How Facebook Messenger Bots can add value to your business

Often times when you send a message to a Brand Page on Facebook, you'd have to wait an hour to days in order to get a response. No matter how much brands have invested in the front-line customer service department, a delay can always be expected as the other end have always been a person who's always struggling with a huge amount of cases to solve and queries to answer.

Would it not be great if you could have a streamlined experience where your Brand Facebook Page could become more efficient at answering customer queries? Would it not be a fantastic experience for your customer if they did not have to wait hours to get an answer for a simple issue that they are facing? To put icing on the cake, would it not be extremely beneficial to your business if your Brand Facebook Page could become the backbone of your company; salesforce?

Turns out you could achieve that grand vision of turning your Brand Facebook Page into something that offers not only an amazing customer experience but also leads for your expensive sales guys, today!

Recently, Facebook has introduced a new kind of interaction – named – Bots! There’s no other way to explain this better than showing you examples.



So, what does this mean for your business?

Here are some ideas that you could apply the usage of Bots to help grow your business.

1.      Customer Service Bot

If you are a consumer-facing Brand, the most effective marketing that you can do is customer support. Consumers expect your Brand to have good customer support. Until now, customer support has been an extremely labor-intensive task and yet, most of the support cases and inquiries are similar and thus, can be automated. Imagine a Facebook Messenger Bot which asks your customer automatically about issues and presents them with solutions automatically and efficiently without having any delays. Moreover, such Customer Service Bot could also regularly check-in with a customer and see if one has been facing any challenges lately without interrupting the customer.

2.      Sales Bot

Imagine a sales funnel where discovery and briefing could be automated by a Bot. This would mean that you’d have unlimited amount of sales agents to push sales and interact with customers.

 3.      News Bot

Finally, you could have 2-way conversation with your readers while informing them about latest news. Your readers love to personalize. They are sports fans and they do not want to see business news! Bots can exactly offer that type of personalized content to your readers and thus increase not only readership but also Brand Loyalty.

4.      Booking Bot

What if a customer could check availability and pricing regarding your restaurant or hotel right from their messenger? To make things even more interesting, what if they could actually book a room directly from Messenger? Possibilities are endless.

Bots are real. They’re fun and much more interactive than any other marketing/engagement medium that we have ever seen. And the best part is that they’re here today. And they’re going to be leading a whole new digital experience transformation. Now the question is – how do you want bots to help grow your business?

Bringing Design to Yangon

On December 2nd creative director Monika Traikov addressed a group of industry professionals, journalists, and fellow creatives at the formal introduction of Yangon Redesigned. 

First impressions are formed in a fraction of a second. With just a glance at your storefront, website or ad, your customer has already formed a perception of your brand. Standing out from the competition, building trust and communicating your service all occur within this brief moment.

It all starts with creative, original, graphic design.

With Myanmar growing and new businesses popping up, the design culture is lagging; brand recognition amongst companies is difficult. By promoting contemporary graphic design Yangon Redesigned is going to change that.

Five designers from NEX are involved in Yangon Redesigned to bring the project to life. With various backgrounds in photography, graphic design, illustration and UI / UX design, each member brings a unique perspective to the project.

“We aim to help people see Yangon in a different light, with the changing times we will be ahead of the graphic design game, by supplying social media users and companies a prospective image of what is possible.” says Creative Director Monika Traikov.

With a growing cult following of 3700+ people on Facebook, Yangon Redesigned will be expanding into poster and sticker sales, wallpaper and icon freebies, workshops, as well as facilitating local design get-togethers.

Previously sponsored events include the World Wide Instameet 12 (the only one of it’s kind in Myanmar), where like-minded creatives met at Kandawgyi Park and discussed tips on photography, illustration and graphic design.

Yangon Redesigned started by rebranding well-known local companies such as “Lucky Seven Tea Shop”, “The Dagon Centre”, “Oishii Sushi” and “Sai’s Tacos”. The rebranding was done in order to illustrate the process of a revising brand identity; as well as to showcase the potential of good design, and how it can bring value to local companies.

“There seems to be a disconnect between the messages that Myanmar brands are aiming to make, and their graphic execution. Graphic design is about supporting the message of a brand, and organising information to send a clear message. A lot of companies in Myanmar do not yet understand the value of effective design.” Traikov says. 

The initiative has been focusing on community projects such as redesigning a map of Yangon, the circle train line, as well as a map of Myanmar. Yangon Redesigned serves as a tool to educate Yangonites about design literacy and the importance of distinguishing between good and bad design.

Where we came from:

NEX is a two and a half year old start-up that has been helping businesses formulate and execute digital strategies locally, as well as internationally. The company is renowned for their reputation of combining strategic thinking and engineering capabilities with digital craftsmanship.

The tech-based company has developed products such as “Snackshots”, a customisable sticker app, “Kyeet”, a powerful election monitoring app, “Foodie”, a Yangon food guide app, and “Nexy keyboard”, an app that makes typing Romanized Burmese a breeze (as well as countless others).

The agency is shifting and expanding their creative department, allowing room for designers to enhance the digital strategy of businesses, and help them grow. 

The Yangon Redesigned project began as an idea, a realisation that Yangon has been lacking good contemporary graphic design. It is a project that NEX’s CEO, Ye Myat Min, always wanted. 

Yangon Redesigned is a part of the grander vision of NEX. Walking around I see what technology, in it’s limited capacity, could do for Yangon and Myanmar. So I want to bring that to life - that’s what Yangon Redesigned is all about.” Min says.  

Yangon Redesigned along with NEX hopes that design and technology will come together and reshape the way Yangon thinks about products, brands, and even the city itself.

Back-Alley Computer Geeks Are Hidden Winners of Myanmar Election

[As seen on Bloomberg]

In a run-down building on a trash-strewn side street of oily vehicle repair shops and steamy noodle vendors, a group of 20-something software geeks are hunched over laptops in a white and red open-plan office, working on projects for everything from a private-jet operator to a mobile-phone network.

This is Yangon, where old and new aren’t so much juxtaposed as living on top of each other.

"There’s just enormous, enormous amounts of opportunities here," says Ye Myat Min, the 25-year-old chief executive officer of Nex, whose clients also include the state postal service. "We’re in a very unique situation where we don’t really need to think about competition at first because there is so much demand."

Those opportunities have blossomed in Myanmar in the past four years as economic sanctions eased after the military government agreed to end direct rule. Just as in China and Vietnam before it, the end of isolation brought an economic dividend, with 8 percent-plus annual growth spawning a property boom, traffic jams, and the telltale patchwork development of urban transformation.

Even with the country on the eve on an election that could produce the biggest political upheaval in half a century, executives like Ye Myat Min are confident that the sheer breadth of opportunity will keep the boom going.

“We really have been frozen in time for 50-odd years,” says Melvyn Pun, CEO of Yoma Strategic Holdings, a conglomerate invested in everything from real estate to Myanmar’s first KFC fast-food outlet. “The potential is very clear. I think we’re living through a golden period.”

Foreign direct investment jumped 10-fold between 2009 and 2014 to $4.1 billion. During that time, the junta transferred power to a military-backed political arm in a 2010 election in an effort to remove the crippling economic sanctions.

That poll was boycotted by the main opposition party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Next week, a new election will be held in which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has the chance to break military control that stretches back to a coup in 1962.

While some fear that a shift in power, or a fragmented parliament with no clear mandate, would be disruptive for business, Pun says the will to modernize the economy runs across the political spectrum.

"They are all pro-reform," Pun says. "Reform has been beneficial to a large segment of the society, everyone from the current ruling party to the opposition party to the military to the ethnic groups."

