COVID-19 has caused major disruptions globally. This crisis is intensifying and evolving every now and then. At the current state, public healthcare systems of many countries are taking actions to curb foreigners from entering their boundaries.
Undoubtedly, the focus should be on controlling and mitigating the outbreak. However, the economies have been significantly affected. Global financial markets have created fears in many investors about the pandemic. The negative impacts at this juncture have led to many companies facing great challenges. How can enterprises prepare for such crisis and turn it into an opportunity?

It is our honour to have Vilon Ho, Commercial Director, APAC of Zanroo to share the journey during this critical period. Established since 2013 as a Marketing Technology Company, Zanroo helps solve the language and social data challenge across Asia countries through offering Social Listening and Engagement Solution, helping brands connect with customer and stay competitive in the future of digital economy.

1. Pertaining to COVID-19, what are the impacts on your company?

As a Marketing Technology (MarTech) company focusing on social technologies and services, we remain operational to serve our clients, especially in uncertain time like COVID-19. We understand that some industries are more affected than the others so we adapt by scoping our services to be more relevant in addressing their challenges. For example, the social-distancing economy is shaping towards the direction of digital economy and we are doing the best to support our clients by becoming their eyes and ears throughout this critical transition.

We started practising work from home ahead of the official announcement to decentralise our taskforce in order to mitigate the risk of business disruptions due to the newly adjusted working behaviours. It was a correct move and there were minimal impacts on our operations.

2. What will be your suggestions for the other businesses to tide through this challenging period? What are the measures adopted by your company to mitigate the impacts caused by the pandemic?

As part of the BCP, we reviewed and decentralised our members based on job functions and client accounts to ensure there are teams A and B to substitute each other to meet the promised results. Instead of scaling down, we are trying to push even harder to reach out to more prospects as we believe that growing is the only mean to survive. For example, we began doing live COVID-19 data tracking and weekly highlights to shed lights on the visibility over the overwhelming noises to help companies to find ideas and opportunities.

What we learned so far is that situations like COVID-19 are suppressing the old ways of doing things and pushing us to attempt new means. We have to change to adapt. It is not easy to focus and think of opportunities while we are constantly fearing on the potential shortfalls and the financial damages. However, we believe the only effective way is to think forward and constantly look out for new opportunities.

We will continue to help companies from any industries to navigate through the challenges by supporting the relevant tracking of social insights and turn these into feasible business ideas.

3. How long will it take to resume as normal?

The COVID-19 situation will not likely to recover fully until effective vaccinations or medical treatments are available worldwide. In the best-case scenario, the pandemic can be well-contained by maintaining appropriate social distancing and operating the economies under “safe mode”. This can last until 2021.

During this time, digital economy will surge and some industries like e-commerce, logistics, information technologies, healthcare will grow fast. Others like travel and hospitality will be scaling down drastically.

We are preparing ourselves by extending our business products and services to help companies to accelerate their digital transformations on getting new customers and keeping existing customers.  At the end of the day, Zanroo will evolve into a data technology company and will be able to do more for our clients.

4. There will be opportunities in a crisis. What and how are the opportunities to be identified in this case?

We must acknowledge that under the “safe mode” of social-distancing economy, the wheel will move slower and may even go in reversal, which will then cause credit crunch and result in technical recession. The economic challenge is real but there are still hopes as we are now living with advanced technologies compared to decades ago.

If we look on the bright side, people have started using online devices to communicate, buy essentials, consume on-demand videos / entertainments and conduct classes through e-learning programme. Digital is effectively substituting more and more physical activities to safeguard us from the full damage of inactivity due to COVID-19.

All these examples show us that the opportunities are existent in such perilous period. We can seize the opportunities by changing how we do things from offline to online. The initiation is all within us.

There is no doubt that Zanroo is currently in a better off position because we started off as a fully digitalised business. However, we have more responsibilities now to ensure our clients will achieve their digital transformations to become better. By focusing on this goal, we also help keep the businesses going.

About BlackStorm Consulting

BlackStorm Consulting (http://blackstormco.asia) is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and manufacturing.

Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.

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