Born at home, raised to keep on growing

A look at Mr. DIY’s incredible expansion

This article was first published in Issue 241, January 2020 of Marketing Magazine Asia. To download a pdf copy of the full magazine, click here.

Becoming a household name is a standard of success most businesses hope to achieve. Mr. DIY, keeping true to its tongue in cheek marketing taglines and creative product showcasing has taken it a step further by becoming a household name for household items, across Asia. 

The homegrown company opened its first outlet along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur back in 2005 and in less than 15 years, has opened 1,000 stores across Asia. The successful rate at which Mr. D.I.Y has grown can be attributed to several factors, including their strategic plans for continuous business growth while staying true to their tagline ‘lowest prices always’ and their memorable local marketing campaigns that made an impact on consumers. 

MARKETING Magazine sat with Andy Chin, MR.D.I.Y. Group (M) Berhad’s Marketing Vice President…

Mr Andy Chin, MR.D.I.Y. Group (M) Berhad’s Marketing Vice President

In less than 15 years, MR.DIY has opened 1,000 stores across Asia. As Marketing Vice President, how would you say the marketing strategy of MR.D.I.Y.’s brand contributed to this success? 

MR.D.I.Y.’s brand marketing strategy 

At MR.D.I.Y., we listen to our customers by catering to their needs and wants. While providing them with the widest range of more than 14,000 products across 10 categories, we also take the initiative and time to ensure that we are delivering what we promised them by going the extra mile in our marketing strategy. 

Billboard Campaigns 

We also have an effective billboard strategy and we stay active and consistent with our campaign efforts – this is implemented every six months. We are ‘big’ on using catchy, bold, daring and factual taglines for our billboard campaigns to convey the message that we are the largest home improvement retailer with the widest range of products and lowest Prices Always, across various locations. We have done several campaigns in the past with taglines such as: 

  • Di Mana Ada Jalan, Di Situ Ada MR.DIY (2019)
  • MR.DIY Janji, Bakul Penuh Pun Murah Lagi (2018)
  • Nasib Baik Tak Beli Tadi, MR.DIY Murah Lagi (2018)
  • Jangan Marah, Kami Termurah (2017)
  • Beli Cermat Poket Selamat (2016)
  • Biar Kami Rugi, Anda Puas Hati (2014) 

In 2014, MR.D.I.Y. won the best billboard award for Biar Kami Rugi, Anda Puas Hati. That was a memorable achievement for our billboard campaign as we managed to capture the hearts of many Malaysians with our creative approach. By winning this award, we felt even more motivated to produce creative content that our customers can relate to. 

Digital Platforms

MR.D.I.Y. is also digital savvy and we own a solid digital platform which enables us to stay in contact, interact and engage with our customers. We are pleased to share that to date, MR.D.I.Y. has around 276,000 followers on Instagram and 3.5 million followers on Facebook. 

Our digital platforms are interactive and filled with fun and cool listicles or video hacks. Over the years, our video hacks have received encouraging responses from our customers. Additionally, they have also provided us an unconventional way of promoting our product offerings across 10 categories. Apart from that, MR.D.I.Y. works with key influencers and other business partners to promote the brand via digital platforms. 

MR.D.I.Y. has become synonymous with having the tools you need to ‘do it yourself’. What else is being done to promote this culture of doing it yourself? 

We use social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and our website to educate our customers by creating DIY content or cool hacks using the products we sell in our stores. We hope that with the creation of DIY videos and cool hacks for this initiative, our efforts will encourage our customers to create their own DIY projects, inculcating creativity and the DIY culture among Malaysians. 

MR.D.I.Y. x University of Malaya: DIY Made Simple 

MR.D.I.Y. believes that it always starts with the young ones. This is why, as part of our CSR efforts, we have teamed up with University of Malaya to organise the ‘DIY Made Simple’ competition for secondary school students. Entrants, in school teams, are tasked to find ways to improve their school facilities, through do-it-yourself projects using recycled materials and products from MR.D.I.Y. We provide resources for students to do their DIY projects by providing power tools-cordless drill, electrical circular saw, sanders and other products that are available within the 10 different categories that we have such as Hardware; Household; Electrical; Car Accessories; Furnishing; Stationery & Sports; Toys; Gifts; Computer & HP Accessories; and Jewellery & Cosmetics. 

