KRKBot learnt all the secrets of Krakow

Codeheroes is a Krakow-based software house developing backend solutions in such technologies as Scala, Java or Akka. The team specialises in creating bots using ready solutions such as Facebook Messenger or Skype that are sold under the Chatbotize brand. With its KRKbot, they won first place during the KrakHack hackathon organised by the city of Krakow.

Codeheroes asked Project: People for help.

Codeheroes asked us to help them several months after winning the hackathon. As a team, they decided they want to use bots in optimising processes at large companies. An analysis has shown that there are many agencies and companies on the Polish market that start to create bots. Nevertheless, there is no single brand that stands out and that would be directly associated with design and development of bots. Additionally, the Codeheroes team negotiated with several companies regarding introduction of bots. Talks were also underway with the City Hall regarding implementation of KRKbot as one of the communication channels of clients with the city.

What Codeheroes needed was to build brand recognisability and association of their brand with creating bots. Furthermore, they needed to show the potential customers, that bots can contribute a value to companies. Those were the goals that we had to achieve.

Proposal of Activities

To the Codeheroes team, we proposed promotional activities based on the Lean Startup Method. Firstly, according to the Start where you are principle, we decided to develop a solution basing on what has already been built. We decided to use the potential of KRKbot and develop a promotional campaign for Codeheroes services on its basis.

Additionally, we decided to work on the basis of a sprint, so the entire campaign should be designed and carried out within 1 week. Closing the entire promotional campaign in 7 days somewhat forced us to apply another rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid, all activities must be simple and must bring instant results. In the entire campaign, we also decided to apply the mechanisms of Real Time Marketing and Viral Marketing, as well as schemes of operation of social networks. The aim of their use was to maximise traffic and reach as many users as possible. We wanted on the forth day of sprint to create a momentum so that on that day/culmination point, the entire start-up Krakow would talk about KRKbot.

We also decided to use the promo campaign to develop an MVP (minimal viable product) of the KRKbot, i.e. its minimal version that would validate whether it is actually demanded. We set a goal to supplement the database of queries which are answered by the bot with the biggest number of natural queries of the people living in Krakow, and to find out based on a big sample, what answers are looked for by users. We wanted for the bot to be able to respond to a significantly bigger number of queries after the campaign, and to find out what further features of the bot should be implemented (in terms of monetising KRKbot).

<Of course when planning the campaign, we did not use such sophisticated terms to name all the elements :D but for the needs of the article, we decided to use them — doesn’t Lean Startup sound so smart?>

Action Plan

The action that we proposed to Codeheroes was named “KRKbot knows the secrets of Krakow.” On Facebook and in messages sent to users, we declared that the bot knows answers to all questions regarding Krakow. We decided to target the campaign at the Krakow-based start-up environment.

We added almost 300 questions and answers to the bot, which we thought the users would ask. Additionally, we created questions and answers dedicated to particular users that we wanted to reach the most, as well as influencers from the start-up environment. We also created answers to questions with a viral character. To increase shareability, we added funny gifs, images and emoticons to the responses. Of course, the bot retained its basic functions so you could still ask it for the weathers, pollution or the nearest pharmacy.

Campaign Days

Day 1: We designed the campaign — step after step we wrote down everything that needs to be done by particular people on each day.

Day 2: We started building a database of influencers, companies and media with which we wished to contact — we added a personal question along with an answer to each person.

Day 3: The Codeheroes team implemented the questions. In the meantime, we worked on the graphic design and association of the activities of the bot with the Codeheroes and Chatbotize brands. In the afternoon, we launched the bot for the first tests. We also sent the appropriate communication to the media.

Day 4: Culmination point of the campaign. Starting in the morning, we sent messages to people and brands with information that on that day, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., the bot will answer a question that is personal to them. At the same time, we were very active with the promotion in social media. The campaign was starting to get going. During the campaign, the bot was improved several times — Codeheroes implemented fixes on an on-going basis (e.g. changes in the algorithm of responses, the bot learning answers automatically, etc.). At some point, additional support of the campaign was no longer required — the information about it was spread through the network :)

Day 5: We summed up the campaign and made decisions about further steps together. The bot was relaunched with the option of learning from the users. Codeheroes contacted the potential leads from the campaign, while we contacted the media.

Is there a man behind the bot?

We received this question several dozen times during the campaign. Maja Schaefer from Codeheroes said it best in an interview for ‘MamStartup’: “The bot will not do what it has not learnt beforehand”. Due to the above, our task was to teach it questions and answers. We did it in a number of stages.

