CRISIS MANAGEMENT Bangkok's Keen Media Responds
The recent Bangkok crisis for created many challenges for businesses in maintaining operations and continuing to service clients, here is one story from media guru David Keen on how his firm managed in the trying circumances:
'Last week in Bangkok, as public transport switched off, laptops all over the city switched on. In apartments, coffee shops and Wi-Fi hotspots, mini-satellite offices popped up as abundantly as the mangosteen and rambutan fruit piled high on the city's street carts. Even as an unprecedented political crisis paralysed large sections of this thriving, multicultural metropolis, residents here, who form the creative heart of the city, continued to provide “business as usual” to clients at home and abroad.
How is this possible? Two words: be prepared. Agencies in Bangkok demonstrated that with ingenuity, advanced preparation and an array of technological tools, even widespread civil unrest that constrained much of urban life could not slow down local agencies from delivering on their promises to international clients.
For example, Keen – the Bangkok-based brand strategy and integrated communications agency – swiftly went “virtual” when it became too difficult for many employees to come to the office in person. “It was crucial for us to continue delivering what our global clients and partners expected from us during this time,” said David Keen, CEO of Keen. “Having planned in advance for this possibility, we were able to implement a wide-ranging and comprehensive plan that empowered our teams to continue with business as usual.”
Skype accounts were created, virtual private networks activated, and online group chat windows replaced meeting rooms. Keen said, “I'm proud of how well our teams worked despite the on-going strife in Bangkok. They continue to demonstrate the high level of service, dedication and professionalism for which Thailand is known.”
Other major companies based in Thailand advocate for a similarly proactive approach. Dillip Rajakarier, COO of Minor International, said, “As Thailand's largest hospitality company, we have weathered difficult economic and political situations before and have learned from such experiences. One of our key strategies is to always be prepared with a strong team and strong industry partners so that we can continue to grow our business in Thailand and beyond.”
Indeed, the message from the Thai government and analysts is one of cautious optimism for Bangkok-based businesses. Frederic Neumann, a head of Asian economic research for HSBC in Hong Kong, stated, “The [Thai] economy is fundamentally sound, and there are no major macroeconomic imbalances to worry about.” In fact, Ampon Kittiampon, the Secretary-General of the National Economic and Social Development Board, stated to the media that the government still expects full-year GDP to grow 3.5-4.5% this year.
Over the years, Thailand has weathered a range of crises, from the 2004 tsunami to SARS epidemics and political upheaval. Through it all, the country has consistently demonstrated astonishing resilience, continuing to grow and develop. As Thailand and the businesses based here look ahead to the future, that characteristic resilience should continue to spur growth and make Thailand an attractive place in which to do business.'