CSR Blog

CSR x Design

Sustainable CSR programs are important. Donations and volunteering may be responsible, but are quite often unsustainable in the long term especially when underlying issues and causes are not resolved.

I will be sharing some of my work experience and tips on Designs and Sustainable CSR. I would also love to engage others in the industry to share their stories so that we can consolidate best practices and positive to share and learn together.

Effective CSR – Buy Local, Support Local

goat

Running an effective CSR campaign does not need to be expensive or complex. You do not need to be rich or a big corporation before you can start your CSR journey.

It is important to be aware of the local community and be updated with the news and current affairs. I have worked in various clients on CSR communication and projects and found that a lot of simple ones are the most impactful and effective.

With the backdrop of the Australian Bushfires, we are reminded again that our actions do have consequences. Consumers want to know that the businesses they support are doing to support the environment, and every little thing a business does, good or bad does accumulate and it does affect the decision of the consumer.

Restaurants and others in the food industry have a big role to play. Ethical sourcing can have a big impact on the environment. Consumers are increasingly worried about food and how it affects the environment as horror stories of bad practices are being exposed. Many consumers are looking for products that are organic, pesticides free and now — local.

Buy Local Support Local is a movement where many consumers support local farmers and would not mind paying a little extra to get fresher products that they know exactly where it is from. Being local, it also allow the customer to actually visit some of these farms to learn more about the source of their food.

As a restaurant, one simple CSR strategy is to build a local supply chain. Getting local products would also mean that there is more security as anything that affects the supply chain would be made known quickly to trace and find a business continuity plan. Supporting local farmers is a sure way to help local businesses and the collaboration can strengthen both brands. It creates employment for locals and support the local economy. With less logistics involved, it lowers the carbon footprint and there can be more transparency on the source.

The Singapore is quite serious about food security, and the amount of local farms are growing. Do you know that there is a goat farm in Singapore with more than 30 years of history?

Hay Dairies is the only local goat farm in Singapore. It produces more than 1,000 litres of milk a day and this milk is sold at Cold Storage and Prime Supermarkets.

If any restaurant want a new idea for a new product, I would recommend looking at trying out some recipes with fresh local goat milk. Goat milk is a better choice compared to cow milk for digestion. Goat milk have less lactose than cow milk and might make it easier for you to stomach. Goat milk does tastes different and it is worth giving goat milk a try for unique recipes.

Is Singapore Ready for Circular Economy?

bottles

With the increasing negative perception of plastic, many consumers are influencing brands to move away from plastic due to the technical issues of insufficient infrastructure to collect, sort and recycle plastic waste. There are a lot of alternatives being developed but many are short-lived, as they may deplete more natural resources or are simply too expensive for the market to afford.

Paper packaging is a contributing factor to deforestation, increase paper consumption with 55% attributed to packaging can be blamed for the loss of forests and biodiversity.

Glass packaging production also requires quartz sand and high consumption of this material can lead to depletion of its reserve and damage to the environment. Recycling glass requires a large amount of heat to melt the glass and has a high carbon footprint.

PET packaging — the most popular bottle packaging for soda and mineral water — is also widely used in containing oils, cleaners and other household items. It is cheap, light, easily molded, non-breakable and is rather inert to most products. In many countries, PET packaging is recycled but insufficient understanding of their responsibilities by consumers in many countries for the disposal of used packaging and poor collection infrastructure results in a lot of these waste contaminated and unable to be recycled.

In Singapore, we do have recycling but it seems to be far from ideal. Singapore has a National Recycling Programme having big blue recycling bins in many public housing estates. However, much of the recyclables are contaminated, resulting in the contaminated recyclables ending up in the incinerator.

Singapore does have various Green Stores that support the Green Movement. The Green Collective have a lot of Eco-friendly alternatives such as reusable wax wraps, reusable silicon bags for Sous Vide and other organic and sustainable products to help you reduce your carbon footprint. Unpackt and Zero Ways are stores which sells products in bulk, allow you to buy what you need putting them in your own containers.

TerraCycle — a private recycling company that focuses on capturing and repurposing hard-to-recycle items — has a new initiative, Loop. Loop is a circular economy online store that bridge the gap between consumers, corporations and waste. They work with brands to provide reusable packaging for common consumer products and has already launched in many cities with offerings of 300 different items.

With the growing focus on sustainability, many recycling companies have seen more investments and growth. The governments are also playing a bigger role to push to reduce waste. Singapore’s only landfill will run out of space by 2035. There is limited space for building new incinerator plants or landfills in Singapore. There are a lot of talks to reduce plastic waste but till date, Singapore has not successfully banned any single use plastics.

With Loop and the growing movement of circular economy, along with other refilling station projects and growing popularity of bulk groceries like Unpackt, Singapore seemed to be a perfect place to launch a circular economy initiative as the Island is relatively small and the top down government can pass legislation easily to make it happen. With our scarce land use, the threat brought by climate change and our landfill running out of space, will we see the big brands take on a bigger role of starting a circular economy initiative to reuse their containers, or will the government mandate companies to reuse packaging as more countries are doing so?

Corporate Communications during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Singapore

Panic, shutdown, confusion and misinformation, how brands can communicate effectively and ethically in this time of crisis.

 

COVID-19 does not seem to be anywhere close to being contained. In China, we have seen big brands close stores, airlines cancel flights and businesses badly affected.

In Singapore, tourist arrivals are down, locals are only beginning to go out, many events are still canceledµ, and retail affected badly.

There is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, and this increases stress in the community. Companies can play an important to play in support of this situation, but they need to keep calm and manage communications internally and externally effectively. So how should companies manage their communications during this trying period?

  1. Business continuity

Employees and other stakeholders will be concerned about the business continuity plans for their companies if the virus were to worsen. Organizations should have proactive and transparent policies which will protect the livelihoods of their employees. Organizations should include newer additions such as flexible work arrangements and remote working to contain the risks to the workforce and the economy.

  • Employee safety

Employee safety should be the highest priority on the list. Organizations should have clear and simple to understand safety guidelines to assure employees that they will provide a safe working environment. Public facing employees need to know that they have support and equipment where necessary to keep them safe.

Constant engagement and monitoring are required to find out the problems early so corrective actions can be taken.

  • Customer safety

Safety guidelines and new processes should be designed and incorporated in view of the current situation. Disinfectants or hand-sanitizers should be within reach of touchscreen ordering-kiosks at fast food restaurants as these surfaces can potentially be a medium to spread the virus.

Food handling staff of restaurants may also need heighten level of supervision to sure safety guidelines are followed.

  • Employee mental well-being

Opening channels of communications and developing a platform for employee feedback and providing flexibility within the company’s capacity can help remove anxiety of many employees in this stressful situation.

Being transparent and providing timely updates on projects whether it may be delayed or canceled will help reduce anxiety and concerns.

  •   CSR Communication

A company should not take advantage of the situation if it wishes to engage in support of the community in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19.

Companies should help amplify correct information from the government and WHO and curb fake news from spreading. All communications should be simple, transparent and fact-based.

All companies have a major role & responsibility to play, especially in times of public health challenge. Together with the community and the government, we can do our part to ensure all of their stakeholders, employees and customers have the information they need to feel safe and supported.

There are already several companies providing free food for our medical staff in show of support. It is important to show support to all service personnel during this crisis.

We are all in this together, let us support those in need and come out of this situation as one.

CSR is not Complicated and Expensive

Milo GWP Pack_Mug 3D FA mockup-09

Many companies think that only large corporations can engage in CSR, and CSR costs a lot of money. On the contrary, many social enterprises are thriving in Singapore, and all they practice is sustainability and inclusivity.

All it takes is creativity and innovation.

Working on a project with Milo, they wanted to do a gift-with-purchase, giving a ceramic mug with a purchase of 3-in-1 Milo sachets. In many other gift-with-purchase projects, the mug would be packed separately in a box with cushion and placed together with the 3-in-1 Milo sachets. They decided to reduce plastic use and packaging materials and after several iterations of designs, the above box was created.

The result of thinking a little more for packaging design can have a big effect. Having a smaller form factor reduces materials used, shipping size, shelf space and is good the the environment. If the solution could be kept simple with no new materials to support the structure, there is a lot of cost savings as well.

This is actually true for a lot of new CSR projects. As long as more thoughts and considerations are put in on design, the end result usually do not cost more, and it could save costs in the long run as well.

There are simple ways to transform your business and do CSR at the same time, here are 7 key principles of social responsibility:

  1. Accountability
  2. Transparency
  3. Ethical behavior
  4. Respect for stakeholder interests
  5. Respect for the rule of law
  6. Respect for international norms of behavior
  7. Respect for human rights

Incorporating them into business processes, designs and have extra thoughts does not hurt and cost more money. Being ethical can in fact save costs in the long run by avoiding lawsuits.

Having a CSR program is simply putting some of these social responsibility on top of every decision you make, taking the extra mile of doing the right thing. With proper communications and strategy, business who practice this can be a strong force of good.

Businesses can affect the community and businesses are in fact a part of the community. We have seen the effects of businesses focusing on profits and many are starting to realize the consequences of our actions in the community. Many customers today are also critical about how companies behave and CSR may soon become a requirement.

Are you considering what impact your company has on society?

 

Understanding Dignity

nepal2

Helping others may give you purpose and you may find meaning from it. It is a fundamental part of humanity. But do you think it is possible to over do things? Does “over-helping” exist?

Of course it does!

Everyone deserves dignity, and certainly, helping while imposing your values on others — because you help them — can impair autonomous decision making, and harm the whole community. When you help others out of pity, it also affects their self-worth, and this can be seen in how some people on long aid can be stuck in a negative spiral with low self-esteem.

Treating other people with dignity means treating them the way we’d like to be treated ourselves. I have observed many corporate giving and charities – interested in only the giving and ignoring the impact caused by the giving. I would say that their thoughts and resources may be needed, but the approach needs to have a major overhaul.

Working in many post disaster areas, I’ve seen how International aid can destroy local economies and Eco-systems. The massive amounts of free food imported and donated creates a situation where local farmers cannot sell their crops. Earthquakes do not damage farms, at least, not as much as the foreign food aid.

A log of times, some government run welfare organization or large charities will label marginalized people as “helpless”, “needy” and “underprivileged”. However, these labels are also often used to encapsulate entire communities like the disability community.

Being viewed as pitiful, helpless and financially dependent, stereotyped as welfare recipients or associated with tales of tragedy is humiliating. This is also not a positive or accurate portrayal of the vast majority of people with disabilities. Such views also create a divide and can create a negative perception towards the disabled community which will create biases and prejudice.

Our views on refugees from various advertisements paint a bleak picture of the future of refugees. Refugees are also viewed negatively and create low self-esteem among them. This portrayal is not helpful as it creates depression with the “refugees” label among the refugees. Not all refugees are equal. Many refugees from Eastern Europe and more recently, Syria, have resources and skills. Thinking of them as needy, helpless people does not help their situation at all.

Our biases shapes our solutions

When you think of Refugees as “helpless” or “needy”, you do not expect much from them and simply find ways to give them things which you think they need. Most of the time, the focus is more in the giving and helping, and little on engagement on finding out what they need most.

I’ve worked with Syrian Refugees, Survivors of Natural Disasters and various other internally displaced people, and I must clarify one thing — these are not helpless or needy people at all. In post disaster areas, these people are survivors, who despite the conditions, are still thriving. There may be some resources that they are lacking at the moment, but they certainly do not need most of the things given to them.

In Haiti, there are so many things given to the 2010 earthquake survivors. I’ve seen stacks of Yoga mats given to each family — so much that they can use it as a bed. Do not think that your donations do not do harm – on the contrary, disaster areas with damaged waste management logistics will face a bigger issue when aid is dumped on them. They may need water, but dumping bottled water into rural communities will create a plastic waste problem that can easily turn into a dengue or malaria problem.