  • Codeheroes integrated the bot with available APIs e.g. Airly, Google Maps, so that it could respond to some questions of the users (e.g. about the nearest pharmacy), and send them notifications (e.g. about the current level of air pollution),
  • Then, we added questions and answers to the database designed during the campaign — the bot’s operation changed as the questions in the database were added: at first, it only provided an answer when the question was 100% compliant, then it started to recognise questions from key words and 90% of content compliance and then, it was able to recognise a question with 80% of compliance,
  • If the bot did not know the answer, it displayed information to users that it is only a bot and it learns very fast so it will get back to them with the response soon. In such a case, the question was sent to one of the people responsible for the campaign, and they answered it. However, the bot learnt it automatically and if this question was asked again, it also responded automatically;
  • After the campaign ended, the users received a message that the bot was exhausted and had to rest — at this point the database of questions and answers was unified and verified;
  • Then, the users received a message that the bot was back and they can teach it by adding a question and defining an answer.

KRKbot was able to answer over 300 questions it was taught in advance and which were uploaded to the system. We also had to be prepared for an additional series of questions that appeared often like bombarding shots from a Kalashnikov. This was a huge challenge for us to meet the needs of people on the other side of the screen. Their questions varied and regarded various areas from history, geography, cuisine to matters completely unrelated to Krakow. Some people wanted to know how to live, what love is or how fast a swallow flies. Others fell in love with KRKbot, considering it the ideal life partner (In fact, even a marriage took place! :) ), while others tried to be as creative as possible and asked the bot such abstract questions as: “how many grass blades are in Jordan’s Park” or “what will be the target of a missile launched from the St. Mary’s Basilic, assuming a certain flight trajectory, acceleration…” and other coefficients that we cannot even name. :)

KRKbot did not know answers to over 3,000 questions but we tried to respond to all of them on an on-going basis, working on the team. Google often helped us as well as the knowledge of all team members. In critical situations, we used humour and creativity. We had to display the above specifically when we came across internet users classified as: “Difficult and inquisitive”. Such people had a huge need for testing the KRKbot and they specialised in asking numerous questions, particularly ones that were hard to answer. There was even someone who spent a record-long time with KRKbot during the day: over 3 hours.

The internet users also included our favourite ones: trolls, who often offended KRKbot. Nevertheless, we have prepared a big number of gifs for them which enabled us to make them become involved into a conversation that we desired. Of course there were cases where we ran out of our patience of a saint and it was rather not recommended to continue the pointless conversation.”

Zuza Komornicka — PR manager at Project: People, responsible for media contact and creative responses in the “KRKbot knows the Krakow secrets” campaign:)

Results

Thanks to the campaign, we were able to increase the number of questions answered by KRKbot to over 3,000 within 12 hours and also complete over 21 thousand conversations. Additionally, the campaign translated directly into interest of potential customers — Codeheroes obtained numerous enquiries regarding bots. Several companies are very interested in implementing such a solution (we can’t tell you more now but they are really big brands!). The campaign was also popular in the media, e.g. Radiofonia, Gazeta Wyborcza, MamStartup, Marketer+or RMF Maxxx.

We asked Project: People to consult promotion of Codeheroes as a company offering chatbots. They surprised us with creative ideas, presenting various options in terms of time, budget and scale of works that were to be completed by us. We chose the most optimum option for us, namely promotion of the bot that was already created for the residents of Krakow, i.e. KRKbot. Specialists from Project: People prepared the strategy of operation, promotional texts, graphics and they also managed our social media and PR channels for the time of the campaign. After the campaign ended, they prepared articles that were published on the leading industry-specific websites, thanks to their involvement. I can really recommend Project: People to anyone wishing to take their project, idea or business to the next level.”

Maja Schaefer — co-founder and CEO of the Codeheroes software house and Chatbotize agency.

KRKbot is a great example that you can design an effective advertisement campaign within just a few days and its support with paid advertisement formats is not a prerequisite for achieving success.

Would you like to organise such a campaign for your brand? Send us an email to beata (at) projectpeople.pl or find me on LinkedIn!

Beata Mosór-Szyszka, coordinator of the KRKbot campaign, CEO & Strategist of Project: People.

Project: People (www.projectpeople.pl) specialises in creating business strategies and outsourcing business services (marketing, PR, HR services, etc.). It adopts the Lean approach in works of teams and projects, it designs and executes training courses and workshops as well as simulation games dedicated for business and education.