William Kuipers, founder of B-Concept tells us about media marketing technologies in the entertainment and event industry.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
William Kuipers: My family and I are doing great. Despite being home most of the time, we have more time for each other.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded B-Concept Media
William Kuipers: I am the business owner of B-Concept Media Entertainment Group Co., Ltd. in Thailand, which is an Asia-focused Media, Events, Entertainment, Production, and Ticket Company. Besides, we recently added M Productions Asia, a leading meeting and event company to our family. With a career spanning in media, events, and entertainment, I started this company in 2005 which has grown and expanded into an integrated one-stop solutions company for brands and stakeholders who wish to activate their brand through online and offline channels and engage with audiences. We create, develop, promote and distribute content and support necessary e-commerce across the channels. Recently, we also started a company in the United States, called Lifetime Group Inc. which is currently in the process of receiving the necessary licenses. I founded the company with a vision of finding ways to connect people, and over the years this has matured into content creation, digital platforms, and e-commerce and ticketing. Now we are connecting the dots where it becomes possible to connect people at home and engage with them until they go back home through digital content, activities, events, and social engagements.
How B-Concept Media innovate?
William Kuipers: We research the fans and the industries we work for and come up with new ideas and technologies to solve problems or create convenience. As we are mostly operating in the happiness business, our tagline says it all: Happiness Delivered where we work hard to make our stakeholders and fans happy across everything that we do. We also look at pain points or challenges that our environment or the people around us faces and take actions to create solutions for these challenges. We have created two support platforms, one is to support people who are affected in our industry due to COVID. I talk about artists, creative, crew members as most have lost their job due to COVID. To help them in the future, we donate a percentage of the revenues to the Asian Artist Fund Initiative that creates career opportunities in the entertainment and events industries and delivers financial support for artists and crew members in our market who need it the most. We also have an initiative called Live to Give that helps people and calls for action.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
William Kuipers: We have never been busier during the COVID period. Of course, COVID has a mega ripple effect on most businesses, but by focusing more on new technologies such as Hybrid models, live streaming, virtual team building, TixTaQ voucher, and ticket sales we have compensated. The time we have over, we used to optimize health and safety protocols, standard operating procedures, technologies, websites, branding, and collaterals, besides forming new partnerships and creating new business models.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
William Kuipers: I think that is the hardest part. As a start-up, we had to take action. We have kept most of our employees as long as we could and remained to be committed to pay 100% of their salaries while most employers cut these costs. But with COVID more than a year, we also gave our staff choices. We haven’t let anyone go, but we supported the candidates who chose to leave. I think it is always hard to say goodbye to staff who have become part of our family and you went with them through the ups and the downs of a start-up, but at the same time, you must be realistic as it is also a possible business survival to cut these costs. The lesson I learned is that communicating open and honest with suppliers and staff is most appreciated, pull them in the discussions and share your thoughts for feedback and you will be surprised what ideas or support they bring to the table.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
William Kuipers: We use various different technologies. HubSpot is one of them, but we use lots of other systems that remind me again when the end-of-the-month bill arrives. It is enormously important a CRM direct from the start. I see so many established long-term businesses here who still work with excel spreadsheets that amaze me. However, personal contact still is evenly important. Sending a newsletter might let them recognize or take some call to action but it is the personal relationship that brings the hard-needed value whether it is monetary or support or introductions or referrals.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
William Kuipers: No we have not used any government grant. We like too, but it didn’t happen as foreign companies need to survive on their own most of the time. So we kept afloat ourselves.
Your final thoughts?
William Kuipers: How hard things might be, stay positive and open to find new ways. Listen to your customers, their challenges and see how you as a start-up can help with your business and solutions. Choose to keep running and be a winner or sit out the COVID and discover that the world and how we do business have changed.
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