A lot of Syrian refugees are actually skilled. Many of them have degrees and speak multiple languages, certainly no the helpless and needy refugees depicted in many ads. But when we think of them as helpless and needy, we do not give them what then need — jobs and opportunities to contribute to society.

 

In helping, we need to preserve dignity. Corporation may think they are doing good by giving food to the box collectors or people living in one room flats, but with poor coordination and execution, many of the recipients do not actually need the food and it ends up wasting food.

Doing Charity and having good intentions is desirable, but without engagement, poor communications can result in misunderstanding and the beneficiary losing their dignity and self worth. This is worse when the donor does it out of pity, and expects some kind of gratitude from the engagement.

Poor people are not stupid. They lack money, connections and resources. Many people may have fallen through the cracks and landed in a bad situation, but they certainly do not need your pity.

The problem with some CSR programs or charities trying to continuously provide aid and support is that you can give food, money and shelter, but you can never provide dignity that way. Fighting depression and a whole list of other problems, a simple action of giving food does not solve their problems and can worsen depression.

Understanding Dignity is important when it comes of a sustainable CSR program with the community and we look at ways to empower communities to solve their problems, but just provide aid to plug the holes. Successful programs need to get the communities out of the situation, rather than add more people into the programs with the situations worsening.

Remember: Treating other people with dignity means treating them the way we’d like to be treated ourselves. As dignity is one of the most important things to the human spirit.

Better Brand Experience During COVID-19 for Retail

20200207_raj_supermarket3

After working with a few clients and experiencing the panic buys first hand, here are some tips that we want to share that we feel that other countries that may be experiencing this can learn.

It is important to take note that there is going to be Panic Buys during the COVID-19 Crisis globally. Shops that sell essentials should consider the welfare for the more vulnerable customers.

During a rush and panic buy, the situation can create risks of spreading the virus or injuries to vulnerable customers. In view of this situation, Supermarkets, Pharmacies and other stores which may sell essentials that are in high demand, should:

  1. Ensure enough quantity.
    The supply chain may be disrupted, so having more stock for products in demand is important.
  2. Restrict sales.
    For products like toilet paper, hand sanitizers and other food items, restrict sales to customers to prevent a few customers from buying everything. Empty shelves will only fuel the fear.
  3. Have Senior Friendly Sales Day.
    Keep some stock and restock for a “Senior Sales Day” to allow seniors to go shop at a less frantic environment.
  4. Restrict the number of shoppers.
    If your shop has limited space and limited payment counters, limit the number of people in the store. People will either wait in long queues within the store, increase the risks of spreading the virus or let them wait in line to enter the store. Those who are not buying essentials can see the queue and come back later, instead of waiting in line at the checkout counter.
  5. Post signs of items that are stocked out at the entrance.
    If you know people are buying an item that is sold out, put BIG signs and display items sold out at the entrance. Customers do not need to enter and waste their time.

Little actions do add up to improve the better brand experience and reducing the amount of shoppers in the store, having less queues at the checkout counters, can also reduce the risks of spreading the virus to the staff.

Every little bit helps.

Let’s cooperate and end this pandemic soon!

COVID-19 – Time for business transformation

CSR Design

Visibility CSR Design

During COVID-19, we have seen air pollution get reduced, water ways clean up and fishes returning to many areas like Venice.
Suddenly, we see big companies like financial institutions, property developers who were making record profits from their activity will quickly see the impact of business, unable to sustain from the high rents and finance fees. There is a big impact on operations as lockdown continues and bureaucracy in the bigger companies and too much regulations can prevent fast actions to be taken, resulting in situations where they can see the problem, but cannot react fast enough even with planned solutions.
These big companies have (Business Continuity Plan) BCP, but some failed as the untested BCP did not meet the current challenges, and the layers of bureaucracy did not allow the company to move quick enough.
There is no doubt that a lot of these business activities generate a lot of pollution, and all the talks about the UNSDGs did not yield as much actions as what COVID-19 did to reduce pollution.
The fact is, we can stop climate change, but our current business model may be the problem.

Sustainable Innovation

The current way businesses pick innovation is by how much more profits it will generate, focusing on short-term gains and impact.
The ideas that look at long-term growth are often ignored and placed with low priority, and the resources allocated to sustainable projects are often very limited.

Many businesses know that the resources shouldn’t be consumed faster than they can be regenerated, and with busy business operations, they do not have the time and resources to come up with solutions.

With businesses slowing down due to COVID-19, perhaps it is time to relook at innovation programs. This can be done through incubation programmes, accelerator programmes and hackathons, or have their venture arm of the company invest in innovative solutions. With the technology today, all the programs mentioned can be done virtually as well, and it is a good time to do so with much less business distraction for the company to evolve stronger after COVID-19.

What do you need before you begin?

 

  1. Trust

Before you can start on innovation, teams need to make sure that they build trust. Instead of doing anything on their own, the idea of partnership and collaboration is to allow multiple parties to come together and solve a problem. More parties allow different angles to attack the problem, but the basis of any collaboration is trust.

2. Commitment

Innovation needs the buy-ins from the top and bottom. This means means people on top of the organisation need to understand, articulate and commit in equipping their team with the resources they need. The ones at the bottom need to believe that solution makes a difference.

3. Agility

Innovation cannot happen in an environment with too much rules and regulations. With the right framework in place, having a competent team you can trust, are committed and allowing more freedom to test ideas and solutions, all you need to do is to provide ample resource to allow them to continue.

No better time than now

In view of the current situation, many companies can see that they may have additional resource due to lack of sales, and can start sustainable innovation within their companies. With the spare capacity, this would be a time for employees to upgrade, or better, train on other skills. In return, these new skills can be applied on existing products and services, finding a more sustainable solution and plotting a sustainable roadmap for the future.

For example, a manufacturing facility may find that they have less orders and can focus on repairs and upgrades. This may include solar panels and rainwater harvesting. Or it could also include designs and modifications to workflow which may require the moving and relocation of large machines which can affect the whole facility. Sitting down with the staff to understand the problems faced during the periods with high capacity and enhancing the workflow can create a more efficient company once the situation gets better.

Instead of worrying that there will be no business and companies may incur losses, I would encourage companies to use their resource to work on community projects. There is a lot to be done and if the market is bad, competing and chasing the remaining clients may sometimes end up wasting more resources.

Remember, the economy may be bad, they may be a lockdown, but life still goes on, and some industries are benefiting from the situation. There is still business and some purchase power, but companies and people are more prudent with their spending.

There will be a lot of problems to be solved, and your company may hold some of the resource to solve it. If you do not wish to take on the challenge and spend more resources you do not have to solve these community problems, collaborate and partner with your vendors and other customers. Crowdsource the solution.

At the end of the day, solving community problems with other companies can allow you to build empathy and access other resources. These new connections can help your business in future endeavours.

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

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Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

[/vc_column_text]

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

[/vc_column_text]

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

[/vc_column_text]
[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

[/vc_column_text]

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

[/vc_column_text]

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

[/vc_column_text]

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

[/vc_column_text]
[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Forward Thinking, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth after COVID-19

Sustainable

sustainable

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we work, live, and engage. There are a lot of restrictions now as more people get infected. As companies adjust, there are many that will be badly impacted and some will cease to exist.

 

Many businesses that were built years ago, but do not adjust or change to the new technologies and challenges will find themselves in a situation where they are now forced to change or become irrelevant.

 

COVID-19 crisis is accelerating many companies to go digital. Traditional companies like Seafood Suppliers are getting online and doing direct delivery to customers. The world is going digital and many people are getting on mobile phones to do research. Many established traditional businesses that have operated for many years are also starting to pivot. With several younger generations in charge, most of these businesses are looking at rebranding and going digital.

 

This is a trend that is quickly accelerated and with the COVID-19 crisis, companies that want to run business as normal will probably have to consider not doing business for the next few months at least. With possible second wave of infections happening globally, the new norm that we are seeing now with restriction of movement are looking at several new winners.

 

Back to Basics.

 

Businesses exist because they solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. If you cannot do business because of the current restrictions, you cannot run your business. If you have employees, and office, you have cost, and without revenue, things are not sustainable.

 

If you cannot continue to solve problems, you will cease to exist.

 

If you are a running restaurant, the problem you face now is that people cannot dine in your premises. For many restaurants, customers do pay premium to dine in the ambiance and it is not easy to create the same experience for delivery.

 

If your reach is limited due to the situation, and you find that you cannot do business as normal, you have 2 choices.

 

  1. Do nothing
    Companies can have a strategy of “Do nothing”.
    They think this cost the least. In uncertainty, many companies will want to be prudent and not spend money or take risks, but in some situations, you have to consider.
    – Is your industry already doing down before the COVID-19 crisis?
    – Will things go back to normal?
    – How long will it take?
  2. Innovate
    With the advancement of technologies, how can companies evolve with the times and offer more products and services? If your company is impacted by the crisis, are there verticals or horizontals of your industry which you can work on to extend your brand and continue your business?

 

Innovate or Die

 

Going online is a very big trend and the current situation accelerates this technology greatly. Events that have been gathering large crowds are now defunct. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as well as innovation.

 

Many schools are now running online classes and this allows more audience to be familiar with this technology. More talks and events are now online via webinars. This shift of focus from prime real estate location to online will change the way we look at events. Running events online is cheaper and more conveniently, and most importantly — this allows social distancing to happen.

 

For some industries, the old norm may not return. For retail, with more customer going online to buy, when prices are cheaper online, retail as we know may change. This is not new. Even before COVID-19 crisis, many malls in the US are already closing down, and this situation simply pushes some businesses off the cliff.

 

 

 

How do you start?

 

The Internet is a good place to do research. If you have no ideas, you can always look at how your competitors are evolving and learn. There are a lot of business news that shares the success on how some companies are using technology to solve the current situation to continue business.

 

There are also companies that can help you with this journey. Depends on industry, there are different experts who can help.

 

Once you know how you should change and pivot, you can always do small scale testing to understand your capabilities. It may seem like a steep learning curve, but you have to start somewhere. Have a budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to networking events and find others in the same industry and see if you can collaborate together to get out of the situation.

 

Remember to market and promote once you have a new solution. Your customers may not know about your new offering and make sure you have a strategy to promote it as well. LiHO, a bubble tea company is selling bubble tea kits online for people to make their own bubble tea as home.

 

 

 

If you need any help in pointing to the right direction, please let us know.

 

 

 

If you are in Singapore, Enterprise SG is offering grants for local companies to adapt and grow. For these grants, the government may fund up to 90% during this period but a word of caution, this process may take 3 months and it is on reimbursement basis. You still need to have the cashflow to pay, although you can get loans once your grants is approved. (Disbursement is also not immediate)

[/vc_column_text]

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Forward Thinking, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth after COVID-19

Sustainable

sustainable

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we work, live, and engage. There are a lot of restrictions now as more people get infected. As companies adjust, there are many that will be badly impacted and some will cease to exist.

 

Many businesses that were built years ago, but do not adjust or change to the new technologies and challenges will find themselves in a situation where they are now forced to change or become irrelevant.

 

COVID-19 crisis is accelerating many companies to go digital. Traditional companies like Seafood Suppliers are getting online and doing direct delivery to customers. The world is going digital and many people are getting on mobile phones to do research. Many established traditional businesses that have operated for many years are also starting to pivot. With several younger generations in charge, most of these businesses are looking at rebranding and going digital.

 

This is a trend that is quickly accelerated and with the COVID-19 crisis, companies that want to run business as normal will probably have to consider not doing business for the next few months at least. With possible second wave of infections happening globally, the new norm that we are seeing now with restriction of movement are looking at several new winners.

