How RM1 and listening to the customer can earn respect

Tai Kam Leong

Tai Kam Leong
It’s humbling the customer can teach us so much
We spoke to Tai Kam Leong, Head of Branding & Partnerships at Maxis, about the peculiarities of the marketplace. He is also the Opening Speaker at the coming Malaysian Media Conference on Feb 8.
Tai has come very far over the last 15 years.

From strategic marketing roles in multinational agencies to Managing Director of RAPP Singapore, he spent the last three and a half years as Head of Home at Maxis and recently took over marketing and branding for the brand. He brings a fresh perspective after having spent time in product development and marketing.

The boyish-looking Tai shares, “In the short time I’ve moved away and come back, it’s interesting to examine what is myth and what is real.”
We asked him about the agency scene and the shrinking margins in the business:

“The agencies and media are not up to speed with the changes that are happening. If anybody is afraid of change, that should be Maxis as a brand. So if we can embrace change, then the industry can too.”

Asking questions
Everybody knows not everything Google and Facebook say should be taken for granted. If we don’t ask questions, we’re not going to challenge them and we’re not going to go anywhere. Whether it’s a brand, industry or economy, there’s no possibility of going anywhere if we do not ask questions.

Choosing your battles
It’s okay to concede we are not going to win or influence conversations by dominating media and controlling the message.

The sooner we accept that, the more we will spend time listening and doing things that matter.
At Maxis, we spend more time understanding people and what they like, and finding a way to relate to them in a meaningful way.

I always fancied the thought that we are a big enough company to do anything but we are not big enough to do everything. You can be Manchester United or Chelsea, buy the best players in the world but you can’t buy all the best players in the world.
Even Google can’t.

On Millennials
The more we don’t know about millennials, the more we try to stereotype them. For example, we don’t know what makes millennials tick, so we label them as the lazy, self entitled generation.

In our organisation, the guys who earn the highest appraisals are the young ones, the under 30s. They’re also a lot more colourful, both in language in persona.

In WhatsApp conversations about a project, they’re very expressive. However in face to face situations, they’re very polite and almost quiet. We shouldn’t conclude anything, even though we have been thought that every problem comes to a concrete, definitive answer.
It’s OK not to be OK.
Watch Tai make an interesting marketing point here:

MMC 2018 Logo
The Malaysian Media Conference 2018 is INTERACTIVE
The Malaysian Media Conference is about Conversations.
Conversations before, during and after the Conference.
The best way to learn is when someone answers what you want to know.
With 15 speakers and moderators, the event will cover everything that is important for Media, Marketing and Digital moving forward.
Date: 8 February 2018
Time: 8.30am – 6.00pm
Venue: The Grand Ballroom, Sime Darby Convention Centre, Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.
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