Ed Kaleel is “bringing brands to life through the use of people, activation and comms.”
What’s your story?
Prior to founding MEA in June 1996, my corporate career has been as colourful and varied as MEA’s client base is today. I am apparently one of the industry veterans, having worked in this industry for well over 25 yrs. My industry knowledge mixed with prior years spent working for several of the world’s leading management consultancy companies and an interesting stint in the hospitality industry, has given me a very rounded view and alternative perspective on how to execute cost effective campaigns which get in consumers’ heads and cut through the clutter.
With 70% of MEA’s clients having settled very comfortably with the agency for over 15+ years; knowledge, experience, reliability and delivery is what has driven long term commitment.
The team and I are always focused on the end game. Knowing that delivery counts, ensuring what is promised is delivered and therefore ensuring positive ROI and ROE. Client retention and their satisfaction is always what counts.
What excites you most about your industry?
That it never sits still and is forever evolving. Because of this, we are continually challenged to innovate and cut through the clutter to get to reach our consumer.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I travel on and off to Hong Kong and Singapore a few times a year for business. With Australia’s role in the region becoming more aligned to the Asian market, we are finding a number of our clients now are either setting up or moving their regional hubs to Singapore and Hong Kong, so the need to travel more to either or both of these cities now becomes more frequent.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong – it’s buzzy, exciting and a real mesh of old and contemporary Asia. Plus there is great food, shopping and I just love the hum of the city and the people. To me it is a mixing pot of everything Asian infused with the best of the east and the west.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Do what you love and love what you do. If you do what you love then it’s never seen as work. Success, however that is measured, will just happen
Who inspires you?
Growth and success in those who have worked for me, especially those who have come in new to the industry and leave as an expert.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Having hit the 50 year milestone, I am no longer superman and able to do everything myself. It’s ok to trust others, delegate and lead by example.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Where I am today has been a result of the journey I have been on for the last 28 years of my corporate life and it’s been amazing. The good, bad and ugly along the way has enabled me to learn many of life’s great lessons and use those as a benchmark moving forward.
How do you unwind?
It’s all about the water. I live literally on top of water, grew up on the water and find it’s the one thing that calms me quickly and keeps me grounded.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Singapore – great hotels and service, the warm weather and cleanest streets.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“Atlas Shrugged” By Ayn Rand
The theme of Atlas Shrugged, according to Ayn Rand, “is the role of the mind in man’s existence.” It is the mind, the story shows, that is the root of all human knowledge and values — and its absence is the root of all evil.
Shameless plug for your business:
Bringing brands to life through the use of amazing people, standout activations and cut through comms!
How can people connect with you?
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>