Koodo Community. Building brand love in an unexpected place.

Technology Products/Services (SILVER)

Client Credits: Koodo Mobile
Dan Quick, Head of Koodo Mobile
Kevin Banderk, Chief Koodo Officer
Lise Doucet, VP, Marketing Communications
Bernard Szederkenyi, VP, Customer Experience
Nathan Roth, Head of Digital Marketing

Agency Credits: TAXI Canada Ltd.
Creative Directors: Steve Mykolyn, Lance Martin, Jeff MacEachern
Art Directors: Mike Blain, Jason Kerr, Jordan Dunlop, Melissa Zeta, Jon Barnes
Copywriters: Tal Wagman, Marko Pandza, Mike Blackmore, Trevor Aune
Planners/Strategists: Zach Klein, Brandon Smith, Sean McDonald, Christine Maw
Account Directors: Natalie Calderon, Jessica Lax
Account Managers: Yousuf Afridi, Kirstin Bojanowski, Krista Cressman
Media Planners: Charlaine St-Amant, Brie Angus, Shaun Dias
Media Buyers: Brie Angus, Shaun Dias
Joyce King, Digital Producer
Hanna Bratt, Digital Production Lead
Matt Burtch, Technical Director
Jon Krogh, Illustrator
Damien Boyes, Director of Interaction Design
Jordan Kentris, Interaction Design
Mason Braun, Developer
Ryan Johnson, Senior Developer

Total 2317 Words


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):December 2011–December 2013
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: December 2011
Base Period as a Benchmark: January–December 2011

a) Overall Assessment

Koodo Mobile is a brand that knows how to get noticed. It debuted in early 2008 with a look as bold as its proposition: affordable mobility that is simple and fair. It cast aside the pricey rate plans, hidden fees, and long-term contracts that characterized the incumbents in the category. Koodo was born to be different. Its target finally had an alternative that matched their budget and their irreverent attitude. The result? Koodo was the most successful wireless launch in Canadian history.

Since then, Koodo's rivals have copied its once-innovative products and services. It has become increasingly important for the brand to find new ways of communicating its distinctive values to separate it from the pack – and to do so within the constraints of a limited budget. We needed to find new ways of fighting for phone freedom and building brand advocacy. To succeed in the challenging Canadian market characterized by consumer distrust, we would need to look at every consumer touch point as an opportunity to extend our value proposition in a game-changing way.
In a market known for dissatisfaction with customer service, we identified customer support as a big opportunity to blaze a new trail. Traditionally, this necessity is one of the largest costs of business. Being Koodo, we challenged the status quo and set out to invent a new, profoundly distinctive model for customer support. Something the telco industry hadn’t seen before – a model that would build a meaningful relationship with our customers, differentiate Koodo from the competition, drive brand advocacy, and hopefully save us a few dollars too. We dubbed this vision the “Koodo Community.”

b) Resulting Business Objectives

Our vision was tied to two important business objectives to help us measure success over a 24-month period:

1.    Increase our Koodo Community members’ likelihood-to-recommend (LTR) score by 2%. ?This industry standard measurement is a reflection of customer satisfaction and brand advocacy. An increase in L2R leads to greater sales and revenue.?
2.    Increase call deflections by 9%.
This traditional and costly customer support model can set telco’s back approximately $8 to $12 per call (estimated industry average). An increase in call deflections boosts our bottom line and gets us closer to our aspirational goal of zero inbound calls by 2015.

c) Annual Media Budget
$100,000 - $200,000

d) Geographic Area
English-speaking Canada

a) Analysis and Insight

Questions or moments of frustration are inevitable for customers of any service provider. We needed to make it easy for people to get the help they were looking for in a way that is natural and to tie it back to our belief that mobility should be fair and simple.

Self-serve culture has always been at the heart of Koodo’s simplified offering and our customers gravitate towards it. As value seekers, they are used to trading their time to save money by shopping for brands like IKEA and banking with ING Direct. Since its launch, Koodo has always encouraged its customers to help themselves on Koodo’s digital properties for simple tasks, such as checking usage, changing plans, and making payments. But self-service for customer support was something we had yet to tap into on a bigger scale.

Koodo’s target is a group that distrusts telcos, is dissatisfied with traditional customer service, and relies on the Internet for information and purchasing decisions. They question everything, and they respect people, not authority. They’re pragmatic and would rather solve their own problems immediately than wait on the phone for customer support. So, how could the brand connect with this crowd? We had to break free from the out-dated industry standard of one-to-one call centre support to really earn their trust.

We identified social media as a transparent medium to build trust with customers. We bravely lead the way in the industry by engaging in a public two-way dialogue with customers about our products and services on social media. Giving up ownership of our brand’s reputation to the people who use it would encourage open conversation and collaboration between customers. And we knew that, to our target, the opinions of their social network peers mattered more than those of any company.   

To succeed in creating a unique Koodo support experience to meet our objectives, we had to pioneer a new customer-support model in the industry that would drive self-help, build brand advocacy, and reduce operational costs. It had to be something that would bring our customers and their peers to the same table.

Our vision was to create a self-sustaining social community powered entirely by Koodo customers, one that could be the sole destination for all mobile-related questions and answers. We proposed an evolution from the company-to-customer service model (one-to-one) to a customers-to-customers model (many-to-many) – a decision that had the potential to earn trust and create long-term differentiation in a highly competitive and commoditized market.

b) Communication Strategy

For Koodo, fighting for the little guy has always meant being straightforward and free of BS. We wanted to make sure that talking to them in the online support space was a natural brand extension, so we created some guidelines:

Be simple
Get to the point. Mean what you say. Mobility problems are tough enough without adding confusion. The user experience had to be dead simple, accessible on any platform from desktop to mobile, and lend itself to finding answers quickly.

Be transparent
Be open. Be honest. Every time. Facilitating and engaging in public dialogue would demonstrate that.

Make it fun
Don’t be boring. Awesome online support is worth sharing, but not if it puts people to sleep. Since our bold brand personality is built on the core attributes of fair, simple, and fun, the solution had to look and feel unlike any other online community.

a) Media Used

Owned media
Koodo website
Self-serve mobile app
Email campaign
In-store Rep training
Organic search

Paid media
IAB units with retargeting
Mobile ad units with retargeting
Search-engine management

b) Creative Discussion

To make our vision a reality, we had to explore social media platforms to build an online support community that was quick, easy to use, and facilitated public dialogue. It needed to be customizable to allow us to design an experience that would keep customer satisfaction and engagement high.

We recognized that trendy platforms like Facebook and Twitter were not complete solutions. So, in true Koodo style, we built our own. We launched a modern online community built on a highly customizable platform. Benefits include tablet and mobile accessibility, content indexed on Google for organic search results, a smart search feature that suggests relevant answers based on keywords, and robust tools to manage thousands of conversation threads. In early 2011 – the Koodo Community – a peer-to-peer support community was launched (Exhibit 1).

The Koodo Community was off to a great start. As we had envisioned, visitors signed up to become members to ask questions and look for answers. Our Community boasted a dynamic search function, which was smart enough to detect what you were typing and show results for similar queries (Exhibit 2). This method of asking questions became very popular, very quickly. Fellow peers began answering questions posted by members of the Community. Our Koodo Community manager would select the best correct peer answer, and then mark the question as “answered.” As the database of questions and answers grew organically, we observed that customers were getting the help they needed when they needed it, and with ease. Our target gravitated towards a peer-to-peer support platform because of their dissatisfaction with traditional customer service, their knack for online research, and the value they place on the word of their peers over that of a company.

Part of our vision was to have the Koodo Community sustain itself with minimal involvement of Koodo employees. The Community relies on the support of dedicated customers to visit repeatedly to help one another solve problems. Rather than look entirely to the goodwill of our customers, we needed to motivate participation. We found inspiration in behavioural economics, where we uncovered two valuable human insights:

1) People engage in activities in which meaningful achievements are recognized; and
2) People naturally desire things that are perceived as exclusive.

We introduced aspects of gamification, a cultural cue our audience grew up with, to help accelerate peer-to-peer engagement in a fun way. We created missions and badges in an eight-bit visual language to reinforce game mechanics that are important in driving participation (Exhibit 3). Members earn points based on their participation, both in asking and answering questions. A real-time, public leaderboard constantly updates the achievements of participants and encourages friendly competition (and boosts egos, too). We gave the status levels names, like “Noob,” “Brainiac,” and “Prodigy,” to further inject that sense of cheeky Koodo fun. The higher the rank the more evident it is that the member has contributed their knowledge and time to the community. These status levels are displayed publicly beneath usernames, which helps instill trust in the answers provided by peer experts.

