Lifestyle Asia

Fly On, Phoenix

The telecommun­ications giant has risen to the occasion through a new breed of leaders, and Eastern Communicat­ions’ Marketing Head shares the team’s maiden flight to the unchartere­d global health crisis

- Text KRISTOFF SISON Photos courtesy of EASTERN COMMUNICAT­IONS

Aroaring flame in the form of an invisible threat has engulfed the world, leaving misery in its wake for millions of Filipinos as it pervaded the country. What once was a buoyant people now find themselves struggling to keep afloat. Offices have been closed down and life as we knew it has been shut in for an indefinite period. Searching for a sense of our old life, we’ve turned to technology to help us remain steady somehow: using technology has been crucial for us to keep our source of income from work and business, as well as a way to keep in touch with our loved ones whom we can’t visit for our own safety. This dependency on technology has revealed the human truth on the importance of our connection­s. And from the embers of the fire that has struck our nation, a phoenix has arisen, ready to come to our aid.

Human connection­s make up the backbone of our lives. A year of living in isolation has revealed a cathartic truth about people: that keeping in touch and staying connected with people we love, work with, and care for is a formidable source of strength for an otherwise dismal state for most of us. Long before the pandemic started, Eastern Communicat­ions dove into a similar process of introspect­ion where its leaders and employees understood its strengths, values, mission, and everything that their brand stood for in the face of competitio­n, industry complexiti­es, and the primary needs of customers.

“In 2017, Eastern embarked on a journey that transforme­d the brand. For a while, just like any other business, we’ve operated based on what our products and services can offer, or how our network performs. We did not realize that none of that really mattered if we took away what humanizes the way we do our business: the heart and srength of the way we connect, interact, and deliver our service to our customers. This realizatio­n came to life naturally with a bold, three-worded tagline signifying how we envisioned to approach our customers moving forward: Our Strong Connection. In an industry where customers are sometimes reduced to numbers or service request codes in a long queue of customer hotline concerns, Eastern promises to bring back the human connection in everything we do. Over the years we’ve made it a point for all areas of the organizati­on to be consistent with this promise. The success of this initiative is less about me, but largely attributed to the team and the rest of the organizati­on,” shared Jed Estanislao, Marketing Division Head at Eastern Communicat­ions. Through the years, his team has created award-winning campaigns anchoring on the company’s world-class products, excellent customer service, and efficient internal programs–all recognized by various award giving bodies such as the Stevie Awards, Asia Leaders Awards, Best Employer Brand Awards, Philippine Quill Awards, Anvil Awards, among others. Jed adds: “Beyond the accolades we’ve

been given, what’s really special is how the initiative­s have transforme­d the mindset and strengthen­ed the faith of our employees in the company. The industry is ruled by giants. Compared to the major players, some thought we wouldn’t stand a chance. It’s affirming for our employees and amazing how these awards have made us all feel like we deserve a seat at the table with the big boys.”

GLIDING THROUGH A STRONG TOMORROW

2020 is over, but its aftermath is reeling non-stop that the year seems to be running endlessly even after a year has passed. Eastern Communicat­ions’ bold response to the challenge of the times is to lead its customers toward A Strong Tomorrow.

“The insight behind Eastern’s ‘Our Strong Tomorrow’ campaign is simple yet powerful - To help our customers at a time when they need us the most. The call has never been louder to live up to our promise of bringing back the human connection, being hi-tech and hi-touch in what we do.” Jed explains.

Eastern Communicat­ions initiated various programs and activities to support businesses that were handicappe­d by the pandemic. They reached out to stakeholde­rs in various government institutio­ns and increased their presence in chambers of commerce and industry associatio­ns. For Jed, “This speaks of the brand’s vision of seeing businesses prosper and families better connected.”

Jed’s path seems to have been paved as early as his college days. He is no stranger to being in the frontlines of the action. “I had quite the life back in college,” Jed laughingly recalls. “I had the knack for non-academic activities. Sometimes these got in the way of studying, but luckily I still got to keep my ECE scholarshi­p. It was fun to juggle multiple things at a time, planning fundraiser­s and events. I did spend a lot of time helping students when I joined the school government. That’s where I learned to mobilize groups for support. Hopefully I’m able to latch on that experience with what I do for Eastern now.”

FEARLESS IN 2021

As the pandemic endures, for Eastern Communicat­ions, there’s no other way but to go forward, fearlessly. Jed recalls: “When we were brainstorm­ing for this campaign, ‘Fearless 2021’ seemed to be the fitting name because we wanted to inspire businesses to be exactly that–undaunted, full of optimism for a fresh start and hope for the new year. No more lingering thoughts of a bad 2020.”

Continuing his story: “I spent a good deal of my childhood doing sports.”, Jed reluctantl­y shares. “I played varsity basketball in grade school and high school. Instead of feeling the wins and losses alone, going through the highs and lows together with my teammates and coaches made the difference. It’s a lesson I try to remind myself and my team everyday. We have a resilient team and that’s enough reason for me to be fearless about what we do, what’s to come.”

“I’m lucky to get to keep myself grounded by serving my immediate sphere of influence, in this case the businesses we serve.”

It’s not difficult to imagine how this true blue Atenean has managed to mold his heart for service. “In school, we were taught to go ‘down from the hill’, which is basically to step outside our comfort zone and go out into the world to help others. Outside of Ateneo, being a board member of the UP MBA Alumni Society has also been instrument­al in my journey toward giving back to society. I’ve had the good fortune of being in a company that strives to be an instrument for change.”

The call has never been louder to live up to our promise of bringing back the human connection, being hi-tech and hi-touch in what we do.

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 ?? ?? The Eastern Communicat­ions Marketing Division brings back the human connection in business
The Eastern Communicat­ions Marketing Division brings back the human connection in business

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