Changing Brand Perception: The Pragmatic Way

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NAME Yuen Kuan Moon AGE 42 TITLE Executive Vice President of SingTel’s Consumer Group RESIDENCE Singapore

Changing brand perception
– the pragmatic way

Marcel Noordman PHOTO Chris Maluszynski

SingTel is transforming itself from a traditional telco to a multimedia solutions company. Yuen Kuan Moon, Executive Vice President of SingTel’s Consumer Group, makes it clear that digging deeply into what makes consumers tick and bold partnering are crucial in meeting such a challenge.


offensive in the digital consumer market must have had implications for the SingTel brand and what it stands for? Yuen Kuan Moon says: “As SingTel decided to move from a traditional telco to a multimedia solutions company we needed to transform the brand and then change the marketing messages. We had to communicate internally and to the market that, beyond traditional strengths in quality, reliability and productivity, we also stand for innovation and delivering a OING ON THE

Yuen Kuan Moon cover


“It has to start from the consumer. Without that, it will be driven by the technology and that is always harder. It is not impossible but it requires a lot of rework; many rounds of trial and error.” 17

“Although we have moved into the entertainment area, we do not try to create new forms of entertainment ourselves.” communications experience that is lifestylefocused and relevant to the customer’s needs. Changing the perception that SingTel is no longer the old traditional telco is a question of consistency. We collaborate with various partners to identify new and innovative services that are unique and related to our core strengths. We then introduce these services using a segmented strategy. “Another way to bridge that perception gap is through the recently international sponsorships that we committed to. We sponsored two runnings of the Formula  SingTel Singapore Grand Prix and are also the official multimedia services partner for the first Youth Olympic Games in . The values of Formula  – innovation, teamwork, speed, excitement – fit our brand values. The Youth Olympic Games link us to sport and the lifestyle that comes with it. Through these associations we will bring ourselves closer to consumers and their lifestyles. “We regularly measure our progress and benchmark ourselves against many different competitors. We started by comparing ourselves with other telcos. But now the measurement process needs to be different. As a multimedia company our brand map needs to be measured against non-telco companies that are active in this area. And it is not easy to decide who to compare ourselves with. We look at internet service companies, music companies and software providers.” lifestyle needs of consumers probably means a different way of looking at the market. Did you have to change your segmentation model to adapt to your new service offerings? “As we market our services, this is always targeted at the lifestyle of a certain group. Do they consume news in this particular way? Do they read e-mail in that particular way? We found traditional telco segmentation based on demographics rather limiting. For instance, when we studied the recent trend of social networking services we found that it was not just kids who were doing it. It is, rather, a cross section of the whole of society. It is all the people who are socially connected, have different groups of friends and have the ability to use technolADDRESSING THE

ogy. These are the ones interested in social networking. Traditional segmentation based on demographics no longer applies here. “We take a very pragmatic approach to segmentation. We study global trends in the digital and multimedia arenas and look where these are leading to. Through these trends we start to identify services that may resonate with specific segments in Singapore as well as play to our advantage. We will then look at the segmentation for this particular bundle of...
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