DIGi CEO Johan Dennelind answers your 10 questions

  • Business
  • Saturday, 18 Apr 2009

1. We all know about DiGi’s strength in branding and marketing. But what are the areas it needs to improve the most? Viknes, Shah Alam

We can improve a lot in setting expectations right to keep and attract new customers. People are generally tired of brands that over-promise and under-deliver.

The DiGi brand is unpretentious and loved for its simplicity and sense of fun. We should build on that and improve our service delivery to our customers so that each experience with DiGi is excellent, whether you’re making a call or calling for service.

2. Why do you think mobile players can succeed in broadband? Samad Yatim, Petaling Jaya

Competition in fixed broadband is non-existent, resulting in fairly poor service and quality experience. Mobile broadband has proven to be a great complement and substitute to fixed broadband worldwide, and so will be the case in Malaysia.

What we must address in broadband, regardless of fixed or mobile, is the lack of quality experience. There is pent-up demand for best value and quality broadband and DiGi hopes to fill this space and meet customers’ expectations.

3. What are the main challenges DiGi faces in building its brand’s strength and identity? Suzalina Osman

A major challenge will be to keep the brand alive and develop it further. We have to continue to live our brand to the fullest. It starts internally. There are no short cuts. We want to portray our brand through our people to impact on our customers and stakeholders. This requires consistency, and to be consistently different from the rest of the pack.

4. What do you think needs to happen before your favourite football club, Tottenham Hotspur, can truly compete for the English Premier League title? Peter Saw, Kepong

Now we are talking! In my next life (or maybe my next job!), I will probably be a football coach. I don’t think you can just buy players and expect to perform. You got to build that winning culture and, therefore, don’t need the best players all the time. The same applies to business, by the way.

Spurs has to keep calm and let Harry (Redknapp, the manager) build the team. Stop buying more players. They have enough, with maybe, too many individualists.

Next year will be an interesting year. If they just get off to a better start, I am optimistic. I predict they can be in the top 5 next year and, hopefully, win the league in 2011. If they do, I will be there cheering them on.

5. How important are teenagers as customers, and what matters in attracting and retaining them? Uthayakumar, Sri Damansara

They are our present and future customers. Malaysia has a young, ambitious, optimistic and vibrant population. To stay relevant to this group is do-or-die for us. What matters is how well we know them and how well we deliver what they want. DiGi is a very youthful brand. This is a very strong asset and we hope to leverage more out of it.

6. What is it like to be a foreign-owned company operating in a highly competitive industry in a multi-racial country like Malaysia? Alias Tahir, Alor Star

First of all, I see DiGi as a very local company. It is built and managed more by Malaysians than foreigners. Having a large international shareholder, the Telenor group, gives us opportunities to learn and use experiences from around the world.

For example, when we are building our 3G network, we are using many channels and expertise from Telenor to avoid earlier mistakes made. We live and breathe Malaysia every day, and liking it!

7. You have described Malaysia as your family’s second home. Why do you like it here? Frankie Tan, Puchong

This can be a very long answer, so I’ll try to keep it brief ... the people, culture, food, nature, oceans, jungles, close to much of Asia, fast-learning and optimistic nation ... Is there more space to go on?

8. What annoys you the most about how people use their mobile phones? Rudy, Muar

It’s quite scary seeing people driving and SMSing at the same time. I also think the silent mode is a good option to use during meetings, family time and at cinemas.

9. What were your earliest experiences with mobile phones and how do they compare with the services and technology we have today? Carol Ong, Bangsar

Oh, wow, that was in 1993 when my friend and I started a consultancy firm and we needed a mobile phone. It weighed like a brick and looked like one too. I used it instead of going to the gym! On top of that, every call cost me RM3 per minute. Now my phone is the size of my name card, and the call rate is from 10 sen per minute and eventually free.

10. When do you foresee DiGi retiring the Yellow Coverage Fellow (YCF)? Martin Santiago, Subang Jaya

Well, as long as you like the YCF and people seem to, we have no immediate plans of retiring him. We get thousands of requests every month for more of our Yellow Fellow. Right now, he is running around busy to ensure quality coverage. When he gets a breather, I will invite him to come and play celebrity again.

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