As the membership in the Community grew, we noticed an exceptionally engaged group of members who were informed, helpful, and active. To build a deeper relationship with them, we lauded the efforts of this exclusive group of highly engaged members by launching a complete loyalty program called the “Mobile Masters.”

Every three months, we select the next bright minds that have made the biggest and best contributions to the Koodo Community and feature them as Mobile Masters on a dedicated microsite, on the Koodo Blog, and on our Facebook page (Exhibit 4). The Mobile Masters earn recognition and privileges within the Community for going beyond the “Genius” rank, having earned a high number of points sustained over a period of time. They also set a great example in the Community by living Koodo’s values and being friendly and respectful to all.

We send each Mobile Master a customized kit with prizes and a personalized letter featuring their portrait image in eight-bit graphic style. Mobile Masters also gain direct access to Koodo’s customer service and marketing teams, get behind-the-scenes access to select Koodo projects, receive open invitations to write for the Koodo Blog, and are invited to exchange banter in a private Facebook group. As a bonus, the Mobile Masters get the opportunity to borrow and test the latest phones. And last but not least, the Mobile Masters are flown to Toronto from across the country to meet face to face with the Koodo team, including our Chief Officer, and enjoy a weekend of fun-filled activities.

Through rewarding positive behaviour in the Community in true Koodo fashion, we aim to drive customer-to-customer support, earn our customers’ trust, drive brand advocacy, and reduce calls to our call centre.

c) Media Discussion

One of the many benefits is that the Koodo Community’s success does not require an ongoing mass media spend. Limited media dollars were spent on search-engine management, hard-working IABs, and mobile ad units with retargeting.

The media plan was designed to reach existing and potential Koodo customers, the group most likely to adopt and benefit from the Koodo Community. The primary tactic is to retarget visitors to KoodoMobile.com within 90 days, which allows Koodo to extend reach and exposure. We use keyword contextual targeting, in-market segmentation, and top-performing verticals to ensure relevancy. An exclusion filter was also implemented to prevent messaging people who had visited the Koodo Community in the last 14 days. Of course, people also self-qualified by clicking on Koodo Community ads.

We focused the majority of our efforts on placing prominent messages with calls-to-action on our owned media channels (Exhibit 5). We pointed traffic to the Community on the Help, FAQ, and Contact Us pages on our website; in our Self Serve mobile app; with email campaigns; and through in-store Rep promotions to spread the word. Best of all, 78% of our traffic is organic through active search-engine optimization (SEO).

a) Sales/Share Results

Today the Community is entirely self-sustaining, resolving 99.96% of inquiries, thanks to our top users who individually help up to 15 hours each week. Trusted peers share answers in less than four minutes on average in comparison to the average telco, which takes upward of two hours to reply on Facebook. It’s also five-times faster than getting help using the call centre! 100% of the answers have been “approved” by a Community moderator, which nods to the quality of peer support.

Koodo’s decision to break from the traditional one-to-one service model (company-to-customer) and pioneer the customers-to-customers model (many-to-many) to drive brand advocacy and save money was validated by these business results:

1.    Increased our Community members’ likelihood-to-recommend (L2R) score by 8.7%. ?We exceeded our objective (2% lift) by 435%.?
2.    Increased call deflections by 64.6%. We exceeded our objective by 718%.

As the community grew, our L2R scores increased, which helped drive sales. Furthermore, the increased number of call deflections reduced operating costs.


b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

Since the Koodo Community’s launch, our customer satisfaction metrics have greatly improved. The Community has helped reduce churn and boost LTR to lead the category. We have also received a third consecutive J.D. Power and Associates award for Highest Customer Satisfaction, one for each year since launching the Community. We built brand love in an unexpected place in our industry.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It was not long before our sister and parent brands, Public Mobile and TELUS Mobility, applied Koodo’s strategy across their businesses, while competitors attempted to unsuccessfully copy our approach. To date, the Koodo Community is the most active and visited community among Canadian telcos, with over 3,000,000 annual visits.

The Koodo Community has successfully transformed our customers’ largest pain point into to an active and passionate community of fans who advocate our brand.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

Media spending remained steady and did not spike prior to or during the launch of the Koodo Community.


Koodo maintained its competitive pricing across Canada.

Distribution Changes:

Not applicable.

Unusual Promotional Activity:

Not applicable.

Other Potential Causes:

Not applicable.