As Asia cautiously starts to gear up – albeit with social distancing and other health practices in place – the world of marketing is once again starting to hum. In Hong Kong, the Marketing Society gathered its first “Table of 8” networking and sharing session Tuesday June 23 over lunch at The Upper House.
The open agenda included catching up with senior colleagues after months of working from home and without meetings, and comparing notes on what has carried through into the “new/next normal” and what has changed.
Since the event was held under Chatham House Rules, unfortunately the innermost secrets of who said what to whom cannot be revealed, but here’s a sampling of the anecdotes and insights.
- An entertainment industry executive flagged the importance of being persistent and resilient through adverse times when tourism is down. He highlighted the importance of the private sector, and the efforts companies make individually and collectively. Government initiatives are useful but certainly not the only answer.There was a lot of talk about the 100’s of online platforms out there for everything from virtual whiteboarding to conferences to document sharing and collaboration. Companies were forced into digital transformation at a faster pace than ever before and some of it worked and some of it didn’t.
- During COVID-19 video conferences, one firm focussed on perfecting bimodal working (in the room and online) and tried hard to make the virtual participants get the best experience. We’ve all been on that conference call remotely when we have no idea what’s actually happening in the room…
- The group discussed which of the new ways of working learned in the pandemic will carry forward, and which will get dropped as soon as possible. There will be some irreversible habit changes, and in other areas we’ll have a “rubber band recovery” where things snap back to where they were before.
- How are workers in Hong Kong standing up to the pressures of “CoronaViolence” – the dual stresses of COVID-19 and the protests? Some younger employees are thinking about international options and wondering what their future here and in relation to China is.
- Hong Kong is a very pragmatic place, and most professionals are focussed on how to get their businesses beyond surviving and on to thriving. Hong Kong has emerged stronger from any number of shocks in its history such as SARS and the GFC, and we’ve put the experience to good use in recent months.
- A research executive highlighted the recent uptick in projects, as businesses reach out to their markets and customers to understand the situation and how they should respond and position their brands.
- In addition to the conversation, the food was good and everyone enjoyed being out of their bubbles for an hour or so.