ISTANA BUDAYA

MARKETING OVERVIEW

ISTANA BUDAYA MARKETING OVERVIEW

MOHD RIZAL KISMATH BATCHA 2007

Part A: Pre-trip Preparation A. Company’s Background Istana Budaya, or more commonly known as “The Palace of Culture” is the first of its kind in Asia to be equipped with such state-of-the-art stage equipment which branded itself Malaysia’s national theatre. Located nearby Tasik Titiwangsa, we made our way to the site by our own chartered bus. This high-flying landmark, or said to be the icon of Malaysia is in the Top Ten list of most sophisticated theatres in the world and managed to be standing on level par with the Royal Albert Hall of London. “Certainly a world-class theatre with an individual character, the elegant Istana Budaya has been proclaimed as one of Malaysia's celebrated landmarks," quoted by virtualmalaysia.com. It’s marvelous distinctive frontage and displayed features consumed roughly RM 210 million in cost that spanned over 5.44ha with a floor space of 21,000 sq/m. The pioneer behind such typical design was Muhammad Kamar Ya'akub. This heritage theatre provides stages for local and foreign cultural performances. The structural design of the building is remarkable which comprise various blend of Malay and other cultures. The fact that it is situated nearby Tasik Titiwangsa, the strategic location made Istana Budaya even more attractive. The dazzling design somehow attracted our attention that we soon realized the inspiration for the design is a traditional moon kite in flight. Everything from walls to floors and settings seem to be in a perfect yet attractive state. The main building cultivates the form of the Sirih Junjung (a traditional arrangement of betel leaves used during Malay weddings and welcoming ceremonies). The building significantly reflects the nature and cultures of the country such as the reflection of traditional Malay house design in the overall architecture.

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The lobby’s decorative floor

The theatre is divided into three sections as determined by its functionality; the serambi (lobby and foyer), rumah ibu (mother house) as the auditorium, and the rumah dapur (kitchen) as the stage and rehearsal hall. The Malay traditions could be seen in the overall design of the building whose roof resembles a traditional floral and leaf arrangement. Based on the Malay architecural design, the layout of the building is closely related to the verandah (serambi) for the lobby, the living room for the auditorium and the kitchen for the stage and neighboring rehearsal area. The interior design makes far-reaching use of Langkawi marble while the door uses high-quality tropical wood which features hand-carved flower and leaf motifs. The luxuriant carpets found in the foyer and lobby feature theme based on the cempaka flower and the beringin tree (reminiscent of a traditional Mak Yong performance). The design motif of the theatre’s interior is reflected by the Malaysian wau or kite where it could be

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seen on the floors. The mesmerizing turquoise color of the roof and the intricate design of the foyer managed to captivate the visitors’ breath once these features are spot on. Though at times it is not playing host to any performance, Istana Budaya’s architecture has intrigued experts and academics.

Hand-carved flowers on the high quality wooden doors There are royal boxes on each side of the auditorium which reflect the Malay’s house windows. The main entrance to the theatre imitates the Balairong Seri’s main hall and is said to represent one of Malacca. The auditorium itself could accommodate around 1,412 people including 797 in the stalls on the first floor, 312 in the grand circle on the second floor and 303 people in the upper circle. The orchestra pit itself could fit around 98 people when it’s not in use. However, the disabled ones would not need to worry about the lengthy stairs because Istana Budaya has wheelchair facilities, including a ramp throughout the foyer, a lift installed with reachable buttons and a cozy environment designated for the handicapped coupled with specified restrooms too.

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The Panggung Sari hall How To Get There Istana Budaya is located at the premise of Jalan Tun Razak, along the busy road where transportation could be seen around the area. The area is easily accessible with public and private means of transportation. The parking space provided is wide enough for all means of vehicle to be parked there. Although the roads are all jammed up, there’s an alternative for us to reach this place by using the LRT train which is situated nearby. The roundabout enables us to make necessary U-turn without having to drive till the other end and free-parking system encourages more taxi and buses to ply around the area. Buses such as Intrakota are located about 15 minutes from the overhead pedestrian bridge which stops in front of the Tawakal Medical Centre along Jalan Pahang. The availability of trains eases the burden of customers without having to be stuck in a jam. The nearest station is a walking distance from Istana Budaya for about 15 minutes.

