Nandy VillarNandy Villar, head of Integrated Marketing (IM) at ABSCBN Corporation since June 2016, was the newcomer to an “established, highly competent, well-oiled machine” that was the IM team. Having headed Marketing for ABS-CBNmobile for a couple of years prior, the environment was totally different at headquarters.
“ABS-CBN mobile was a start-up, so we were building everything from scratch. Operations and Marketing were developing consumer products, launching campaigns and building the brand. Our whole business was based on consumer sales. At IM, the main business is driven by advertising revenues, and the scope is much bigger—we support all platforms and all lines of business, which involve different levels of engagement per target market. The nature of marketing changes when you have to deal with advertisers,” says Villar.
His first months as the “newbie” in IM were spent identifying the key success factors of the quite mature team, letting them know that he respects all that had been done at IM before he came into the picture, and trying to find ways he could add value through collaboration, client knowledge and change management.
“The business is changing, it’s evolving. There’s a lot of disruption with digital media, and clients see their market differently nowadays. So what we have been doing is reorganizing the way we operate, and acquiring new skills to make us more agile and more efficient. We’re retraining people and pushing everyone to go beyond our current scope. There’s a lot of opportunity for growth at IM, and I’m glad people are open. We have a young team that’s excited to grow and embrace change,” Villar says.
Roberto G. Labayen, ABSCBN’s head of Integrated Creative Communication Management (CCM), has himself grown his team. Aside from doubling in size to 165 from about 80 in 2004, the last five years have particularly been productive as Labayen encouraged his staff members to upgrade their skills to transform the department into a full-fledged ad agency and production house for internal clients.
“It was a combination of selfstudy and seminars. A lot of them (team members) are really selftaught, but the company also has budget to sponsor training such that our capabilities now are competitive to those offered by external providers. We are now capable of Hollywood-quality special effects, motion graphics, color correction on video, and because we are in-house, our services cost just one-tenth of outside production costs,” says Labayen.
After the award-winning multiplatform campaign that was “Tulong Na, Tabang Na, Tayo Na” to help victims of super typhoon Yolanda, and the highly successful “Thank You” series that followed it in consecutive years, CCM has to continually reinvent itself, be “less predictable” and always find fresh and relevant approaches to communicating ABS-CBN values, messages and advocacies.
“It is important to go back to the beginning, those first few years at work, to return to that aggressiveness, that hunger to prove yourself even as you are still learning what you are supposed to do. That is what keeps you excited. This is also why I want to have more conversations with our staff. It’s not just about standards of excellence and improving your craft. It’s not just the pay that we work for here. We have to be aware of the values that we must communicate. Those values are what define the organization,” Labayen says.
Test of mettle
In collaborating for communication campaigns, Villar says he provides the logic while Labayen applies the magic. Their latest project on the convergence of media broadcast, narrowcast, digital and mobile telephony will be another test of mettle for the seasoned IM and CCM teams as they try to reach out to kapamilya everywhere.
Villar’s message for LopezLink readers: “The Lopez Group is in very tough lines of business. It takes quite a lot of exceptional people to make these businesses succeed. Because of this, the bar for excellence is very high. That being said, the soft side is also very strong. This is not just a left-brain company. It has a lot of heart and good values. It’s a very good balance between the two and that, to me, is what I value most about working here.”
Labayen says: “It is as if the (Lopez Group) companies are beginning again. They continue to evolve and the companies of the future will be very different from what they are now. Therefore, we as individuals must continue to evolve and change with our companies. We must continue to upgrade ourselves, widen our knowledge and always refresh that hunger that we felt on our first day of work.” (Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison)