Embracing the digital revolution during the pandemic

Mark Henderson tells Rebecca Gibson how virtual meetings and webinars have helped Magicman to stay connected with clients in the passenger shipping industry throughout the pandemic

Embracing the digital revolution during the pandemic
Meetings enable Magicman and its clients to share ideas and collaborate on projects

From video chats to quizzes and virtual parties, digital platforms have become a vital lifeline for people wanting to stay connected with family and friends during the Covid-19 pandemic. For UK-based repair and restoration expert Magicman, virtual meetings have also become a critical new business tool for serving passenger shipping clients around the world.  

“Humans are naturally sociable, and the lack of face-to-face contact has been hard for us all during this pandemic, but the new virtual world has become a source of comfort for many,” explains Mark Henderson, CEO of Magicman. “We’ve been able to see and hear our clients and keep abreast of the ever-changing outlook for the passenger shipping sector. Some sectors have also been more willing to engage with supply chains, helping us to forge even closer relationships.” 

Magicman has also attended webinars hosted by other organisations, which has been beneficial in multiple ways.  

“Webinars break down the defences that companies erect around themselves for fear of competition,” says Henderson. “Unlike the traditional one-on-one meeting interface, they allow groups of people to share ideas and strategies and give all participants the opportunity to contribute to the discussion. In addition, you are introduced to new people you may not otherwise have met. This means companies are exposed to new services and supply providers, and Magicman gets to connect with potential clients and discuss their requirements. For sub-contractors it opens conversation around synergy of approach and pooled resources.” 

Impressed by the effectiveness of these webinars, Magicman has embarked on its own digital revolution. “We have recently engaged a digital strategist and marketing manager to help us grow our digital platform, as well as representatives in North America and Europe,” says Henderson. “Now, we’re creating an interactive programme of webinars that will enable us to continue educating both existing and prospective clients around the globe about the benefits of sustainable repair and rejuvenation processes. 

“We’re formulating a variety of content matter – topics will include how to work together in harmony, develop mutually beneficial operations, and plan for both the best and the unexpected situations. Feedback has been positive to date.”  

Drawing from his experience of attending multiple webinars, Henderson has developed a well-defined strategy to ensure Magicman’s virtual discussions are helpful and engaging for all parties.  

“Pre-planning is key,” he says. “The host should supply a brief outline of which topics will be covered and which panellists will be involved in the discussions. Meanwhile, all participants should be able to submit questions and receive a response – either during or after the webinar. Afterwards, the host should seek feedback from participants and use their insights to help determine the subject matter for subsequent webinars and virtual discussions.” 

Magicman’s move to a digital way of working exemplifies its flexible and agile approach to business.  

“Although Covid-19 brought great financial challenges with the complete drop-off of cruise work for almost a year, it has also given us the opportunity to take a long hard look at our operation and use the time productively to reset, remeasure and improve systems, strategies, administration and productivity,” says Henderson. “Magicman will emerge from this pandemic stronger and more adept thanks to the lessons we’ve learned over the past year.” 

Certainly, the company, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in January 2021, looks set to continue prospering long into the future. Henderson believes demand for its repair and restoration services will grow as the passenger shipping industry increases its focus on sustainability. 

“Magicman is unique because we can offer the marine industry considerable years of experience in sustainable renovation practices with commensurate cost and time savings,” he says. “We also believe in old-fashioned service and quality – if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well.  

“Passenger ship operations have enabled the expansion of Magicman services to new clientele and contractors, but knowledge of our bespoke services in the marine industry is still relatively embryonic and raising awareness of ‘the possible’ and its advantages can be spread far more quickly in this new and exciting age of digital media. We aim to build on our success by exploring how we can offer other sustainable deliverables and additional services.”

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
29 April 2021

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