Changing the game in youth engagement

Engaging with Turkcell’s youth audience through gamification

The youth audience is an incredibly tricky market for mobile brands to engage with. They are busy, savvy, bombarded with marketing messages from all types of companies, and very price sensitive. Loyalty, engagement, and emotional proximity are hard won – but that is exactly what we had to do for Turkcell.

We had previously worked with Turkcell to create a service for their premium customers, so we understood the brand and organization, however for this project, we had to dig deep in order to get to know what today’s youth find exciting and valuable from a mobile provider. As much as we would love to believe we have our finger firmly on the pulse, through in-depth interviews with their youth customers, we revealed interesting insights around youth expectations and behaviours, which were critical for the generation of our strategy.

Turkcell’s originally asked us to help grow loyalty with their audience through gifting, but we quickly discovered that these types of perks are no longer hugely motivating for this audience who have grown more than familiar with this type of marketing approach. Our research uncovered that young people want to be in control of their finances, in touch with their friends, and have fun. And it was this element of fun that we made the central pillar of our strategy. It meant a change in approach, but we all agreed it was the appropriate direction for Turkcell.

Fun with a function

We knew this demanding audience would need useful tools for managing their mobile phone bill and regular offers giving them higher value for their payments. But these two things on their own would not be enough if we wanted to engage with youth customers on a long-term basis. The process for doing these everyday tasks, and even for using customer service, needed to be approachable and gratifying. It needed to be fun.

With this in mind, our strategy was to go beyond the standard one-way marketing channel and create a living platform, delivered through a mobile app, which was filled with dynamic content and inspired by the principles of gamification. By designing a series of badges, which users would get as rewards for using various aspects of the service (or simply for texting a friend at 3am), we believed Turkcell could genuinely engage with customers, keep them interested, and give them something else to compete for with their friends. Most importantly for Turkcell, it was not fun for fun’s sake, it was fun with a function: to help users get the most from their mobile phone provider,  increase loyalty, shape their mobile behavior, and learn even more about this audience and what they love to do.

The timeline was tight, so we defined a special approach in order to deliver the project for the deadline. Firstly, we divided the service concept into four core components, running one-week design sprints for each part. We also created one working team, consisting of Fjord designers and key client stakeholders from their business, technology, and brand teams, with teaming  agencies joining at different stages.

Our core team then began each of the four weeks with a co-creation workshop where we explored ideas and made quick decisions on the way forward. Our designers then concepted service interfaces which were prototyped at the end of each week so the team could understand exactly how the ideas would come to life.

With this lean approach, we were able to build different sections of the app incredibly quickly, utilizing the final two weeks to focus on the details, finalizing the iOS app design, and translation to Android OS. Having worked in alliance with the client throughout the process, we also helped them communicate the vision to their digital and communications agencies, resulting in a very effective launch campaign.

“Our process with Fjord was unique. This approach allowed us to align multiple parties that were involved in the process and helped everyone to be on the same page. Thanks to this process, we were very efficient and the development went incredibly smoothly.”
Ozgu Karatas Senior Account Manager – Digital Channels

This is just the beginning

The app has delivered on helping Turkcell engage with their youth customers. Users can see their mobile phone bills, top up their account, chat with customer support and win badges and rewards, which they can display and show off on social media. What is more, the badges and content regularly change to help keep users engaged, without the need for handset software updates.

And it is becoming hugely popular. Turkcell sponsored GNC Fest, a major music festival in Istanbul, the perfect opportunity to promote and trial test the app to their target audience. By making it central to the festival experience, over 14,000 of the 20,000 festival-goers downloaded it and experimented with all of the features – from voting on what the headliner Pharrell should wear, to finding out about the queues at the toilet.

Following the festival, the app had 120,000 downloads in its first month, with an impressive 92% of those now being active users. Over 212,000 badges have been won in 1 month and the app has 4.5 stars on both the Apple app store and Google Play.

Our work does not stop here.  In fact, this is just the beginning. While the initial launch phase has been incredibly successful, we are equally excited about what comes next and continue to work with Turkcell to improve, refine, and iterate on the service.

As well as the badge rewards, we have been piloting simple content like “Love it/Hate it” quizzes, which give Turkcell further insight into the youth market and what they find rewarding. Turkcell continues to engage with its growing community, incentivizing them to work together for further rewards and on chances to win bigger prizes. The creation of this community is becoming a hugely powerful tool both in terms of customer insight and peer-to-peer marketing. We are incredibly delighted with the initial results and look forward to continued successes with the gnctrkcll app Turkcell Youth .