Telum Talks To... Fredrik Gumpel, CEO, Lion & Lion

Telum Talks To... Fredrik Gumpel, CEO, Lion & Lion

Telum recently caught up with Lion & Lion's CEO, Fredrik Gumpel as he spoke on how communications have changed post COVID-19 and how agencies are transforming due to the changes under these circumstances.

Since your appointment in 2019 was pre-covid, what are the new changes that you have brought to Lion & Lion, having to adapt to the new normal?
I would say flexibility, not only in how we work but also how we engage with our clients. Even before COVID-19, we were already giving our staff flexibility options as we recognise that everyone has different working preferences or even personal commitments that may make the traditional model of working in the office unfeasible. These include the choice of working from home on Fridays, and for up to three weeks each year, we may choose to work from home on other days as well.

As we recover from the lockdowns and slowly move back to working in the office, we are now expanding this flexibility even more, for example, by allowing our staff to choose which days they would prefer to work in the office, thus allowing them to plan their work schedules according to their needs.

In terms of how we deliver our services, we are offering more flexibility to our clients too. This is a growing trend that we are adapting to as we have had more clients on a regional or global level over the past few years. We developed a hub and spoke model of client servicing which combines an integrated team of experts with smaller, dedicated pods for creative work. It is very customisable and gives us that added agility for addressing the needs of our clients and offering the right solutions.

How are agencies transforming across the region, especially in Southeast Asia?
I foresee that agencies across the region will be expected to deliver high-quality work while being flexible enough to respond to changes in the industry and the needs of the client. Fortunately, our way of working is a perfect response to this. We use a hub and spoke solution pods model that concentrates our core experts (strategy, creative, media, etc) in one place, with smaller local solution pods to service the clients in each market.

In Southeast Asia, as CMOs and brands continue to adapt their brand communications to cater to the digital acceleration, we are seeing both agencies (networks and independents) as well as consultancies attempting to evolve their service offerings to fit the brands’ needs.

At Lion & Lion, we were fortunate as we entered the digital foray earlier than more traditional agencies. Despite that, we continue to imagine what the future can be in the spaces of tech, commerce and communications in order to always future-proof our agency business model, especially with all these opportunities centering around marketing in the metaverse.

What are some vital skill sets for communicators to have as the industry moves into digitalisation?
Being able to think holistically is essential as a communicator. What this means is the ability to communicate effectively to different audience segments across multiple channels. For example, sending the right message across various types of social media and e-commerce platforms. This type of thinking can be cultivated, and I feel that as the industry evolves, people who are planning to advance their careers here need to do so as clients expect more versatility from the agencies who support them.

Another trait that is not so much of a skill set but a value, would be creativity. As a digital-first, creatively-driven agency, we believe that communicators need to apply a creative mindset now that there are fewer boundaries across marketing.

Communicators need to have their creative thinking caps on at all times regardless of their actual role. This means that writers need to be able to think visually, designers need to be able to frame their ideas with words, videographers need to be familiar with social media, etc. This does not mean being good at everything, but communicators need to be able to visualise their ideas across media.

Can you share with us some ways to measure effective communication campaigns?
Measurement largely depends on what the business objectives are as communicated to us by our clients. It varies according to each client account but a consistent trait that we identify would be the positive impact it would have on the client’s brand or target audience behaviour. This could be increased traffic to their website, improved engagement from their social media platforms, additional business leads, or even a combination of these.

As a leader, what is important for you when creating a workplace where people can flourish?
One of our values is making people grow. We empower our people through internal training and workshops, thus giving them opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills. As they grow in their abilities, they can take on more responsibilities which in turn builds their confidence and helps them along in their career advancement. We work closely with our people to help them plan out their careers so they can track their own development milestones and provide them with opportunities to learn so they can meet those goals.

Connecting with our people was challenging during the lockdowns as it was hard to reach out and create personal connections. We had many new employees who joined us while we were working from home and who have never met their colleagues. These difficulties have pushed us to be creative in our engagements and sharpened our focus on employee growth and keeping up morale.

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