Mr. Awoonor who studied finance at the University of Connecticut and earned his MBA from The Wharton School of Business in this interview with MobileWorld speaks on Tigo’s current position in the market, innovations and trivial issues..Excerpts
M.W.: Recently you launched Tigo Voice Chat Service, how are your subscribers responding to the new service?
T.A.: We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous response from subscribers after the Tigo Voice Chat Service was launched about a month ago.
The Tigo Voice Chat is an interactive voice service that gives like-minded people the opportunity to interact in theme based chat rooms such as love and romance, friendship, business and jobs. It also creates the virtual networking platform where people from different backgrounds could dial in to discuss trending topics relating to business, health, love or relationship.
In effect, we have achieved a remarkable feat and taken the concept of social interaction to an entirely new level by creating a very useful forum that interconnects people through dialogue.
The uptake has been fantastic and feedback from customers indicates that the service is a phenomenal success.
M.W.: As the Head of Marketing at Tigo, are you comfortable with your current position in the market?
T.A.: The Tigo brand is currently in a very good position in the mobile market. We pioneered the mobile revolution in Ghana and had first mover advantage ostensibly from being the first network to roll out in Ghana and amassed a loyal following as a result. Through hard work and our zeal to provide affordable and relevant mobile solutions for consumers, Tigo is currently the preferred choice among professionals who demand reliable service from their network operator and our subscriber base is constantly growing with more and more prospective subscribers making the switch to Tigo to enjoy the inherent value in our network offering.
We have been able to achieve our current market position by providing truly innovative products and services and through a customer base that has stayed loyal to the Tigo brand over the years.
M.W.: Your mobile insurance won an award at the recent MobileWorld 2nd Ghana Telecom Awards. Tell us more about the Tigo mobile insurance; and are we to expect more innovations from you this year?
T.A.: Tigo will strive to develop more consumer oriented products and services to enrich the everyday life of consumers with regards to mobile solutions and ultimately to benefit in terms of market share appreciation from the many subscribers who realize the value of our innovative product range and opt to use Tigo.
The accolade is a clear indication that our customers appreciate our efforts in bringing out services they find relevant to their lives and the fact we are on the right course in offering good value for money.
The Tigo Mobile Insurance was developed to provide life insurance cover for registered Tigo users in the event of the death of the registered user or his next of kin. Funeral expenses in Ghana have become expensive social events and any bereaved family could use all the help they can get during such periods, Tigo realized the ‘need’ and developed the mobile insurance product to give respite and lend support in times like this.
The Tigo Mobile Insurance partners with Vanguard Life Insurance; a unique benefit about this service is that a registered user does not need to pay directly for the service. All a Tigo subscriber needs to do is to simply register for the mobile insurance and keep using Tigo for calls and texting. There is a correlation between the amount of credit used within a month and the life insurance cover for the subsequent month, with the option to double your cover with a token fee under the Xtra Life premium model.
I am pleased to disclose that since the inception of this service, we have paid quite a number of claims already and made a positive impact in the lives of beneficiaries. It is no surprise we are witnessing an increasing number of excited customers signing up for the service on a daily basis.
This depth of loyalty and subsequent subscription to our services is a reminder of the success of our efforts and spurs us to introduce more innovations onto the Ghanaian market to help meet the needs and expectations of our customers and the general public. You can expect more value added and tailor-made innovations from Tigo this year.
M.W.: Can you say you offer competitive pricing to your subscribers judging by the stiff competition in the industry?
T.A.: The Tigo brand has the most compelling offer on the market. Currently, we offer the lowest tariff in Ghana, and with our unconditional 3Gp per minute call rate customers’ airtime is guaranteed to last longer. Our high speed and affordable internet service is unparalleled and our time based internet plans allows customers to access the internet at their convenience without any worry of depleting data MB/GB allowance.
We always endeavor to make Tigo the brand for everyone irrespective of the class and the results are there for all to see!
We have many other tailor-made services that suit the lifestyle of every Ghanaian. Some of these include:
Tigo SOS, which gives the customer a convenient means of continuing the conversation anytime he runs out of talk time by simply requesting for credit directly from Tigo.
Tigo Cash, a safe and reliable alternative for money remittances and a secure medium to make purchases and payments.
Tigo Life Insurance, which we have already talked about and many more.
MW: Describe yourself in three words:
TA: I keep an open mind at all times, driven and results-oriented. I suppose that’s more than three words eh.
MW: What motivates you on your current job?
T.A.: The rewarding smile of a satisfied customer is definitely an incentive for me.
In today’s competitive market, customers are always looking for ways to make their lives easier. The attraction and motivation for my current job is the idea of enriching lives by making life simple for all Ghanaians. We want Tigo to be accessible and visible across the length and breadth of the country as well as position it as the most rewarding brand on the market in terms of affordability and value for money.
We believe we can achieve this objective by introducing very innovative products that speak to the aspirations of people and services that Ghanaians find relevant to their lives.
M.W.: What is your favourite marketing campaign or slogan?
T.A.: My favorite marketing slogan is “Express Yourself”. It embodies all what Tigo stands for, the ability to give customers the power of expression, Tigo simply wants to give everyone the opportunity and ability to express themselves anytime, any day, anywhere, anyhow without any constraints.
M.W.: If you had three wishes, what would it be?
T.A.: My first wish is to lead my team to ensure that our brand becomes the most preferred brand in the hearts and minds of Ghanaians. My other wish is to innovate beyond the telecom space to provide products and services that fulfill the lifestyle needs of every individual.
And finally, I wish that we continue to have a stable and vibrant economy after peaceful elections in December, 2012. I want to see Ghana become the beacon of peace that leads the entrepreneurship, business and economic transformation of Africa.
M.W.: What marketing issue keeps you awake at night?
T.A.: That’s an interesting question. For me it’s really the innovation or consumer trend I’m not seeing that could become the next big thing is what I ponder on at night. What new and innovative communication trends are emerging, what are the new habits of our target customers, how are the youth using technology and whether or not it’s been identified by someone else already. I guess you can say it’s the unknown.
All of this also boils down to whether or not we meet our customers’ expectations. Thankfully I have a strong team that supports me.
M.W.: How do you relax?
T.A.: I spend time with my family, especially my eight-year-old son who always has funny stories and jokes. I also enjoy the company of friends and associates.