This is an annual initiative that has run for three years and we had earlier this year signed an MOA with the university to run this for another three years (2020- 2022). We strongly believe that the continuation of this programme will enable us to spread the awareness of DIY culture amongst younger generations, enabling them to learn some survival skills through DIY projects and eventually preparing them to face the real world. Other than producing young DIY talents who are innovative and creative, this programme — which incorporates a mixture of Science and Technology, Engineering, Business and Marketing elements — will enable students to understand how to handle a project from start to finish and how to market their products. 

MR.DIY offers over 14,000 products across 10 categories, catering to the household
needs of the whole family

Current SME hardware stores still provide the bulk of nuts-and-bolts required at a cheap rate. Does MR.D.I.Y. view these stores as complementary or competitive to its business model? 

We don’t see these hardware stores as direct competitors as we operate a different business model from these stores. 

We operate a different business model that was created especially for Malaysians customers. There are no similar businesses like MR.D.I.Y. in the market. We are the pioneer in the business retail revolution. MR.D.I.Y. has everything under one roof with the widest range of products — over 14,000 across 10 categories. 

And this business model was born out of our endeavour to always put customers first by providing them convenience and a wholesome family shopping experience, offering a comfortable conducive shopping environment to more than 100 million customers annually through our stores network and online with good quality products at “Always Low Prices”. 

You recently won the World Branding Awards, Brand of the Year in Retail — Home Improvement Category, for the second year running. This is a pretty big deal for a global scale recognition. What does this win mean to you and what is it about MR.D.I.Y.’s branding strategy that won the award? 

We are extremely honoured and proud to win this distinguished World Branding Awards in Retail – Home Improvement Category 2019-2020 for the second time. Winning it for the second time is an incredible achievement for us because it is a true acknowledgement of MR.D.I.Y., a home-grown brand from Malaysia, as being the best home improvement retailer brand. Most importantly, this victory has elevated our business partners and customers’ confidence towards our brand as we increase our footprint in the global market across Asia. 

This prestigious recognition is a credit to MR.D.I.Y.’s management and employees for their continuous dedication and contributions in shaping the brand and the company’s success today. We are grateful to have around 9,000 great employees across Malaysia working as one team to build this winning brand. We definitely believe that this recognition will bring MR.D.I.Y.’s reputation to greater heights. 

Can you describe the most successful marketing campaign MR.D.I.Y. has executed? 

The most successful campaign that MR.D.I.Y. did was our eye-catching billboard campaign in 2014 — 6% GST Kami Bayar; Biar Kami Rugi, Anda Puas Hati. That campaign became a hit and truly memorable to Malaysians since the (Goods & Service Tax) GST was a hot topic at that time. We not only captured Malaysians’ hearts with the billboard tagline but also had other brands copying our ideas and method for this campaign. Another testament to the effectiveness of the campaign was when we won our first award for the best billboard in 2014. This billboard campaign had also gotten us to the front pages of a local English newspaper, something that we were extremely proud of. 

Are there any collaboration plans for MR.D.I.Y.’s marketing for 2020? 

In January 2020, we are expecting to hit our 1,000th store overall. We celebrated this immense milestone at AEON Shah Alam with an array of promotions and on-ground activities such as complimentary umbrellas, RM1 Deal of water can and airtight containers, Freebies Giveaway of RM10 voucher for first 100 pax + Airtight Container, Spin & Win contest to win cash vouchers or airtight containers or pens, complimentary face painting and popcorn and cotton candy, magic performances and balloon sculptures. 

