Beyond business as usual: How marketers are advancing from “react” to “build”

Jess Duarte / April 2020

As we adjust our day-to-day routines to a new normal, brands are making fundamental changes to their processes and communication, reflecting their evolving relevance in these unprecedented times. In APAC, marketers are leading the way in providing direction and leadership for brands as the region enters the second quarter of the pandemic.

Previously, we spoke to APAC marketers to understand how they are showing leadership in this crucial period. This time, we wanted to understand how APAC marketers are repositioning their brands from reacting to the changes to building their communications in the region.

1. Take concrete steps in supporting your partners and customers

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At Gojek, we are stepping up our efforts to support the livelihood of our driver, merchant, and service provider partners who continue to work selflessly to support our day-to-day lives while the rest of us are advised to stay home.

To support our partners during these trying times, Gojek has launched a US$6 million Gojek Partner Support Fund. The fund was raised by Gojek’s management, who are donating 25% of their annual salaries, along with the rest of the company, who are foregoing their annual pay raises this year and contributing that budget to the fund. We believe very strongly that the life and growth of Gojek depends on the success of our partners.

The fund will be allocated to 12 driver programs, focusing on health care provision, reducing daily costs, and income assistance.

In addition, we are also importing 5 million masks that will be distributed to drivers and health care providers. This initiative will boost our previous distribution of masks, hand sanitizer, and vitamins to drivers across Indonesia. Gojek has always believed it is critical that we do the right thing to help society.

2. Use your platform to support your customer in new ways

Vikas Gupta

During this difficult time, e-commerce has played an active role in ensuring that the essential needs of consumers are delivered to their doorstep. As we continue to support the government and consumers in the fight against COVID-19 while ensuring an uninterrupted supply of essentials, we are reimagining our supply chain and our platform.

Prioritizing employee wellbeing, we have taken multiple steps to ensure the safety of our supply chain and last-mile delivery through regular sanitization of our facilities and delivery vehicles for groceries. We are also exploring ecosystem partnerships to help move essentials in the shortest timespan. This includes our recent partnership with Uber across Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore and a pilot with Spencer's Retail in Hyderabad. These ecosystem collaborations are driven heavily by our technology capabilities, which allow us to scale up in a limited timeframe.

In addition to facilitating the delivery of essential products, we wanted to ensure we also did our best to lift people’s spirits. This led to a unique offering of games and original video content on the app, strengthening our engagement and entertainment offering. Our most recent launch, “Entertainer No. 1” with Varun Dhawan, is a unique stay-at-home reality show, aimed at giving budding entertainers a platform to stay connected. This new show is curated with the intention of cheering up India during this difficult time and encouraging people to bring out their creative best while staying at home.

3. Deal with immediate issues, but don’t forget about the long-term

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As the global and local situation continues to evolve, we have had to review our corporate strategy and recalibrate our targets for visitor arrivals and tourism receipts. This has led to acute short-term issues, and the whole organization has been working hard to address these.

For instance, we have set up a Tourism Recovery Action Task Force that consists of private and public sector stakeholders who have been entrusted with developing recovery strategies. We have also doubled down on the SG Clean certification program, encouraging the tourism industry to maintain high cleanliness and hygiene standards. On the ground, we have deployed STB officers to guide stakeholders on safe distancing measures.

As we tackle these short-term issues, we strongly believe in continuing to build our long-term competitive advantage. With that in mind, we are maintaining our investments in IT, capability, and brand as well as our officers. On the marketing front, we have started work on a recovery plan for both domestic and international recovery together with the industry.

The fluidity of the situation has influenced how we work — by being agile and flexible and collaborating seamlessly across teams inside STB and across the rest of the government.

4. Go beyond your core industry and support communities

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As communities step up social distancing measures, Shopee is continuing to connect people in our region through e-commerce. We have curated Shopee From Home campaigns in each of our markets to give users access to essential products for living and working at home. These campaigns also bring sellers and brands closer to their customers online.

We are also channeling vital resources to help communities in need. We have teamed up with authorities and governments in our region to gather funds and vital supplies for medical workers and patients.

In Singapore, our #ShopeeGivesBack initiative supports frontline medical staff, and we are working with Enterprise Singapore on co-governmental grants to aid affected offline sellers in their transition online. In Malaysia, we have set up a COVID-19 Fund with the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), and we have donated to the Indonesian Red Cross as well.

Every organization has a role to play in the fight against COVID-19. Together, we will get through this.

Beyond business as usual: Marketing in the face of the extraordinary