 

Back to Basics.

 

Businesses exist because they solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. If you cannot do business because of the current restrictions, you cannot run your business. If you have employees, and office, you have cost, and without revenue, things are not sustainable.

 

If you cannot continue to solve problems, you will cease to exist.

 

If you are a running restaurant, the problem you face now is that people cannot dine in your premises. For many restaurants, customers do pay premium to dine in the ambiance and it is not easy to create the same experience for delivery.

 

If your reach is limited due to the situation, and you find that you cannot do business as normal, you have 2 choices.

 

  1. Do nothing
    Companies can have a strategy of “Do nothing”.
    They think this cost the least. In uncertainty, many companies will want to be prudent and not spend money or take risks, but in some situations, you have to consider.
    – Is your industry already doing down before the COVID-19 crisis?
    – Will things go back to normal?
    – How long will it take?
  2. Innovate
    With the advancement of technologies, how can companies evolve with the times and offer more products and services? If your company is impacted by the crisis, are there verticals or horizontals of your industry which you can work on to extend your brand and continue your business?

 

Innovate or Die

 

Going online is a very big trend and the current situation accelerates this technology greatly. Events that have been gathering large crowds are now defunct. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as well as innovation.

 

Many schools are now running online classes and this allows more audience to be familiar with this technology. More talks and events are now online via webinars. This shift of focus from prime real estate location to online will change the way we look at events. Running events online is cheaper and more conveniently, and most importantly — this allows social distancing to happen.

 

For some industries, the old norm may not return. For retail, with more customer going online to buy, when prices are cheaper online, retail as we know may change. This is not new. Even before COVID-19 crisis, many malls in the US are already closing down, and this situation simply pushes some businesses off the cliff.

 

 

 

How do you start?

 

The Internet is a good place to do research. If you have no ideas, you can always look at how your competitors are evolving and learn. There are a lot of business news that shares the success on how some companies are using technology to solve the current situation to continue business.

 

There are also companies that can help you with this journey. Depends on industry, there are different experts who can help.

 

Once you know how you should change and pivot, you can always do small scale testing to understand your capabilities. It may seem like a steep learning curve, but you have to start somewhere. Have a budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to networking events and find others in the same industry and see if you can collaborate together to get out of the situation.

 

Remember to market and promote once you have a new solution. Your customers may not know about your new offering and make sure you have a strategy to promote it as well. LiHO, a bubble tea company is selling bubble tea kits online for people to make their own bubble tea as home.

 

 

 

If you need any help in pointing to the right direction, please let us know.

 

 

 

If you are in Singapore, Enterprise SG is offering grants for local companies to adapt and grow. For these grants, the government may fund up to 90% during this period but a word of caution, this process may take 3 months and it is on reimbursement basis. You still need to have the cashflow to pay, although you can get loans once your grants is approved. (Disbursement is also not immediate)

[/vc_column_text]

[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Forward Thinking, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth after COVID-19

Sustainable

sustainable

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

[/vc_column_text]
[/vc_column][/vc_row]

Innovate or Die during COVID-19

VIRUS

virus

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we work, live, and engage. There are a lot of restrictions now as more people get infected. As companies adjust, there are many that will be badly impacted and some will cease to exist.

 

Many businesses that were built years ago, but do not adjust or change to the new technologies and challenges will find themselves in a situation where they are now forced to change or become irrelevant.

 

COVID-19 crisis is accelerating many companies to go digital. Traditional companies like Seafood Suppliers are getting online and doing direct delivery to customers. The world is going digital and many people are getting on mobile phones to do research. Many established traditional businesses that have operated for many years are also starting to pivot. With several younger generations in charge, most of these businesses are looking at rebranding and going digital.

 

This is a trend that is quickly accelerated and with the COVID-19 crisis, companies that want to run business as normal will probably have to consider not doing business for the next few months at least. With possible second wave of infections happening globally, the new norm that we are seeing now with restriction of movement are looking at several new winners.

 

Back to Basics.

 

Businesses exist because they solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. If you cannot do business because of the current restrictions, you cannot run your business. If you have employees, and office, you have cost, and without revenue, things are not sustainable.

 

If you cannot continue to solve problems, you will cease to exist.

 

If you are a running restaurant, the problem you face now is that people cannot dine in your premises. For many restaurants, customers do pay premium to dine in the ambiance and it is not easy to create the same experience for delivery.

 

If your reach is limited due to the situation, and you find that you cannot do business as normal, you have 2 choices.

 

  1. Do nothing
    Companies can have a strategy of “Do nothing”.
    They think this cost the least. In uncertainty, many companies will want to be prudent and not spend money or take risks, but in some situations, you have to consider.
    – Is your industry already doing down before the COVID-19 crisis?
    – Will things go back to normal?
    – How long will it take?
  2. Innovate
    With the advancement of technologies, how can companies evolve with the times and offer more products and services? If your company is impacted by the crisis, are there verticals or horizontals of your industry which you can work on to extend your brand and continue your business?

 

Innovate or Die

 

Going online is a very big trend and the current situation accelerates this technology greatly. Events that have been gathering large crowds are now defunct. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as well as innovation.

 

Many schools are now running online classes and this allows more audience to be familiar with this technology. More talks and events are now online via webinars. This shift of focus from prime real estate location to online will change the way we look at events. Running events online is cheaper and more conveniently, and most importantly — this allows social distancing to happen.

 

For some industries, the old norm may not return. For retail, with more customer going online to buy, when prices are cheaper online, retail as we know may change. This is not new. Even before COVID-19 crisis, many malls in the US are already closing down, and this situation simply pushes some businesses off the cliff.

 

 

 

How do you start?

 

The Internet is a good place to do research. If you have no ideas, you can always look at how your competitors are evolving and learn. There are a lot of business news that shares the success on how some companies are using technology to solve the current situation to continue business.

 

There are also companies that can help you with this journey. Depends on industry, there are different experts who can help.

 

Once you know how you should change and pivot, you can always do small scale testing to understand your capabilities. It may seem like a steep learning curve, but you have to start somewhere. Have a budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to networking events and find others in the same industry and see if you can collaborate together to get out of the situation.

 

Remember to market and promote once you have a new solution. Your customers may not know about your new offering and make sure you have a strategy to promote it as well. LiHO, a bubble tea company is selling bubble tea kits online for people to make their own bubble tea as home.

 

 

 

If you need any help in pointing to the right direction, please let us know.

 

 

 

If you are in Singapore, Enterprise SG is offering grants for local companies to adapt and grow. For these grants, the government may fund up to 90% during this period but a word of caution, this process may take 3 months and it is on reimbursement basis. You still need to have the cashflow to pay, although you can get loans once your grants is approved. (Disbursement is also not immediate)

Forward Thinking, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth after COVID-19

Sustainable

sustainable

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

The choice is up to you. But if you need some help in understanding and navigating the new norms and new tangible ways to engage customers during this period, feel free to contact us.

 

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CSR and Giving During a Crisis

Dorm

osdorm13_0

 

It is heartening to see many Singaporeans outraged when they see the plight of the foreign workers in Singapore. Poor unsanitary living conditions and tightly packed dormitories has created a health crisis in Singapore with more than 10,000 foreign workers infected with COVID-19.

 

Poor living conditions of these foreign workers are not new. In the past, employers packed them in shophouses in Geylang and Serangoon and once these poor living conditions are exposed, after public outrage, mega-dorms are built, and the problem is out of sight.

 

These well connected mega-dorm operators can focus on getting maximum profits by following the lax guidelines set by the Ministry of Manpower and getting the minimum done. On paper, some of these dorms boast recreational areas, cinemas, shops for some 21,000 residents. But in reality, sometimes, more than 20 workers are packed into a room, sharing a toilet. The air circulation is poor and because of the living density fueled the spread of viruses.

 

These poor living conditions were made known to the public only when people were looking into the reasons why there were so many foreign workers infected, and there was some outrage by the public as the numbers soared due to the slow actions taken by the dormitory operators as there were no clear instructions from the government despite some members of the public highlighting the critical situation.

 

When it is apparent that many of the foreign workers living in these densely packed dormitories with poor sanitation were infected, the government had no choice but to act to curb the spread.

 

The once “Gold Standard” of the COVID-19 response suddenly was struggling to contain the outbreak. The problem did not end there. With over 1,000,000 foreign workers, and more than 300,000 living in dormitories, it was impossible for Singapore to house them. There was a big scramble to create make shift facilities to house these workers, and the communication to them was so bad that many did not understand what was going on and felt that they were “abandoned”.

 

Testing was also insufficient and according to Mr. Au of TWC2, “They’re waiting for symptoms to show before they test. That seems to be reactive instead of proactive.”

 

In a specific case, 16 roommates of one infected worker were not immediately tested for the virus, but instead isolated in their rooms, not allowed to go out.

 

Then, there was also a problem with food. When the workers were quarantined and rehoused in other shelters, the dorm operators had problems sourcing for budget food for the workers. There were a lot of complains about poorly cooked food and low quality food offered to the workers, and it had even reached the news channels.

 

Many Singaporeans took action and decided to support these foreign workers and various companies too came out and decided to provide food. These knee jerk reactions are common as many realised the problem and wanted to do something.

 

So a lot of food was donated.

 

However, this usually does not solve the problem. Many of the donated food did not reach the hungry foreign workers. Like aid to disaster areas, many people focus on the doing, and did not consider the impact. As these areas are restricted to contain the virus, no one can simple walk in and provide food to the people inside. Non-official food source in any disaster areas are turned away as the operators of these shelters cannot be certain that the food is safe.

 

As Ramadan started, some of the food that arrived at the shelters were too late as the fasting has started, and sometimes the food arrived too early and when fasting was over, the food had already turned bad.

 

The distribution like with many community and ad hoc projects was poor, and with the lack of communication and engagement, there were duplication in efforts while some shelters did not get any food.

 

I would like to add that many of these shelters do feed their inhabitants. The inhabitants are not allowed to go out and get food, and they have to be fed, so food is already provided. There area always managers of these shelters, and working with them to provide food or donating to a food fund to provide better quality food or supplements should be the focus.

 

I would also say that there are a lot of commendable efforts which really did help and some shelters did have better quality food, but this is due to the experience of some of the NGOs like TWC2 and HOME where they understand what they were doing.

 

Many of the religious groups and companies who are using vendors to deliver food still end up wasting food.

 

It is good that Singaporeans care about these marginalised foreign workers, helping others is not as easy as just giving food when someone is hungry. Even when it comes to feeding the homeless and marginalised in Singapore, engaging them is key.

 

So, if you intend to help in this situation, please remember to engage. It is the first step into understanding the problem and looking into how to create a solution for that problem.

 

Please don’t have a solution and decide to find a problem to fix — having bought food and finding shelters to give to is always a bad idea — even if it may be a good photo opportunity.

Innovate or Die during COVID-19

VIRUS

virus

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we work, live, and engage. There are a lot of restrictions now as more people get infected. As companies adjust, there are many that will be badly impacted and some will cease to exist.

 

Many businesses that were built years ago, but do not adjust or change to the new technologies and challenges will find themselves in a situation where they are now forced to change or become irrelevant.

 

COVID-19 crisis is accelerating many companies to go digital. Traditional companies like Seafood Suppliers are getting online and doing direct delivery to customers. The world is going digital and many people are getting on mobile phones to do research. Many established traditional businesses that have operated for many years are also starting to pivot. With several younger generations in charge, most of these businesses are looking at rebranding and going digital.

