Product Intervention Strategy & Marketing
This project won mBillionth award in South Asia and was nominated for UN's World Summit Awards in 2018!
KathaKhazana Trailer (1.1)
KathaKhazana app has been developed and designed in house by Katha Digital Lab (KaDL) at Katha (an NGO & publishing house in India), with immersive stories and games derived from Katha's gender series books that are focussed on giving a girl child all the inspiration she needs to be a leader.
Here at KaDL, we had an amazing interdisciplinary team, with a product designer/manager, an animator, design interns, a superb engineering intern and two young adult trainees from the communities Katha and I was digital media manager as well as KaDL's team leader.
KathaKhazana, ('Khazana' means treasure and Katha was the nonprofit we were doing this for) was a Hindi reading app that helps one spread the joy of reading at the comfort of one's smartphone.
A treasure trove for children of ages 4-12, the e-learning app consists of narrated stories, animated videos and immersive games.
At Katha Digital Lab, we were posed with a key question:
"What steps do we take to ensure that we make an app that has Katha's books to improve reading levels and the app reaches children in the slum communities? Who probably will never have continuous access to a smartphones or internet?"
Planning & Scoping
Katha had used technology for interventions before we conceptualised the app. In this stage we spent time analysing our own prior work and those of others to seek the best way forward.
Katha's founder, app's product designer and I first conceptually defined what we wanted to achieve via an app.
we also did an indepth competitive analysis of the apps related to literacy & reading that had come before us and tried to learn from their wins and their mistakes
Evaluation, research & protyping
Five Katha books on gender equality were zeroed down on and we realised needed to make animations and not pdf versions of the books. Our initial conversation with the community workers made us realise children often lost interest in text heavy apps. Hence we decided our app will have our stories as animated videos (with text) and will have fun games to evaluate a child's learning after every ani-books (as we called it).
The product team comprising of a product designer, an animator and a developer intern started to make magic with this!
the product team analysed the content of 5 books that were to be used to make animated videos and games
content of the books were used to do initial research and team analysed the content of 5 books that were to be used to make animated videos and games
early prototype on Adobe XD was created for the internal stakeholders as well as our developer to check and work on
Getting off the ground!
After deciding its information architecture, completing the animated videos, the UIs and finally developing the first version of the app, we were able to test the app on the ground with teachers, children and within the team.
This was according to the product team the most helpful activity.
But we had not finished yet!
Connecting the dots between the Product & its Marketing Strategy
India is a diverse country with a lot of disparity in terms of social access in different communities. KathaKhazana being a smartphone app, had to ensure who were the actual users and the end beneficiaries, as more often than not, they are two separate groups of people for a digital intervention.
(of smartphones)! And bring them together.
Who had to be volunteers!
These millennials from the internet generation wanted to complete their mandatory university 'social service' hours to get their degree. They, we realized, will have both the time and the smartphone to take such an intervention forward.
And after they completed their app curriculum with the child, the volunteers get a digital certificate from Katha!
Therefore, I was closely involved with the product designer of the app to figure out navigation flows that suited both the child as well as the 'intervention maker' who was a senior school or college student or a young home-maker who wanted to volunteer in their own area.
The app's a certificate of completion ensured that anyone who completed using the app with a child and submitted a report for it would get recognized. This was the key USP we later marketed.
There is no replacement for a driven, creative team that believes in collaboration- and this is something I learned and cherished about the Katha Digital Lab team. Volunteers, interns, and the team members worked equally hard!
We started the online #KathaKhazana campaign to get in the millennials (with a smartphone) inspired to use the app and 'be the change they wished to see' and download the app to help a child in poverty around them feel the joy of reading stories!
Katha Khazana Campaign Creatives (1.2)
Product marketing strategy & steps
1. Our animator created a fabulous marketing animated video (video 1.1 on top of the page) that we massively used to give prospective users a feel of the app.
2. We started the #KathaKhazana campaign (1.2 above) where we kept putting out a clear and well thought out messaging for our target audience- the 'intervention maker' on all social media platforms about how they can be an agent of change and the fact that they can get a certificate of completion after using the app with a child in a slum near them.
3. This made a huge difference because in no time we had 1000+ downloads with literally zero digital marketing budget and no investment in AdWords/ Facebook credits (due to a frugal nonprofit budget).
4. https://katha.org/katha-app/ was the center of all our marketing activities via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and carefully planned a pre and post-launch campaign for the app. Once the app was up on Google store, we tweaked the copy and its keywords to help increase its searchability.
5. We tied up all our offline events to the app, in order let more people from privileged sections of Delhi know that such a Hindi reading app exists and they too can start volunteering at the comfort of their homes.
After about 4-5 months the app was tested and iterated for a full month. Simultaneously we prepared its marketing. Once it was all finalized we released it all together and the product team kept looking at the feedback, Google analytics and kept improving. And like all things design, we learned a lot inside the team and outside the team and changed our tactics accordingly.
Before we knew we won the mBillionth award in South Asia and were also nominated by World Summit Awards