Mad Hat Asia Plans Regional Expansion As Industry Bounces Back


Heineken, with his agency Mad Hat Asia, won the bronze award at INTERACTIVE-MARKETING‘s recent PR Awards 2021. Heineken and Mad Hat Asia understood that their brand was always associated with social experiences and needed to adapt its brand to the new normal. With the struggles clearly outlined and identified, Mad Hat Asia set out to educate consumers on the various Heineken 0.0 occasions that consumers can experience Heineken satisfaction with.

Meanwhile, other clients Mad Hat has worked with include Cadbury, Rexona, Parkroyal Collection Pickering, Nutox and Lifebuoy, according to its website. With a wide range of clients on its roster, Mad Hat has undoubtedly cemented its position as one of the region’s must-see agencies. In a conversation with A + M, Mad Hat Asia’s PR team shared the brand’s proudest achievement in 2020 and what can be expected of it in 2021.

This interview is part of the series of interviews with A + M’s winners and finalists for the 2021 PR Awards. To learn more about the awards, click here.

What do you think has been the biggest achievement for the entire PR / communications community in 2020?

Mad Hat Asia: Although out of necessity, we’ve seen a number of communications consultants and agencies raise the bar to make themselves known – to have their voices heard and their names known. The age-old irony of agencies has been the ability to market their clients’ brands, but not theirs.

We are also often too engrossed in the usual and routine to step back and connect with the community. With the increase in the consumption (and production) of digital content, we have seen a lot more sharing of best practices, raw conversations and camaraderie in the creative and communications industry – an overall positive impact. for the community!

What do you think is your proudest achievement of the year?

Mad Hat Asia: The past year, and for some time, has seen entire industries and civilizations rapidly change in the way we operate, interact and survive. Our greatest pride at Mad Hat Asia has been to continue to overcome ongoing challenges and uncertainties to not only survive, but also thrive as a team. Driven by empathy and authenticity, we have seen the Mad Hat team forge even stronger bonds with each other, with partners, industry peers, and with our client partners.

The pandemic has also challenged most of us – like brands, teams and individuals – to cut personal agendas and focus on authentic communication. This, coupled with heavy digital communication, has allowed us at Mad Hat Asia to experiment for our partner client brands and refine our capabilities in new ways to connect with audiences through social media.

What communication trends do you see continuing after the pandemic?

Mad Hat Asia: We’ve seen everything go virtual over the past year or so, and with that, virtual events have happened as well. Virtual events have been proven to be beneficial for marketers because not only do you interact with consumers, but brands can also interact with a larger audience group, geography not being a barrier, and all of this in more cost effective. I certainly see this living long after the pandemic too!

The other is the raw content. Given the lack of travel, multiple blockages, and the fact that they are generally deprived of social life, Malaysians have become more creative with the content they post on social media. We’ve seen a lot more people being happy to embrace their natural selves, let go of the frills, mess around, and spread content about things that really matter during this time.

The pandemic has eerily made us more comfortable with ourselves and our lives like never before and I don’t see this back paddling itself.

How will the role of communication professionals evolve as we move into a rather uncertain future?

Mad Hat Asia: I think the role of communications consultants evolved even before the pandemic and times have shown that one and the same multidisciplinary skills are not enough to keep a finger on the pulse of this ever-changing environment. We need to understand what it takes to be successful in a campaign and that involves understanding the role of communications from a brand perspective while delivering it to your audience in the most engaging and palatable way.

“Sending the right message to the right audience” is the mantra we sing about at Mad Hat Asia – recognizing that as communication consultants it is essential to see beyond disciplines and specialization. To deliver creative and compelling content suitable for various segments of target audiences by delving deep into who they are, what interests them, where they go to look for content, etc.

The role of a communications consultant now and moving forward is to understand their audience and work backwards from there.

What can we expect from your business in 2021?

Mad Hat Asia: While 2020 was a big challenge to overcome uncertainty and absorb new circumstances, we see 2021 as a year of calibration. We see Mad Hat Studios, the social media and content division of Mad Hat Asia, taking the lead in new media and engaging content, building on many lessons learned over the past year, to continue to lead the team in experimenting with different means of communication and connection with the public.

We also resumed our investments in regional markets for Mad Hat Asia’s geographic expansion plans, primarily in Singapore and Indonesia. 2020 saw our expansions both halted due to travel restrictions, and then accelerated as people in the region adapted to the virtual and therefore borderless nature of efficient and collaborative working. Mad Hat Asia looks forward to establishing itself as a truly borderless creative communications agency, bringing heart and spirit to brand communications across the region.


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