MR.D.I.Y. is also working closely with e-wallet service providers to provide greater convenience for our customers’ shopping experience. We believe in promoting this payment method as it offers customers a smooth check-out experience when they make their purchases while providing them with more rewards, more benefits and discounts. 

MR.D.I.Y. serves more than 100 million customers annually through their stores network and online at https://www.mrdiy.com.my/

How important would you say innovation is to the growth of MR.D.I.Y. in the FMCG industry, specifically in its marketing context? 

Marketing innovation and MR.D.I.Y. e-commerce platforms innovation — and to be innovative — is important to MR.D.I.Y.; we are very innovative with the billboard campaign strategy as we always create catchy, bold, daring and factual taglines such as Beli Cermat Poket Selamat that was actually originated from Malay proverbs, Pandu Cermat Jiwa Selamat, Di Mana Ada Jalan, Di Situ Ada MR.DIY also originated from Di Mana Ada Kemahuan, Di Situ Ada Jalan. This is the creativity and innovative approach that we are doing for our billboard campaigns. 

Since we have a great business model, we have leveraged on it to delight our customers. In 2018, we launched our e-commerce platform in order to create an omni-channel experience for our loyal customers — offering the customers a seamless shopping experience for them to shop at MR.D.I.Y.  anytime and anywhere with a click of a finger. Overall, MR.D.I.Y. will continue to provide innovative convenience for the customers. 

Would you say that MR.D.I.Y. is doing enough to leverage, protect and expand the value of its customer relationships? 

MR.D.I.Y. serves 100 million customers annually through our network of stores and online. We listen to our customers and endeavour to cater to all their household needs and wants. It is because of this endeavour to serve our customers that we provide them the widest range of products — over 14,000 items over 10 categories — that are of good quality and at “Always Low Prices”, staying true to our company motto. Our stores — whether they are in huge shopping centres in major cities or in shoplots in smaller towns — adhere to the same price points, product offerings and payment options, to provide our customers the greatest possible convenience of shopping for their everyday needs. 

Our strength lies in our company’s tagline: “Always Low Prices”, and the dedication towards providing the greatest convenience to our customers, which translates into making a positive difference to their everyday lives. This motto and outlook towards our customers has been at the heart of whatever we have done over the years. This is how MR.D.I.Y. relates and connects to the customers and what makes us unique as a retailer. 

Among the ways we show how much we value our customers is through our excellent customer service team — we engage with our customers online, and listen to any feedback that they may have for us, whether it is positive or otherwise. 

What can we expect to see from MR.D.I.Y. in 2020, when it will mark its 15 th  year? 

As mentioned earlier, in January 2020, we hit our 1,000th store overall. Other than that, we will continue to open more MR.D.I.Y. stores across Malaysia so we can reach out to more of customers across the country. 

MR.TOY in 2020 

We are also opening more stores under our toy store chain, MR.TOY, which was established in May 2019, as we aim to operate 50 stores around Malaysia by the end of 2020, offering customers access to a variety of quality toys that are always fun and at low prices, making them affordable for everyone. 

MR.TOY, which began operations in May 2019, is Malaysia’s first home-grown toy store chain and is now open in 15 locations around country. Its slogan — “Always Low Prices, Always Fun” — is reflective of its aim to provide Malaysian parents, children and toy enthusiasts with safe, fun and educational toys at lowest prices

e-commerce Robotics Warehouse 2020 

Another development coming up, which we are very excited about, is our 2-storey robotics warehouse that we hope to officially unveil in Quarter 2 2020. When it finally opens, this will be the biggest warehouse of its kind in Southeast Asia. MR.D.I.Y. envisions that this warehouse will play a significant role, especially for our expanding e-commerce division, as it would improve the efficiency of product lifting and segregation. 

We’d like to end it with a quirky question that has stemmed purely out of curiosity — what is the most bought product from MR.D.I.Y. in Malaysia? 

There is no specific product that we can say is the “most bought item”; however we can share that our customers most often buy items in our Household category — which includes products such as batteries, lightbulbs and water bottles.


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