I have been selected by Starhub, a telco in Singapore, to be a pre-launch user for their i-mode service (to be officially launched early next year I believe). So this is intended to be the first of a series of posts on my experience. Let me first begin by telling you how I got chosen.
Interesting approach taken by Starhub and one that I think is quite progressive: instead of focusing on traditional marketing ideas like mass-media advertising, focus groups and all the rest, they took on the idea that new technology/product adoption is driven in large part by influential early adopters.
Having made that mindset shift, the next question they must have faced was: how do we take advantage of this? This is where it gets interesting.
I, probably like many other people in Singapore, received an email that asked me to take a survey that would give me a chance to be a trial i-mode user. I normally don't click on these things but took the bait this time because of the various freebies on offer (details later).
The survey wasn't what I expected it to be. I thought it would contain the usual questions trying to find out how old I was, how much money I made and other similar demographic-type information.
The survey did have a little of that as I recall, but the majority of questions were devoted to figuring out what kind of personality I had. For example, one question asked whether I felt uncomfortable being the centre of attention in a crowd. Another asked me whether my friends thought of me as a good actor. And more in that vein.
At first, the questions were interesting in themselves and I didn't try to think about why Starhub was asking me these questions. But then I figured out that they were trying to identify people who were both early adopters of technology and were good at influencing others. And then they would probably award trial i-mode subscriptions to these people. Quite an innovative approach to new product launch, I thought.
At the end of the survey, I was told what personality type I was (see below) and that I would be informed in due course whether I had been selected as a trial i-moder.
This whole experience interested me so much that I did some snooping around -- found out that the basic idea and execution of the survey was done by a Singapore-based company called Vocanic. Just to give credit where it's due. Their CEO, Ian McKee, writes a very interesting blog called The Power of Influence, which has got reams more information on word-of-mouth marketing.
I think Starhub and Vocanic have done a pretty good job of translating the concept of word-of-mouth into something real. What remains to be seen now is:
- How they take this forward in terms of follow-up activities
- What this whole exercise yields in terms of real results
My next post will talk about another interesting marketing concept -- "experience branding" -- which Starhub implemented quite well when I went to pick up my new i-mode phone. Now, just to be clear, I'm not a cheerleader for Starhub -- not everything that they've done has worked out as well as it could have! There will be some (constructive) criticism from me on this site as well. :-)
And, if you're interested, here's the personality report that the survey generated for me:
Based on your answers, we think you are a...
Life discerning dominant ideal seeker
You understand that new does not always mean better and you see no reason to skip from one fad to the next. You value things that have stood the test of time, things that have proved themselves. You can give a 120% when you need to, but know that you don't need to 100% of the time. You know that life is for living, and you're smart enough to make sure that you have time to relax, chill and just be yourself.
You tend to identify more strongly with your own thoughts than any other personality. To others you are the one with the sharp intellect, strong need for independence and privacy, and intensity of your cerebral interests. You love explaining the world and predicting what it will do next. This derives partly from natural curiosity, and partly because you sense much of the world to be unreliable, requiring that you use your intellect to bring order to your own corner of it.
You have a strong desire to investigate, observe, and understand an issue deeply and provocatively. You are often independent and self-motivated, with a strong need for privacy. For example, others will often have no idea what you have been working on until it is finished and unveiled. Some of the greatest minds in history had similar traits, people whose ideas challenged the conventional wisdom, forcing those around them to think differently.
Famous people who share these traits include:
William Rhenquist, Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller, Arthur C. Clarke, Sigmund Freud, Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton.