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4 strong pillars when Transformation is an urgent business imperative

Faced with a never-before-experienced crisis that shakes companies to the core, Transformation is no longer an option but an urgent, burning imperative. What are the pillars that leaders must hold onto when pivoting their business and organization?

“Growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone,” said my fitness trainer. Laws of nature, such as how muscle fibers need to be injured for them to grow, apply to businesses and organizations.

The pandemic crisis that started one year ago is one such injury to society, economies, and businesses. It massively disrupted the lives of Filipino consumers. As businesses enter the renewed reality, pivoting businesses and organizations towards sustainable recovery and transformation became an urgent imperative. To help shed light on the necessary pillars that leaders need to anchor and hold onto, Acumen conducted a multi-layer research composed of proprietary consumer research across all Filipino segments, 1:1 interviews with C-level business leaders from 6 major industries, an interview with a sociology expert, and integration of all available published data on the impact of the crisis. Acumen’s team of experienced business leaders, researchers and analysts culled out the most important imperatives for a roadmap to recovery, growth, and transformation. All these are contained in Navigate, which we launched as our response to the emerging needs of companies in this pandemic.

Navigate emerged with 4 critical pillars to recovery and transformation:

Revisit Marketing and Sales strategies. This is the first order of day. Amidst all the uncertainty, one thing is certain: your business will survive if and only if there is a match between consumer needs and what you offer. You need to ask: Is my brand strategy still working? Am I targeting the right market? Is it sizeable and profitable? Is my proposition still relevant, differentiated, and credible? Is my marketing mix strong and appealing to who my target market should be?

To help our clients answer these critical commercial strategy questions, we at Acumen solidified our Marketing and Sales Strategy practice area and focused on a few service lines that leverage on our depth of expertise in brand building.

Approach Business Transformation with a dual lens of Strategy and Organization.

One year out into this crisis, the band-aid solutions to quickly pivot and adjust to the new normal will now need to give way to a more careful and deliberate approach to transformation, prioritizing two big areas: Business Strategy and Organization.

On Business Strategy, these are critical questions: Why do we exist? What is our Purpose, Values, Ambition? What are our financial and non-financial goals? Where do we play – industries, consumer segments, geographies? How do we win—what are the enablers?

Strategies and plans, however, are only good on paper unless they are brought to life through people—making Organization Transformation a critical and urgent requirement. There are many aspects of an organization that need to be the subject of transformation, but a few stood out in its ability to move the needle: leadership development, strategy-optimized organization design, and agile culture.

Acumen put together a team of experts on strategy development and organization transformation to form our new Business Transformation practice area with these service lines: Corporate Strategic Planning, Market Feasibility and Entry Strategy, and Organization Transformation.

Be strategic in Digital Transformation initiatives.

During the early stages of the crisis, “digitize or die” was the mantra. Businesses now need to move past quick-win solutions and undertake more sustainable strategic digital initiatives. These include having a clear linkage between the overall business strategy and the digital roadmap, as well as unlocking sustainable profits from new digital revenue streams and even loyalty programs. Acumen launched a whole new practice area to address these challenges: Strategic Digital Transformation with 4 service lines: Digital Strategy Development and Roadmapping, Digital Revenue Accelerator, Maximizing Digital Marketing ROI, Insightful Data Analytics and CRM/Loyalty.

Strengthen your foundations: people capabilities.

A company’s biggest asset will always be its people. In this disrupted environment, it’s critical to invest in retooling our people and build an agile organization that can adapt to changing conditions. Our teams must have the foundational competencies to read evolved consumers, market and competitive landscape to enable strategic decision-making. The organization must inculcate new ways of working, develop digital mindsets across the organization—from leaders down to front-liners—and importantly, have a cohesive culture shaped by its defined Purpose and Values.

Acumen’s roots are in the Capability Building practice. Our highly rated Marketing Excellence Program and Foundations of Strategy for Business Leaders address the core foundational skills required in these very challenging times: business analysis, customer centricity, and strategy development. Recognizing that one of the most critical success factors of digital transformation relate to people skills, we are now launching a Digital Competency & Capability Building Program.

“Growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone.”

Like most, if not all, businesses, we found ourselves at the edge of our comfort zone when the pandemic happened. We were stretched and tested, but as a response to the opportunity of growth, we first applied our own purpose to ourselves—to enable transformation—and then we relentlessly found new ways to deliver Relevant, Value-adding, and Actionable (RVA™) services to our clients.

To understand more how we can be of help to you and your company in your journey of transformation, please visit out website at


About the Author

Pauline Fermin is currently the COO of Acumen Strategy Consultants and head of its Business Transformation practice. She has over 26 years of experience in strategy—both as a corporate executive and as a consultant. She combines her depth of experience in research and marketing with the discipline of finance—applying a broad and holistic view in strategy formulation. She has applied her strategic expertise in helping clients from a wide range of industries, including food and beverage, packaged goods, financial services, pharmaceutical, real estate, retail, telecommunications, transportation, software, and other services.


Acumen is a consultancy firm focused on strategy, transformation, and capability building to enable higher business performance.

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