Transform to Survive / Transformation or Evolution ?

By Clifford Ng / SGMP

'Instead of retrenching their employees during difficult times, they re-skilled them, sent them to further their skills and re-designed their jobs.'

16 February 2022


Things have livened up again in March 2022, with the gradual lifting of social restrictions and fresh activity in the market.

Despite Omicron, and certain uncertainties in other parts of the world, there is a sense of hope that we are all ready to move on from the mighty storm that is COVID-19.

We have been quiet at SGMP, but it’s not a bad thing for now!

For the past 6 months or more, we’ve had back-to-back classes, even throughout the festive period of 2021; we’ve barely had time to catch our breath.

With the markets awakening from slumber, and business activity for the production industry is livelier than before; it is now time for you to get busy, and for us to take a short break (we wish!).

There are some exciting developments down the pipeline, and we’re extremely excited to tell you more in future. In the meanwhile.. .Perhaps consider enrolling for our Script & Story Development course…

In 2020, COVID-19 caused the Singapore economy to contract by an unprecedented 4.1%. Many industries were hard-hit, and most are still reeling, even today. To fully visualize the “mighty storm” metaphor our leaders have repeatedly used, one just needs to take look at the MICE and hospitality industries to see the damage. Most of us in the Media Production fared no better at the time.

It stands to reason that even as we recover from the pandemic, we may never become “the world as we know it”, again. As we’ve shifted from navigating troubled waters, to dancing with the coronavirus, our footing is nowhere more stable, yet our path is now clearly charted. The compass is pointing towards – transformation.

When then Finance Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat spoke of transforming jobs and pivoting towards a post-covid reality, these companies stepped up to the challenge.

Instead of retrenching their employees during difficult times, they re-skilled them, sent them to further their skills and re-designed their jobs.

Looking back at some of the discussions we’ve had with our clients in early 2021, we can’t help but feel like the pandemic was the perfect storm that brought us all together.

During our initial foray into digital marketing, we got to know clients and counterparts such as Asia Pacific Exhibitors (APEX), The Analogue Factory, Valor Audio-Visual, The Show Production, and more.  

In the advertising / broadcast industry, livestreaming has become the new buzzword. Common platforms such as Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitch, etc., are all catered towards delivering live content.

In early 2021, Apex was amongst the first of our clients that realized the importance of content creation.

The barrier-to-entry for Livestreaming is low, and non-industry interlopers can easily enter, whereas in the past, live broadcasting required a highly skilled crew and expensive equipment.

Our view is that live streaming will replace the traditional TV show, and it will be the production houses that stand to benefit from this. Equipment will be more common and convenient, and the threshold for learning will be much lower and easier to master.

APEX, The Analogue Factory, Valor Audio-Visual and The Show Production shared this view, and to this end, took a brave first step towards transformation by redirecting and pooling their resources towards learning and mastering Live Broadcasting.

In some cases, they even hired more to increase their working capacity. They were not content with just relying on government aid to keep their staff temporarily employed. After all, our PM Mr Lee Hsien Loong said it the best in his May Day 2021 rally , “ …please remember: JSS is artificial life support. It keeps us breathing for a while, but it does not cure us and it does not last forever. We must find a way to fully recover, get back on our feet, and build new muscles, to move Singapore forward again.”

In his 4 Covid-19 budget speeches, Mr Heng Swee Keat aptly named the relief packages, Unity, Resilience, Solidarity and Fortitude.

These are the qualities we need to transform a storm into a dance, and swim against the current in order to flourish during difficult times.

Our clients benefitted greatly from government-assisted programs, such as the SSG training grant, which hugely defrayed their training costs at a time when revenues were at an all-time low, so that they could execute their plans with greater confidence.

As a result, the last few months of 2021 was a whirlwind; back-to-back classes, working through the holiday season, but we were heartened and steeled by the fact that everyone had shared the same vision. We were so busy that we barely even had time to record our usual video testimonials with each cohort of trainees; in fact, this must be our cue to end this article.

Innovation and adaptation are the first steps towards transformation. Just as COVID-19 evolves and mutates to avoid our antibodies, we must adapt and be willing to change just as quickly to ensure that we remain relevant.