 

This is a trend that is quickly accelerated and with the COVID-19 crisis, companies that want to run business as normal will probably have to consider not doing business for the next few months at least. With possible second wave of infections happening globally, the new norm that we are seeing now with restriction of movement are looking at several new winners.

 

Back to Basics.

 

Businesses exist because they solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. If you cannot do business because of the current restrictions, you cannot run your business. If you have employees, and office, you have cost, and without revenue, things are not sustainable.

 

If you cannot continue to solve problems, you will cease to exist.

 

If you are a running restaurant, the problem you face now is that people cannot dine in your premises. For many restaurants, customers do pay premium to dine in the ambiance and it is not easy to create the same experience for delivery.

 

If your reach is limited due to the situation, and you find that you cannot do business as normal, you have 2 choices.

 

  1. Do nothing
    Companies can have a strategy of “Do nothing”.
    They think this cost the least. In uncertainty, many companies will want to be prudent and not spend money or take risks, but in some situations, you have to consider.
    – Is your industry already doing down before the COVID-19 crisis?
    – Will things go back to normal?
    – How long will it take?
  2. Innovate
    With the advancement of technologies, how can companies evolve with the times and offer more products and services? If your company is impacted by the crisis, are there verticals or horizontals of your industry which you can work on to extend your brand and continue your business?

 

Innovate or Die

 

Going online is a very big trend and the current situation accelerates this technology greatly. Events that have been gathering large crowds are now defunct. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as well as innovation.

 

Many schools are now running online classes and this allows more audience to be familiar with this technology. More talks and events are now online via webinars. This shift of focus from prime real estate location to online will change the way we look at events. Running events online is cheaper and more conveniently, and most importantly — this allows social distancing to happen.

 

For some industries, the old norm may not return. For retail, with more customer going online to buy, when prices are cheaper online, retail as we know may change. This is not new. Even before COVID-19 crisis, many malls in the US are already closing down, and this situation simply pushes some businesses off the cliff.

 

 

 

How do you start?

 

The Internet is a good place to do research. If you have no ideas, you can always look at how your competitors are evolving and learn. There are a lot of business news that shares the success on how some companies are using technology to solve the current situation to continue business.

 

There are also companies that can help you with this journey. Depends on industry, there are different experts who can help.

 

Once you know how you should change and pivot, you can always do small scale testing to understand your capabilities. It may seem like a steep learning curve, but you have to start somewhere. Have a budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to networking events and find others in the same industry and see if you can collaborate together to get out of the situation.

 

Remember to market and promote once you have a new solution. Your customers may not know about your new offering and make sure you have a strategy to promote it as well. LiHO, a bubble tea company is selling bubble tea kits online for people to make their own bubble tea as home.

 

 

 

If you need any help in pointing to the right direction, please let us know.

 

 

 

If you are in Singapore, Enterprise SG is offering grants for local companies to adapt and grow. For these grants, the government may fund up to 90% during this period but a word of caution, this process may take 3 months and it is on reimbursement basis. You still need to have the cashflow to pay, although you can get loans once your grants is approved. (Disbursement is also not immediate)

Forward Thinking, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth after COVID-19

Sustainable

sustainable

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

 

The choice is up to you. But if you need some help in understanding and navigating the new norms and new tangible ways to engage customers during this period, feel free to contact us.

 

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[/vc_column][/vc_row]

CSR and Giving During a Crisis

Dorm

osdorm13_0

 

It is heartening to see many Singaporeans outraged when they see the plight of the foreign workers in Singapore. Poor unsanitary living conditions and tightly packed dormitories has created a health crisis in Singapore with more than 10,000 foreign workers infected with COVID-19.

 

Poor living conditions of these foreign workers are not new. In the past, employers packed them in shophouses in Geylang and Serangoon and once these poor living conditions are exposed, after public outrage, mega-dorms are built, and the problem is out of sight.

 

These well connected mega-dorm operators can focus on getting maximum profits by following the lax guidelines set by the Ministry of Manpower and getting the minimum done. On paper, some of these dorms boast recreational areas, cinemas, shops for some 21,000 residents. But in reality, sometimes, more than 20 workers are packed into a room, sharing a toilet. The air circulation is poor and because of the living density fueled the spread of viruses.

 

These poor living conditions were made known to the public only when people were looking into the reasons why there were so many foreign workers infected, and there was some outrage by the public as the numbers soared due to the slow actions taken by the dormitory operators as there were no clear instructions from the government despite some members of the public highlighting the critical situation.

 

When it is apparent that many of the foreign workers living in these densely packed dormitories with poor sanitation were infected, the government had no choice but to act to curb the spread.

 

The once “Gold Standard” of the COVID-19 response suddenly was struggling to contain the outbreak. The problem did not end there. With over 1,000,000 foreign workers, and more than 300,000 living in dormitories, it was impossible for Singapore to house them. There was a big scramble to create make shift facilities to house these workers, and the communication to them was so bad that many did not understand what was going on and felt that they were “abandoned”.

 

Testing was also insufficient and according to Mr. Au of TWC2, “They’re waiting for symptoms to show before they test. That seems to be reactive instead of proactive.”

 

In a specific case, 16 roommates of one infected worker were not immediately tested for the virus, but instead isolated in their rooms, not allowed to go out.

 

Then, there was also a problem with food. When the workers were quarantined and rehoused in other shelters, the dorm operators had problems sourcing for budget food for the workers. There were a lot of complains about poorly cooked food and low quality food offered to the workers, and it had even reached the news channels.

 

Many Singaporeans took action and decided to support these foreign workers and various companies too came out and decided to provide food. These knee jerk reactions are common as many realised the problem and wanted to do something.

 

So a lot of food was donated.

 

However, this usually does not solve the problem. Many of the donated food did not reach the hungry foreign workers. Like aid to disaster areas, many people focus on the doing, and did not consider the impact. As these areas are restricted to contain the virus, no one can simple walk in and provide food to the people inside. Non-official food source in any disaster areas are turned away as the operators of these shelters cannot be certain that the food is safe.

 

As Ramadan started, some of the food that arrived at the shelters were too late as the fasting has started, and sometimes the food arrived too early and when fasting was over, the food had already turned bad.

 

The distribution like with many community and ad hoc projects was poor, and with the lack of communication and engagement, there were duplication in efforts while some shelters did not get any food.

 

I would like to add that many of these shelters do feed their inhabitants. The inhabitants are not allowed to go out and get food, and they have to be fed, so food is already provided. There area always managers of these shelters, and working with them to provide food or donating to a food fund to provide better quality food or supplements should be the focus.

 

I would also say that there are a lot of commendable efforts which really did help and some shelters did have better quality food, but this is due to the experience of some of the NGOs like TWC2 and HOME where they understand what they were doing.

 

Many of the religious groups and companies who are using vendors to deliver food still end up wasting food.

 

It is good that Singaporeans care about these marginalised foreign workers, helping others is not as easy as just giving food when someone is hungry. Even when it comes to feeding the homeless and marginalised in Singapore, engaging them is key.

 

So, if you intend to help in this situation, please remember to engage. It is the first step into understanding the problem and looking into how to create a solution for that problem.

 

Please don’t have a solution and decide to find a problem to fix — having bought food and finding shelters to give to is always a bad idea — even if it may be a good photo opportunity.

Innovate or Die during COVID-19

VIRUS

virus

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we work, live, and engage. There are a lot of restrictions now as more people get infected. As companies adjust, there are many that will be badly impacted and some will cease to exist.

 

Many businesses that were built years ago, but do not adjust or change to the new technologies and challenges will find themselves in a situation where they are now forced to change or become irrelevant.

 

COVID-19 crisis is accelerating many companies to go digital. Traditional companies like Seafood Suppliers are getting online and doing direct delivery to customers. The world is going digital and many people are getting on mobile phones to do research. Many established traditional businesses that have operated for many years are also starting to pivot. With several younger generations in charge, most of these businesses are looking at rebranding and going digital.

 

This is a trend that is quickly accelerated and with the COVID-19 crisis, companies that want to run business as normal will probably have to consider not doing business for the next few months at least. With possible second wave of infections happening globally, the new norm that we are seeing now with restriction of movement are looking at several new winners.

 

Back to Basics.

 

Businesses exist because they solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. If you cannot do business because of the current restrictions, you cannot run your business. If you have employees, and office, you have cost, and without revenue, things are not sustainable.

 

If you cannot continue to solve problems, you will cease to exist.

 

If you are a running restaurant, the problem you face now is that people cannot dine in your premises. For many restaurants, customers do pay premium to dine in the ambiance and it is not easy to create the same experience for delivery.

 

If your reach is limited due to the situation, and you find that you cannot do business as normal, you have 2 choices.

 

  1. Do nothing
    Companies can have a strategy of “Do nothing”.
    They think this cost the least. In uncertainty, many companies will want to be prudent and not spend money or take risks, but in some situations, you have to consider.
    – Is your industry already doing down before the COVID-19 crisis?
    – Will things go back to normal?
    – How long will it take?
  2. Innovate
    With the advancement of technologies, how can companies evolve with the times and offer more products and services? If your company is impacted by the crisis, are there verticals or horizontals of your industry which you can work on to extend your brand and continue your business?

 

Innovate or Die

 

Going online is a very big trend and the current situation accelerates this technology greatly. Events that have been gathering large crowds are now defunct. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as well as innovation.

 

Many schools are now running online classes and this allows more audience to be familiar with this technology. More talks and events are now online via webinars. This shift of focus from prime real estate location to online will change the way we look at events. Running events online is cheaper and more conveniently, and most importantly — this allows social distancing to happen.

 

For some industries, the old norm may not return. For retail, with more customer going online to buy, when prices are cheaper online, retail as we know may change. This is not new. Even before COVID-19 crisis, many malls in the US are already closing down, and this situation simply pushes some businesses off the cliff.

 

 

 

How do you start?

 

The Internet is a good place to do research. If you have no ideas, you can always look at how your competitors are evolving and learn. There are a lot of business news that shares the success on how some companies are using technology to solve the current situation to continue business.

 

There are also companies that can help you with this journey. Depends on industry, there are different experts who can help.

 

Once you know how you should change and pivot, you can always do small scale testing to understand your capabilities. It may seem like a steep learning curve, but you have to start somewhere. Have a budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to networking events and find others in the same industry and see if you can collaborate together to get out of the situation.

 

Remember to market and promote once you have a new solution. Your customers may not know about your new offering and make sure you have a strategy to promote it as well. LiHO, a bubble tea company is selling bubble tea kits online for people to make their own bubble tea as home.

 

 

 

If you need any help in pointing to the right direction, please let us know.

 

 

 

If you are in Singapore, Enterprise SG is offering grants for local companies to adapt and grow. For these grants, the government may fund up to 90% during this period but a word of caution, this process may take 3 months and it is on reimbursement basis. You still need to have the cashflow to pay, although you can get loans once your grants is approved. (Disbursement is also not immediate)

Forward Thinking, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth after COVID-19

Sustainable

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There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

Problem with Webinars

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Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

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Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

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In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

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Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

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The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

It is official, the virus has gone global and businesses are badly affected as supply chains and labor are impacted. The new epicenters are outside China, and what seemed to be an isolated problem is now a global problem as the world is much more connected than before.

The COVID-19 crisis has been evolved over the weeks and from out engagement with our clients and research data from consultants and experts, here are some tips that we picked up that we think are good advice for companies.

  1. Monitor situation daily

The situation changes everyday. Events unfold daily and the government react and change guidelines according to the situation. New strategies on containment may change policies. New emerging technologies are getting updated and the way we do business is changing.

Be updated with the latest news and think critically on how it will impact your business and operations. Have a meeting with team leaders every 72 hours to update the situation and adjust business plans accordingly. There may be weak signals overlooked and be prepared for the worst.

