#18: KOFFee + wHine – Guest Edition

Opportunities can be hard to come by; most of the time, it is waiting for us to discover them. Other times, we just have to recognise that they were right in front of us the whole time.

Our Creative Partner and Founder of Creative Lab, Terry Chong, saw the opportunity for creative branding in his hometown of Kuching. He grabbed it by the horns and never looked back. In this edition of K+W, we get him to tell us about his entrepreneurial journey, Kuching and creativity.

Please tell us how you started Creative Lab.

I started off as an independent Project Manager in Kuala Lumpur. Prior to that, I was also a Project Coordinator with one of the international agencies for about 5 years.

As an independent PM, work started pouring in late last year as we got more recognition from clients working on their short-term projects. The idea of Creative Lab started when I moved back to Kuching to spend more time with my family after being away for close to 13 years. That was when the idea of a creative agency came about. I saw a lot of opportunities in the market, did some research and quickly got to planning. I was also inspired by the guys at STE11AR – their vision, mission and fresh perspective of the industry intrigued me.

We specialize in branding and designing for existing materials of a variety of products/services and my team have spent many years in the advertising and promotion industry. We believe that at the heart of branding, every business has a personality as unique as the people who runs it. It is to create a brand that connects the organization with its target market, to attract consumers, and to motivate the consumers’ desire to purchase or use the products / services.

Our network of designers also come from all disciplines and industries – this is our main ethos: it is very important to see “advertising” and “branding” from the eyes of people who are potential consumers, including people who are not in our industry.

Why and how did you choose Kuching, Sarawak to be Creative Lab’s home base?

Kuching is my home. After 13 years, it was time to come home.

Its market is still not as vast as in the metropolitan cities or around Asian countries but slowly I can see they are catching up. For the past few years, you can see the Kuching landscape changing. So, companies are slowly evolving with the younger generation. The most challenging is to change mindsets and help the older generation understand the importance of good branding design – but that’s a challenge we are more than willing to take. So far we have met clients who are open to change and fresh ideas.

There is definitely more space and opportunity to showcase our work. Of course, I always remind my team to do our best for the clients – with confidence comes trust and loyalty. How do you think creative work these days bring meaning to a brand message?

There are many ways to convey a brand message. The utmost important thing is to do a lot of research and references to get to the core of what clients want to say. Once we have identified the Big Picture, my creative will work our magic. Like David Ogilvy says, if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.” Creativity in advertising has to be effective in selling products. It has to provide solutions.

Tell us about your other plans for Creative Lab.

Creative Lab plans to kickstart a series of talks by inviting people from all walks of life to talk about their jobs and their views on creativity. The talk will held monthly to inspire people to be creative. And to tell them that anyone can be creative.

Complete this sentence: I am creative because….

It is my freedom to voice or show what I want the surroundings to see and hear.

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