Malaysia: A growing Hybrid rebrands, relocates Kuala Lumpur home

DIGITAL publisher Hybrid has launched a major rebrand and is relocating its Kuala Lumpur editorial headquarters today to facilitate a growing team of writers and journalists.

The company’s Managing Director James Craven said Friday the company had achieved 60 percent annual growth on average over the past two years and that “our sites are on target to receive 20 million visitors a month by the end of next year.”

Hybrid operates a host of websites that cover news, technology, travel and education including Asian Correspondent, Latin Correspondent, Travel Wire Asia, Tech Wire Asia and Study International. In June, the sites together drew more than 8.5 million unique visitors.

Since its inception in 2009, the company has evolved from a network of freelancers and journalists to a news bureau and dynamic multimedia company, merging independent journalism with digital sponsored content.

“Hybrid’s audience has grown rapidly, making them a global influencer. We wanted to capture that sense of action and ambition in the rebrand,” said Rachael Bradley of Underscore, the creative team behind the rebrand.

Underscore’s portfolio also includes Ritz Carlton, RTL International and The Body Shop.

“The colours are bold and progressive, the font is moving forward, and the parallelogram is upwardly mobile. We wanted to create a brand with a strong voice, and a collective identity,” she said.

The rebrand is also meant to encapsulate Hybrid’s objective to make its mark in the global media scene by creating in-depth, highly-targeted and influential content, or, what the rebrand terms simply as, “more compelling media”.

Explaining the phrase, Craven said: “We care about growth, but only in the context of building premium, credible and authoritative brands for our clients… this is achieved by creating more compelling media.”

To this end, Craven said the firm’s editorial recruitment policy is to fill its Kuala Lumpur team with the region’s best journalistic talent. It also forms a crucial part of Hybrid’s overall ethos – getting the right talent for the right job.

The policy has served Hybrid well so far, as evidenced by the recent award of the East West Center’s Jefferson fellowship to one of Hybrid’s senior writers Azim Idris, who produces content for Asian Correspondent.

Commenting on Hybrid’s KL move today, Editor-in-Chief Clara Chooi called it timely as the company has ambitious plans to double its editorial team.

“With this new space, we’ll have the capacity to employ 30 new journalists,” she said. From its first office in Binjai 8 Premium Soho, a premier office space in the KL city centre, Hybrid is moving to the 45-level Q Sentral tower in KL Sentral, an exclusive urban centre built around Malaysia’s largest transit hub.

Hybrid KL staff getting settled into their new Q Sentral office.

“Everyone here is a dedicated consumer of new media, so we understand our audience: we are the audience.”

Chooi is referring both to existing staff and Hybrid’s recently-launched internship programme, which has attracted over a hundred interested applicants so far.

“We’re selecting independent thinkers who are young and bold enough to work abroad. We choose people with a social content mentality,” said Chooi.

Apart from the Malaysian capital and its headquarters in Bristol, UK, Hybrid also has an office in Sydney, Australia. In the first half of 2018, Hybrid is expected to spread its wings to the US, with its first North American office in Boston.