Event recap: Rakuten Viber strengthens local presence in Cebu

Viber mariia-martyrosian
Mariia Martyrosian
Global PR & Marketing Innovations Director at Rakuten Viber
Event recap: Rakuten Viber strengthens local presence in Cebu

A leading messaging app that offers a rich suite of business solutions, Rakuten Viber keeps its commitment to championing enterprises of different sizes in the Philippines as it engages with Cebuano online entrepreneurs by hosting the Pag-andam Na, Cebu: Grow your Businesses with Rakuten Viber workshop. 

A workshop organized for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Cebu featured Rakuten Viber's executive team and the bright business community talking about how to connect with customers, tap new markets, and build an online presence to improve business using Rakuten Viber's suite of business-friendly solutions. As businesses reopened and tourism started booming in the Queen City of the South after the pandemic, it was the perfect time for the event.

“In the past years, we’ve seen the rise of hyperlocal activities as more Cebuanos have been relying on Rakuten Viber to keep in touch with their families, friends, and co-workers wherever they are in the world. We’ve also witnessed how local entrepreneurs use Rakuten Viber in promoting their products and interacting with their customers,” said Lana Macapagal, PR Lead for APAC at Rakuten Viber. “To further support this emerging user behavior, Rakuten Viber has committed to empowering our MSMEs in the Philippines. We hope to enable our Cebuano entrepreneurs to leverage the app to help better serve their customers and improve their business.”

Empowering Cebu's business community

David Tse, Senior Director for APAC at Rakuten Viber

David Tse, the Senior Director for APAC at Rakuten Viber, started the workshop by emphasizing that Cebu is one of Rakuten Viber's major growth areas in the Philippines. Engaging with the Rakuten Viber community in Cebu is part of the company’s ethos of serving users first and foremost.

While Rakuten Viber is supporting local businesses and creators on its platform, it has recently partnered with Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest local business membership organization in the Philippines, to take a proactive role in educating and empowering the MSMEs.

“According to the Department of Trade and Industry, MSMEs make up 99.5% of business establishments in the Philippines. Their crucial role in the country’s post-pandemic recovery and growth couldn’t be more emphasized,” David Tse explained. “Supporting MSMEs will not only impact up-and-coming entrepreneurs but also the communities they serve. MSMEs can provide employment and invigorate industries. This is why Rakuten Viber is rooting for their success.”

Helping businesses grow with Rakuten Viber

Veronica Feleo, Business Development Manager at Rakuten Viber

During the workshop, Veronica Feleo, Business Development Manager at Rakuten Viber, shared tips and best practices on how to use the app, discussing with Cebuano entrepreneurs how to make the most of the tools available to them for growing their businesses. Karla Banua, Sales Lead – Advertising in APAC at Rakuten Viber, then explained how different businesses can increase engagement and drive sales with Rakuten Viber for Business.

Karla Banua, Sales Lead – Advertising in APAC at Rakuten Viber

“Rakuten Viber develops solutions that help companies reach their audience at each step of the customer journey—in a way that’s convenient for users and effective for brands,” said Karla Banua. “Today, we offer branded Stickers and Lenses, Ads, Business Messages, and Chatbots that help build awareness, influence consideration, drive conversion, and nurture loyalty.”

She also shared a glimpse of an important update for businesses of all sizes, and especially MSMEs, that is going to be launched early next year—Commercial Account. It will be a dedicated account that hosts all business information, services, and chats on Rakuten Viber under a single business entity. Its launch will be one more step towards realizing Rakuten Viber’s potential as a superapp that lets brands easily establish their online presence through Rakuten Viber, provide users with a mini-website experience, and boost brand discoverability. Commercial Account will become a convenient one-stop shop for all brand-user communications and interactions. 

Another step towards perfecting brand-user communication on Rakuten Viber, Business Inbox, will be a single folder, accessible directly from the regular Chats screen, where users can keep all their brand conversations. It will provide a dedicated space for brand-user interaction and will help to improve customer experience, encourage engagement, and build brand loyalty.

Success stories of local entrepreneurs

To further support MSMEs, Rakuten Viber tapped one of Cebu’s most successful entrepreneurs, Bunny Pages, a Go Negosyo Mentor and the Chairman and CEO of Pages Holdings that operates some of the most successful food businesses in Cebu. He shared his experiences and insights on starting a business at a later age and the challenges and triumphs he faced along the way. Most importantly, he discussed how having a growth mindset can change the course of one’s life and business journey. 

Bunny Pages, Go Negosyo Mentor and the Chairman and CEO of Pages Holdings

“Regardless of who you are and your status in life, you can do something about it if you work on yourself. I realized that I am a person with a growth mindset. It’s not about the money nor the achievements. It’s about the fact that I constantly want to grow and become a better person every minute of the day,” Pages said. 

Rakuten Viber also invited the Cebuano participants of the second season of Pinoy Dream Negosyo, the app’s kickstarter program for budding independent online entrepreneurs to help them launch or scale their business. The workshop featured: 

  • Nova Anuengo-Ayuban and Raymund Guimerey Ayuban, the founders of Gavana Arts and Logo Embroidery, Raket Mo ‘To finalists.
  • Zee Pono and Rhea Calooy, the co-owners and founders of KAONTANA | GRND UP, Da Best of FoodPH grand winners.

They shared their Pinoy Dream Negosyo journey to inspire their fellow entrepreneurs. 

Nova Anuengo-Ayuban and Raymund Guimerey Ayuban, the founders of Gavana Arts and Logo Embroidery

“We’re excited to share our Rakuten Viber story with our fellow Cebuano entrepreneurs. The app has been a game changer for our business, especially at the height of the pandemic. Who would’ve thought that a messaging app can also become our most important customer service tool,” Zee and Rhea said. “Rakuten Viber helps us take care of our customers, who are the lifeblood of our business—of any business. We hope other independent online entrepreneurs like us can also benefit from Rakuten Viber’s business-friendly features.”

Zee Pono and Rhea Calooy, the co-owners and founders of KAONTANA | GRND UP

Pag-andam Na, Cebu: Grow your Businesses with Rakuten Viber workshop shows Rakuten Viber’s unwavering commitment to the MSMEs, which are considered the backbone of the Philippine’s economy.

“Equipping them with the proper communication tools and know-how is necessary for them to be able to cut through the noise and reach their customers, especially in this digital age,” Tse added. “We hope that through our efforts, we’ll be able to help empower local entrepreneurs in growing their businesses and in effect, serve our users better.”