CEO – Global Creative and Media Agency (GCMA)
A prominent name in the industry with over 20 years of experience, Adam Ham is known as ‘The Media Man’ – a title given to him by industry leaders for his astounding capabilities to turn even the toughest of public relations (PR) projects into a success. Having serviced government bodies, corporate companies, celebrities, and film producers in the past, Ham is certain that most people are unaware of how rapidly PR has evolved and changed in the span of two years; failure to recognise these changes can be detrimental.
Experts claim that humanity made its biggest leap in technological advancements when COVID-19 spread throughout the globe. In fact, the pandemic changed many things for humanity from social life to purchase methods and even PR. Ham, however, had the privilege of witnessing the evolution of PR for the past 20 years, dating back to the days when he used to work for the government.
Growing up in Japan and furthering his studies in the United States of America, Ham’s father served Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad in the government, thus, having his education sponsored; in exchange, Ham has to serve the government in a field of his choosing for a minimum of 10 years. Hence, his journey began at the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) where he worked as an entertainment specialist, primarily coordinating trade missions for international festivals and exporting local content and talents to the global market.
Although his PR skills were instinctive, Ham acquired most of his knowledge in the field from the 10 years spent at MDEC. There, he came to the realisation that failures occur on many occasions when PR and marketing were not planned properly. Ham had creative ideas to bring to the table and was soon given the opportunity to plan and execute PR campaigns for various companies and producers with tremendous success.
As a matter of fact, Ham’s impact is still recognised today, 12 years after leaving the government. The Media Man was recently nominated to be an advisor for the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) for a period of two years, because of the fame he has garnered in international marketing for the creative and entertainment industry throughout his career. The Mandalorian, 6 Underground, The Summit-97, Ultraman, The Kid from the Big Apple, and The Summit-97, are among some of the projects that Ham has taken into his own hands.
“I am here to share my great experience and inspiration for the industry from the PR perspective.Currently, the landscape for trading content has evolved and changed, as TV stations no longer have a huge budget for acquisition, and Netflix is dominant. We have to share our knowledge on how people can make a living from abroad now,” Ham commented.
Currently, the master in PR owns an agency called Global Creative and Media Agency (GCMA) which is most sought after across all industries. Ham claims that GCMA quickly grew in demand after he had attended several Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) and Business Network International (BNI) gatherings.
“After I left the Government, I truly wanted to build my career in PR and help companies across all industries come to a realisation of how PR can make a difference in their businesses. Most Malaysian companies have no idea about this, and they rarely set aside any budget for this. It was a challenge, but I was all set to take the bull by the horns,” he said.
As a PR agency that makes most of its income from organising successful events, Ham’s company nearly shut down when the pandemic came about. Without any income for months on end, Ham did everything possible to survive – even as much as to offer catering services. This period made for a lot of changes in the world; some more apparent than others. People began using online platforms, e-wallets, and most companies have found a way to offer their services online, these were all common and addressed just about everywhere. But what about PR? Has it changed over the past 2 years?
Ham responds, “Yes, as the economy softened and recession happened, the media landscape wasn’t able to sustain, and gradually PR had to be much more creative and more newsworthy to attract journalists for our clients. Moreover, we also had to know how to create smart relationships with the media players to have a balance that benefits everyone, whilst providing them with great stories.”
Commenting on how the pandemic has affected PR, Ham said, “PR is more important now than before the pandemic. It brings visibility to the brand in an era where fighting for the spotlight is extremely challenging due to the social media culture that floods the internet. Right now, about 30-50% of the market is still being cautious about hosting PR events with huge crowds; though it is important to keep safe from COVID-19, we cannot shift into an endemic stage and recover from the damage caused by COVID-19 by not acting.”
“We do not know what the future holds. For all we know, there is still a possibility of a lockdown of sorts; thus, businesses must take a 360 approach by preparing for every possible outcome and playing their cards right. Another notable thing to consider is the KOLs (Key Opinion Leader) and their social media pages, which allow for high brand visibility, with easily identified target audiences. Engaging influencers is sort of a norm these days, and it has proven effective in brand visibility and marketing.”