Malaysia Is Back in Business – Here’s What Brands Should Consider in Their Comms

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Singapore has just announced that it will open a vaccinated travel line (VTL) with Malaysia at the end of November, as a first step on the way back to normal. PRecious Comms Malaysia director Kiran Sidhu shared with us the latest industry news from the northern neighbour, to get brands up to speed on what it takes to win in Malaysia’s new normal.

Here are her main takeaways:

  • The recovery is underway in tourism, the creative, and retail industry.
  • F&B brands with a strong digital presence and engaging social content have managed to penetrate Malaysian households, bringing their products right into the homes of the consumers.
  • The Movement Control Order has contributed to a sudden surge in interest and sales of FMCGs. Data from social media channels revealed that consumers are now more likely to buy in bulk and to stock up. Their buying patterns further reveal that it is typically the head of the household who makes the purchases, which are now also much better planned, and that shopping trips decreased in frequency.

FMCG brands have pivoted their communications to relate to consumer lifestyles and increasingly present themselves as top of mind in their category. We observe many collaborations with other industries, which reacted positively thanks to the versatile nature of FMCG goods and their brand personas.

  • In the automotive industry, several brands have succeeded in creating virtual experiences and use them to maintain a constant dialogue with the community.
  • As part of its new budget that the government just announced, it has set aside RM1.1 billion (S$360 million) for upskilling and training initiatives that will be run in collaboration with different industries. One prominent example is the GLOW programme under MDEC.
  • A plethora of startups offering creative and cost-effective solutions for everyday requirements—from transportation and healthcare to house renovation—are testament that innovation is thriving. Grab, which is now a household name in Southeast Asia, originally started in Malaysia. Our client Carsome has become a poster child and recently turned into the country’s first unicorn.

Malaysia’s Digital Economy Blueprint, MyDIGITAL, a national initiative launched earlier this year, aims to transform the country into a digitally driven, high income nation and regional leader in the digital economy. Interestingly, the target only included attracting two unicorns—either home-grown or foreign—and increasing the number of startups to 5,000 in the coming years.

With a vibrant startup scene and new initiatives supporting the local digital ecosystem, Malaysia does present great growth potential for brands looking to penetrate the local market. However, much of their success would still depend on whether or not they are able to cut through the clutter and make their mark in a highly competitive market. Positioning brands strategically in the minds of the target audience entails knowing local nuances and having an in-depth understanding of industry trends in Malaysia. After all, communications tactics that work effectively in other markets may not necessarily resonate as well in Malaysia.  Landing tier one Malaysia publications which have a substantial readership necessitates repackaging content and adding in local flavour. And this is where having a reliable communications partner in Malaysia can supplement brand building efforts and give brands a competitive edge through a hyper-local strategy.  

Drop our team a note to explore how we can help build your reputation and thought leadership in Malaysia.

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