WhatsApp: Growing Russia’s User Base
PBN Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ comprehensive understanding of the digital and online media landscape helped secure a unique assignment with the popular messenger service WhatsApp.
We were the first agency ever to be retained by the company in its efforts to significantly increase its footprint in the Russian market against stiff competition from Telegram and Viber. Our objectives were to grow the messenger user base in Russia and educate the market about the product’s unique features, tools and options. We began in August 2015, with the development of a communications strategy hooking up the messenger service with a number of high profile partners, such as the Russian mobile operator Beeline and working with Apple in its battle with the FBI over encryption. Communications about regulatory initiatives and a change in the company’s business model peaked user and media interest in the messenger service. After six months, execution of the media strategy delivered WhatsApp an increased share of voice to almost 40%, making it the dominant market player in Russia.