MyRepublic Singapore MD Lawrence Chan sheds some light on the telecommunications brand’s marketing strategy and activity as COVID-19 continues to make its presence felt.

Quarantine and social distancing policies to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic globally have reshaped lifestyles. Consumers are now looking for ways to pass time at home, turning to mobile gaming apps and video-sharing social networking platforms, on top of regular television and over-the-top (OTT) viewing.

Because of this spike in digital consumption, MyRepublic saw a 70% increase in daytime traffic in April compared to December 2019 in Singapore, with a significant portion of that traffic attributed to streaming platforms.

With consumers’ demand for and reliance on connectivity skyrocketing, Singapore’s telecommunications industry has been rolling out practical solutions to meet these needs. And ensuring a worry-free experience for consumers remains a top priority for MyRepublic, as we look at ways to support consumers and the larger community to tide over this period and beyond.

Since the pandemic started to unfold earlier this year, we have been keeping open channels of communication with our customers and stakeholders, to keep them updated on the steps we are taking as a company in ensuring that everyone can remain connected during this period.

While basic in nature, frequent and open communications is core to demonstrating commitment to customers and retaining consumers' trust, particularly in times of uncertainty.

Meeting customers’ primary needs

During this period, access to high-speed, seamless connectivity has undoubtedly become a necessity, dictating new paradigms in different facets of daily life – from recreational activities and learning, to work and public services.

Recognising the integral role we play in supporting consumers and businesses, we looked into ways to reorient and enhance our offerings to boost the customer experience in this increasingly digitally-reliant landscape.

We introduced flexible business continuity packages, refreshed mobile offerings, and worked together with IMDA to provide subsidised fibre broadband connectivity to eligible families. We also put in place precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of our customers and partners as we continue to deliver broadband and mobile services during this period.

Creating human touchpoints

As the pandemic continues to unfold worldwide, bringing about widespread economic impact across the community, supporting the community is as much a business decision as it is a social one. We have been looking into ways that we can contribute to the community by leveraging our strengths and expertise.

As consumers’ habits and preferences during this time are constantly evolving with more time being spent online, we observed a shift in the way people are consuming entertainment. Consumers are now confined to their homes and unable to attend social events or concerts as they usually would, because of event cancellations and closure of physical venues during the circuit breaker in Singapore. At the same time, social distancing measures have also impacted consumers’ mental and emotional well-being to varying degrees.

Event cancellations and venue closures also meant that homegrown artistes and musicians who used to perform at these events have been unable to do so - with some of them seeing a 100% reduction in their income in recent months.

Recognising the opportunity to collectively address consumers’ emotional needs and the challenges faced within the gig economy, we rolled out “LIVE by MyRepublic” in April, aiming to spread positivity and keep people entertained with live-streamed music performances in the safety and comfort of their homes, whilst supporting artistes whose livelihoods have been affected by Singapore’s circuit breaker measures through remunerations for their engagements.

In partnership with Musical Touch, a team of professional full-time musicians and live entertainers in Singapore, we identified and featured established and emerging homegrown artistes across genres. Leveraging our expertise in digital connectivity, we connected both groups by providing homegrown artistes with an online platform (via Facebook live streams) to perform on and engage with our wide consumer base and vice versa - all in a safe and meaningful manner.

As social distancing measures continue to keep people apart, “LIVE by MyRepublic” also serves to create a sense of connection and community by encouraging artistes and viewers to interact in between sets, through sharing comments or song requests for a more memorable and engaging experience. Since the first session on 29 April, the live streams have recorded a total reach of more than 42,000, with an average engagement rate of 14.05%.

Encouraged by the positive response received for “LIVE by MyRepublic”, we are putting together plans to extend this into a long-term, ongoing partnership with other homegrown, up-and-coming content creators over time. In exploring potential partnerships with other local creators, we eventually want to broaden these to reach a wider pool of audience, to leave a stronger impact and redefine entertainment for our target audience.

What lies ahead for the post-pandemic future

While the pandemic will not last forever, the changes that occur today will influence how we connect with customers as digital becomes the new normal. Brands should explore building a hybrid model merging both offline and digital strategies, strategically expanding their presence across all relevant channels that will enable them to continue building on existing customer relationships and broaden their reach to a wider audience pool.

As consumers increasingly engage with brands in online spaces, personalisation will continue to be key. Brands should take the opportunity to get creative and experiment with new, innovative ways of digital engagement, to develop fresh content and build personal relationships with consumers in a relevant and engaging manner to elevate the customer experience.

Doing so will enable them to cut through the ensuing messaging clutter and set themselves apart as they face an increasingly crowded landscape competing for consumer attention online.

But before we embark on the road to normalcy and rebound stronger, brands will first have to meet consumers where they are today in their current needs, to win their attention and retain loyalty beyond this period of uncertainty. At MyRepublic, this translates into living up to our role as a corporate citizen by supporting individuals and communities in need wherever possible and demonstrating a spirit of care and flexibility to our customers during these times of uncertainty.