Naga DDB Tribal – APEA – Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards

OUTSTANDING CATEGORY

Kristian Lee
CEO


Naga DDB Tribal
NagaDDB, D-708, 7th Floor, Block D,
Kelana Square, 17 Jln SS7/26, Kelana Jaya,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 47301, Malaysia.
+603-7803 7144
www.nagaddb.com.my


The Evolving Entrepreneur

The journey to become an entrepreneur for some takes one step at a time before the proverbial dive in to the deep end where he or she would either sink or swim. Upon attaining his Master’s in Business from City University London, Kristian embarked on a journey amassing knowledge and skillsets from various forms of employment in the marketing industry with knowledge that preparation had to be set into place for the eventuality of taking the reigns at a multitude of family-owned businesses not least one of if not the largest creative agency in Malaysia. Faced with the limitations of time as well as the perception of youth he took the path of attaining knowledge not just in the field of marketing but also in business as a whole. Coupled with a changing business landscape whereby startups and new ventures are the Holy Grail for his peers, he undertook a conscious decision to attempt to marry the world of agencies and startups as one.

“I had always known that at some stage of my career, I would have to assume the mantle of running our businesses and that while daunting was actually in my view, a massive opportunity to do things differently in an industry which has and still is facing a downturn compared to the glory days of advertising in the past. My aspiration while being a marketing professional at the core of it, is to be an effective and successful businessman with no limitations in terms of pigeon holing ourselves as being one dimensional in terms of what we as a group venture into. Much like many of my peers, my focus is largely on attempting to build and grow various enterprises that eventually can contribute to the progression of our business environment.”

Kristian as one of the business owners of the following companies currently serves in roles as CEO of Naga DDB Tribal, Group Executive Director of The Foetus Group Malaysia (a group of marketing communications agencies) and as a director of IdeaRiverRun, a Malaysian venture capital firm that invests and grows budding local digital startups. Charged with running the daily operations of Naga DDB Tribal as well as expanding its product offerings, core capabilities and growing its revenue base, he also undertakes the task of fusing the operations and assets of the other entities to serve their respective interests.

The investment in startups by the group has not only allowed for a representation of progression from the point of product in Naga DDB Tribal’s clients eyes an enormous rise in valuation in some of their investments. Carsome, a Malaysian digital startup with a regional presence which Kristian had a large hand in bringing on board IdearRiverRun’s portfolio, is a rapidly expanding regional car buying and selling platform and has seen its valuation rise almost twenty times its initial pre-seed valuation in the past two years. SushiVid a Malaysian based influencer-marketing platform of which he co-founded has recently received a round of funding from Cradle currently has almost 1000 influencers on its database and has expanded its operations into Indonesia and Singapore.

In the year or so since Kristian has officially taken charge at Naga DDB Tribal, the company has seen its revenue for 2016 exceed its targets with an incremental gain in new business wins to close the year. The company has also revamped its positioning, added new capabilities to its arsenal as well as attaining new business wins from outside of Malaysia. Its staff size has also grown from 145 employees to 170 strong to manage the surplus of additional projects that the agency has been tasked with. The office has also seen an expansion in space, size and units according to the growth the agency has seen in the past year. With consolidation of services in mind, he has seen fit to merge different agencies within the Foetus Group to offer their clients a unified entity of marketing products and services and encouraged collaboration amongst the employees across the group.

Collaboration within the industry has been a key focus of Kristian’s with numerous partnerships having been struck up amongst media, technology entities as well as other creative and digital agencies with a mindset of combining existing assets and capabilities to offer clients a more diverse and higher level of marketing offerings. With a view to increase revenue and promote internal acquisition of knowledge for employees, new set-ups within Naga DDB Tribal have been created with key staff tasked with driving these initiatives.

“Our industry has and is currently going through a state of evolution that has been detrimental in some instances to many agencies, however I view it as an opportune moment to attempt to put our own imprint on the industry, diversify our abilities and not only promote horizontal growth but also vertical growth for our companies and our employees. This is the era of collaboration and as much as we are in the process of building agencies and businesses of the future, we need to be aware of instances whereby we can partner and work with other businesses to drive our own personal growth regardless of whether they operate in the same field as ourselves. If no one else has thought of a solution to a problem, be the first to offer a way forward by creating your very own methodology.”

