I know – this seems like a ridiculous thing to say. Afterall, the COVID-19 virus has taken hold in virtually every corner of the globe. Everything from financial markets to sports leagues and studio sets are in freefall, in shutdown.
Nothing feels normal right now. 2020 just feels different – as if we are heading to the unknown. Into unchartered territory. I must admit, it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride just to constantly remain positive, moving forward in my shoebox of an apartment.
Yet, I choose to see this as a silver lining, and I believe the light at the end of the tunnel is not far away.
Working from home has given me time for reflection – professionally and personally. As I write this, I invariably turn to an every-day Chinese word – crisis – for inspiration. For those who do not know, 危機 literally translates into “danger” and “opportunity”. I have been fascinated with the depth of such a simple term, and the message it brings us.
In danger, comes opportunity.
On a work level, I think a lot about where Icicle Group is now, and what we aspire to be in the years to come. Historically, we are best known in Hong Kong as the leader in marketing production and execution in Hong Kong. I’m proud of my team, and the 250+ institutional brands they’ve served around the world. To evolve from a traditional “printing vendor” to an all-round production partner is no small feat, especially as we offer everything from website development to re-branding and online inventory management system development. In that regard, we’ve already evolved into something quite unique for a marketing organisation.
Looking beyond the pandemic, I think about the world we would evolve into. In danger, comes opportunity. I feel like by slowing down and looking back, we can move forward.
Look at how technology and the Internet has evolved the world. It has already redefined communication, but technology will only accelerate the transformation of entire business marketplaces. We are already seeing this impact at play, as tens of thousands of e-commerce startups are selling every product imaginable. In the future, we will continue to see the commoditisation of consumer products and brands, as the basic proposition of “the product” will be redefined.
Marketing and branding will never be the same. If ad-free premium subscription services are gaining popularity, what is the opportunity for brands? What is the consumer’s message to marketers? Where is the point of engagement?
There is never a singular solution, but these are all questions worthy of contemplation. What’s clear is that the days of “push marketing” are truly gone. It’s about pulling and enticing consumers along, creating content and messaging that allows brands to associate themselves more closely to consumers.
All of these changes are making us shift not just towards a more digital state of mind, but a much more consumer-focused mentality. It is how to maintain a long-term relationship with the consumer.
This is how I see Icicle Group’s transformation: a leader in marketing production and execution, one that continues to optimise itself through media/content development, strategic marketing and eCommerce.
We are also treating this time as a stage for learning and experimenting. As we navigate each day via endless Zoom calls, we are taking in cultural experiences and best practices across our network in Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangalore, New York and Los Angeles, experimenting with innovative ideas that may one day benefit our clients – and ourselves.
On a personal level, I turn to my humble practice in meditation to seek overall balance. Many of you may be unfamiliar or resistant to meditation, but I have found it highly beneficial. By focusing on breathing and the body within, meditation has enabled me to gain better focus and perspective, and helped me to avoid being overwhelmed by all the uncertainty. It has led me to even more reading and learning – about my business and other interests. A clearer mind ultimately benefits you in all aspects of life.
So, remember: in danger, comes opportunity. Staring down adversity might just be what we all need to move forward. Learn and read more. Look beyond our borders. Feed our soul. Dig deep.
Keep healthy and stay safe everyone. Wash your hands, stay at home, and be responsible whenever you are unwell. Let’s all get ready for that fresh start.
Adrian Fu is Icicle Group's Communications and External Affairs Director. He is a multi-disciplined professional with over 20 years of experience in corporate and technology industry brand marketing. He is also an award-winning songwriter and recording artist, with Mandarin and Cantonese albums to his name. Adrian is an avid reader and a student of meditation.