There’s a lot still needed, including a stock exchange and new laws on investment, mining, intellectual property, condominium ownership and arbitration. A post-election session of parliament due to begin just a week after the ballot, suggests that the current ruling party will try to pass bills set aside during the 60-day campaign period, including updated companies and investment laws, according to Eurasia Group Myanmar specialist Christian Lewis.

“Whoever becomes the government, it’s important just to improve the economy,” says Khin Shwe, founder of construction firm Zaykabar Co. and an upper-house lawmaker for the military-backed government. The company, which has a caged bear by the gate to his offices on the outskirts of Yangon, is one that remains on the U.S. sanctions list.

Some of the issues Myanmar faces are new to the society, such as soaring real estate prices. Others are recognizable in developing countries around the world that have been starved of investment: poor infrastructure, skills shortages, corruption and opaque regulations.

Foremost for businesses, whoever wins the election, is to continue to hack away at the bureaucracy and stifling legislation that plagued investment for so long, says Aye Lwin, joint secretary-general of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

“So many complicated procedures, so much taxation, so much corruption,” he says, comparing doing business in Myanmar to a potato-sack race where everybody falls down before they reach the finish line. It wasn’t the international sanctions, “we sanctioned ourselves.”

Since the previous election in 2010, the government has been trying to cut the obstacles to business, promising to grant approvals within a month, instead of several months.

For mobile network operator Ooredoo Myanmar, red tape has been less of a problem than the country’s archaic infrastructure, especially once you leave the main cities, as it tries to erect cellphone towers and lay 12,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable across the country.

"In a lot of cases now, we need to first build the road," says CEO Rene Meza, whose company launched its service in Myanmar last year. "It’s an exciting country, an exciting market. Probably the really last frontier market with such potential in the industry."

The biggest fear that hangs over the hopes of investors, reformers and democracy campaigners is the memory of 1990. That was the first time the military leaders tried to reintroduce democracy. The election was a landslide for Suu Kyi’s party, but the junta annulled the result, plunging the country back into isolation and sanctions.

Though a repeat of that is unlikely, the political uncertainty over the past year has weighed on investment, Yoma’s Pun said.

“We do see investors being on the sidelines -- waiting for clearer signs of the future,” he says. “When we see a successful and transparent and free election being conducted, I think that will give comfort to investors.”

Still, he cautions against the euphoria and hype that came immediately after Myanmar’s re-opening. Nearby Vietnam began opening its country in the 1980s and even after more than three decades its economy is still half the size of Thailand, which has fewer people.

“Let’s be realistic, we’re not going to become Bangkok in five, 10 years,” Pun says. The opportunities in Myanmar are “very large, but you have to look far enough."

For Ye Myat Min and his coworkers at Nex, the election just means more business -- they developed an app for organizations monitoring the vote that reports incidents and fraud at polling stations.

In an industrial-chic space more in tune with a Chelsea design studio than a Yangon alley, a small slice of the country’s younger generation are busy tapping at laptops on large communal tables, under signs urging them to “Innovate” and “Dance Like Crazy.”

“We have a lot of foreign companies coming here. That’s great,” said Ye Myat Min, who started the company 2 1/2 years ago with seed money from an Australian angel investor. “But what I really hope to see within the next three, five years is a local Myanmar company expanding into other countries and making a name for themselves.”

Digital Marketing - Essential Element of a Successful Organization

In a business world that is so vigorous and dynamic, companies are always coming up with solutions and innovative ideas to make sure they stay ahead in this competitive race. Some of those solutions are, of course, marketing & advertising and they play a crucial role in the survival of the company. Marketing has many subcategories and out of those subcategories, there is one that is becoming increasingly popular lately – Digital Marketing.

Digital Marketing is the art of using digital technologies to promote a brand, raise awareness or to increase sales to either businesses or customers alike. Activities include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Content Automation, Campaign Marketing, E-Commerce Marketing, Social Media Marketing, E-mail direct marketing, Display Advertising, E-Books, Games and many other digital medias. There are other digital marketing channels that does not include internet for the end users such as SMS, MMS, Callback or on-hold mobile ring tones. Among the digital marketing channels, there are a few favorite channels for businesses or customers which are affiliate marketing, display advertising, e-mail marketing, search engine marketing, social media and social media marketing. Some of those channels can be used for other purposes like communication, rather than just digital marketing.

Among all the social media channels in the world, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Plus, Youtube and Pinterest has gotten the most interest out of billions of users. A large portion of the users in Myanmar are familiar with Facebook for now but Instagram is starting to catch up. They have started to realize that social medias are really strong and cheap tools to get your brand across. Online shops are everywhere and the products range from clothing to makeup and even home-cooked food!

Businesses can create Facebook Pages on . When creating a Facebook Page, the business should decide which type of Facebook Book page to portray that suits their type of business. For example, if the business is a product company and chose Entertainment Page, the page will only be recommended to Facebook users that has most interest in Entertainment Pages. In other words, know who you want to market to.

Facebook Page is not just a social media platform. It is also the image of the company online. It is crucial that all the relevant information to contact the business is there. When designing cover photos and profile photos, it is best that it is designed in a way that promotes your product visually. After all, the first thing a user sees when visiting a page is the profile photo and the cover photo.

In this digital age, using digital channels are the fastest way to penetrate a market – a big market covered with just a few minutes! The core strengths of digital channels is that businesses get the chance to promote their product in a very short amount of time, analyze the customers’ feedbacks (both good and bad), evaluate their competitors and build customer relationships easily.

It is for the above reasons why digital marketing plays a huge role for the success of a company and that every company should have one.

Reference: Wikipedia, SAS

Working Lives Yangon: Internet entrepreneur

As featured on BBC.

At 24 years old internet entrepreneur, Ye Myat Min is, on paper at least, one of Myanmar's newly minted millionaires.

Two and a half years ago, Ye Myat divided his time between his studies in Singapore and trying to get the business off the ground.

The combination did not work. His grades plummeted and much to his parents annoyance he dropped his studies and returned to work fulltime in Yangon.

But the timing was good. Myanmar was on the cusp of a connectivity revolution. State of the art mobile networks were about to be built across the country and smart phone sales were rocketing.

His breakthrough has been Hush, a chat app that allows people to remain anonymous.

Myanmar's past as a closed off country means that many people are "very conservative, shy and closed about their opinions," he explains.

The platform allows people to speak more openly about their opinions.

His internet and app design company Nex was recently valued at $2.5m (£1.65m), currently has 30 employees and is expecting to add another 10 in the coming months.

Home-grown Digital Agency NEX raises another US$150,000 foreign investment to expand its service portfolio

Myanmar, Yangon, 4th Sep 2015 – NEX, a Yangon-based digital agency that helps businesses formulate and execute digital strategies, has raised an additional US$150,000 from Blibros Ltd which is an investment company under the management of the Family BÖCKER. Blibros Ltd had also invested in NEX as 2nd round seed investment in October 2014 and thus, bringing the total amount of investment committed by Blibros Ltd to US$300,000

For the past two years, NEX has offered web and mobile development services to clients in Myanmar as well as from China, Singapore, Australia, Thailand and the region. NEX has also created a range of its own apps that have been widely used within Myanmar. With the newly replenished funding, NEX is looking at expanding not only the team but also its service offerings by adding two additional categories – Creative Design and Social Media Marketing, in order to become a full-blown digital agency in Myanmar.  

From 2014 to present, there have been an impressive number of foreign investments into Myanmar tech startups from investors across Asia. NEX is the first local startup to raise investment twice from the same investor.

“We are positioning ourselves to become a noteworthy player in the digital space; not just in Myanmar but at a regional scale. I strongly believe that with the support from investors and advisors, NEX will be able to explore many more opportunities. Raising an additional round of investment from existing investors has been a big push in our motivation and confidence.” said Ye Myat Min, Founder and Managing Director of NEX.

Jonas Lindstörm of Blibros Ltd commented, “We are thrilled to be part of NEX’s journey and support the founding team to achieve its vision. We have witnessed exceptional growth within the last 10 months. With the new funds, we believe we can achieve higher strategic goals together with the NEX team”. Ned Phillips, early angel investor, added, “I have a strong belief in NEX as well as its founder Ye Myat Min. Since the first round of investment that I took part in two and a half years ago, with just 6 employees at NEX, it is impressive to see the company transformed into an international team with almost 30 full time employees.”.

Recently, NEX has recruited expatriates in order to strengthen its departments, particularly, on creative design and management. With such experienced fresh talent, NEX is expecting to create a perfect mixture between international expertise and local knowledge. One of the demonstrations of such capabilities is Yangon Redesigned which is an online design community with a mission to increase design awareness in Yangon. As of today, Yangon Redesigned has received a lot of positive feedback as well as dozens of requests to work with a range of different brands.

Through the newly replenished funds, NEX continues to look forward to the new age of digital Myanmar. “We are keeping innovation, design and localization as our DNA regardless of how far we’ve grown. Without such cultural values, we would never be able to achieve our vision. I am proud that NEX is writing history by being part of the digital transformation of Myanmar.”, said Ye Myat Min.

What is Yangon Redesigned?

Many of you have asked why we do what we do. Therefore, we wanted to take a chance at visually explaining ourselves.

This poster should explain all the things that you guys have been wondering about Yangon Redesigned. One thing that we can assure is the fact that we do not mean any harm or offense to any of the brands that we worked on. All we have ever wanted to do was to increase awareness for design in Yangon.

Sure, we did receive a lot of negativity. But, we have also received a lot of positive feedback that pushes us even further. To quote Larry Page of Google, “Negativity is not the way to make progress”. And therefore, we strongly feel that we shall not be intimidated by the sheer amount of negativity if we really wanted to push design awareness forward in Yangon.

We are always open to criticism because it helps us. We hope that we would be able to achieve our vision and create a positive design community with constructive feedback.


Young developers pull Myanmar into the digital age - Myanmar Now

As featured on Myanmar Now.

It was a typical Friday night in Singapore and Ye Myat Min, the 24-year-old university dropout and bespectacled founder of tech start-up NEX, was restless and bored. He did not want to go out but neither was he keen to extend his already lengthy working week. So he started coding instead.

“I’ve always had this itch to create an anonymous social network but couldn’t really find the time to do it for a lot of reasons; primarily due to my crazy schedule,” he said. “That weekend, I decided to just hack it and postpone everything else.”

By Monday, Ye Myat had a rough version of Hush, a mobile phone application that allows users to post location-based musings anonymously. 

“I’m not at all trying to sound political, but the country has been closed off for so long. Burmese people are usually conservative and rarely speak up. So one of my motivations (for making it anonymous)... was to change that aspect of Burmese people,” he told Myanmar Now in the company’s new office, an open plan space in downtown Yangon.

“Things have changed a lot. This is the right time to speak up and make your opinions matter,” added Ye Myat, his elbows resting on the meeting room table, the glass top covered in numbers, equations and questions from a brainstorming session that just ended.

Launched with little fanfare at the end of 2014, after Ye Myat moved back to Myanmar, Hush now has over 15,000 users, mainly in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon but also in two other big cities, and in countries with large Myanmar populations such as Singapore and Thailand. The company aims to triple the numbers in six months.

NEX, where the average age of an employee is 25, is symptomatic of a new generation of young, enthusiastic and technically-savvy entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of Myanmar’s opening up to bring the country into the digital age. 

The company has already attracted foreign investors and media attention in its two years of existence. When the company won a second round of funding totalling US$150,000 from Singapore’s Blibros Group late last year - the first funding, also from an investor based in Singapore, came in 2013 - the news was featured in Forbes Magazine. 

