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
A roaring 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 peoples 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 strength 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: Jed Estanislao on helping businesses bounce back
2020 is over, but its aftermath is reeling non-stop that the year seems to be running endlessly even after a year has passed. People are entangled in ongoing personal struggles. Businesses large and small are not immune from the devastating financial havoc inflicted by the pandemic. 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. We drop everything and put all hands on deck 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.Jed Estanislao, sharing his thoughts on company purpose as the pandemic rages on
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 to provide increased internet bandwidth to their membership base to keep their connectivity stable in anticipation of high traffic from the sudden shift in personal and business transactions online. For Jed, “This speaks of the brand’s vision of seeing businesses prosper and families better connected.”
In bracing for a strong tomorrow, Eastern also recognizes that one must look back on its past to chart a brighter future. Tracing its roots more than 140 years back, Eastern’s first headquarters was located in Manila. This inspired the team to form a partnership with the local government of Manila to provide digital wifi kiosks along España Boulevard. In support of the city’s goal to digitize its areas, Eastern provided fiber-powered digital kiosks where the public can make phone calls, charge their phones, dial emergency hotlines, and browse the internet with a 200Mbps speed for free.
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 have been able to juggle multiple things at a time, planning fundraisers and events of course. But that was just cherry on top. 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: “Believe it or not, 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.”
A series of webinars were conducted with partner companies, which focused on topics around the theme of what it means to be fearless. Experts and thought leaders were invited to talk about business resiliency, best practices in digital transformation, and case studies on effectively conducting remote work. Eastern also dabbled into mental wellness, an emerging concern that has been affecting individuals but team productivity as well.
Eastern entered the year fearlessly indeed as the company accelerated its efforts to support the expansion of its connectivity and ICT services to cover wider service areas across cities in various regions. As economic opportunities spur outside of Metro Manila, these cities are poised to have a higher demand for internet connectivity and network infrastructure to support the business landscape in the region.
“We had regional programs where we sought the help of thought leaders and key influencers to help educate businesses about the role of digital transformation in a digital economy. For example, we had BSP Governor Ben Diokno talk about innovation in banking services to inspire and empower business leaders to go digital. And then, of course, because tourism is at the heart of these regional areas, we invited Sec. Bernadette Romulo Puyat to share how technology can help the services industry in the country,” Jed adds.
It’s not difficult to imagine how this true blue Atenean has managed to mold his heart for service. “In Ateneo, 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. I’ve had the good fortune of being in a company that strives to be an instrument for change. We’ve designed our hi-touch services to benefit everyone–any business or individual with the least or the most in life. 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. A lot of the members of the group are industry titans and civic leaders and so we try to foster the exchange of business ideas and cultivate social consciousness through various activities for the community. I’m lucky to get to keep myself grounded by serving my immediate sphere of influence, in this case the businesses we serve.”
For more information on Eastern Communications, visit their website