Hello Intan, what are you up to lately?
I hate to come across as a person who’s just about work. I am passionate about my work but there’s a lot more to me than what I do as a Director of Marketing Communications. I believe in work-life balance and I instil this within my team. I do encourage them to go back on time and come back tomorrow energised. That’s what I do, too. I’ll find time to work out, go for a run, a little bit of hiking and some baking time. This is necessary as my job is truly challenging and that’s why I have to be at my best mentally, physically and emotionally. Also, I’m an avid follower of the 5 o’clock Club. What’s that about? I’ll save that for another session 😉 .
Can you share with us a little bit about yourself, PWTC and your role in the organization?
Firstly, I subscribe to the principle of “the devil is in the details”. I am a very detailed and thorough person. One could say a borderline OCD. I am frequently perceived as someone stern and strict. But after you get to know me, you’ll see that I am a cheerful person to a fault.
I hold the position of Director of Marketing Communications. PWTC has been a premier convention and exhibition centre that provides best in class facilities and services. We have always been in a very “unique” position but we no longer have the advantage of that “unique” position. Now, there needs to be a paradigm shift in strategy, operations, planning, execution and most importantly – ATTITUDE. In short, this is what I do in PWTC.
This is a herculean task. But to remain relevant in this ever competitive and challenging industry, it must be done. I would like to believe my joining PWTC has somewhat contributed to this, albeit to a certain extent.
Putra World Trade Centre or PWTC has been around since 1985. Competitions are getting stiffer especially from newer and well-known brands. If customers were to ask you, “Why must I have my convention or exhibition at PWTC? How do you normally answer them?
I answer them in a very precise and conclusive way. One word – PRESTIGE. Malaysia is a manufacturing and trading country, and it has seen an influx of trade partners from all over the world. This, in turn, has led to the growth of the hospitality and event services industry. Many new convention and exhibition centres are sprouting throughout the country. Obviously, we are not new. That’s not our advantage. Needless to say, we are located strategically with easy access to public transport, halls that would be able to accommodate any business needs, experienced team that would cater to any demand. This is what we have always been known for. It goes without saying. But one thing that we have is the prestige that a world trade centre carries.
Who’s your target audience for PWTC and why?
Currently, we are in a different playing field. Previously, we predominantly cater to government-related events. However, that can no longer be the case. We are still catering to government-related events but we are also going for businesses which are outside of our traditional segment. Namely, corporations, associations, financial institutions and I am proud to say something that I reignite. PWTC as a go-to venue for concerts organizers and weddings too.
For someone with a comprehensive experience in marketing and corporate communications, which is more important to you, branding or marketing?
This has been a debate amongst academia for decades. Let us first understand what is branding as opposed to marketing. In my view, branding is the expectation of the quality of the product or services provided. Simply put when a consumer was to think about a company or were to look at a particular logo, what is the feeling it invokes? What is perception? What would be the expectation?
Example when you look at the golden arches of McDonald’s or the logo of Apple or Nike what comes to your mind? That’s branding. It takes decades to build a brand. It’s about the philosophy behind the logo, the quality of the product and services, the vision and mission of the management, the work ethic of the employees and the culture of the corporation.
Having said that we must not be confused branding with marketing. Marketing, simply put is the delivery of the brand to the customers.
Based on my understanding of what branding and marketing is branding is more important. Every cross to a “t”, every dot in an “i”, every colour, font, grammar, design, level of service, every greeting of hello, the smile behind every phone call or even the firmness of your handshake will ultimately shape the branding of your company. Branding encompasses everything.
Why is that?
Anything we do in marketing is it related to complex matter such as strategies of penetrating new market segments or something mundane like the design of a leaflet, everything in marketing must be aligned and superimposed against the philosophy of the branding. Therefore, one in my position must be very clear of the branding first before any marketing strategies can be implemented. If the marketing strategy is not aligned to the branding it must be changed. No compromise.
How relevant is traditional marketing to your marketing campaign?
Times are changing. We are in the midst of executing a rebranding exercise for PWTC. By August 2019, we’ll be launching our newly revamped website with a new look and feel. We will also add new features such as 360 view of our halls and an online booking system. I’m sure it will come across as fresh.
Though PWTC has been around for 30 years, it does not mean we do things traditionally or conservatively. We understand the power of social media. We have in place strategies to implement digital marketing via our website, Instagram and Facebook. We also leverage on referrals program by associating with 11Street, Fave and 8excite. These are not exhaustive. We are ever looking for other avenues to harness the power of digital marketing.
However, this does not mean we are neglecting traditional marketing. We have an excellent team of sales personnel who still bring the majority of the business. We still believe in the old fashion way of human interactions and personal touch. That’s what makes PWTC, PWTC.
Let’s talk about social media marketing a little bit. As you know there are Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and a few others out there. Among these, which one works best towards your advantage in generating leads?
We have a Facebook account, an Instagram account, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and TripAdvisor account. I wouldn’t say one particular platform supersede the other, per se. It depends on the message or the target audience. For instance, if I were to issue an official announcement, it would be done on Facebook or Twitter. If I have an interesting photo to share, it would be done on Instagram. If there’s an important soundbite or a video, it will be published on YouTube and Facebook.
But to answer your question as to which platforms is more effective to generate leads, I have to say its Facebook. We understand that people are interested in people and people are interested in stories. Our postings on Facebook will always capture these elements.
What would be your advice for younger generations if they were to grow their career in Marketing?
As someone who has been playing this role for over a decade across multiple industries, I have learned one important lesson. Besides an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals, there is one more element that we need to master for us to be highly effective in this field and that skill is THE UNDERSTANDING OF HUMAN BEHAVIOUR.
Without a doubt, PWTC is going to have a wonderful ride with you at the helm Intan. Finally, any parting words?
Well, I must say my career is very important to me but I’m not a person who is chasing only for a successful life, but also a meaningful one as well.