Here’s How Brands in Southeast Asia are Coping with the Economic Downturn

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Working with clients across various verticals, experts from PRecious Communications share some of the best practices on how brands are coping with the economic downturn.

Working with clients across various verticals, experts from PRecious Communications share some of the best practices on how brands are coping with the economic downturn.

In the second quarter, Singapore’s economy contracted by 13.2 per cent while Malaysia’s economy contracted 17.1%. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s economy contracted for the first time in twenty years, where its real gross domestic product plunged 5.32%.

Working with clients across various verticals, experts from PRecious Communications share some of the best practices on how brands are coping with the economic downturn.

Expressing Empathy and Have Transparent Conversations

Lars Voedisch, Founder and Managing Director, PRecious Communications

Lars Voedisch

There are so many stories of great creativity and bravery to change course and leverage opportunities on the one hand and those of business having to make painful decisions as they are adjusting to the new normal on the other hand. What successful brands have in common is that they kept communicating with their target audiences. They express empathy for the situation that everyone has got into and share what they were doing to stay connected and overcome the challenges they are facing across industries, from hospitality to deep tech, startups to industrial, or energy to non-for-profits.

From our end we are encouraged by the very open and transparent conversations we had with our clients, talking about business context more than just communications, but also getting closer connected as we all faced these sudden dark clouds together. It is with great pride to see how our key clients and we stayed focused, being extremely solution-oriented, creative and most importantly open and understanding in the way we communicated as we faced, weathered and are now preparing to get out of the storm. Isn’t that what’s what communications, and specifically, partnerships should be about?

Contributed by Lars Voedisch, Founder and Managing Director, PRecious Communications

Relook and Reboot

Robin Chang, Regional Head, Client Advisory at PRecious Communications

We see that clients are relooking into what worked and what did not, and what ticked with consumers and moved the needle for their brand. Many a time, this helps brands to streamline the kind of PR activities that are suitable for the products, services and companies that they are representing.

Many want to drive consistent relationships with their target audience. Few grasped the importance of continuing the narratives that brands stand for and tailoring their approaches to one that is aligned with current times. The importance of continued conversations should not be overlooked because it brings brands closer to the hearts of the people that results in brand allegiance, stickiness and hence, sales.

At the same time, companies do not want years and decades of hard work to be wasted due to just one unforeseen impact of current times. As such, many brands have looked into crisis and issues preparedness and management to ensure business continuity. Future-proofing the areas that you have control in would be the best favour that any company can do for brands that they have painstakingly built.

Contributed by Robin Chang, Regional Head, Client Advisory at PRecious Communications

Adapt and Change to Survive the Crisis

Busakorn Srisongkhroh, Market Lead, PRecious Thailand

Busakorn Srisongkhroh

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel and tourism sector was the most affected, and almost twelve percent of Thailand’s GDP relies on tourism. The export sector – notably, the agriculture and automobile sector have been severely affected. To support the tourism sector, the Thai government has come with a project to spur domestic tourism and help offset the absence of foreign tourists. The government will subsidise hotels, resorts and restaurants in Thailand.

However, adapting and changing are the necessary factors needed for businesses to survive the pandemic. Some hotels are offering a lunch campaign of 2,000 baht and a free night stay while others have turned some rooms into co-working spaces. For the agricultural sector, Thailand Post has created an e-commerce system to sell fruit and agricultural products throughout Thailand. An automotive company is now offering leasing solutions as sales have dwindled drastically. Even small SMEs are innovating – for instance; an old tailor shop switched to selling food – Grilled Chicken with Rice. The menu recipe was a winner from an employees competition. This helps the shop to get additional income to support the salary for its employees during COVID 19.

Contributed by Busakorn Srisongkhroh, Market Lead, PRecious Thailand

Innovate and Optimise For Indonesia’s Vast Landscape

Joyce Hutapea, Senior Manager, PRecious Indonesia

Joyce Hutapea

Our clients realise that all businesses across verticals are in a tough spot. Despite alleviating their hardships, many companies are now asking ‘what we can do to help them’. By understanding the challenges that are faced by their clients, these businesses innovate to modify their products and services to provide a tailor-made solution. That helps everyone and keeps the economic wheel spinning.

Some businesses have also expanded their horizons to smaller cities in Indonesia. Even though there is an opportunity, this requires more resources to build and develop operations. However, the towns play an essential support role for the major hubs and their real strength that needs to be tapped into. This is one of the reasons why there has been a lot of media attention, highlighting the need for investment and funding for startups and SMEs that originate from local cities. Business expansion, talent and resource development, as well as empowerment to the local businesses in those cities, will help Indonesia’s economy significantly.

Contributed by Joyce Hutapea, Senior Manager, PRecious Indonesia

Flight to Quality

Clarence Lim, Client Services Director, PRecious SPARKS

One phrase that was mentioned in an interview we facilitated was that during this period, many industries would see a flight to quality. Brands and companies who have a relevant business model that caters to today’s customer behaviour and economic landscape, and most importantly are brave enough to make difficult choices, can survive – and some even thrive! – during this period.

Many of the stories we have helped to tell during this period touch on having to understand their customers’ needs and problems and trying to solve them, or about creating new business models and offerings that are relevant to the drastically changing economy of today.

Contributed by Clarence Lim, Client Services Director, PRecious Communications

Hustle and Change for Some; Advantage in Adversity for Others

Rajiv Menon, Client Services Director, PRecious EDGE

Dealing with a downturn is always a high-intensity exercise in change management. For most of our technology clients, having an inherent digital-first mindset helped them navigate the impact of the pandemic with a better focus on data-driven decision-making.

Then they are the ones that had an inadvertent advantage in adversity – for example, cloud-based software providers. This uncertain period has proved to be the most significant proof of concept for the power of the cloud, enabling companies to run their business without having to depend on manual processes. And with that, companies in the cloud space continue to thrive. Overall, while the initial period was trying for several clients, most of them have quickly adapted to the demands of the new business world and are now poised for growth.

Contributed by Rajiv Menon, Client Services Director – PRecious Communications

Inspired by this post? If you are a startup or a corporate and are looking to build trusted relationships with your key audiences Get in touch with us to expand your brand awareness. Let’s push the creative boundaries, together.

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