You’ve probably seen MGAG, Malaysia’s very own meme powerhouse, somewhere on your newsfeed. Their posts and videos sometimes have shares and comments that run into the hundreds or the thousands.
Last week, VspireLab invited MGAG’s country manager Lau Mun Yee (you might know her as ABCDE) to give her two cents on creating the perfect creative company.
Some background. Before MGAG, Mun Yee studied psychology before she graduated and settled down as a writer.
A blog post she wrote titled Anus of Satan went viral and caught the attention of SGAG, who contacted her to see if she was down to join them to expand their reach to Malaysia.
Once they had gotten all the “dirty” stuff done—sourcing a space, completing hiring and creating their online page—they could focus on the important things that really drove them success.
It was a one-hour long video, but here is a breakdown of some key points we’ve picked up.
1. Get your brand identity right before starting out.
Building the right brand identity is necessary for consistency and traction to grow a budding startup.
“We wanted to build a brand that people could relate to, not just something that will set us as influencers.”
– Mun Yee.
In MGAG, they knew they wanted to create content that Malaysians would relate to as a mass audience, not just a select few. So, they took examples from the Westerners. They looked at what was trending and adapted that to suit our local audiences.
“You need to know what’s viral content, and you need to know how it can be localised.”
She broke down the process into the following steps:
- Be aware of what is trending
- Have a team discussion and devise a strategy on what to cover
- Stay focused—there will be things you’ll miss out on
Mun Yee emphasised that it was important for the company to maintain its identity, so people will know what it represents and will always come back for more.
2. Change is inevitable—evolve to meet that.
“Continue to evolve based on demand, and you’ll always be relevant.”
Creativity is subjective. As Mun Yee put it, it isn’t something you can measure or quantify. Therefore, the same goes for relevance.
Over time, market trends and best-sellers are bound to change. But a way for your brand to stay relevant through volatile times is accepting that there will be change, and be willing to flow with it. As long as you keep growing and changing to suit the market, you will maintain your popularity with the audience.
Interaction with readers is also important to ensure their loyalty. Many brands see responding to comments casually as unprofessional, but MGAG has already blown that barrier away.
3. Take it slow—some things take time.
Beyond consuming media, people nowadays tend to do everything with speed. Eating, working, even having fun—if you don’t do it fast, you’re not efficient enough.
Some things do require a touch of patience. Mun Yee shared that when we exclude that, we are missing out on a key feature that humanises the brand. Therefore, we shouldn’t rush these as they take time to build.
“That’s why, in a world full of saturated ads, MGAG tries to create content that people will enjoy watching on a weekend.”
There is no denying that speed and efficiency is necessary for a conducive work environment, or else nothing will get done. The downside to that is that sometimes you miss out on things that could be useful.
You can’t rush something you want to last forever.
4. Realise that content is everywhere.
A misconception most people have is that you need to live a “happening” life to gain inspiration for content. That’s hardly true at all—ideas and inspiration are everywhere, if you know where to look.
Once you learn to read between the lines of what makes up your life, you won’t have trouble coming up with ideas that are engaging.
Contrary to popular belief, travelling isn’t the only way to discover yourself—creativity is everywhere. Similarly, ideas can be discovered through the smallest details in your life.
Mun Yee also emphasised that it’s important for your clients to understand what your brand does. Even if they’ve heard of you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they know you.
“Brands really have to tell us what they want as we usually go back and forth before coming to an agreement.”
“We also give them teachings and of what worked and what didn’t, so that they know on what to improve. And then they can work on it, and we get partners instead of a one-off contract.”
5. Create a healthy culture.
An advantage of a smaller team is how everything is done without the delay of having to go through HR or obtaining permissions from a different department. It has no hierarchy, so everyone has to lean on their teammates and help each other out when they can.
A healthy work environment is one where the staff know that their burden is not to be shouldered alone and can reach out for help when they need to.
“Everyone has to pick up after one another. If one person isn’t free, his or her teammate helps them out regardless of title.”
Regardless of how big of small your team is, it is never a bad idea for one to cultivate positivity and teamwork spirit in the company.
6. Have company principles, and keep them.
Even for all MGAG’s efforts to make their content appealing to everyone, there are certain brands that they have to reject as they do not want to advertise unethically.
“A company came to us saying they wanted to advertise Botox, and the target was 14-year-olds. They said it as good for youngsters to think of it early.”
They knew that Malaysia was not the right market and did not want to go against company values, so they rejected it.
“We want to have fun, so we do cross the line once in a while. But we know where we stand on it and not to push it too often.”
As long as you set your own values and follow them, you will eventually attract the type of audience and brands you want to work with.
All the points stated above might have helped them build the brand to what it is today, but Mun Yee shared that there were tons of hard work and sleepless nights involved to build a following, simply because starting out is never easy.
She admitted that they had challenges in recruiting staff onboard in the first few months. Plus, she had to overcome her own negativity when their posts only had three or four likes a day.
Her final tip? Make sure you have a reliable shoulder for emotional and mental support. You can never prepare enough for the brain drain it takes to run a company.
You can watch the full video of the interview below or on Vspirelab’s Facebook page.
Feature Image Credit: MGAG