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#PRAwards 2021 spills: Lazada Group on the evolving role PR plays in the firm

#PRAwards 2021 spills: Lazada Group on the evolving role PR plays in the firm

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Lazada Group took home the gold for PR Team of the Year (Brand) and silver for Best Regional PR at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's recent PR Awards 2021. Amidst the disruption of the retail landscape last year, it coordinated regional initiatives to help SMEs digitise to meet changing consumer demands and strengthen resilience. It provided the public with help and support through its platform, providing them with the means to have access to daily essentials and services. Lazada Group saw many strategies and executions overcome the challenges it faced, landing it the two awards it received during the PR Awards. 

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, the PR team of Lazada Group shared their proudest achievement in 2020, and what can be expected of the group in 2021. 

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for PR Awards 2021. To find out more about the awards, click here.

What would you say was the biggest accomplishment for the whole PR/communications community in 2020?

The biggest challenge for last year was in moving forward and taking small steps, even as the world around us was unfolding in uncertainty and wrapped around a sense of fear. As professionals, it was about perseverance and maintaining a sense of hope, even if not everyone is on the right frame of mind to accept or understand it. The PR and communications community continues to convey achievements and highlight success, even as we work around ongoing changes that also impact us, from restrictions, lockdowns, safe distance measures and so on.

We made it our goal to advise and educate the community with recommendations to protect themselves and their families, to provide a semblance of normalcy in an otherwise tumultuous year.

What would you say was your proudest achievement of the year?

During a time of need, we understood the importance of what we brought to the community, and took heart that the community depended on us in return. From the members of the public we helped and supported with our platform’s services, of providing them with the means and infrastructure to have access to daily essentials and services, to the brands and sellers we were able to help digitalise and support in their online journey, Lazada was recognised across Southeast Asia as an enabler to provide support to the community. We were humbled when governments in the markets we operated in reached out, to work with us on initiatives and offerings that benefitted the community.

In Malaysia, we established new relationships with agri-farmers, who saw us as an avenue to bring their age-old industry into the digital age. In the Philippines, we established Lazada Fresh with over 1,000 fresh sellers on the platform, allowing consumers to purchase fresh food such as fruit, vegetables, meat, and even frozen goods. In Vietnam, we introduced our new fresh foods category with a two-hour delivery service, to ensure consumers get their essential intake of fresh products. In Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, it was working with landlords and shopping malls who didn’t see us as competitors in the retail industry, but partners in the retail space who could support their tenants and brands in adapting and digitalising in a new age.

Leveraging the LazadaForGood digital giving platform, Lazada Philippines partnered radio partners to host the first-ever charity fundraising concert sessions #RadioGivesBack: A LazadaForGood Charity Concert From Home, livestreamed via LazLive and broadcasted by radio partners to support local communities and causes in need of aid. To date over Php 40 M has been raised for our partners NGOs. The foundation in what we are able to do has always been there, and by working with the various teams across markets, we were able to educate communities and show them the benefits of Lazada.

What are some communications trends you see carrying on post-pandemic?

The foundation of what we do has always been a deep understanding of the business, and the great relationships we form both internally and externally, to be able to communicate efficiently and effective. Losing that personal touch, due to the many lockdowns and restriction, removed a huge element of what we relied on, but we have adapted and managed to turn things around, at times building a greater relationship. Navigating this new means of trust building, information sharing and collaboration will take more time to build into something bigger and even as we move into a post-pandemic world, it’s about shaping it to complement what we already do, and turning it into a complementary pillar in our PR and communications efforts, instead of replacing what we already have.

How will the role of communications professionals evolve as we move into a rather uncertain future?

PR and communications involve a little of everything, from internal and external comms, branding, marketing, social and more.

It’s a matter of building upon what we have built, and presenting it wholistically, covering all aspects. This role and scope will evolve even further, as we play a vital role in establishing how the brand is perceived externally.

What can we expect from your company in 2021?

We have been on an upward trajectory, and the pandemic has accelerated eCommerce adoption. Even as consumers and brands have made the shift towards online retail and digitalisation, the implementation of new stay home measures and lockdowns point towards a mind-set change in consumer behaviour that will be unable to revert to its original state.

We will continue to enable brands, sellers and SMEs to succeed by improving operational efficiency for them - Lazada has not only served as a platform for sellers to sell and helped to accelerate their journeys as retail entrepreneurs, the company has also served as an enabler for smaller business owners to take control of the way they build their businesses and communicative efforts in a way that is innovative and cost-efficient.

From more tie-ups with brands, to the inclusion of Lazada in events that were traditionally offline, such as the upcoming Great Singapore Sale, where Lazada is the official eCommerce partner for the first time in the event’s 27-year history, the community will be seeing a greater brand presence in the markets, even as we work together to support more SMEs in their digitalisation efforts and help consumers navigate the online retail industry.

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