Singtel, which is one of Singapore’s largest mobile network operators, established a new brand identity in 2015 to facilitate its transition into multimedia and ICT services. With its previous strategy in mind, Media Context explores new angles for Singtel's future rebranding initiatives.
In 2015, Singtel established a new brand identity to facilitate its transition into multimedia and ICT services.
Its corporate identity consists of its logo, slogan and tangible products that it uses to communicate with its stakeholders. In addition, Ms Lian Pek, Singtel’s Vice President, Group Corporate Communications, states that Singtel standardises its brand and message across its products and services, which would allow it to reflect its mission and values. (Singtel, 2017).
According to Singtel Group CEO, Ms Chua Sock Koong, Singtel’s primary stakeholders, its employees, customers and shareholders, perceive the company as a reliable brand that may provide relevant services. Singtel’s new slogan, “Let’s make everyday better”, reflects its intention to celebrate its customers’ daily achievements, and to deliver better technological services, devices and content (Singtel, 2015).
Singtel also aims to convey its reliability with its logo, a visual component of its corporate identity. Its logo is designed with a red arc that reflects the company’s innovation and continuous evolution. In addition, its curvilinear design positions Singtel as an approachable and caring service provider (Singtel, 2015).
Admittedly, the public displayed mixed reactions towards Singtel’s corporate identity, criticising the integrity of its new corporate statement, as well as the viability its logo’s design. In addition, members of Singtel’s secondary stakeholders, such as media representatives, have questioned the purpose behind its new logo (Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd, 2018).
In order to align its corporate identity with its stakeholders’ expectations, Joseph Baladi, managing partner at BrandAsian, suggests that Singtel should address inherent fallacies in its products or services, or new trends or opinions in its evolving marketplace (LIMPL, 2018).
Singtel’s corporate responsibility (CR) program should be separated into three distinct categories:
1. Customer relations
Due to Singtel’s expansion into Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia (Singtel, 2009), its CR programme should strengthen its reputation within emerging markets (Argenti, 2016). In addition, due to emerging competition within the telecommunications industry, Singtel should use its CR program to differentiate its brand from its top competitors, such M1 and Starhub (Singtel, 2018).
2. Employee Relations According to Argenti (2016), employees are significantly invested in an organisation’s CR initiatives. Since Singtel advocates its employees’ welfare, it should use their CR initiatives to develop goodwill and trust amongst their staff. This would allow it to attract and retain qualified employees.
3. Investor and Government relations Due to stringent regulation in the telecommunications industry (IMDA, 2017), Singtel’s CR initiatives should persuade their investors and regulators that they are operating responsibly. In addition, it should ensure that its CR initiatives should lead to increased revenue streams or future cost savings (Argenti, 2016).
Singtel’s CR program should include the following activities:
1. Customer Involvement
According to Argenti (2016), consumers are increasingly dedicated to CR practices. This is demonstrated by how more consumers are donating to charity, purchasing fair trade products at premium prices, and punishing corporations for their lack of CR.
In order to engage their community, Singtel should expand its existing CR initiatives across multiple territories. For instance, Singtel’s Touching Lives Fund provides children and youth with special needs in Singapore with specialised education and support programmes.
Whilst Singtel has generated support for its programmes by working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Singapore, it should also work with NGOs across its operational territories, such as Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
In order to foster trust amongst its customers, Singtel should engage the wider community in its CR programmes. Aside from working with charities, Singtel may request for public volunteers for its educational programs. In addition, it may feature its prominent volunteers across traditional media (e.g. press releases and TV featurettes) and social media platforms to thank them for their contributions. This would allow members of the public to feel that their contributions are valued.
2. Employee Welfare
Argenti (2016) emphasizes the importance of fostering employee advocates within a corporation. Singtel’s employees are some of its primary advocates, and may significantly influence public opinion about the corporation.
In order to foster employee goodwill and morale, Singtel should engage employees across all organisational levels. Similar to IBM’s InnovationJam in 2006, Singtel may request for their employees’ opinion about the companies’ CR initiatives through an internal chatroom. Singtel may allow employees to submit anonymous feedback in order to encourage honest critique about its CR activities (Argenti, 2016).
Singtel’s CR initiatives should also protect the interests of its staff. As such, it should implement initiatives to create a healthy workplace environment, such as allowing flexible working hours, policies to protect staff on medical or maternity leave, or fostering family-friendly environments. In addition, it should aid employee development by subsidising training courses for low-wage employees (Argenti, 2016).
In order to foster trust amongst its staff, Singtel’s leaders should also ensure that they establish and adhere to a prominent set of values. Following the example of Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Singtel’s leaders should also communicate their ethical expectations to their employees in order to emphasize the impact of their actions on the company’s general reputation (Argenti, 2016).
3. Investors and Government Expectations
According to Argenti (2016), investors are beginning to prioritise a corporation’s CR involvement, and governments are tightening their regulations across several industries.
Due to this, Singtel should implement schemes that benefit the investment community. For instance, it may extend its sponsorship programmes to start-ups, such as its Singtel Future Makers program, to entrepreneurs across the Asia Pacific region. In addition, it may also collaborate with its governmental partners, such as the National Council of Social Service, to conduct equity research into environmental, social and governance considerations.
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