2. Take all the information with a pinch of salt

Experts are pressured to come up with solutions without fully understanding the situation. Political biases may put pressure on the messaging as well. Expert opinions differ even on critical issues like putting on masks and optimal containment or economic policies. We are still learning and it is good to be informed from multiple sources and make decisions based on empirical data you are receiving.

3. Adopt an agile framework

Review plans frequently and constantly test different scenarios. Processes may need constant review and changes. Test various new technologies and get feedback. It is important that you monitor the team and understand the impact of the changes. If you are using video conferencing or other new technologies, ensure ample training and try to get a response from everyone on how it impacts their work. There must be other business process changes to make many of these technologies work, and the solution needs to come from good feedback and information.

Beware of too much bureaucracy. In crisis, urgent and sensitive issues may need quick decisions. An overly generalized or conservative perspective and a slow, cumbersome process may do a lot of harm in this period. A small trusted team needs to be empowered to make some quick critical decision and too much management of the communications can be damaging in a time when you need quick actions and resolutions.

4. Develop resilience principles in developing policies

Six characteristics in crisis responses.

  • Redundancy:
    Due to supply chain fluctuation, companies need to need to look beyond normal sources for solutions, manufacturing and logistics can easily be impacted in a pandemic.
  • Diversity:
    Have many ways of doing something new. The problem may be from different dimensions and solving a logistics problem as a financial problem may not yield results.
  • Modularity:
    Integrated systems can be efficient, but when one thing breaks, everything is down. In crisis mode, organisational units or supply sources that can be combined in different ways — offers greater resiliency
  • Evolvability:
    Things evolve and situations change. Systems built on peak efficiency may face difficulties as situations change. There are no right answers and getting feedback and making decisions based on results may be most effective strategy in the short term.
  • Prudence:
    With the constant change in strategies, policies and situation, business continuity plans need to be reviewed as situations change. Worse case scenarios and contingency plans need to be updated with developing situation.
  • Embeddedness:
    The whole business eco-system and communities are under great stress. When supply chain fails, there will be trickle down effect which may not seem apparent at first. Solutions that solve for an individual company at the expense of or neglecting the interests of others will create mistrust and damage the business in the longer term. Conversely, support to customers, partners, health care, and social systems in a time of adversity can potentially create lasting goodwill and trust.
    It is easy to forget about others in crisis, but this is also where your values shine.

5) Reflect on the changes ahead.

The crisis is usually not just a one off situation. We should expect more crisis to occur and be ready. With the experience from this crisis, what new policies can be developed and reflect on the lessons learned.
When the crisis is over, we may wake up to a whole new world, and there will be new changes to the way we do business. The Internet will play a big role and will we have more webinars, video conferencing instead of business trips? Will there be a shift to online shopping and education?

Only time will tell.

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Social Convergence

CSR Design Images

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Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is not fit for purpose, and we need something better to hold corporations to account for their social and environmental impact. Business is business — If there is a conflict between maximizing shareholder value and an environmental or social impact, the bottom line will win out in this model.

CSR framed in terms of restricting harm a business can do or to “white-wash” its business activity, have little to do with having any good impact they can bring. With the case in many unethical companies, they are donating money to some causes or funding some initiative with a tiny fraction of the profits make is going to make the world a better place as their CSR.

On social media, the customers do play a significant role in sharing the good and the bad. Many corporations that may have been in the spotlight for doing something wrong will have a lot of negative buzzes created. The publicity may cause a possible boycott of the products, or these customers pressure their politicians to do something, which may hurt the bottom line of the corporation. And no amount of CSR can change the opinions of the public.

A common question asked is, “Is there a better way in which we might assess and improve business’s impact on society and the environment?” The public is getting more informed from some of the negative expose of large companies due to the Internet. It is not enough to have a CSR program and believe that it will change the impression of the public; corporations need to think beyond CSR and engage with stakeholders beyond shareholders.


On Social Media, the question asked is, “How can we used New Media to get closer to customers?” People like to do business with the people they want. However, in many organizations, their primary focus is on operations, margins, and efficiencies over customer experience. It is hard for a customer to empathize when the organization is more focused on a spreadsheet. It is impossible to change if you can’t see what it is they value.

Humanizing the brand and being customer-centric starts with breaking down internal silos. It is having a culture of listening and communicating with customers as well as using feedback to improve relationships and experiences. It’s about empowering the employees to enhance and contribute to a new era of customer engagement and collaborations. They have to care, not because they are human, but because it is part of the corporate culture.

Innovation and collaboration is an outside-in and an inside-out process. Engaging with customers forces a groundswell that inspires top-down transformation from the bottom-up. It is time to invest in relationships that yield insight and impact. Businesses must earn affinity, loyalty, and advocacy through ongoing relevance.

There are much learning and adaptation, and a corporate culture that recognizes the connected customer and having a management infrastructure necessary to adapt is critical.


Putting 2 and 2 together, transforming CSR with customer advocacy can bring the social to the next level. In an era of Capitalism, many people feel the need to address the income gap problem between the haves and have nots. Striving to have high stock price does not mean a company cannot also have high social capital. Philanthropic Capitalism — the merger of philanthropy and Capitalism may set the stage for a new era of socially responsible businesses.

There are many opportunities wealth provide, and many questions on the responsibility of wealth. With more companies increasingly interested in humanistic Capitalism, a consumer can find opportunities to work together to make the world a better place through everyday commerce.

Many companies are mismanaging CSR opportunities. Because the initiatives need to yield more returns in the form of sales or merely branding, often millions of dollars are spent on CSR Programs and millions more marketing the campaign. The companies are also not transparent and not taking on the core problem or even the issues they cause while doing business, and CSR is often seen as “white-washing” the companies.

Meanwhile, social projects, socially driven by staff and customers, can be supported by the company, and this gives a different dimension to social engagement. Otherwise, companies can also use their influence to promote and create social awareness. The RED program for Starbucks is a great example where customers paying with the RED rewards card also contributes to Global fund to help people living with HIV / AIDS in Africa.

Philanthropic Capitalism nurtures empathy into a competitive advantage. It allows the corporation, the staff, and customers to do good while doing business together, and with social media, amplify their efforts for a more significant cause.

It is natural for Social Media to converge socially. It is the future direction for social evolution.

Think of your brand purpose during COVID-19

CSR Design Images

Manhattan Bridge NYC - Robin Low

Many companies are still focused on sales and want to implement processes to continue business as normal. Some companies that can continue to run during this period are still focused on profits.

Instead of creating public anger by communications or actions that seemed to be taking advantage of the situation and later, do some CSR projects or donate money to repair reputation, businesses should do one thing during this critical period which should be thinking about how to use their marketing for public good.

Big brand do have a big impact on society. In Singapore, SMRT decreased the frequency of their train services citing a reduced ridership during this period. And after much social media backlash and public anger, they decided to increase the number of trains again.

During this period, there are a lot of things which will be very sensitive as people are suffering economic impact, stress and are fearful of the situation. Any miscommunication will draw much anger and the reputation damage may be hard to rebuild. For SMRT, the reduction in the number of trains to safe costs creates a situation where trains are more crowded, and passengers are unable to follow social distancing, which causes a problem of public safety and this can be seen as prioritising profits over safety, this WILL tarnish the brand for a long time.

With more people working from home and cooped up indoors, they may have less entertainment, and will turn to social media, and such negative posts will spread far and wide.

Instead of promoting a new product and service or finding ways to cut costs or maximise profits, companies should look at how they can help people through this crisis. Brands should reflect and develop their brand purpose.

Many car companies like GM and Tesla are manufacturing ventilators, and companies like LVMH, known for luxury goods is partnering other luxury brands and making hand sanitisers for French hospitals. The facilities that produce fragrances and cosmetics for Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy had already begun to create the gel, bottle it, and make deliveries.

When done right, brands can play a part in supporting their communities during this period and not just for superficial tokenism or a marketing ploy. This is not just for social responsibility, but this is just a reason why your brand should exist and what is its purpose in society.

The primary audience of any brand purpose should be employees not consumers because purpose impacts the values and beliefs of a brand, which in turns impacts the desired behaviours of those who work for the brand.

This is not about saving the world. It does not need to be on the news or all over various media channels. Your brand purpose is to guide your actions, and not for ads.

This is an uncertain time where many companies and people have a lot of anxieties and problems to be addressed. It is a time of crisis and this is the time where strong brands will shine and be identified — not for the CSR projects that they do and gain media attention, but for their contributions to society during this time. We are all in this together, and we should contribute what we can to see each other through this difficult time.

Visibility Design is a design and marketing company with offices in Singapore and Myanmar. We work on creative solutions and if you have a brand question or social project which you want support, feel free to contact us. We would love to help you in brainstorming solutions and do what we can to see each other through this period.

http://www.visibility.com.sg

Managing Pivots during COVID-19

CSR Design Images

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The current situation we are facing is changing everyday. As many companies have given up on the situation and are waiting for handouts, some companies are forcing themselves and are changing.

 

What if you know that the current situation is going to last 6 months? Are you going to act now or are you still going to wait for help? There is a lot of uncertainties out there and there could be opportunities in the situation. There is an advantage in being the first mover, and it is important that you communicate and do this well.

 

There could be government subsidies too when you embrace technology in continuing the business, especially in Singapore.

LiHo launches S$48 – S$85 DIY bubble tea kit on Shopee after the government closes all the bubble tea stores in Singapore.

BoonSiew has launched a Virtual Showroom for people to browse the motorcycles online as showrooms are all closed.

 

All companies are impacted by the restrictions, and from the looks of things, the new changes are here to stay. Are you going to embrace new technologies that can enable your business to continue work, or are you going to give up and wait for a bail out?

 

The choice is up to you. But if you need some help in understanding and navigating the new norms and new tangible ways to engage customers during this period, feel free to contact us.

 

CSR and Giving During a Crisis

Dorm

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It is heartening to see many Singaporeans outraged when they see the plight of the foreign workers in Singapore. Poor unsanitary living conditions and tightly packed dormitories has created a health crisis in Singapore with more than 10,000 foreign workers infected with COVID-19.

 

Poor living conditions of these foreign workers are not new. In the past, employers packed them in shophouses in Geylang and Serangoon and once these poor living conditions are exposed, after public outrage, mega-dorms are built, and the problem is out of sight.

 

These well connected mega-dorm operators can focus on getting maximum profits by following the lax guidelines set by the Ministry of Manpower and getting the minimum done. On paper, some of these dorms boast recreational areas, cinemas, shops for some 21,000 residents. But in reality, sometimes, more than 20 workers are packed into a room, sharing a toilet. The air circulation is poor and because of the living density fueled the spread of viruses.

 

These poor living conditions were made known to the public only when people were looking into the reasons why there were so many foreign workers infected, and there was some outrage by the public as the numbers soared due to the slow actions taken by the dormitory operators as there were no clear instructions from the government despite some members of the public highlighting the critical situation.

 

When it is apparent that many of the foreign workers living in these densely packed dormitories with poor sanitation were infected, the government had no choice but to act to curb the spread.

 

The once “Gold Standard” of the COVID-19 response suddenly was struggling to contain the outbreak. The problem did not end there. With over 1,000,000 foreign workers, and more than 300,000 living in dormitories, it was impossible for Singapore to house them. There was a big scramble to create make shift facilities to house these workers, and the communication to them was so bad that many did not understand what was going on and felt that they were “abandoned”.

 

Testing was also insufficient and according to Mr. Au of TWC2, “They’re waiting for symptoms to show before they test. That seems to be reactive instead of proactive.”

 

In a specific case, 16 roommates of one infected worker were not immediately tested for the virus, but instead isolated in their rooms, not allowed to go out.

