Multicultural Marketing to Launch a New Phone in Germany
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Multicultural Marketing to Launch a New Phone in Germany

There are approximately 2.6 million people of Turkish descent living in Germany, with a purchasing power of €17 billion. They are big consumers, with a marked affinity for technology. In the telecommunication arena, people of Turkish descent are among the early adaptors, with high levels of utilization.

Paul Holmes

Ay Yildiz, the first mobile communications brand for people of Turkish descent living in Germany, used a bilingual communication strategy to establish itself as a pioneer in the field of multicultural marketing and multicultural public relations in continental Europe, working with Trimedia Communications Deutschland to achieve an awareness level of approximately 80 percent within the target group in the first year after the brand launch.

There are approximately 2.6 million people of Turkish descent living in Germany, with a purchasing power of €17 billion. They are big consumers, with a marked affinity for technology. In the telecommunication arena, people of Turkish descent are among the early adaptors, with high levels of utilization.

At the same time, people of Turkish decent are a tightly knit target community, with a definite preference for Turkish products.

Before E-Plus Mobilfunk introduced Ay Yildiz (which translates as “Moon and Star,” the symbols of the Turkish national flag), there had not been any products on the mobile phone market unambiguously focused on the utilization habits of people of Turkish descent in Germany, specifically offering affordable calls to Turkey. But E-Plus saw the target group as having high potential for growth in the almost saturated German mobile phone market.

The objective of the public relations campaign was to position an autonomous mobile phone brand within the E-Plus multi-brand portfolio, and establish a package developed specifically for people of Turkish descent in Germany. The communications objectives were to increase awareness of the product‘s unique selling points in the minds of target consumers and form a community that brought together Turkish and Turkish-descended residents, plus Germans with an affinity to Turkey.

All the goods and services designed to support the product, which included a hotline, answering machine, and WAP portal, were designed to be bilingual. Advertising and public relations activities were heavily weighted in favor of the Turkish media, because of their high perceived importance and added value within the target group. And marketing and PR were increasingly handled in the Turkish language, focusing on topics and occasions of particular interest to people of Turkish descent.

Communication for the Turkish media focused on the product. In the German media, by contrast, the principal focus was on the multi-brand strategy of E-Plus.

Intensive public relations activities were conducted with Turkish media to support the launch and the brand build-up for Ay Yildiz.  The Turkish-language press in Germany was informed about the launch two days before the German press. The press conference was in every respect focused on the target group, and thus differed significantly from German press conferences. Since it was held during Ramadan, the journalists were offered an opportunity to break their fast at a Turkish buffet after the event.

The initial launch event was followed by an editorial tour for Turkish media in both Germany (Frankfurt) and Turkey (Istanbul), providing an opportunity for the brand to build personal relationships with the journalists involved, The response was positive, and led to extensive coverage in the Turkish media even though the Ay Yildiz brand is not being offered in Turkey.

The advertising campaign, meanwhile, featured with the best-known Turkish comedian Beyaz and focused on the cultural characteristics of the target audience while acknowledging the unique Turkish sense of humor.

Later, the outreach effort included a round table—“100 days of Ay Yildiz”—that brought together the major Turkish media (Hürriyet, Milliyet, Türkiye, Euro D, TGRT, TRTint and others), who were briefed on progress so far and prospects for the future. At a media dinner, the post-paid tariff for Ay Yildiz was presented to Turkish journalists in the Turkish media capital of Frankfurt. It was announced to the German media next morning.

Those activities led within a minimal timeframe to a brand awareness level of approximately 80 percent within the target group.

The approach adopted for German media focused on the strategic alignment of the brand in the brand grouping of E-Plus, with the aim of presenting additional evidence for the company’s successful multi-brand strategy. Activities included a launch conference call for German telecommunication and business media, and an editorial tour for German media in both Hamburg (Stern, Die Zeit, Spiegel Online, Hamburger Abendblatt) and Frankfurt (Frankfurter Rundschau, Redaktion IHK Frankfurt).

The campaign also included a social responsibility initiative in partnership with the Turkish non-profit group Darülaceze, offering a special-tariff campaign during the Turkish “Festival of Sacrifice,” under which the proceeds from SMS’s were donated to the charity.

Additionally, in view of the recent events in the field of education of Turkish young people, Ay Yildiz took the initiative in organizing a platform discussion bringing together well-known figures from the business, political and educational communities at a Berlin college, to discuss possible approaches to a solution to education challenges. As a result of the platform discussion, Ay Yaldiz created an initiative called “El ele” (“Hand in Hand”) to support young Turkish people in Germany. A pilot project was launched in Berlin and Frankfurt in November.

The public relations effort generated a total of 353 articles (print and online) in the German and Turkish media, reaching a total of more than 5 million readers in print alone and generating awareness levels of approximately 80 percent within the target group. Moreover, the campaign created strong bonds between the brand and the target audience through community-building efforts and established Ay Yaldiz as an autonomous mobile phone brand within the E-Plus brand family.

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