‘Influencer’ marketing firm Nuffnang Malaysia is reinventing and repositioning itself in order to provide its clients with a superior experience, according to Nuffnang Malaysia’s Country Manager Kausern Hieu (pic).
“My primary goal is to be able to change the perception of our clients by “de-commoditising” how they view Nuffnang, by drumming up the ‘Nuffnang Experience’. Once clients have tried us, they will keep wanting to come back to us,” Hieu explains in an exclusive interview.
Hieu notes that many of Nuffnang’s potential agency and brand clients out there currently views Nuffnang as ‘just’ another influencer marketing company. Influencers are people on social media with a large following who can influence their purchasing decisions by posting about products on the various platforms.
“The newer agency folks or those folks who run a tight shift in cost control always look at us as expensive by comparison. They look at influencers as commodities like apples and oranges. Some of these agency folks even threaten to go directly to the influencers because they think they can get better prices.
“But, more often than not, they will come back to us for future campaigns.”
Founded in 2007, Nuffnang soon became a household brand in the years that follow.
As the company started to expand throughout the region, it began adopting more standard corporate behaviour and become more uniform across the countries.
“Pressure came in because the group was making a loss. Public events and parties were cut. We cut off our B2C positioning and channelled all our energies to B2B.”
Hieu joined the company in 2016, being tasked to turn the Malaysian operations profitable.
“Honestly, 2016 was a tumultuous year for me, as I had to deal with getting buy-in for my plans at the top management level. Thankfully, Nuffnang started to turn around slowly, and we progressively managed to claw our way back since then.”
Hieu attributes this success to Nuffnang having repositioned itself as providing premium services in the eyes of its clients (i.e. the larger media advertising agencies).
“Even though our charges are more expensive than our competitors, our agency clients still love to work with us and we keep getting repeated business from them. There are three major factors to this.
“Firstly, we do all the work for them from ideation to client competitor review. My servicing people are well-known amongst the clients – they even check in with them to see if they are alright during the MCO (movement control order) period. In short, we really service them to the fullest by constantly adding value to them.
“Secondly, we strive for operational excellence; we tend to over-deliver what we promise, an example of which was the recent F&N Teh Tarik Virtual Mamak campaign which got the client into the Malaysian Books of Records.
“Thirdly, our post-campaign reports are powered by deeper analytics and lessons learned. This provides our clients with additional insights on how to conduct their future campaigns even better.”
Today, Hieu regards Nuffnang as one of Malaysia’s leading influencer and content marketing company. Its clients include various household consumer brands.
Hieu believes that the growth of influencer marketing will continue its upward trajectory.
“One billion people use Instagram every month and the platform is still growing. Meanwhile, global advertising spend on influencer marketing is projected to reach USD5 billion to USD10 billion, from only USD500 million back in 2015.
“Further, more platforms and companies in this field – such as TikTok amongst Gen-Z – have been sprouting up. We at Nuffnang have received more requests to work on 2020 brand plans compared to last year, especially in light of the recent MCO.”
He explains that compared to traditional advertising, influencer marketing works because there is trust between the followers and the influencer they follow.
“These people follow an influencer because he or she is a subject matter expert on whatever is being posted about e.g. make-up, skin care, sports, finance, or politics. And the influencer delivers his or her content in an entertaining manner. So when these influencers ‘endorse’ a product by integrating the products into their lives, it becomes believable. And their fans want to try it out.”
The difference between Nuffnang and its competitors lies in the experience it provides its clients.
“Our job is to add value to our influencers by empowering what they are good at. We always encourage them to have a voice, to stand or stand up for something. We believe that to ensure the longevity of this business, we need to continue to push for quality content, where we truly leverage on the voice of the influencer.”
Hieu points out that Nuffnang has seen amazing results when influencer, client, and Nuffnang all work together.
Netccentric Ltd., a company listed in the Australian Stock Exchange, is Nuffnang’s parent company.
Former National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) Chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah is the majority shareholder of the company, currently owning an 84% stake.