 

Then, there was also a problem with food. When the workers were quarantined and rehoused in other shelters, the dorm operators had problems sourcing for budget food for the workers. There were a lot of complains about poorly cooked food and low quality food offered to the workers, and it had even reached the news channels.

 

Many Singaporeans took action and decided to support these foreign workers and various companies too came out and decided to provide food. These knee jerk reactions are common as many realised the problem and wanted to do something.

 

So a lot of food was donated.

 

However, this usually does not solve the problem. Many of the donated food did not reach the hungry foreign workers. Like aid to disaster areas, many people focus on the doing, and did not consider the impact. As these areas are restricted to contain the virus, no one can simple walk in and provide food to the people inside. Non-official food source in any disaster areas are turned away as the operators of these shelters cannot be certain that the food is safe.

 

As Ramadan started, some of the food that arrived at the shelters were too late as the fasting has started, and sometimes the food arrived too early and when fasting was over, the food had already turned bad.

 

The distribution like with many community and ad hoc projects was poor, and with the lack of communication and engagement, there were duplication in efforts while some shelters did not get any food.

 

I would like to add that many of these shelters do feed their inhabitants. The inhabitants are not allowed to go out and get food, and they have to be fed, so food is already provided. There area always managers of these shelters, and working with them to provide food or donating to a food fund to provide better quality food or supplements should be the focus.

 

I would also say that there are a lot of commendable efforts which really did help and some shelters did have better quality food, but this is due to the experience of some of the NGOs like TWC2 and HOME where they understand what they were doing.

 

Many of the religious groups and companies who are using vendors to deliver food still end up wasting food.

 

It is good that Singaporeans care about these marginalised foreign workers, helping others is not as easy as just giving food when someone is hungry. Even when it comes to feeding the homeless and marginalised in Singapore, engaging them is key.

 

So, if you intend to help in this situation, please remember to engage. It is the first step into understanding the problem and looking into how to create a solution for that problem.

 

Please don’t have a solution and decide to find a problem to fix — having bought food and finding shelters to give to is always a bad idea — even if it may be a good photo opportunity.

Innovate or Die during COVID-19

VIRUS

virus

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we work, live, and engage. There are a lot of restrictions now as more people get infected. As companies adjust, there are many that will be badly impacted and some will cease to exist.

 

Many businesses that were built years ago, but do not adjust or change to the new technologies and challenges will find themselves in a situation where they are now forced to change or become irrelevant.

 

COVID-19 crisis is accelerating many companies to go digital. Traditional companies like Seafood Suppliers are getting online and doing direct delivery to customers. The world is going digital and many people are getting on mobile phones to do research. Many established traditional businesses that have operated for many years are also starting to pivot. With several younger generations in charge, most of these businesses are looking at rebranding and going digital.

 

This is a trend that is quickly accelerated and with the COVID-19 crisis, companies that want to run business as normal will probably have to consider not doing business for the next few months at least. With possible second wave of infections happening globally, the new norm that we are seeing now with restriction of movement are looking at several new winners.

 

Back to Basics.

 

Businesses exist because they solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. If you cannot do business because of the current restrictions, you cannot run your business. If you have employees, and office, you have cost, and without revenue, things are not sustainable.

 

If you cannot continue to solve problems, you will cease to exist.

 

If you are a running restaurant, the problem you face now is that people cannot dine in your premises. For many restaurants, customers do pay premium to dine in the ambiance and it is not easy to create the same experience for delivery.

 

If your reach is limited due to the situation, and you find that you cannot do business as normal, you have 2 choices.

 

  1. Do nothing
    Companies can have a strategy of “Do nothing”.
    They think this cost the least. In uncertainty, many companies will want to be prudent and not spend money or take risks, but in some situations, you have to consider.
    – Is your industry already doing down before the COVID-19 crisis?
    – Will things go back to normal?
    – How long will it take?
  2. Innovate
    With the advancement of technologies, how can companies evolve with the times and offer more products and services? If your company is impacted by the crisis, are there verticals or horizontals of your industry which you can work on to extend your brand and continue your business?

 

Innovate or Die

 

Going online is a very big trend and the current situation accelerates this technology greatly. Events that have been gathering large crowds are now defunct. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as well as innovation.

 

Many schools are now running online classes and this allows more audience to be familiar with this technology. More talks and events are now online via webinars. This shift of focus from prime real estate location to online will change the way we look at events. Running events online is cheaper and more conveniently, and most importantly — this allows social distancing to happen.

 

For some industries, the old norm may not return. For retail, with more customer going online to buy, when prices are cheaper online, retail as we know may change. This is not new. Even before COVID-19 crisis, many malls in the US are already closing down, and this situation simply pushes some businesses off the cliff.

 

 

 

How do you start?

 

The Internet is a good place to do research. If you have no ideas, you can always look at how your competitors are evolving and learn. There are a lot of business news that shares the success on how some companies are using technology to solve the current situation to continue business.

 

There are also companies that can help you with this journey. Depends on industry, there are different experts who can help.

 

Once you know how you should change and pivot, you can always do small scale testing to understand your capabilities. It may seem like a steep learning curve, but you have to start somewhere. Have a budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to networking events and find others in the same industry and see if you can collaborate together to get out of the situation.

 

Remember to market and promote once you have a new solution. Your customers may not know about your new offering and make sure you have a strategy to promote it as well. LiHO, a bubble tea company is selling bubble tea kits online for people to make their own bubble tea as home.

 

 

 

If you need any help in pointing to the right direction, please let us know.

 

 

 

If you are in Singapore, Enterprise SG is offering grants for local companies to adapt and grow. For these grants, the government may fund up to 90% during this period but a word of caution, this process may take 3 months and it is on reimbursement basis. You still need to have the cashflow to pay, although you can get loans once your grants is approved. (Disbursement is also not immediate)

Forward Thinking, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth after COVID-19

Sustainable

sustainable

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!

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Running Business during COVID-19

CSR Design

virus

It is official, the virus has gone global and businesses are badly affected as supply chains and labor are impacted. The new epicenters are outside China, and what seemed to be an isolated problem is now a global problem as the world is much more connected than before.

The COVID-19 crisis has been evolved over the weeks and from out engagement with our clients and research data from consultants and experts, here are some tips that we picked up that we think are good advice for companies.

  1. Monitor situation daily

The situation changes everyday. Events unfold daily and the government react and change guidelines according to the situation. New strategies on containment may change policies. New emerging technologies are getting updated and the way we do business is changing.

Be updated with the latest news and think critically on how it will impact your business and operations. Have a meeting with team leaders every 72 hours to update the situation and adjust business plans accordingly. There may be weak signals overlooked and be prepared for the worst.

2. Take all the information with a pinch of salt

Experts are pressured to come up with solutions without fully understanding the situation. Political biases may put pressure on the messaging as well. Expert opinions differ even on critical issues like putting on masks and optimal containment or economic policies. We are still learning and it is good to be informed from multiple sources and make decisions based on empirical data you are receiving.

3. Adopt an agile framework

Review plans frequently and constantly test different scenarios. Processes may need constant review and changes. Test various new technologies and get feedback. It is important that you monitor the team and understand the impact of the changes. If you are using video conferencing or other new technologies, ensure ample training and try to get a response from everyone on how it impacts their work. There must be other business process changes to make many of these technologies work, and the solution needs to come from good feedback and information.

Beware of too much bureaucracy. In crisis, urgent and sensitive issues may need quick decisions. An overly generalized or conservative perspective and a slow, cumbersome process may do a lot of harm in this period. A small trusted team needs to be empowered to make some quick critical decision and too much management of the communications can be damaging in a time when you need quick actions and resolutions.

4. Develop resilience principles in developing policies

Six characteristics in crisis responses.

  • Redundancy:
    Due to supply chain fluctuation, companies need to need to look beyond normal sources for solutions, manufacturing and logistics can easily be impacted in a pandemic.
  • Diversity:
    Have many ways of doing something new. The problem may be from different dimensions and solving a logistics problem as a financial problem may not yield results.
  • Modularity:
    Integrated systems can be efficient, but when one thing breaks, everything is down. In crisis mode, organisational units or supply sources that can be combined in different ways — offers greater resiliency
  • Evolvability:
    Things evolve and situations change. Systems built on peak efficiency may face difficulties as situations change. There are no right answers and getting feedback and making decisions based on results may be most effective strategy in the short term.
  • Prudence:
    With the constant change in strategies, policies and situation, business continuity plans need to be reviewed as situations change. Worse case scenarios and contingency plans need to be updated with developing situation.
  • Embeddedness:
    The whole business eco-system and communities are under great stress. When supply chain fails, there will be trickle down effect which may not seem apparent at first. Solutions that solve for an individual company at the expense of or neglecting the interests of others will create mistrust and damage the business in the longer term. Conversely, support to customers, partners, health care, and social systems in a time of adversity can potentially create lasting goodwill and trust.
    It is easy to forget about others in crisis, but this is also where your values shine.

5) Reflect on the changes ahead.

The crisis is usually not just a one off situation. We should expect more crisis to occur and be ready. With the experience from this crisis, what new policies can be developed and reflect on the lessons learned.
When the crisis is over, we may wake up to a whole new world, and there will be new changes to the way we do business. The Internet will play a big role and will we have more webinars, video conferencing instead of business trips? Will there be a shift to online shopping and education?

Only time will tell.

Social Convergence

CSR Design Images

social convergeance

Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is not fit for purpose, and we need something better to hold corporations to account for their social and environmental impact. Business is business — If there is a conflict between maximizing shareholder value and an environmental or social impact, the bottom line will win out in this model.

CSR framed in terms of restricting harm a business can do or to “white-wash” its business activity, have little to do with having any good impact they can bring. With the case in many unethical companies, they are donating money to some causes or funding some initiative with a tiny fraction of the profits make is going to make the world a better place as their CSR.

On social media, the customers do play a significant role in sharing the good and the bad. Many corporations that may have been in the spotlight for doing something wrong will have a lot of negative buzzes created. The publicity may cause a possible boycott of the products, or these customers pressure their politicians to do something, which may hurt the bottom line of the corporation. And no amount of CSR can change the opinions of the public.

A common question asked is, “Is there a better way in which we might assess and improve business’s impact on society and the environment?” The public is getting more informed from some of the negative expose of large companies due to the Internet. It is not enough to have a CSR program and believe that it will change the impression of the public; corporations need to think beyond CSR and engage with stakeholders beyond shareholders.


On Social Media, the question asked is, “How can we used New Media to get closer to customers?” People like to do business with the people they want. However, in many organizations, their primary focus is on operations, margins, and efficiencies over customer experience. It is hard for a customer to empathize when the organization is more focused on a spreadsheet. It is impossible to change if you can’t see what it is they value.

Humanizing the brand and being customer-centric starts with breaking down internal silos. It is having a culture of listening and communicating with customers as well as using feedback to improve relationships and experiences. It’s about empowering the employees to enhance and contribute to a new era of customer engagement and collaborations. They have to care, not because they are human, but because it is part of the corporate culture.

Innovation and collaboration is an outside-in and an inside-out process. Engaging with customers forces a groundswell that inspires top-down transformation from the bottom-up. It is time to invest in relationships that yield insight and impact. Businesses must earn affinity, loyalty, and advocacy through ongoing relevance.

There are much learning and adaptation, and a corporate culture that recognizes the connected customer and having a management infrastructure necessary to adapt is critical.


Putting 2 and 2 together, transforming CSR with customer advocacy can bring the social to the next level. In an era of Capitalism, many people feel the need to address the income gap problem between the haves and have nots. Striving to have high stock price does not mean a company cannot also have high social capital. Philanthropic Capitalism — the merger of philanthropy and Capitalism may set the stage for a new era of socially responsible businesses.