Part B: Detailed Trip Log Book

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1. Perceptions The moment Dr. Nabsiah Abdul Wahid; our Services Marketing lecturer, announced that we were going for a trip in Kuala Lumpur, to be precise; Istana Budaya, excitement filled the air where most of us never been to this place. Being labeled as the icon of Malaysia, we sort of imagine how great the place is based on the information we had gathered from Internet. As mentioned, we do not really have a clear picture of what Istana Budaya is all about from its background to the awareness within the public. Of course, we do not expect much from what they could offer due to the fact that we assume Istana Budaya is just another boring venue with typical historic heritage. Based on the information we had, the building was named “The Palace of Culture” because it reflects the nostalgia of the Malay’s culture. Upon knowing such fact, we assumed that Istana Budaya do not have anything to do with marketing and advertising fields. The hall only acts as an attractive centre with beautiful designated decoration to attract tourists’ attention, thus contributing to the development of Malaysia’s tourism centre. We had qualms as to whether it has any marketing strategy or products to be promoted because we do not see any products or marketers involved. Thus, in order to clarify all of our doubts and curiosities, we had prepared questions to be raised during the interview session. Among the questions to be asked are as follows: i) Istana Budaya is known for its heritage values and norms, but does it includes marketing and promotional strategies? ii) How do you relate Istana Budaya to service industry?

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iii)

What are the services provided by Istana Budaya which made itself recognized as an service-oriented industry?

iv)

How Istana Budaya managed to maintain such high maintenance costs without actually selling products?

v)

What are the strategy used in improving the employees’ retention and reducing employees’ turnover rate?

vi)

Does Istana Budaya gain its profit from the services provided or relying on government’s subsidy?

vii)

How is Istana Budaya going to raise public’s awareness regarding the reality of the cultural aspects?

Besides, it was once branded as the “Home of Integrity” due to its richness in multicultural values. For instance, Istana Budaya hosts shows like Simfonic Ochestra and Tun Sambathan performances which reflects its objectives. With the explanation given by Puan Putri from the Division of the Perhubungan Awam, we knew that Istana Budaya was fully subsidized by the government. Istana Budaya was owned by Kementerian

Kebudayaan Keseniaan Dan Warisan. It was been established by our former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohammad. Besides, we were also educated on the employees’ attitudes and practices provided for them to maintain the level of services. They have 400 employees from all of the departments. During the interview session, we were brought around the building despite time’s running out. However, we managed to take a glimpse at the halls decorated with extensive yet attractive interior design. We were briefed on the stages’ specialty, the capacity of each hall, the cultural norms associated with each

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design, the maintenance strategy used in sustaining its competitive advantage and the number of performances held every month which translates to the amount of revenue. 2. Evaluation Our arrival was greeted by Puan Putri from the Division of the Perhubungan Awam, and then we proceed to the interview hall with the rest of the groups. Once we settled down, she began to play a video which features a 10 minutes presentation of Istana Budaya. After the video session, we were granted the chance to raise some questions. Pn. Putri managed to enlighten us with information we never knew where it was understood that Istana Budaya can be categorized as service industry due to the fact that it provide outstanding stages for cultural performance to be held. These world-class stages tend to attract various performers from all over the world and thus contributed to the profits for Istana Budaya. Given the information is realistic and accurate, we could judge that Istana Budaya is not just merely an attraction centre but also tend to instill a great sense of cultural heritage among the youth or teenagers nowadays. They had this objective since the day it was built because cultural values seem to fade away. However they had difficulties in promoting its objective because most of the people are not fully aware or even notice what Istana Budaya is all about. Their advertising campaigns and promotional skills do not achieve the target in reaching out to the public in a large scale. Overall, Istana Budaya failed to educate youngsters about the true value of its traditional heritage in a wide scale due to its ineffective exposure brought upon merely by advertising and words from mouth. However, Istana Budaya did assist Malaysia in attracting more foreigners into the country which boost the country’s economy status.

