by Glenn Arvin Reyes
Life lessons come in many different forms, though not all of them come in expected packages. While the COVID -19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to the way we live, the experiences brought upon by the crisis have given us the wisdom and courage to fully embrace the new reality we are now living in.
Sitting as a guest speaker at the recently concluded “Reimagine Your Selling Process Offline to Online,” an exclusive webinar hosted by the Internet & Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) under its Web Wednesday program, our very own Alliance Global Group, Inc. (AGI) Chief Executive Officer Kevin L. Tan shared the valuable lessons he learned from the current circumstances.
These learnings largely influenced the formulation of business strategies that enabled AGI to fully operate and serve its customers despite the debilitating effects of the crisis, particularly on consumer confidence and mobility.
Redeveloping ‘brand trust’
“Customers are looking for brands that they can trust,” said Tan, adding that people tend to put their trust on brands that give a premium on health and safety as their topmost priority.
According to him, the health and safety of consumers have become the common factor among all operating businesses of Alliance Global during this pandemic.
He cited the case of McDonald’s Philippines—a strategic partnership between AGI and the George Yang Group through Golden Arches Development Corporation (GADC)—which, apart from going great lengths to promote contactless transactions through its self-serving kiosks in its NXTGEN stores, has also adopted the highest standards of safety and hygiene to ensure the protection of its workforce and customers.
In the case of Emperador, Tan highlighted how the company continues to produce world-class quality products without human contact.
“People already know that our products are world-class. Now add the dimension of safety into the equation. That puts the customers’ trust in the Emperador brand at a really high point,” he added.
Tan also shared how Megaworld Lifestyle Malls is ensuring customer safety by partnering with awarding-winning medical institution The Medical City in designing its sanitation manuals, which is now being implemented across all its 20 lifestyle malls.
He further noted how the entire AGI hotels business, particularly Marriott, Sheraton, and Hilton Manila, have applied tried-and-tested global health and safety protocols to ensure the protection of BPO employees, repatriated OFWs, and stranded tourists who are currently staying at these hotels.
Tan added that Megaworld townships have successfully controlled any major outbreaks during this crisis, commending this breakthrough as a result of the integration of township components, strict implementation of safety protocols, and the efficient use of its 24/7 surveillance system.
“Our priority really is protect our people, the population in our townships, our customers and our stakeholders. All these efforts have earned the trust for our brands,” he said.
Innovation is key
“Customers want to trust brands that remove the many pain points occurring now,” said Tan.
He highlighted how AGI companies continue to be creative by “finding new ways to do old things” in overcoming the friction brought about by the pandemic, including in the areas of customer transactions, logistics and mobility.
He cited the key innovations that helped AGI companies make its products and services accessible and available to customers. These include the development of new retail channels, the establishment of new distribution hubs, the migration to more digital processes, and the adoption of digital payment channels.
Tan illustrated how the company has adopted a contactless strategy to address the immediate needs and safety concerns of customers, while ensuring business continuity through a variety of innovations, such as e-wallets, contactless parking system, and pedal-operated faucets for the lifestyle malls, as well as the e-concierge for hotels.
Tan also shared Megaworld’s customer service innovations that provide contactless assistance. Foremost of these is MEGAN, the company’s very own chatbot for customer inquiries, sales, and after-sales concerns. There’s also First Oceanic Property Management’s (FOPM) iFAE, an Internet-based automated solutions portal that allows faster, more convenient, and contactless billing and collection.
Embracing opportunities amid challenges
“There are new opportunities even in the time of crisis. It’s really up to you to discover these opportunities,” said Tan.
He underscored the need to become more agile and nimble, and be able to “throw the old box and build a new one” in order to succeed during these times.
He cited how Alliance Global’s continuing digital transformation, which began pre-pandemic, has become instrumental in helping its businesses navigate the crisis.
Tan shared how its investments in startups such as Boozy.ph, which has become the largest online seller of liquor and spirits, and GoodWork.ph, now the No.1 service provider app in the country, have started to bear fruit and become more relevant to an increasing number of customers.
The pandemic also made the launch of Megaworld’s newest company, AGILE Digital Ventures, the company behind PICK.A.ROO, very timely.
Tan co-founded PICK.A.ROO, an all-in-one, on-demand, premium lifestyle delivery app. This platform aims to help Filipino retailers, especially Megaworld retail partners, smoothly migrate to the digital platform, allowing them to sell and deliver their products online and on demand.
“Now more than ever, we need to shift to new ways of doing business. We need to get out of our comfort zones and try new things. We need to continually challenge the status quo, evolve, and be able to adapt,” said Tan.