‘Kilkari’ is the first of BBC Media Action’s mobile health services to target families directly. But reaching rural areas with almost no mass media penetration has required special efforts.
We designed a 360 degree marketing strategy and rolled it out in phases. Since our target audience is spread extensively across rural Bihar, our strategy to promote ‘Kilkari‘ needed to use multiple cost-effective platforms. We achieved this by:
Songs in the streets: how we generated awareness
Rural activation was used to achieve our two primary objectives: generating awareness and tapping the early adopters of the service by visiting towns and villages in eight priority districts. We used ‘Kilkari‘ branded vans to create awareness. They were equipped with audio-visual aids and a ‘Kilkari’ song which was played out aloud in the villages they visited. This attracted huge crowds and generated a large number of queries and requests for more information from audiences.
There were other branding initiatives, such as wall paintings, stenciling, tin plates, posters and stickers in the villages. These ensured a visual connect for the audience even after the completion of the face-to-face activation.
We also staged about 3000 street theatre performances. These were focused primarily on communicating the importance of complementary feeding, but were also used to promote ‘Kilkari‘. Our promoters engaged with the crowd, informed them about ‘Kilkari’ and also helped interested people to subscribe to the service.
Mobile magic: digital promotions
Leveraging partnerships with leading mobile operators, we were able to reach out to families in Bihar with promotional messages delivered via USSD and SMS. These tools have proved to be extremely useful as they allowed us to reach huge number of people at a low cost.
Health at hand: incentivising community health workers
We identified community health workers, who are regularly in touch with pregnant women, mothers of children and their families as an effective channel for encouraging and motivating families to subscribe to ‘Kilkari‘.
An incentive programme was devised where every community health worker who helps a family become a loyal ‘Kilkari’ subscriber receives talk time credit on her mobile phone. An extensive face-to-face training programme was carried out to educate community health workers about ‘Kilkari‘, and, to teach them how to promote the service. They were also informed about the incentives they could earn by promoting the service.
Find out more about our first mobile health service for rural families Kilkari here.
Igniting the flame of knowledge
Within six months of the launch of the service, over 60,000 subscription requests were received from the families in Bihar. The ‘awareness’ phase has been completed, with over 1000 villages being exposed to the ‘Kilkari‘ brand via over 2000 van activities and static branding in all the villages visited. The training of the community health workers was completed in February 2014 and they are now beginning to promote ‘Kilkari’ across eight priority districts.
The need for a programme like ‘Kilkari’ is evident in the enthusiastic way that rural families are adopting the service.
Kilkari, a voice-based MHealth service, aims to deliver maternity and childcare messages to families in rural Bihar, who have little or no access to positive health information through any other channel.
Health messages in Kilkari are targeted at women who are the primary caregivers of these families. The schedule of weekly messages is linked to the stages of pregnancy and early motherhood.
A local grocery shop in rural Bihar displays a Kilkari banner. The three-pronged Kilkari promotion strategy includes partnering with mobile network operators and community health workers as well as below-the-line campaigns at the village level.
Community health workers inspire families to adopt Kilkari for better health. Tiny Kilkari stickers on their mobile phones is another way of creating widespread awareness about Kilkari.
A Kilkari branded van travels from village to village carrying promoters with their material. The van screens videos and conducts interactive games. It’s an effective way to reach people who are otherwise difficult to reach through mass media.
Promoters get women interested in Kilkari by involving them in interactive games like snakes-and-ladders shown above.
The traditional snakes-and-ladder game has been adapted to drive home the benefits of Kilkari among rural women in an engaging manner.