Embracing digital to lead change
Crises are the sparks for innovation as The Asset launches new digital offerings
4 May 2020 | Daniel Yu

COVID-19 disrupted lives, altered behaviour, stopped commerce, and ushered in a new paradigm. Most of us were probably unprepared. But this change has become the new normal. How we adapt is going to define us in the years to come.

As more and more people fell ill in the early months of 2020, there was that moment of wonder whether engagement is going to be limited until this pandemic subsided. But just as the rapid spread of the virus seemed unreal, so would that have been at The Asset, which takes the lead engaging with the community. Rather than worrying about the limits of the present, it presents a future reimagined limiting the worry.

With today’s edition of The Asset ESG Forum, you are among the first in The Asset community to be navigating the new-look TheAsset.com. Over the past months, we hunkered down, challenged ourselves, and redesigned our digital offerings as we pivot The Asset to enable new ways of engagement.

In the run-up to the relaunch of TheAsset.com, online readership multiplied. In the first quarter of 2020, total users jumped by more than 140% with the number of new visitors boosting total pageviews. This is heartening. It affirmed The Asset’s expansion six months ago building a multi-media capability to create additional digital channels including videos, webinars, and podcasts.

From June 2020, The Asset Talk, one of the most popular segments on TheAsset.com, will begin a webinar series inviting readers to share their views on topics including ESG, sustainable investing, digital securities, asset servicing, treasury, trade, sustainable supply chain finance, and the capital markets. The content will be repurposed into other digital mediums and made avaiable on TheAsset.com as episodes you can watch or listen to later, just like having Netflix on finance at your fingertips.

Through the weeks of lockdown, The Asset’s editors stepped up engagement in tried-and-tested ways: through video and conference calls. In the deliberation for The Asset Triple A Treasury, Trade, Sustainable Supply Chain, and Risk Awards, calls with treasurers and CFOs tripled.

The number of respondents participating in The Asset Benchmark Research Treasury Review, which tracks the views of treasurers online, is set to hit a new high. In previous years, a large number of respondents were from Greater China. Treasurers and CFOs in Southeast Asia have now joined the chorus enriching our data analysis.

With The Asset Triple A Sustainable Investing Awards underway, The Asset spoke with asset owners and investors as part of the review process. This year, the number of calls has more than doubled. A picture is emerging on challenges investors face currently, and the role of service providers. This expanded engagement is uncovering valuable insights on asset servicing and asset management helping us to craft content that is relevant and timely.

As a segment of The Asset’s community has been unable to receive the printed magazine with the lockdowns, we are providing free access to The Asset digital magazine. Please log in or register here. The Asset digital magazine offers an experience on a tablet comparable to the regular printed edition. In the coming months, we will be enriching it further converging the print and digital to create the possibility for a differentiated and immersive experience.

Eleven years ago, as The Asset marked its 10th anniversary, we wrote: “It seems though whenever The Asset celebrates a milestone, the global financial system is in crisis! Fortunately, for our readers and colleagues, the intervening years have been filled with prosperity and hope – a tribute to the creative enterprise that is the hallmark of Asian business and growth”.

At first, it looked as if The Asset’s 20th anniversary in 2019 was going to be the exception. As it turned out, not for long! The coronavirus disease is even named Covid-19! The inevitability of a crisis or something going horribly wrong – such as this pandemic – is a constant reminder of the fragility of the world we live in.

At the same time, a crisis also brings out the best in many of us. In this global health emergency, the environment also heaved a sigh of relief. As we wrote recently, with streets emptied in what would have been congested daily traffic, photos shared on social media were of picture-perfect magnificent blue skies of city views not seen for some time.

The hope is that we take heed the lessons from this crisis, painful as it is, and adopt practices that replace fragility with sustainability. It is neither a short nor an easy journey. Plenty of naysayers will challenge and there will be setbacks along the way. It is much like The Asset, stumbling out of the pitch-dark days of the Asian crisis 21 years ago. But living through history, change is a constant, and an opportunity at The Asset.

Till we meet again in person, when it will be the time to organize the annual awards receptions and summits, The Asset will increase engagement with readers – in more ways. From them, as in the past two decades, will come the solutions to revive the engines of enterprise. The Asset will chronicle these stories remaining faithful to what it set out to do: to make clear, in language that we hope is direct, analytic and insightful, bringing the back story to the front, and bridging the gap between the world of finance and the world we live in.

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