The New Straits Times and Berita Harian bagged the Silver and Bronze Awards respectively under the Media Networks category at the prestigious Putra Brand Awards 2020.

Due to Covid-19, however, no Gala Night was held this year. Now into its eleventh year, the Putra Brand Awards is a closely followed event by top marketers to keep tabs on the brands favoured by consumers in the market.

Introduced the Awards in 2010 by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As), it is endorsed by MATRADE and supported by the Malaysian Advertisers Association, Malaysian Digital Association and the Media Specialists Association. It is organised by the 4As in collaboration with the Star Media Group as its main sponsor. This year, there are 23 award categories in addition to three special award categories.

In its special pullout in The Star on Feb 5, 2021, NSTP CEO Mustapha Kamil shared his insights on branding in times of pandemic. We reproduced it here for future reference:

1. In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, how are brands positioning themselves to have a stronger presence in the market?

“The pandemic has prompted brands to reconsider their values within a community that has become increasingly cautious and yet hopeful. More than ever, Malaysians are craving news and entertainment for connectivity and comfort. Since 1845, NSTP has offered generations of Malaysians the best content and products that are relevant, compelling and attractive. To strengthen our market presence, we continued to enhance our newspapers’ DNA – the “4Es”: Exclusive, Examine, Educate and Entertain.

2. What steps are the company taking to cement its brand image among consumers amid a challenging year?

“To cement NSTP’s brand image, we have set three main aims — to focus on our core business of content generation; to maximise the value of every NSTP product, and to continue giving back to society and contribute towards nation-building.”

3. Should companies embark on their branding investments in the wake of the Covid-19 resurgence?

“Against the current environment of uncertainty and an altered market with new consumer behaviours, instead of branding investments, companies may look to optimise their marketing practices to better reflect the increase in online transactions, communications and social face-time with consumers.”

4. What are some of the key elements for a successful branding exercise?

“Context, clarity and consistency are the three main elements to any successful branding, with emphasis on empathy, sustainability and transparency during this crisis. It’s critical for brands to employ tactful marketing that acknowledges the pandemic, while continuously reflecting positive values to the audience.”