The client, KG Telecom, the fourth largest service provider in the Taiwan marketplace, decided to bring in i-mode, Japan’s leading communications platform.

The challenge

To gain market share saturated with larger providers holding long-term customer contracts, and to overcome a mobile phone market limited to voice calls. At this time, transactional usage was little known and had poor facility support, thus limiting i-mode’s ability to sell its product benefits. In addition, high-speed data-access similar to i-mode’s was already the norm. Our challenge was to create a demand for this new provider with zero awareness.

The strategy

Our aim was to position the service as innovative, relevant and effective to consumers. First, generate PR through mainstream media. Gain interest and create demand in the product attributes. Bring i-mode into recognizable life-experience situations, using the media as the communications tool. Use trial and testimonial situations to reinforce the service qualities. Deliver the message in a way the target can understand and appreciate, while challenging and entertaining them.

Execution streams

Television newsbreaks announced the arrival of i-mode, creating awareness amongst consumers. This was supported by new outdoor positioning, e.g. large banners teasers with ‘I’ll wait for you, see you soon on June 20th’ messages around locations frequented by the youth target.

Print and website positions all drew attention to the forthcoming arrival of i-mode, together with ‘roadblock’ placement on prime-time TV. The product was woven into a popular youth TV drama that enabled the product to be discussed, seen and used by the actors. A TV commercial was then developed based around the drama and the product. Other media used was manual inserts and editorial coverage to keep the public informed about the ‘latest’ on i-mode.

After the initial teaser campaign, a series of testimonial ads were developed in association with five major TV stations. These featured real users on how the impact of i-mode affected their lifestyle, thus providing more credibility and interest in the service.

Island break commercials using five distinct creative messages provided one of the ‘firsts’ for this market with the emphasis on ‘never done before’ media executions.

A teaser ad was designed for the front page of the Yahoo! Taiwan website, one of the highest traffic websites amongst youth. Innovative front page ads announced the impending arrival of i-mode. This was supported with magazine booklet inserts in key youth print titles. Ads to tie-in with editorial content of each newspaper section were used, e.g. an i-mode map function in the travel pages.

Results

The user base of i-mode peaked at every advertising campaign. Initial subscriber target was achieved in less than six months. Subscriptions surpassed the initial target by 22%. KG Telecom now commands a significant share of the high-speed data-access market.

Through Carat’s strategy and planning application, i-mode not only became an essential part of the youth market in Taiwan by virtue of its target positioning, it was relevant, original, and distinctive in its communications marketing.