“Even before putting on the CEO’s hat, I was of the opinion that we like a lot of other advertising agencies were lacking direction and a core objective behind our very reason to exist. The first step was to put together a team of individuals that I trusted absolutely and to communicate my personal mission, vision and goals for our immediate future. I try as much as possible to place myself in other’s shoes and attempt to see how much my goals coincide with their own. I always find myself repeating two personal philosophies; the first being that we as human beings cannot survive by ourselves, we require support groups around us to function and similarly as a business we need to open ourselves up to possibilities and beneficial partnerships outside our own walls even with our supposed competitors. The second philosophy would be always having the bigger picture in mind with a view to continuously build. The issue with some CEO’s in my view would be that they have short-term objectives that ignore an idea of what the future might be like. I suppose as a business owner, by default I am able to think, worry and idealize what the longer term might look like which in my mind, makes me determined to constantly build in addition to attending to my responsibilities as a day-to-day leader.”

The values of which Kristian subscribes to are illustrated by his agencies newly established principles entitled the 3C’s namely that of curiosity, collaboration and care. “The greatest entrepreneurs of whom many of us aspire to constantly are on the lookout for what’s next to invest in, to grow and make something more out of it. They enjoy working with a multitude of talented individuals to inspire them and learn from them. The degree of meticulousness they possess is amazing in that they care about not only the product but also the people that are invested in it. These traits are something that I try and embrace and I hope that my colleagues will also adopt as their own. When we invest in anything new for any of our companies, we hope that that investment will be something our employees can utilize as a tool to expand their horizons and potentially have an ownership in for years to come. I honestly feel that having a vested interest in growing the careers of employees and caring about their future will subsequently have a great effect on the company in the long run. This is in all sincerity the most rewarding part of the job. If I had any advice for anyone it would be to always plan for the future of not only yourself but for the people you care about as the satisfaction level would be greater than if you were to simply do it for yourself. “

OUTSTANDING CATEGORY

Kristian Lee
CEO

The Evolving Entrepreneur

The journey to become an entrepreneur for some takes one step at a time before the proverbial dive in to the deep end where he or she would either sink or swim. Upon attaining his Master’s in Business from City University London, Kristian embarked on a journey amassing knowledge and skillsets from various forms of employment in the marketing industry with knowledge that preparation had to be set into place for the eventuality of taking the reigns at a multitude of family-owned businesses not least one of if not the largest creative agency in Malaysia. Faced with the limitations of time as well as the perception of youth he took the path of attaining knowledge not just in the field of marketing but also in business as a whole. Coupled with a changing business landscape whereby startups and new ventures are the Holy Grail for his peers, he undertook a conscious decision to attempt to marry the world of agencies and startups as one.

“I had always known that at some stage of my career, I would have to assume the mantle of running our businesses and that while daunting was actually in my view, a massive opportunity to do things differently in an industry which has and still is facing a downturn compared to the glory days of advertising in the past. My aspiration while being a marketing professional at the core of it, is to be an effective and successful businessman with no limitations in terms of pigeon holing ourselves as being one dimensional in terms of what we as a group venture into. Much like many of my peers, my focus is largely on attempting to build and grow various enterprises that eventually can contribute to the progression of our business environment.”

Kristian as one of the business owners of the following companies currently serves in roles as CEO of Naga DDB Tribal, Group Executive Director of The Foetus Group Malaysia (a group of marketing communications agencies) and as a director of IdeaRiverRun, a Malaysian venture capital firm that invests and grows budding local digital startups. Charged with running the daily operations of Naga DDB Tribal as well as expanding its product offerings, core capabilities and growing its revenue base, he also undertakes the task of fusing the operations and assets of the other entities to serve their respective interests.