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3. Problem Statement Istana Budaya has reached the point that is acts as an icon representing Malaysia in a way that it contributes to the domestic market share. However, the objective in creating a desire and interest in the cultural values of multiracial among youths tend to backfire. Besides, Istana Budaya depends solely on the subsidies provided by the government in order to survive in competitive market because the exposure of the services provided is not at the highest order. The difficulties in penetrating into the global market tend to prevent Istana Budaya from achieving a large economy of scale. 4. Positioning

Expensi ve

Royal Albert Hall
High Service

Petronas Philharmonic
Moderat e

Istana Budaya

Industry Competitors
Less Expensive

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Istana Budaya is one of the most established art centers in Malaysia with outstanding services provided for stage performances. Based on a global scale, Istana Budaya is rated below the Royal Albert Hall of London and Petronas Philharmonic. The prices of the shows are basically charged at a reasonable rate compared to Petronas Philharmonic and the services provided are not at the level comparable with Royal Albert Hall. Thus, Istana Budaya sits between less expensive and moderate service category. Istana Budaya did not suffer severely because the governments subsequently support the development of its services with substantial amount of subsidy. This explains why Istana Budaya can price its tickets at a low price compared to others, 5. The Russell Model of Affect

Arousing distress ing excitin g pleasant boring relaxin g sleepy

Unpleas ant

The Russell Model of Affect is used to better understand the emotional responses towards the service environments which can be described in two dimension; pleasure and arousal. According to the diagram above, Istana Budaya could be described as follows:

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a) Exciting • The decorations throughout the building managed to attract our attention which arouse our feelings towards the quality of the interior design • The high level of arousal coupled with high level of pleasure categorized Istana Budaya into the excitement dimension (arousing)

b) Relaxing • The ambience and architecture of the hallway created a calm and pleasant feeling among the visitors • However, the traditional experiences failed to excite the public motivation which places Istana Budaya in the relaxing zone (high level of pleasure but low level of arousal), pleasant zone c) Boring • The briefing session was typically dull with no excitement installed to arouse the audiences • Such low level of arousal and pleasure granted Istana Budaya in the boring dimension (sleepy) d) Distressing • • The overall design of the building is similar throughout the hall Such simulation is quite distressing particularly at times when we experience the same kind of design from time to time

6. SWOT analysis
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a) Strength

Istana Budaya’s strength focuses on its remarkable yet world-class stages which can be altered in all sorts of directions according to the performers’ preferences. The outstanding stages proved to be vital to the success in attracting more foreign cultural performances across the world. Given the support by the government, Istana Budaya managed to avoid such competition either locally or internationally. This strength provides a base for Istana Budaya to succeed further in terms of promoting the cultural values to the public, with one main objective; to protect the heritage of our late ancestors. b) Weakness Even though Istana Budaya has the full support of the government, it still lacks superior quality in both the services provided and the equipments used. Some performances cannot be held due to the absent of some advance equipment or barely suited for a foreign play. The ineffective promotional campaigns used to educate the public tend to halt the progress of Istana Budaya. c) Opportunity However, Istana Budaya does have the edge to develop as a world-class provider in terms of stages. The excellence of the stage enables Istana Budaya to attract more foreign shows which will increase the exchange currency rate and established a platform for it to penetrate into the global market in the future. Substantial amount of subsidy provided by the government supports the future plan of Istana Budaya in reaching out to a larger target segment.

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d) Threat As mentioned before, Istana Budaya rarely experience direct competition in its domestic market. This is due to the full ownership under the government which protects the interest of Istana Budaya in seeking profits without the expense of social constraints. However, indirect competitors such as Petronas Philharmonic posed little threat to Istana Budaya where foreigners prefer to rent the services provided by Petronas Philharmonic due to its superiority in every aspect. The risk of losing potential customers triggered the loss of potential profits.

