while others have begun television production or launched internet television stations. Some creative agencies have moved their headquarters to the country’s biggest cities, while others have moved further afield, to cities with larger populations and more potential for development.
However, when setting up a creative agency in Malaysia, the country’s government can be wary of foreign direct investments. After all, creative agencies are known to employ non-Malaysian citizens (known as transnational contractors) who come to the country on work permits and then live and work within the country. The practice is illegal in most developed countries and is seen as a clear breach of contract and the normal operation of the law. Creativity firms are careful to avoid such practices and many creative agencies have set up their bases in countries where they are less likely to run into legal problems.
Malaysia is an emerging market for creative businesses, with a rapidly growing tourism industry providing plenty of potential clients. In addition, it is a cheap and reliable place to do business, with fantastic infrastructure that keeps costs low and has a reputation for turning over well. Its location – a coastal region between Singapore, Thailand and peninsular China – helps the creative industry to benefit from low transportation costs, low salaries and access to cheap labor. And Malaysia is emerging as a hub for international artistic talent, with most of the major performance venues in the country having been located in its coastal regions for years.
As well as the benefits of location, creative agencies in Malaysia should be flexible and take advantage of the creative industry’s increasing global clout. The industry is global in nature, and its members should embrace this, helping their companies and projects gain global prominence and appeal. This can only be positive for their client businesses and can help the creative agency to build a dedicated global reputation, and ensure its own continued success. It should be a winning formula for any creative agency, regardless of size. It takes a little imagination to find the right balance between local enthusiasm and international prestige.
Malaysia offers many opportunities for creative agencies, as it can be a challenging place to work. But if creative agencies try hard to focus on the things that make them different, they may find their way towards success. It is a small creative nation, which make it easy to stand out in a sea of competition, but difficult to sustain that success. That means any creative agency in Malaysia needs to do the hard work necessary to make itself heard above the noise and to achieve its goals. The best creative agencies will be able to leverage their resources, build their reputations and establish a strong following locally and abroad.