There are many opportunities wealth provide, and many questions on the responsibility of wealth. With more companies increasingly interested in humanistic Capitalism, a consumer can find opportunities to work together to make the world a better place through everyday commerce.

Many companies are mismanaging CSR opportunities. Because the initiatives need to yield more returns in the form of sales or merely branding, often millions of dollars are spent on CSR Programs and millions more marketing the campaign. The companies are also not transparent and not taking on the core problem or even the issues they cause while doing business, and CSR is often seen as “white-washing” the companies.

Meanwhile, social projects, socially driven by staff and customers, can be supported by the company, and this gives a different dimension to social engagement. Otherwise, companies can also use their influence to promote and create social awareness. The RED program for Starbucks is a great example where customers paying with the RED rewards card also contributes to Global fund to help people living with HIV / AIDS in Africa.

Philanthropic Capitalism nurtures empathy into a competitive advantage. It allows the corporation, the staff, and customers to do good while doing business together, and with social media, amplify their efforts for a more significant cause.

It is natural for Social Media to converge socially. It is the future direction for social evolution.

Think of your brand purpose during COVID-19

CSR Design Images

Manhattan Bridge NYC - Robin Low

Many companies are still focused on sales and want to implement processes to continue business as normal. Some companies that can continue to run during this period are still focused on profits.

Instead of creating public anger by communications or actions that seemed to be taking advantage of the situation and later, do some CSR projects or donate money to repair reputation, businesses should do one thing during this critical period which should be thinking about how to use their marketing for public good.

Big brand do have a big impact on society. In Singapore, SMRT decreased the frequency of their train services citing a reduced ridership during this period. And after much social media backlash and public anger, they decided to increase the number of trains again.

During this period, there are a lot of things which will be very sensitive as people are suffering economic impact, stress and are fearful of the situation. Any miscommunication will draw much anger and the reputation damage may be hard to rebuild. For SMRT, the reduction in the number of trains to safe costs creates a situation where trains are more crowded, and passengers are unable to follow social distancing, which causes a problem of public safety and this can be seen as prioritising profits over safety, this WILL tarnish the brand for a long time.

With more people working from home and cooped up indoors, they may have less entertainment, and will turn to social media, and such negative posts will spread far and wide.

Instead of promoting a new product and service or finding ways to cut costs or maximise profits, companies should look at how they can help people through this crisis. Brands should reflect and develop their brand purpose.

Many car companies like GM and Tesla are manufacturing ventilators, and companies like LVMH, known for luxury goods is partnering other luxury brands and making hand sanitisers for French hospitals. The facilities that produce fragrances and cosmetics for Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy had already begun to create the gel, bottle it, and make deliveries.

When done right, brands can play a part in supporting their communities during this period and not just for superficial tokenism or a marketing ploy. This is not just for social responsibility, but this is just a reason why your brand should exist and what is its purpose in society.

The primary audience of any brand purpose should be employees not consumers because purpose impacts the values and beliefs of a brand, which in turns impacts the desired behaviours of those who work for the brand.

This is not about saving the world. It does not need to be on the news or all over various media channels. Your brand purpose is to guide your actions, and not for ads.

This is an uncertain time where many companies and people have a lot of anxieties and problems to be addressed. It is a time of crisis and this is the time where strong brands will shine and be identified — not for the CSR projects that they do and gain media attention, but for their contributions to society during this time. We are all in this together, and we should contribute what we can to see each other through this difficult time.

Visibility Design is a design and marketing company with offices in Singapore and Myanmar. We work on creative solutions and if you have a brand question or social project which you want support, feel free to contact us. We would love to help you in brainstorming solutions and do what we can to see each other through this period.

http://www.visibility.com.sg

Managing Pivots during COVID-19

CSR Design Images

selfcare

 

The current situation we are facing is changing everyday. As many companies have given up on the situation and are waiting for handouts, some companies are forcing themselves and are changing.

 

What if you know that the current situation is going to last 6 months? Are you going to act now or are you still going to wait for help? There is a lot of uncertainties out there and there could be opportunities in the situation. There is an advantage in being the first mover, and it is important that you communicate and do this well.

 

There could be government subsidies too when you embrace technology in continuing the business, especially in Singapore.

LiHo launches S$48 – S$85 DIY bubble tea kit on Shopee after the government closes all the bubble tea stores in Singapore.

BoonSiew has launched a Virtual Showroom for people to browse the motorcycles online as showrooms are all closed.

 

All companies are impacted by the restrictions, and from the looks of things, the new changes are here to stay. Are you going to embrace new technologies that can enable your business to continue work, or are you going to give up and wait for a bail out?

 

The choice is up to you. But if you need some help in understanding and navigating the new norms and new tangible ways to engage customers during this period, feel free to contact us.

 

CSR and Giving During a Crisis

Dorm

osdorm13_0

 

It is heartening to see many Singaporeans outraged when they see the plight of the foreign workers in Singapore. Poor unsanitary living conditions and tightly packed dormitories has created a health crisis in Singapore with more than 10,000 foreign workers infected with COVID-19.

 

Poor living conditions of these foreign workers are not new. In the past, employers packed them in shophouses in Geylang and Serangoon and once these poor living conditions are exposed, after public outrage, mega-dorms are built, and the problem is out of sight.

 

These well connected mega-dorm operators can focus on getting maximum profits by following the lax guidelines set by the Ministry of Manpower and getting the minimum done. On paper, some of these dorms boast recreational areas, cinemas, shops for some 21,000 residents. But in reality, sometimes, more than 20 workers are packed into a room, sharing a toilet. The air circulation is poor and because of the living density fueled the spread of viruses.

 

These poor living conditions were made known to the public only when people were looking into the reasons why there were so many foreign workers infected, and there was some outrage by the public as the numbers soared due to the slow actions taken by the dormitory operators as there were no clear instructions from the government despite some members of the public highlighting the critical situation.

 

When it is apparent that many of the foreign workers living in these densely packed dormitories with poor sanitation were infected, the government had no choice but to act to curb the spread.

 

The once “Gold Standard” of the COVID-19 response suddenly was struggling to contain the outbreak. The problem did not end there. With over 1,000,000 foreign workers, and more than 300,000 living in dormitories, it was impossible for Singapore to house them. There was a big scramble to create make shift facilities to house these workers, and the communication to them was so bad that many did not understand what was going on and felt that they were “abandoned”.

 

Testing was also insufficient and according to Mr. Au of TWC2, “They’re waiting for symptoms to show before they test. That seems to be reactive instead of proactive.”

 

In a specific case, 16 roommates of one infected worker were not immediately tested for the virus, but instead isolated in their rooms, not allowed to go out.

 

Then, there was also a problem with food. When the workers were quarantined and rehoused in other shelters, the dorm operators had problems sourcing for budget food for the workers. There were a lot of complains about poorly cooked food and low quality food offered to the workers, and it had even reached the news channels.

 

Many Singaporeans took action and decided to support these foreign workers and various companies too came out and decided to provide food. These knee jerk reactions are common as many realised the problem and wanted to do something.

 

So a lot of food was donated.

 

However, this usually does not solve the problem. Many of the donated food did not reach the hungry foreign workers. Like aid to disaster areas, many people focus on the doing, and did not consider the impact. As these areas are restricted to contain the virus, no one can simple walk in and provide food to the people inside. Non-official food source in any disaster areas are turned away as the operators of these shelters cannot be certain that the food is safe.

 

As Ramadan started, some of the food that arrived at the shelters were too late as the fasting has started, and sometimes the food arrived too early and when fasting was over, the food had already turned bad.

 

The distribution like with many community and ad hoc projects was poor, and with the lack of communication and engagement, there were duplication in efforts while some shelters did not get any food.

 

I would like to add that many of these shelters do feed their inhabitants. The inhabitants are not allowed to go out and get food, and they have to be fed, so food is already provided. There area always managers of these shelters, and working with them to provide food or donating to a food fund to provide better quality food or supplements should be the focus.

 

I would also say that there are a lot of commendable efforts which really did help and some shelters did have better quality food, but this is due to the experience of some of the NGOs like TWC2 and HOME where they understand what they were doing.

 

Many of the religious groups and companies who are using vendors to deliver food still end up wasting food.

 

It is good that Singaporeans care about these marginalised foreign workers, helping others is not as easy as just giving food when someone is hungry. Even when it comes to feeding the homeless and marginalised in Singapore, engaging them is key.

 

So, if you intend to help in this situation, please remember to engage. It is the first step into understanding the problem and looking into how to create a solution for that problem.

 

Please don’t have a solution and decide to find a problem to fix — having bought food and finding shelters to give to is always a bad idea — even if it may be a good photo opportunity.

Innovate or Die during COVID-19

VIRUS

virus

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way we work, live, and engage. There are a lot of restrictions now as more people get infected. As companies adjust, there are many that will be badly impacted and some will cease to exist.

 

Many businesses that were built years ago, but do not adjust or change to the new technologies and challenges will find themselves in a situation where they are now forced to change or become irrelevant.

 

COVID-19 crisis is accelerating many companies to go digital. Traditional companies like Seafood Suppliers are getting online and doing direct delivery to customers. The world is going digital and many people are getting on mobile phones to do research. Many established traditional businesses that have operated for many years are also starting to pivot. With several younger generations in charge, most of these businesses are looking at rebranding and going digital.

 

This is a trend that is quickly accelerated and with the COVID-19 crisis, companies that want to run business as normal will probably have to consider not doing business for the next few months at least. With possible second wave of infections happening globally, the new norm that we are seeing now with restriction of movement are looking at several new winners.

 

Back to Basics.

 

Businesses exist because they solve problems that people are willing to pay money for. If you cannot do business because of the current restrictions, you cannot run your business. If you have employees, and office, you have cost, and without revenue, things are not sustainable.

 

If you cannot continue to solve problems, you will cease to exist.

 

If you are a running restaurant, the problem you face now is that people cannot dine in your premises. For many restaurants, customers do pay premium to dine in the ambiance and it is not easy to create the same experience for delivery.

 

If your reach is limited due to the situation, and you find that you cannot do business as normal, you have 2 choices.

 

  1. Do nothing
    Companies can have a strategy of “Do nothing”.
    They think this cost the least. In uncertainty, many companies will want to be prudent and not spend money or take risks, but in some situations, you have to consider.
    – Is your industry already doing down before the COVID-19 crisis?
    – Will things go back to normal?
    – How long will it take?
  2. Innovate
    With the advancement of technologies, how can companies evolve with the times and offer more products and services? If your company is impacted by the crisis, are there verticals or horizontals of your industry which you can work on to extend your brand and continue your business?

 

Innovate or Die

 

Going online is a very big trend and the current situation accelerates this technology greatly. Events that have been gathering large crowds are now defunct. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as well as innovation.

 

Many schools are now running online classes and this allows more audience to be familiar with this technology. More talks and events are now online via webinars. This shift of focus from prime real estate location to online will change the way we look at events. Running events online is cheaper and more conveniently, and most importantly — this allows social distancing to happen.

 

For some industries, the old norm may not return. For retail, with more customer going online to buy, when prices are cheaper online, retail as we know may change. This is not new. Even before COVID-19 crisis, many malls in the US are already closing down, and this situation simply pushes some businesses off the cliff.

 

 

 

How do you start?

 

The Internet is a good place to do research. If you have no ideas, you can always look at how your competitors are evolving and learn. There are a lot of business news that shares the success on how some companies are using technology to solve the current situation to continue business.

 

There are also companies that can help you with this journey. Depends on industry, there are different experts who can help.