7. Marketing Mix (4Ps) a) Products

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The main product of Istana Budaya is the stage for performances. The superior stage is made of quality materials which guarantee the reliability of the value created. Here are the features: Wagons System TYPE Side Stage Equalisers & Underwagon Equalisers Rear Stage Equalisers Rear Stage Underwagon Equalisers Side Wagon Rear Stage with Tilting Top Floor QTY 4 3 2 4 1 AREA 32 sq.m 32 sq.m 128 sq.m 64 sq.m 256 sq.m

Flying Bars & Point Hoists FLYING BARS Total Length Maximum load Maximum used (moving) QTY & CAPACITY 61 bars 20.0 m/bar 1000 kg/bar 10 bars per combination

POINT HOISTS Total FOH (forestage) Maximum Load Maximum Used (moving)

QTY & CAPACITY 145 hoists 24 hoists 200 kg/hoists 25 hoists per combination

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Stage Gallery GALLERY Total Gallery (1) Protrude DATA 4 levels Control room 1.5 m

Curtain CURTAIN Main Type (1) Type (2) Colour Controlled by button DATA 2 types of movements Up & Down Left & Right Green SL (Prompt Side)

b) Promotion Istana Budaya uses promotional campaigns and advertising firms in order to promote its services through performances held every month. Billboards, media advertising, booklets and others are the ways practiced in nurturing the public of the importance of cultural heritage. The official website helps to promote Istana Budaya in

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the eyes of foreigners which are accessible throughout the whole world. The user-friendly website helps in providing a clear picture of what is to be expected. c) Physical Environment Physical environment is very essential to a service oriented business because services are perishable and intangible. Thus it is hard to evaluate services and to distinguish them among the competitors. Thus, it is difficult to assess important feature in advance of use and to evaluate the quality of the performances. Basically customer will perceive physical environment as a cue to evaluate the services. Physical environment here involves the appearance of building, size and color of building, architectural style, wall decoration and lighting. d) Price The pricing strategy includes the low and affordable level of prices. The prices vary according to the type of performance and depend largely on the demand for that particular show. The stage rental fees are as follows; RM 15 000 per night, RM 2 250 per day for rehearsal and RM 15 000 per additional performance. These fees include technical equipments, labor force and customer services.

CONCLUSION

As a service provider, Istana Budaya should evaluate its target market more deeply in order to identify the target market preferences and

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behaviors towards certain stimuli. We do believe that Istana Budaya should implement strategies which will trigger the targeted segment’s interests before educating them more on the values and traditions of multiracial cultures. Given the outstanding stage, Istana Budaya cannot depend solely on the product which they offer. Based on the marketing mix strategy, the best product will not be enough to bring success to a firm without emphasizing much on the other marketing aspects. Thus, a world-class stage is not enough to attract people without having a proper promotion or people dimensions to support the core services. Pricing strategy reflects the willingness of customers to purchase such services and thus must be evaluated thoroughly. In a nutshell, Istana Budaya serves as an icon of Malaysia in promoting its multiracial population and in the meantime generating profits for further plans. Overall, we evaluated that Istana Budaya will have the opportunity to shine in the global market in years to come. However, massive improvement in various dimensions needed to be carried out in order to achieve such objective.

Appendix

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REFERENCES

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Lovelock, C. H (1992). Cultivating the Flower of Service: New Ways of looking at Core and Supplementary Services. Marketing, Operations and Human Resources: Insights into Services, University d’AixMarseille III, 296-316. Statistics & Survey Reports 2007, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) ASHWIN RAMAN, (05 March 2008). Complete no-frills travel package, (http://www.sun2surf.com) Wirtz (2007), SERVICE MARKETING People, Technology, Strategy: 6th edition. (Pearson Education) http://www.istanabudaya.gov.my/ http://www.virtualmalaysia.com/destination/istana%20budaya.html http://www.pmo.gov.my www.ticket2u.biz boxoffice@istanabudaya.gov.my http://www.istanabudaya.gov.my http://www.cybermelayu.com Kementerian kebudayaan , Keseniaan dan Warisan (KEKWA) putrid@istanabudaya.gov.my

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