Meet Kadri Taib, President of MAA and Public Affairs & Communications Director of Coca-Cola Malaysia
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I was born and raised in… Ladang (which means ‘farm’ in Malay), a small charming village of wooden houses in coastal Kuala Terengganu, a town situated about 400km from Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Being close to the beach, after-school hours were occasionally spent helping fishermen haul the day’s catch and bagging some fresh free seafood back home later, much to mum’s glee! Life was simple growing up, but for me, it was the foundation for understanding hard work, responsibility, empathy and values.
Growing up… while waiting for my secondary school final exam results, I collected and delivered newspapers. The job not only helped deepen my pockets but also expanded my horizons. I moved from glancing at news headlines to analysing news content, viewpoints and understanding advertising. Reading became a passion and I was steadily being drawn to journalism and photography. I became eager to share my perspective on issues and listen to others’ views – from the man in the street and celebrities, to business leaders and presidents. So I thought, one way to achieve this was to break into journalism. Reporters are kings without crowns, they used to say. Fast forward, I obtained a degree in journalism and served at a leading media organization for a few years. Besides expansive overseas exposure, the invaluable journalistic experience helped open many career opportunities, the cherry on the cake being a job offer from The Coca-Cola Company in Malaysia to manage its Public Affairs.
I started in the advertising industry… when I was one day asked to attend a Council meeting of the Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) as the person originally slotted from Coca-Cola had to see to another matter. With some Public Affairs touch, MAA has expanded its ties with key government authorities and is steadily strengthening its engagement with them, especially with regard to policies and regulations. Public Affairs plays a crucial role in the association and today MAA represents the industry in advertising committees of several key government ministries and agencies regulating advertising policies.
If I could change one thing about the marketing industry in 2020, it would be… the awareness and perspective on advertising, especially among government authorities and regulators. MAA has initiated various events and will continue its programmes to address roadblocks to reaching its target groups. These include educating and creating deeper advertising and marketing awareness among students, educators, influencers and public officials alike.
One thing most people don’t know about me… I have been an ardent cyclist for almost 16 years and happy to note that it’s not all about cardio and endurance. There is a unique bond among us cyclists as we ride up the mountain stretches and explore new terrains. It is a camaraderie riding for health, recreation and brotherhood. After investing in a few bicycles, I believe I am much fitter, have a good diverse circle of brothers and better knowledge of the glorious food stalls available for our carb breaks!
One fact about my country… Malaysia is one of the most unique countries in the world. There are few countries with our type of diversity of race, culture and religion. We have Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sikhs and many other races tightly interwoven as one nation living in harmony and celebrating each other’s festivals. Though this unity is sometimes challenged, mutual respect and tolerance have always been the glue that bond the nation and we always come together as one. Most foreigners feel comfortable when in Malaysia because of the warmth that makes them feel at home. We are different in race and culture but so alike in tastes and values. An obvious advantage: It allows Malaysians to conduct and adapt ourselves well globally, in business or otherwise.
This is part of a series of monthly interviews with heads of national advertiser associations in WFA membership.