Jonas Lindstrom, CEO and Partner of Blibros Ltd, which has been investing mainly in tech start-ups for over a quarter of a century, said Ye Myat’s talent and Myanmar’s potential convinced him to invest.

“It was a rare combination of a young, talented and ambitious entrepreneur but still very humble,” Lindstrom told Myanmar Now in an e-mail interview.


Hush - not to be confused with a South Korean app of the same name - works on similar lines to Tinder. The user swipes through the posts, called Hushes. A left swipe dismisses the post, a right denotes like, and a tap to participate in the conversation.

“We were one of the first to introduce Burmese language stickers,” Ye Myat said proudly, as two of his close colleagues, both 23, grinned and nodded. The team is also behind the Facebook page Yangon Redesigned where Yangon’s landmarks and famous Myanmar brands get a design makeover. It is a cult favourite with creative types.

It has not all been smooth sailing, however. Hush 1.0 had a lot of bugs which took a week or two to resolve. They then tentatively released it, only to realise within an hour they had published the wrong app.

“Thank God nobody downloaded it,” the young CEO recalled. They published the correct version during the night.

People in Yangon’s burgeoning tech community were early adopters of the app. Then local media heard of Hush and user numbers jumped. They are now working on Hush 2.0, which NEX says is a much-improved version slated for release some time soon.

The new version includes a search feature and categories but more importantly, curated content that the team hopes would encourage quality conversations, rather than users posting their relationship status or what they had for breakfast.

“What we wanted to see is more well-thought-out content,” said Ye Myat.

“During this six months we’ve seen posts about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. There were hundreds of comments but they were all constructive … because nobody knows who you are so it gives you protection,” he added.

Yet there are also aware of the challenges of allowing anonymous postings. Since religious conflict erupted in 2012, Myanmar has been engulfed in online hate speech. Vitriolic and inflammatory comments targeting Muslims, who make up a small fraction of the predominantly Buddhist country, have become worryingly common on blogs, web forums and Facebook pages.

Internet access is still low, but it is increasing, from only 0.3 percent of the population in 2010 to 1.2 percent in 2013, according to the World Bank.

“We are very, very concerned. Not just us, but our investors and advisers too. We need to find the fine line between being anonymous and not turning it into a hate speech platform,” said Ye Myat. 


In two years’ time, they would like to see Hush being used in all the major cities in Myanmar, said Arkar, a childhood friend of Ye Myat and one of NEX’s developers.

The company itself has seen a sharp upward trajectory, from something Ye Myat formed with his friends while he was still in Singapore, to a fully-fledged agency with 22 staff, some of whom were hired in a decidedly unorthodox manner.

Take one of the designers. Ye Myat hired him straight out of high school based on his Instagram photos. 

“Where’s the fun if you follow a more conventional route of hiring? I wasn’t worried per se. I believed in him,” said Ye Myat, who himself took an unconventional path to becoming a CEO. 

A coding geek who turned to music after finding out he was “really bad” at maths and physics, Ye Myat rediscovered his first love when he found out what broadband Internet could do in Singapore. He then started designing websites to earn extra money while attending a diploma course in IT at Republic Polytechnic, so he could buy a shiny new Mac like his new friends.

He wanted to set up a company in Myanmar when he graduated but his parents, a father who works at an embassy and a housewife mother, wanted him to continue his university studies.

He obliged but received two warning letters and failed a subject in the first semester. A third warning letter would see him kicked out of school. When an angel investor stepped in, he left his studies and set up NEX,.

Ye Myat says he does not regret leaving university and encouraged would-be tech entrepreneurs in Myanmar to set up businesses regardless of their education or the difficult environment.  

“I’ve met plenty of people who are screaming they do not have enough opportunities. My main advice usually is to look inwards instead of outwards,” he said “One needs to start looking for problems (people) are facing on a day-to-day basis and think about ways to solve them. It doesn’t have to be a totally radical solution. One could simply iterate on an existing solution and make it better.”

Author: Thin Lei Win