The investment in startups by the group has not only allowed for a representation of progression from the point of product in Naga DDB Tribal’s clients eyes an enormous rise in valuation in some of their investments. Carsome, a Malaysian digital startup with a regional presence which Kristian had a large hand in bringing on board IdearRiverRun’s portfolio, is a rapidly expanding regional car buying and selling platform and has seen its valuation rise almost twenty times its initial pre-seed valuation in the past two years. SushiVid a Malaysian based influencer-marketing platform of which he co-founded has recently received a round of funding from Cradle currently has almost 1000 influencers on its database and has expanded its operations into Indonesia and Singapore.


Naga DDB Tribal
NagaDDB, D-708, 7th Floor, Block D,
Kelana Square, 17 Jln SS7/26, Kelana Jaya,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 47301, Malaysia.
+603-7803 7144
www.nagaddb.com.my


In the year or so since Kristian has officially taken charge at Naga DDB Tribal, the company has seen its revenue for 2016 exceed its targets with an incremental gain in new business wins to close the year. The company has also revamped its positioning, added new capabilities to its arsenal as well as attaining new business wins from outside of Malaysia. Its staff size has also grown from 145 employees to 170 strong to manage the surplus of additional projects that the agency has been tasked with. The office has also seen an expansion in space, size and units according to the growth the agency has seen in the past year. With consolidation of services in mind, he has seen fit to merge different agencies within the Foetus Group to offer their clients a unified entity of marketing products and services and encouraged collaboration amongst the employees across the group.

Collaboration within the industry has been a key focus of Kristian’s with numerous partnerships having been struck up amongst media, technology entities as well as other creative and digital agencies with a mindset of combining existing assets and capabilities to offer clients a more diverse and higher level of marketing offerings. With a view to increase revenue and promote internal acquisition of knowledge for employees, new set-ups within Naga DDB Tribal have been created with key staff tasked with driving these initiatives.

“Our industry has and is currently going through a state of evolution that has been detrimental in some instances to many agencies, however I view it as an opportune moment to attempt to put our own imprint on the industry, diversify our abilities and not only promote horizontal growth but also vertical growth for our companies and our employees. This is the era of collaboration and as much as we are in the process of building agencies and businesses of the future, we need to be aware of instances whereby we can partner and work with other businesses to drive our own personal growth regardless of whether they operate in the same field as ourselves. If no one else has thought of a solution to a problem, be the first to offer a way forward by creating your very own methodology.”

“Even before putting on the CEO’s hat, I was of the opinion that we like a lot of other advertising agencies were lacking direction and a core objective behind our very reason to exist. The first step was to put together a team of individuals that I trusted absolutely and to communicate my personal mission, vision and goals for our immediate future. I try as much as possible to place myself in other’s shoes and attempt to see how much my goals coincide with their own. I always find myself repeating two personal philosophies; the first being that we as human beings cannot survive by ourselves, we require support groups around us to function and similarly as a business we need to open ourselves up to possibilities and beneficial partnerships outside our own walls even with our supposed competitors. The second philosophy would be always having the bigger picture in mind with a view to continuously build. The issue with some CEO’s in my view would be that they have short-term objectives that ignore an idea of what the future might be like. I suppose as a business owner, by default I am able to think, worry and idealize what the longer term might look like which in my mind, makes me determined to constantly build in addition to attending to my responsibilities as a day-to-day leader.”

The values of which Kristian subscribes to are illustrated by his agencies newly established principles entitled the 3C’s namely that of curiosity, collaboration and care. “The greatest entrepreneurs of whom many of us aspire to constantly are on the lookout for what’s next to invest in, to grow and make something more out of it. They enjoy working with a multitude of talented individuals to inspire them and learn from them. The degree of meticulousness they possess is amazing in that they care about not only the product but also the people that are invested in it. These traits are something that I try and embrace and I hope that my colleagues will also adopt as their own. When we invest in anything new for any of our companies, we hope that that investment will be something our employees can utilize as a tool to expand their horizons and potentially have an ownership in for years to come. I honestly feel that having a vested interest in growing the careers of employees and caring about their future will subsequently have a great effect on the company in the long run. This is in all sincerity the most rewarding part of the job. If I had any advice for anyone it would be to always plan for the future of not only yourself but for the people you care about as the satisfaction level would be greater than if you were to simply do it for yourself. “