Industry comms veteran Rajan Moses heads up reputation management firm

Former MD of Ogilvy Malaysia's public relations arm, Rajan Moses, has joined reputation management and digital communications firm, Engage Southeast Asia, to lead the Malaysia office. In his newly created role as country director, business development and crisis as issues lead, Moses (pictured) will lead the firm's business development, focused on strengthening its crisis communications and reputation management counsel for CEOs and brands.

Prior to this, he was the strategic communications advisor in the president and group CEO's office at Sapura Energy for seven years. Before that, he was with Ogilvy as senior advisor and group director of business development, as well as MD of Ogilvy Public Relations Malaysia. This was before Ogilvy united the three distinct units of OgilvyOne, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and Ogilvy Public Relations in 2018 under a single, unified group with a common identity, positioning, client service model and P&L.

Moses is experienced in deal communications, launching IPOs in the Malaysian financial markets, notably the IPOs of Maxis, PETRONAS Chemicals, Astro and Bumi Armada, the press statement said. He is also knowledgeable about CEO counsel, media strategy, and issues and crisis communications. Among the list of companies he has worked with include Khazanah, Legoland, Sunway, Bursa Malaysia, CIMB, Iskandar Investment, UEM Land, Manulife, and Deutsche Bank.

Before jumping into the communications scene, Moses worked as chief correspondent/editor for Reuters in the US, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong from 1983 to 2003. He was also the executive editor at New Straits Times' business times, as well as editor at Bernama and The Star.

Engage Southeast Asia was founded in 2018 to offer senior counsel to CEOs and leaders who aim to navigate the increasingly complex communications landscape brought about by digital evolution. The agency focuses on CEOs, C-suites and leaders to help them build their online reputation and trust across digital media assets and in-turn influence desired actions from their stakeholders, be it internal or external. Its founding members are senior advisor on government and developmental communications, Valentine Siva, and director of communications, Suchithra Krishnan. While Moses leads the Malaysia businesses, Krishnan overseas the Singapore and Indonesian work.

When asked about its competitors in the space, Moses told A+M that he likes to think that Engage Southeast Asia is disrupting the space. "We do not believe in swim lanes for each agency - reporting to various leads in the organisation. That's a sure way for ineffective use of marketing and communications budgets," he said.

Moses added that the agency owns the space between the self-labelled 360 agencies and management consulting firms. According to him, Engage Southeast Asia's model is providing a team of strategists who are well-versed in specific areas such as digital, data and consulting.

This is our unique proposition. We are strategic as opposed to executional.

As such, the agency uses data and analytics to come up with strategies based on the needs of the client. That said, Moses said that the team comprises specialists in traditional, digital and experiential communications, who have experience and contacts with media, influencers and business networks. He added that these connections are very useful for market access, building brand reputations and influence among stakeholders.

Currently, the agency focuses on Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and is engaging with potential partners to grow its network across ASEAN. While Moses did not specify who the agency's clients are specifically, he said that the come from sectors including telco, oil and gas, plantation, and manufacturing.

"I am excited to be taking on this role at a particularly challenging time for leaders, brands and organisations. The rise of citizen movements, spread of fake news and activist shareholders can impact the reputation and influence of management and the company," Moses said. He added that the team at Engage Southeast Asia shares his views on using data and digital to build and protect reputations. 

"Together, I am confident that we will be able to build new links and strengthen existing relationships while boosting business for Engage Southeast Asia and our clients," he added.