DAILY BRIEFINGS ON BUSINESS UNUSUAL
IN OUR NEW NORMAL

COMMUNITY WEBCAST

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

AHA! BIZ

EPISODE 7

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

AHA! Hero
Head of Leasing for one of the biggest shopping mall chains in the Philippines, with more that 40 existing properties all over the country

COVID Context
All of their malls are currently closed, except for the essential retail stores like supermarkets, pharmacies and banks. Right now, the company has a 5-point action plan to combat the crisis, as follows:

  1. Survivability – involves taking care of the company’s solvency and liquidity, making sure that they have enough cash, reviewing expenditures, etc.
  2. Caring for People – includes financial assistance program not just for their direct employees but also for their daily wage earners such as security guards, housekeeping and cinema staff
  3. Serving customers – these include both store owners and mall goers, making sure the company regularly announces mall updates, enforce social distancing and hygiene sanitation
  4. Helping others – this includes raising funds not just for the frontliners, but also for the poor communities most affected by the crisis through their collaboration with PDRF’s Project Ugnayan
  5. Thinking ahead – how they will recover, collaborating with their partner companies and retailers to prepare for the new normal after the lockdown

AHA! #1
Walking the talk. It’s these times of crisis that serve as a litmus test for the values that the company upholds. For this particular company, it is the value of malasakit. As seen above, caring for people is second in their action plan, which speaks volumes about how they walk the talk in terms of the value of compassion. They have a 24/7 hotline for employees who experience symptoms of Covid so they will be properly guided, and their partner clinic is ready to accept PUI employees. They also value mental health, sending out regular emails to help people cope with stress and panic. And payments for the cooperative program are also postponed. One of their motivations for remaining liquid is so that they won’t have to lay off people, going as far as reducing the pay of the higher ups.

AHA! #2
Synergy. This mall company is just part of a bigger conglomerate that holds a portfolio of diverse business interests. To prepare for the market reopening, they are tapping into their partner companies and enabling synergies in order to help their retail partners survive the new normal. For example, for their restaurant partners, they project that business will involve more take-out and delivery service, so not only are they sharing knowledge and best practices to restaurant owners to bridge required skills sets required by the new normal, they are also tapping into their partner logistics company to help these restaurants in the future. For clothing retailers, they see synergies with their partner e-commerce shopping site. These are just some examples of how they see collaborations will manifest in order for companies to help each other survive the new normal.

AHA! Hero
A marketing and events executive who is in charge of events and live activations in a major mall chain

 

COVID Context
Due to the lockdown and social distancing efforts of the government to fight the spread of COVID and to flatten the curve, all their activities lined up for the rest of the year were scrapped. This includes mall-wide sales, women’s month celebration, earth hour, etc. They had to assess everything and adjust their plans right away.

 

AHA! #1
Be agile.

Currently, what they’ve done is to recreate their marketing plans for the entire year. If before, they just follow the usual calendar of events, now, they have to recreate it from scratch in such a way that it will not be tone deaf to what is happening on the ground. They come up with a three point plan:

  1. Build the trust of the customers by showing them that they value their safety, security, and convenience through constant sanitation of the mall, enforcing government-mandated protocols in buying of goods, and listening to the needs of customers. Since they cannot do things on the ground, everything transitioned to digital. All posts are relevant to what is happening like putting COVID-related posts (do’s and don’ts, information they can life from DOH and WHO). Events that were cancelled were posted on digital (Earth Hour). No light-hearted posts like gamifications and gimmicks.
  2. Re-establish the connection with customers. They believe that once things go back to "normal" or when people feel that it's safe to go back to the mall (also because through their efforts), these mall-goers would want to celebrate missed birthdays, anniversaries, etc. because of COVID. They plan to use these opportunities in their efforts.
  3. The new normal. They plan to review their efforts and see which events would merit a live activation and which ones are unnecessary and can be transitioned to its digital version that will also save them millions in the process.

 

AHA! #2
Provide value unusual. Because people are stuck at home, everyone is now online and they see this period as their chance to grow their online community by rethinking the way they do events. If they can't bring the people to the mall events, they're bringing the mall events to their homes. They are planning lining up online series that will appeal to their audience (mostly moms) like advice shows and virtual gigs for a cause. They also plan to do things like highlighting frontliners by making stories about them, and customer engagement features, etc. For their tenants, they continue to support them by giving them exposure to their Facebook group because they believe that promoting their partners will be a win-win situation for both parties. Since they can no longer promote them through events and their usual marketing efforts, they do promotions of their services which include surveys for their audience for the restart, restaurants that allow takeouts and food delivery service, available bank services, and share tenants’ COVID-related news.