A tale of guts, growth and humble glory.
It is not often that a Malaysian-owned advertising media company that has fought its own battles and faced economic crises, still stands to tell its story…
This is in essence the colourful odyssey of a growth engine called simply Trapper. An engine powered and inspired by people soaked in the soul of this land called Malaysia.
Formerly known as Trapper Media Services, it has morphed into TRAPPER, a new marketing communications powerhouse riding on the progressive mantra of Growth Marketing.
Growth Marketing is a term coined by serial entrepreneur Sean Ellis, whose sole preoccupation to this day is ‘How can I grow my user base as quickly as possible?’.
Growth marketing media companies like Trapper multivariate testing to develop experiments around what content is seen and when by different user segments, and using the results develop highly optimized strategies for each identified user segment, going down to the individual level.
Trapperians call themselves Growth Engineers and apply these principles to optimise the user experience in their client’s campaigns throughout the customer journey.
20-year Growth Culture
20 years on, there has been no turning back for Trapper. They believe personal growth and client growth are symbiotic.
When it comes to media services, digital solutions, events, activation and creative content, Trapperians are proven growth specialists for brands.
“When clients grow with us, they give us a sense of ownership and pride, and motivate us to continue growing in our capabilities and capacities,” says Sue-Anne Lim, CEO of Trapper.
“There is no line where one starts and ends. Which is why, a true Trapperian recognises that growth starts as a personal choice. They have to cross their own line in the sand.”
Under the Trapper Group, there are media brands such as Trapper (previously Trapper Media Services), SEED (known as Seed Integrated), Trapper Interactive or TIN, and other non-media brands like Adwork, a media marketplace solution for the SMEs who prefer a piece- meal and modular approach to buying media.
There’s also a programmatic platform called Adminer, which their media brands readily tap into.
The Group is relaunching SEED, their second agency, soon.
“SEED was previously a content agency and we realised that there is an increasing need for integrated thinking. Therefore, SEED will be relaunched as our creative partners’ dream team. We structured it in such a way that it’s the perfect OEM media partner to agencies who have strong strategy leads,” adds Sue-Anne.
Rebel with a cause
Trapper’s DNA has always been to start from the outside coming in, giving each campaign a look and feel of new energy and focus. This involves the kind of risk only rebels will take upon themselves on behalf of brands.
So while most global media companies dominate the market, Trapper seized the middle ground and does great work for many passionate business owners, no matter their size.
Trapperians call themselves Growth Engineers because their approach is function-based.
“Sales loss is often a symptom not a disease. We identify the exact business challenges for our clients and design functional solutions via any way that works, even the ones outside of media,” explains Sue-Anne.
“We are not design-based in the sense that we are not shackled to solutions we need to sell. My past few years in consulting has really opened my eyes to new ways of solving business problems.”
“Clients today are unclear of the solutions they need and it is evident when we see them calling all kinds of agencies in various verticals to pitch for the same project.”
“Trapper’s approach is to focus on a strategy that works and innovation that makes sense, rather than overpromising with impractical ideas and approaches. Ultimately, if the client is not growing their business with us, then what are we here for?”
… THERE IS NO ‘KILLER APP’ IN THIS BUSINESS, THE MOST FLEXIBLE, NIMBLE AND UNITED TEAM WINS…
An SME for SMEs
“Being an SME too, we understand them through and through. SME structures are completely different from multinationals. This is an area that network brands find challenging because they just ‘don’t get’ SMEs,” says Kenneth Wong, CEO of Trapper Interactive.
“We have also made certain practices a norm for clients. We provide Live dashboards for clients because as we know, data is fast and comes from every consumer touchpoint and direction. This isn’t innovation, this is the new norm of digital marketing.”
According to the latest RECMA (Research Company Evaluating the Media Agency Industry) report, Trapper is top in class in driving local business successes.
Sue-Anne says, “We are directly involved in helping SME communities understand what it takes to be competitive via business networks like Vistage.”
“Almost every one of us has worked in international agencies before arriving at Trapper, so we understand the level of diligence and rigour needed to build global brands.”
No Killer App?
Sue-Anne says there is no ‘killer app’ in this business; the most flexible, nimble and united team wins.
We have great partners in other countries for on-ground support, while still based in Malaysia.
She does not believe the ‘origin’ of the agency or idea matters anymore. What matters more is the ability to fish and the capability to deliver.
In the first 100 days of this year, Trapper has won new businesses on their own and in partnership with business partners. Clients like Spritzer, and more. They also recently won the remit for Watsons in two markets, Singapore and Indonesia (with an Indonesian partner) while the team is based here.
Another assignment is a digital product from Turkey called Hawaya, with one of their Malaysia-based creative partners.
At the Group level, Trapper is looking at investment opportunities that are complementary to the communications ecosystem.
“I’VE WORKED ON BIG BRANDS WHO DECIDED TO GO 100% ONLINE AND THEN REALISED THEY LOST GROUND IN BRAND EQUITY FROM THE 2ND YEAR ONWARDS!”
“Adaptability is crucial to success. I believe in the irony of disrupting your own business to protect your future revenue. Good people will always stay and grow with us, despite the business type. Before Toyota became a global automotive brand, they made power looms for textiles. Samsung’s first business was a grocery store. Western Union was an international telegraph network in 1851, disrupted by the telephone and the internet, now a giant in financial services.” says Sivanathan Krishnan, Chairman and Co-Founder of Trapper Group.
Sue-Anne adds, “I believe the pandemic has certainly created a whole new work culture. There is more empathy and eagerness now and definitely a whole lot of trust. People take care of the company who takes care of them.”
“I’ve worked on big brands who decided to go 100% online and then realised they lost ground in brand equity from the 2nd year onwards! There is a role for every media at every stage of the consumer journey – find the best channel to deliver in the moment and then take a step back and look at how the entire campaign is orchestrated. Don’t miss the forest for the trees.”