Introduction to Business Continuity and ResilienceThe following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by [author name], this chapter is titled “Decisive Delivery: Keeping Operations Moving Through a Disruption” In it, Javy Mantecon, the Chief Marketing Officer of LBC, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in resilience in time of adversities.
Resilience is adapting to the changing business environment
There’s no Filipino out there who hasn’t heard of Luzon Brokerage Company (LBC), not when the company has been the go-to courier and cargo service provider for them here and abroad for almost 70 years now.
Over the years, the company has seen a multitude of changes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Javy Mantecon, the Chief Marketing Officer for LBC, explained that they haven’t seen the need to heavily modify their main services, only improve them. Their cargo shipping and remittance services have been constant needs for Filipinos, especially for overseas Filipino workers, and so these have evolved accordingly to the needs of the times; they now have online trackers for packages sent out, and their remittance services and cargo services now take less time to be sent out and received. LBC has also branched out their market, now servicing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME).
As a courier company, LBC places heavy importance on communicating. Mantecon said, “Part of our mission is linking and bridging our customers, so being able to be there for them, and be able for them to be able to express their love and their passion to their families here has always been what LBC wants to help with the most.”
He explained that the primary goal of LBC is to connect people, and in the years that passed, that hasn’t changed in the slightest. Their communication strategies, however, have gone through different transformations.
Gradually, Mantecon and his team began to move most of their operations and communication strategies online, going through two transformations.
“The first transformation is the one nobody sees, wherein we removed a lot of paperworks, automated a lot of processes, updated the track and trace features and everything,” he said. This transformation was heavily reliant on their human resource (HR) systems taking care of their people, and ensuring there was proper coordination among hubs for better package tracking.
“The second transformation is now the marketing, and the mediums that we’re using. Now, the people can feel the operational changes we’ve put in,” he said.
In the past, LBC’s main channel of communicating their brand was through TV. Mantecon relied heavily on commercials, especially when marketing to Filipino communities abroad. With all the advancements in technology, however, Mantecon now finds digital media to be more effective for their needs. Digital media has made it easier for him and his team to not only communicate and market their brand, but also in bringing Mantecon closer to their brand’s consumers.
Moving online has also given Mantecon new insights on their customers, which then helps him better conceptualize campaigns for them. “We used to put advertisements the way we would think of it from our point of view. Then we saw what people were searching, and they weren’t using the same words we were using,” Mantecon said. “We started seeing the disconnect between us and them. So it starts with really discovering how the consumers are consuming the media, whether it’s Facebook, whether it’s Google, and then being able to adjust.”
Currently, LBC is very active on their social media channels, particularly on Facebook where they get the most customer engagement. Through the likes, comments, shares, and questions they get on Facebook, they learn more about their customers. Their social media platforms give them access to data, and for Mantecon, data is gold. “In marketing, knowing your customers and their behaviors opens you to a whole new world,” he said. “If you know your customers, you can take over how the brand is perceived and positioned.”
Mantecon and his team analyze the data and engagement they get from their social media accounts and take them into consideration when creating new marketing campaigns; their general target audience, the Filipino people, hasn’t changed, but now they take care to consider different subcategories of Filipinos.
“How I would communicate to the youth and their persona will be different from how I’ll communicate to other personas,” Manteoc said. “What the youth will see will be different from what their parents will see, because I’ll have to position things differently.” He also considers the location of different Filipinos when communicating to them; the communication strategies used to appeal to Filipinos in Hong Kong may be different from the strategies used for Filipinos in the United States, as the two countries have different cultures.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has challenged Mantecon’s communication strategies, however, as their services were also impeded for a time. With some countries having restrictions on air travel especially, some of LBC’s services were rendered unavailable for a time. However, Mantecon explained they were able to work around such issues and adapted accordingly.
“You know, fortunately or unfortunately in the Philippines, we’re always ready for a certain crisis,” Mantecon said. From typhoons to volcanic eruptions, LBC has been there for the people, however limited their services might be. Having moved from traditional to modern means of marketing and operations, they were able to revert back to offline practices when the need arose; whether they were online or offline, Mantecon always found a way to keep business going.
As the pandemic persists, Mantecon’s main priority right now is to live up to LBC’s current campaign tagline, “We Like to Move It.” Business has to keep going, not just for them but for the Filipino people as well, and so Mantecon and his team are still constantly finding new ways to better communicate with the people.
“Operationally, the processes have been there, but now on the marketing and communication side, we want to let people know that we are still here for you, no matter what the situation,” he said. “That’s what we need to be able to communicate, that reassurance that LBC is still here, no matter what.”
To get more insights from other marketing leaders like Javy Mantecon, please check out the full book, available for purchase here.
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