This post is also available in: Spanish
It’s been nearly 90 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt used a series of “Fireside Chats” to engage the American public as it navigated big events like the Great Depression and World War II. Families huddled around their radios to hear their president’s broadcasts, which connected the White House to American homes in a brand new way.
Fast-forward to 2020 and while the technology behind those broadcasts has evolved significantly since the 1930s, the basic premise that drove them remains intact: people like to feel connected and they rely on helpful, supportive information to get them through difficult times. So while global pandemic has reduced our in-person connections, DB Schenker Mexico is using technology to share valuable knowledge and education via modern-day Fireside Chats.
To date, the company has developed 12 different chats covering logistics topics of interest, including customs, ocean freight, airfreight and land freight among others. Now it’s creating a series of customer roundtables and podcasts that will continue the tradition of educating shippers and customers on key logistics and transportation topics.
Antonio Soda, Chief Commercial Officer for DB Schenker Mexico, says his team wanted to go beyond the basic webinar and use the Fireside Chats, roundtables, and podcasts to provide valuable information during a time of worldwide crisis. Some of the presentations have been related to COVID, while others address topics like Incoterms 2020 and the USMCA (TMEC in Spanish) free trade agreement as the “new NAFTA” between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
Soda says these and other efforts help DB Schenker connect with customers during a time when business travel and face-to-face visits have been minimized. “Our customers wanted to hear more from us, so we started doing videoconferences that could accommodate about 250 people,” Soda explained. “When our basic Incoterms 2020 webinar filled to capacity, we knew it was time for a different format.”
At that point, DB Schenker Mexico shifted over to its Fireside Chat format, which allows up to 1,500 people to participate at once. “It still lacks interaction, so we’re now adding roundtables to the lineup,” said Soda, “with subject matter experts (SMEs) able to provide more richness to these sessions, which will also involve our customers.”
15 Customers in Two Days
This is one of the first DB Schenker subsidiaries to start using virtual CST (customer sales trips) for sales colleagues and executives from abroad. DB Schenker Mexico recently held a 15 joint CST sales calls for a regional director in two days—something that would have been impossible through traditional means. “Over that 2-day period,” said Soda, “we were ‘virtually’ present for 15 different customers from three different sales channels and four different branch offices covering six different cities of Mexico.”
Stronger than Ever
Confident that DB Schenker Mexico will emerge from the current crisis “stronger than ever,” Soda said the company will continue developing innovative ways to stay in front of its customers and to help those firms work through their most pressing logistics problems.
And much like President Roosevelt’s original Fireside Chats, this collaborative effort between all of DB Schenker Mexico’s departments is helping to fill a void and provide a level of comfort during an otherwise confusing, disruptive period. “We want them to know that we’re here for them as their trusted logistics partner,” said Soda, “and that we’re willing to go the extra mile to keep our connections solid, strong, and filled with useful content.”