#MarketingExcellenceAwards MY 2020 highlight: Yoodo levels up to be go-to telco for gamers

In January 2018, telco brand Yoodo was launched into an intensely competitive industry. As a startup, the brand was up against established telco rivals such as U Mobile, Digi and Maxis. Despite these challenges, Yoodo managed to build a strong, loyal community within just a year.

However, according to a brand health research performed by Kantar in early 2019, Yoodo found that 69% of its potential target audience had not even heard of the brand before, though 71% of them expressed the willingness to convert upon seeing Yoodo’s concept. It was clear to the Yoodo team that increasing consumer touch points would be key to driving conversion.

Hence the team, along with agencies Truth Communications, 4 Thirteen Group, ADA, embarked to reach out a new target audience: gamers and esports enthusiasts. Through a slew of initiatives, Yoodo managed to increase its brand recall within the gaming community, embedding itself within the minds of Malaysian gamers. Yoodo’s campaign eventually won it the gold award in the category of “Excellence in sports/esports marketing” at A+M’s Marketing Excellence Awards 2020.

Challenge

Through the insights gathered, Yoodo found its new target audience: gamers and esports enthusiasts, who were conventionally high data users. With a growing market of over 20 million gamers in Malaysia and an industry worth over US$673 million, it was clear that there is great potential within this audience segment.

Yoodo was then faced with the challenge of breaking through the noise of growing brand involvement and partnership within the gaming sphere to dominate the segment and truly connect with gamers, thereby winning over new users. Being a telco startup, the team had the additional challenge of working with limited resources and marketing budget.

Strategy

Yoodo devised a long-term strategy that would leverage on the esports sector to drive consumer awareness and brand affinity, ultimately leading to conversions. The team looked to utilise gaming tournaments to lure in new potential users, exciting them with initiatives that are close to their hearts and then hooking them in to the service with strategically rolled-out product add-ons.

Throughout the campaign, Yoodo held one underlying mantra: to maximise fan/user involvement, creating multiple touch-points that would directly connect with, and win over gamers. With various initiatives focused at profiling its product features and commitment to gamers, the brand’s ultimate goal was to convey the message that Yoodo is the go-to telco for gamers.

For the campaign to be a success, Yoodo built credibility and relevance by partnering with well-known and respected entities, and collaborating with exciting personalities within the gaming arena. This would be critical in getting the buy-in from gamers as Yoodo was initially an unknown name within the gaming sector.

Yoodo also made a strategic move to create a subsidiary brand page, Yoodo Esports, on Facebook to tap into the Facebook gaming community. Carrying the brand personality of Yoodo, the Yoodo Esports page was set up to engage with esports enthusiasts on a highly personal level, and to feed them content or ads that are relevant to them.

Additionally, Yoodo adopted a 360 degree communications approach to reach out to gamers on multiple touch points and build brand believers and advocates. This includes print, online, broadcast, bloggers, social media, influencers, live streams, gaming competitions, online and search engine advertisements, in-app notifications, and more.

Execution

The campaign was led by the various tournaments that Yoodo organised or sponsored. Yoodo spearheaded eight different esports tournaments, either as the main organiser or lead sponsor:

  • ESL MY Championship 2020 – Call of Duty (COD): Mobile Season One 
  • Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) Pro League (MPL) Malaysia/Singapore season five and season six
  • Yoodo Kejohanan Kampus Esukan Semester 3 (KEK3)
  • Yoodo PUBG MOBILE Campus Championship 2019 (PMCC 2019)
  • PUBG MOBILE National Championship 2020 (PMNC 2020)
  • Yoodo FV Major Cup 2020
  • Yoodo Stay at Home Cup

This wide spectrum of tournaments allowed Yoodo to reach out to millions of diverse gaming fans.

Through campus-focused amateur tournaments such as KEK3 or general public tournaments such as the Yoodo Stay at Home Cup, Yoodo ensured that they organised tournaments which allowed fans to directly participate in the competition.

To further drive public interest, Yoodo also empowered organised a contest that allowed fans to play together with their favourite influencers during the PMCC 2019 finals match.

Yoodo’s initiatives in esports were supplemented through engagements with 16 influencers. From mass-market appeal influencers including comedian Luqman Podolski and singer Elizabeth Tan, to gaming legends like Master Ramen, these influencers provided vital touch points for Yoodo to directly and credibly deliver Yoodo’s campaign message to the target audience.

Meanwhile, to drive conversion of gamers to Yoodo users, the team ensured that they always had a relevant product offering, in the form of game-specific data add-ons, for every tournament. Whether it was promoting the existing PUBG MOBILE add-on or introducing the new COD Mobile or MLBB add-ons, Yoodo ensured that all communication touch-points conveyed these product-offering messages including on-ground events, social media postings and influencer postings.

Yoodo also continued to deepen its footprint in esports through establishing and supporting more esports teams. This came in the form of increased profiling for its original PUBG MOBILE esports team, Yoodo Gank. Yoodo recruited two high profile players to the team, and dedicated significant resources towards profiling the team and their journey through vlogs, interviews and other postings. This resulted in an exponential growth in team popularity, leading to Yoodo Gank becoming Malaysia’s most popular PUBG MOBILE esports team.

Looking to replicate this success, Yoodo unveiled two other gaming teams, Yoodo FV and Geek Fam MLBB, to its growing esports roster. This gave Yoodo a monopoly across three key sectors within gaming, ensuring that Yoodo was introduced to a wide spectrum of gamers, building a diverse base of brand advocates that could touch all key areas of gaming enthusiasts.

Results

The campaign effectively reached out to millions of gamers in Malaysia, through both on-ground activities as well as the various media and online channels utilised. It branded Yoodo as the telco for gamers, intrinsically tying the brand to an array of different games and gaming communities.

Yoodo also emerged as a recognised brand within the gaming sphere. Today, Yoodo stands as the most popular telco in esports, dominating two of the most popular mobile games, PUBG MOBILE and MLBB.

Separately, Yoodo’s Facebook page, Yoodo Esports, garnered a strong community of 75,100 page followers within a year from 2019 to 2020, with an average 150k organic views for each livestreams of the esports tournament. From a business perspective, the campaign helped drive sign-ups for the mobile service with SIM orders witnessing a spike from August 2019 to August 2020 when compared to August 2018 to August 2019.

From a communications perspective, the campaign was effective in driving awareness and building brand affinity. The campaign recorded a cumulative reach of 41 million, and generated 359 media coverage that amounted to RM10 million in PR value within the one-year period.