KUALA LUMPUR — Fully integrated creative agency MYM Imageworks is expecting to see sales triple in three years, from an estimated RM750,000 in 2017 to RM2 million by 2020, said co-founder Moy Yew Meng.
Moy, who started MYM in 2012 as an extension of his photography portfolio, has since added digital marketing services to its roster via a merger with Adcetera Communications in 2016, and then building MYM’s in-house talent recruitment agency and studio services this year.
For Moy, these ambitions are the culmination of several years making side income from his photography hobby in Beijing while accompanying his wife on an overseas posting in 2012. There, ACS’ (a Xerox Company) former country business operations and global shared services director took to photography while playing house husband.
Fast forward to 2014 and he found himself in an economically weakened Malaysia, where fellow photographers had shuttered their own studios due to the bad times and undercutting by cheaper, newer entrants.
“I generally didn’t face undercutting because my client base was corporate, but I continued to work from home to keep my costs low while building up my client list during the first year. We managed to get loyal customers, and early this year finally moved into an office unit here at Bukit Jalil,” he told Malay Mail in an interview.
Moy decided to take photography one step further to fulfill clients’ needs by adding digital marketing services to his portfolio in 2016 through the merger with Adcetera.
“At the end of last year as we battled market saturation, I thought of how we can distinguish ourselves from the competition. I decided to expand MYM to go into different businesses that complement my business, such as social marketing.
“Social marketing agencies are our customers; they outsource photography or videography teams for short campaign videos. While I had a niche there, I realised there was so much more to social media than these videos and started looking for companies to merge with,” he said.
Adcetera does web design, corporate identity design, and multi-touch interfaces, while MYM had photo and video input. The merger means these services can be fully integrated for corporate clients, unlike the majority of production companies, which do not have integrated services.
“Limited services are offered by production companies, making it inconvenient for clients. Companies outsource often, causing project completion to be prolonged,” he pointed out.
In-house talent agency
The influx of four digital marketing veterans to MYM added to its ‘full-service’ aspirations and Adcetera is headed by associate director Vinod Nurlhaq Nair. As clients requested for talents, Moy’s co-founder Beatrice Ng was then put in charge of its talents division, who knew aspiring models.
Ng recounted: “In March, MYM was approached by a client who needed catalogue work and required a set of models. This was not the first project for which we needed models but previously we went knocking on talent agencies’ doors.
“There was a lot of red tape in going through agencies — some of them take a week to give us a quote — and this caused delays for the client. So we cut it short and decided to start an arm ourselves.
“Now we have up to 30 vetted models in our stable now, with some doing
modelling, others working in TV
commercials and several more act as ushers or emcees. Clients have specific needs, like a local jewellery brand requesting Pan-Asian models for their advertisements,” she said.
Moy says while MYM has saved talent selection time, the biggest savings from its in-house arm has been on the cost-side, which allows the company to price its packages competitively.
Synergies in corporate business
Vinod said MYM is carving out its niche in digital advertising for clients in Singapore and China, and the merger Adcetera is adding value to the business.
“Now when digital advertising companies outsource to Adcetera, we can tap MYM for photography or videography input. And when MYM does pitches to social media companies, it can confidently say it can do social media campaigns and web design as well.
“We want to be best friends with these agencies, instead of their competition. But we will aim to be fully integrated on the creative side,” he added.
Prior to joining MYM, Adcetera had an average revenue of RM250,000 per year and is now generating new business from existing customers of both MYM and Adcetera, which supports the combined revenue target of between RM700,000 and RM750,000 by year-end.
The tech which supports MYM’s current services as well as expansion plans is the responsibility of technical director Thirunavakkarasu, who followed Moy from ACS.
Moving forward, Moy said the company is fluid to technological changes in the industry such as 360-degree videos, 360-degree live streaming and drones.
Animation, web hosting and more
“We do all of this, and we added animation to our stable of services two months and trained Beatrice up. In the two months, we have started seeing more animation work come in and have already gone live with two such videos.
“In this challenging market, we are able to adapt and change, and train our people. Just because we want to do something new, we don’t need to hire anew. As such, all of MYM people are multi-skilled. If we keep things in-house, we can keep prices competitive,” Moy said.
Around 85% of the group’s business is still sourced locally, although the team does solicit social media work from agencies in Singapore and keeps an office open in Beijing.
These include photography for regional concerts for performers such as Guns N’ Roses, Jolin Tsai, Bon Jovi and Simple Plan.
Moy’s work has became synonymous with such events that event organiser jwLive just inked an exclusive partnership with MYM to provide photography and videography for its future events.
So what’s next?
“Thiru and I have brainstormed on how capable we are technologically to expand our services further, and so we will be moving to infrastructure services such as web hosting to complement our web design services.
“I think small and medium enterprises will appreciate having us manage their IT, marketing, graphics, corporate identity and website instead of rushing to renew IT licences when they expire or sourcing services from different providers. Thus, MYM will need a full-time online desk to support our clients on the tech side,” Moy said.
Moving forward, the MYM boss expects to see new revenue streams such as e-commerce, website hosting, and animation services adding to the group’s topline, as it targets to become a full-service advertising, marketing, and media agency with affordable offerings for small and medium enterprise clientele.