Today we have selected Dennis Pang to take his Interview. He is the Director Of Popcorn.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
Covid-19 has definitely presented some challenges in terms of my personal and professional life. Our team went fully remote in March 2020 and while it’s great that all our work can be done in a virtual setting and we now even have clients and employees whom I’ve never actually met in person, there are elements about being able to be together in a physical environment that I miss dearly.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company.
I started as a web designer in the early 2000s, and after working client-side and as a freelancer for a few years, I made the decision to focus more on being an internet marketer instead. So I was self-taught in things like search engine optimization, email marketing, and social media, and also had the luxury of learning on the job as well. I joined Twitter in 2007 and was able to build up a large and engaged audience on there, who followed me for my content centred around food, hockey, and marketing. Eventually, I started being approached by restaurant owners who took notice of what I was doing on social media. They reached out to me and I started providing social media marketing solutions to them. That was how Popcorn got its start, and I soon scaled up my company and grew my team to be able to service more clients and meet a demand in the market that was underserved.
How does your company innovate?
Digital marketing is something that is continually evolving, and so as a result, we are constantly having to think about ways to drive value for our clients. On an annual basis, we look at our service offerings and innovate on them to ensure that our strategies and tactics are as effective as they can be for our clients. When Covid-19 hit, we introduced a new suite of sub-services tailored for helping small businesses that might be experiencing budget crunches. We also offered digital marketing boot camps through a local neighbourhood’s business improvement association, represented by mostly retail businesses, most of which were facing struggles as a result of the pandemic. We promote innovation throughout all levels of our organization, we encourage input from every team member, and I invest my staff’s ongoing professional development to ensure that they’re growing as professionals, which allows us to create a culture centred around growth and innovation.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
On the business side of things, our revenues fell off a cliff last Spring as a lot of our projects and retainers were put on hold, and sales leads completely dried up for a period of a few months. I’m fortunate that the Canadian government has provided relief to business owners in the form of loans, grants, and subsidies, which has helped us to weather the storm. We ended 2020 really strong and I hope to carry that momentum into 2021 as well. The silver lining of it all is that our extra capacity during those slow months allowed us to work on the business, beefing up things like our own marketing, our proposals, our website, and more, which during normal times we were often too busy to do.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
No, aside from moving to a fully remote workforce, fortunately, we haven’t had to make any other difficult choices.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Our competitors are other agencies that provide digital marketing and PR services for businesses. Fortunately, our team is lean enough that we’re able to weather this pandemic. That being said, I think the economy is going to be battered for the next few years, with many businesses struggling to get back to pre-pandemic revenue levels. Since so many of our clients are retail or CPG clients, this pandemic has really forced many of them to reassess their business and in some cases, put a bigger emphasis on their digital marketing initiatives. So from that perspective, this also presents a big opportunity to help these businesses accelerate their evolution from traditional brick-and-mortar to being multi-channel digitally-enabled businesses.