 

Once you know how you should change and pivot, you can always do small scale testing to understand your capabilities. It may seem like a steep learning curve, but you have to start somewhere. Have a budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go to networking events and find others in the same industry and see if you can collaborate together to get out of the situation.

 

Remember to market and promote once you have a new solution. Your customers may not know about your new offering and make sure you have a strategy to promote it as well. LiHO, a bubble tea company is selling bubble tea kits online for people to make their own bubble tea as home.

 

 

 

If you need any help in pointing to the right direction, please let us know.

 

 

 

If you are in Singapore, Enterprise SG is offering grants for local companies to adapt and grow. For these grants, the government may fund up to 90% during this period but a word of caution, this process may take 3 months and it is on reimbursement basis. You still need to have the cashflow to pay, although you can get loans once your grants is approved. (Disbursement is also not immediate)

Forward Thinking, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth after COVID-19

Sustainable

sustainable

 

 

 

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our business landscape. Many companies that fail to evolve will not exist after the crisis. Instead of worrying and cowering in a shell, awaiting a slow death, examine the new business landscape and its opportunities.

 

You can listen to many experts on how they managed to grow during a crisis and most of you will be skeptical. Yes, there are business that have exploitative business practices during this crisis to make as much money as possible.

 

There are also businesses have increased costs but failed to communicate and empathise with their customers and leaves a bad impression after the sales transaction.

 

In the world of digital media, little experiences customers have with you will accumulate. Good or bad, a small fraction of the customers do talk about it, framing your online perception, which can form a reality on how people perceive your brand.

 

In times of crisis, bad emotions amplify, and you will get a lot more complains than praises. As positive news is rare, positive acts often leave behind a positive impression for a longer time. It is truly during this time of crisis where brand purpose shines.

 

You may think; my business is not doing well, how can I help others when I can’t help myself? Helping others and doing well are quite separate, but when you look at the model of Social Business or Social Enterprise, you can quickly realize that many businesses can do well by doing good.

 

 

 

Current Conditions.

 

Instead of looking at all the doom and gloom, you can observe that some businesses are doing well. Tech and logistics are good examples of much needed essential services. Traditional businesses going online are also experiencing problems with the same issues — tech and logistics. Restaurants and physical businesses require tech and logistics to deliver their products and services to customers.

 

Your business in its core is about solving a problem. A restaurant creates food for hungry customers. If you do not have logistics in place, having tech is useless as the people who need your service still cannot access it. With logistics but no online presence is also useless as no one knows about you and can order online.

 

Digital transformation is not easy. The Singapore government recognizes this and Enterprise Singapore has a series of grants for this purpose. There are various grants available and companies who can solve current problems can access these grants to grow.

 

I would like to point out that Visibility Design can help in Business Strategy Design and Strategic Brand and Marketing Development. As these services help core capabilities, up to 90% of this can be funded by Enterprise Singapore.

 

There are also a number of financing support available for companies who may encounter cashflow issues and require bridging loans. This is the time where business get cheaper loans. MAS has launched the MAS SGD Facility for ESG Loans in partnership with Enterprise Singapore. Local companies can take this opportunity to pivot their businesses to take advantage of the low interest backed loans.

 

If you want to transform your business, remember, you do not need to do it alone. There are many others that can help you in your journey, and you can easily schedule some time to talk to some of them to find the right one to help you.

 

This is a good time for digital transformation and looks at how you can also include inclusive and sustainable practices in your business to future proof it. The cause of many future problems will be due to unsustainable human activities and it is important to take the time now to think further and pivot to a more sustainable transformation.

 

The normal we know about is gone, how are you going to respond to the new normal?

Problem with Webinars

Sustainable

webinar

Yes, more companies are getting on Webinars for product onboarding, training, and sharing of knowledge or ideas. There is no doubt about the benefits of hosting a webinar, and the current situation has accelerated this trend.

I stayed home for two months and attended several webinars a week. Initially, I just wanted to try it out and learn something new, and I found Webinars a great way to be exposed to new ideas and reach out to others. As I went to more webinars, the novelty wore off, and I no longer had the attention span to endure through a long webinar. I quickly realized the abundance of distractions I had during the webinar.

Even for topics that I was passionate about, I realized that many things would get in the way of focusing. There would be food delivery, or my mother could not find something. My cat would push my cup off the table. I would then notice my pile of unopened envelopes; my trash bin is full, or my fingernails are too long. All because of a single fact — I was home.

Then when I was back in the office, I attended several work-related webinars and training. The result was similar. There were urgent work emails, my manager would need to clarify something. I had something to rush and the calendar reminded me of that. The distractions were endless.

I went between paying full attention to not even having the webinar screen on, I tuned in and out for most of the session. Sometimes I feel so disengaged that I did not even complete the session. When I examined the content, there was no problem at all. The speaker was also very well know in his or her field. What went wrong?

So when it was time for me to run my own webinar, I quickly looked at it from the perspective of the audience and realized that I was making the same mistakes as the other speakers — doing long monologues and reading from my static presentation. I find my audience went from 79 to 65 in an hour, and half the screen went black by the end of the session.

Sustainable

yawn

Then I attended a few webinars where the hosts tested various ways to engage the audience. The speaker would speak for 15 minutes, and there would be a breakout room. There would be a little networking, and a facilitator would get the audience to engage on a topic, and then they returned to the main room for another presentation. This presentation was professional looking. There were moving graphics and beautiful transitions. Everyone was encouraged to join a poll, and the results were displayed in real-time. Then, there was a video being played, and it returned to the speaker finishing up the presentation. 

Excellent webinars are far and few between. Most are not even memorable, and you can’t recall the topic after 10 minutes. 

So what makes a webinar engaging?

1) Webinars are rich media — it is sound and video. Many presenters simply use very static decks and take 50 minutes. In a live presentation, the audience has no choice but to sit and listen, but in a Webinar, we will tune away like we click the x on the commercials. 

  • Please create visually pleasing content. 
  • Use animation and overlays to attract the attention of our eyes. 
  • Have multiple cameras and toggle among them to create more variety in the video feed.
  • More Infographics, less text.
  • Have great contrasting colors
  • Use transitions between slides.

The production value of the webinar can greatly affect how the webinar engages the audience. I’ve been in a webinar focus on only three key points, but with multiple speakers, multiple cameras, attractive graphics and a panel discussion, it felt more engaging, almost like I was part of a live audience.

For the other Webinars that were on Zoom, where the presenter showed static slides and I could not see his face and everything was static, I lost interest quickly.

(I will go into details more in my upcoming blog next week)

2) People’s attention spans are short, don’t give long monologues. Focus on a topic and elaborate, then engage the audience in an activity. 

  • Test your audience, 
  • Ask a question, 
  • Conduct a survey. 

Get the audience to do something after 10 minutes. 

3) Make use of the breakout room. When you see the attention span falling. Quickly switch to a breakout room. Run a little ice breaker and start a discussion. The audience needs to feel engaged, and when they return from the breakout room, they would have gained back some of the lost attention.

4) Throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there. Let people relate to the topic with a real human story. Stop the presentation, and just tell your story. 

5) Add a video. Videos are great ways to break the monotony of a long presentation. A short video can mix up the pace and increase the attention span.

6) Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your webinar, or perhaps something completely unrelated, but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you. Such questions will reach the audience to think and respond and pick on some answers in the chat to comment.

7) Have participants share their screen. Ask a question and use the participant’s solution, and the answer to highlight a point may allow more interactivity and engagement.

8) Engage a video producer. It is no wonder why investing in a high production value webinar will pay off. Being able to add music, intro, mixing various camera angles can make a simple presentation a lot more engaging. 

9) Make use of the whiteboard. Strangely, I do not see many presenters use the whiteboard, but when some of them ask questions and draw onto the whiteboard, the webinar seems more “real.” It does have a positive effect on getting the audience’s attention. 

10) Liberal use of infographics. If you can present it in a picture, do so. Back to the original rule — less text, more pics.

 

How are you engaging your audience in your Webinar?

Are there good tips you would like to share?

We are still in a crisis, but why did the support to frontline workers end?

Sustainable

integrated

In a post COVID-19 world, many things have changed. The reshuffle and new normal caused a lot of new problems and a lot of uncertainties. Many people are out of jobs and the market does not look good. There are many who face financial hardships and obviously some winners and some losers in the community.

Sustainable

grabcare

Yes, focusing on the frontline staff and supporting them is important, but Singapore is still in a Crisis with more than 200 people infected everyday. We are still in the circuit breaker and restaurants limit guests to 5 to a table and businesses are closing down.

The Casinos are retrenching workers and companies running events and other activities where crowds may gather are also badly affected. Many food counters that were supporting the frontline workers have stopped.

The donations and support, and all the positive messages pushed by the media have all since ended in February. What has changed?

The problem with giving and support is that these actions are meant to be short term, but in any crisis, the effects are long term. The COVID-19 crisis is turning into a financial crisis as people lose their jobs but there is virtually no social safety nets to support. The $1,200 provided by the government barely covers expenses for a month and we are going on 6 months into the crisis.

The issue faced is that the focus of “aid” shifts. In February, we are thanking the healthcare workers, and in April, we are supporting the foreign workers who are quarantined away from the general population. Singapore is still in phase 2 of the circuit breaker and restaurants are closing down as they still need to pay rents and staff while their customers are reduced.

Many industries that relied heavily on tourists are badly affected as no one is traveling now, and will not be doing so in the near future. So for the companies that are doing relatively well during this crisis, are there any plans to support the community and how are you going to communicate this?

 

Integrated communications and CSR

It is important to have an integrated communication channel that connects your advertisements, messaging and other social activities together, more so during this period where many people are finding it hard to get by.

We all know that the situation is challenging. In these times, proper community support along with good positive communications can go a long way. We all know that food delivery is popular and many food outlets are offering discounts to get customers. A tip to get more people to know about your discounts is simply to work with local NGOs feeding the marginalised families to support some of these organisations with some meals a day. Then with their communication channels, share the initiative and highlight the need to support such initiatives. The positive message along with a discount to support customers in this bad times can be very newsworthy, and these discounts and offers will be shared without purchasing ads.

An integrated communication channel that coordinates efforts to support various communities, community messages and offers is very important, and a proper strategy to execute this can allow the community to empathise with the situation and support the cause. But a poorly executed communication plan will make this feel like the company is capitalising on the situation.

The key factor for success is sincerity — if the company is still focused on increasing profits, it will show, and such effort will backfire, but if the focus is to support people who are affected by the crisis and weather it out together, the community will appreciate and work through the crisis together, making sure no one is left behind.

Solving Problems with Tech (CSR)

Sustainable

qr

The COVID-19 crisis has affected many different businesses and our lives may never be the same for a long time. Some businesses have failed, many lost their jobs. For F&B outlets, social distancing rules reduce seating capacities and enforce strict guidelines. Although there are subsidies and solutions provided by the government in the form of grants, the process for applying such grants is not so simple.

We work with a team of passionate people, focused to solve the problems and challenges posed by the current situation, to create solutions for the F&B outlets. From our initial engagement, we feel that low-cost solutions, and not more government grants are needed to support businesses. For many cases, the grant process is tedious and requires some cash upfront to be reimbursed later, there can also be many other costs involved and the solutions created may become a liability.

The QR Queue management system we created is a simple cost-effective solution to solve the problem of queues caused by the new social distancing measures. We feel that many of the restaurants may also face queue problems after the restrictions are lifted, and hence this solution will work for them after the crisis as well.

This crisis has advanced the adoption of a lot of new technology. Many users have also accepted and started using more QR based technologies after the government introduced SafeEntry system for contact tracing. Zoom, Webex and other online communication solutions are common as well.

With the adoption of technologies, are there any other solutions that can help businesses and accelerate our future economy?

Let’s make this world a better place together!