Wednesday, 25 April 2012

5 Business & Life Lessons to Learn from Chelsea Vs Barcelona game.

Last night we were entertained to a thrilling clash between Chelsea Vs Barcelona in a UEFA champions league semi final match and Nou camp Barcelona's home turf!
The Barcelona team took the lead in the match with scoring two goals early in the first half but failed to maintain their lead up to the end of the game. Sergio Burgos scored the first goal for Barcelona in the 35 min of the match followed by a second goal in the 43rd min by Andres Iniesta. The fortune seemed to be with Chelsea as both of their goals were scored in the extra time of the halves. Fernando Torres scored the winning goal for Chelsea in the 90+2 min of the match while Chelsea scored their first goal when Ramires provided them with the opportunity in the 45+1 min of the match. I wasn't supporting either clubs however after keenly following the match to full time I felt the urge to write an article on a few life lessons that I picked from the match.
Here's what I learnt from the match after being entertained for a whole 90 minutes.

1.   Results Matter.
Barcelona did play a nice game what fans call soccer & Chelsea played football! Barcelona especially during the second half played in the Chelsea’s half  but didn’t see the goal.
They had good chances to score but they didn’t however the few chances that Chelsea got to go forward to Barca’s half they scored twice! What this simply means is that in life & in business don’t spend all the time planning, strategizing and in execution without focus on tangible/real results. A lot of companies do have great ideas, play a nice game, they are very visible in terms of advertising and PR efforts however they don’t have SALES! Firms that make so much noise but lack a proper distribution network & other sales drivers to ‘harvest’ the cash!! Results do matter! That’s the bottom-line. At full time despite Chelsea playing 10 men and witnessing a sizzling display of soccer from the strong Barca side they won! That’s what the world is talking about now not how Barca played nicely!
2.      Play with the future in mind!
Chelsea will be missing the services of several key players like John Terry,  Meireles and others who were booked for various reasons due t foul play. As Chelsea progresses to the final they’ll be having problems with their defense that their opponents be it Real Madrid or Bayern Munich may capitalize on!
In life and in business you should have a plan! Your business is a going concern and shall not close down at the end of the year! If you have the future in the back of your mind you will make certain decisions more wisely! If you play badly there are court cases to follow you in future, If you engage in corrupt deals they may haunt you in future. If you do not provide to your family as a man now your wife and kids may desert you in future and divorce cases end up in court. Same case applies to men or women who engage in infidelity.

3.      Even the best make mistakes!
The match proved to be a nightmare for star Barca footballer Messi who missed two chances of clear scoring. Messi missed a penalty kick in the second half when the ball returned after hitting the top bar while in the other attempt his kick strike goal-post.
Who ever Messi would miss a spot kick? This simply means that in life even if you are the best, don’t let that get into your head. You’ll still make mistakes and so the best thing is to learn from them! Big or small everyone makes mistakes; don’t feel bad about yourself when you make terrible mistakes. The best thing is to wake up, dust yourself and move on!
4    4.  Work as a team
Chelsea fought Barca with 10 men to the last minute as a team. There is a saying that many hands make light work. The essence of this statement is that more can be achieved as a collective than individually. There are numerous benefits of teamwork as witnessed in last night’s game. Even the best qualified individual cannot have all of the skills to do everything. Hence in life you need to be part of a team! In business I have witnessed greedy people who would rather own 100 percent of 10 million than sell a 60 percent stake in their business and own 40 percent of 1Billion dollars! You simply need key partners in your business to take it global and do business with the world! At the workplace, school or even the church you need to be part of a team. Work with people and their success will also be your success!
5    5. Persistence & Resilience.
If you did watch the game last you’ll agree with that Chelsea fought, the game was very intense and tough for Chelsea. However they held on to the end. That to me was nothing short amazing!
At one point you got to put in your blood sweat and tears to succeed in a certain project or something. The richest men in the world have faced & overcome huge challenges on their way to greatness. Sluggish growth of today’s economy means that the world is urgently in need of fresh ideas on innovation and better ways to adapt to every day changes in the society. The business moguls have to keep abreast with these changes to remain competitive. In short you have to be persistent and resilient to make it in life. The get rich quick schemes are cons, success comes from handwork. You got to do it your way even when no else feels you can do it. Dream big, think big but BE ready to pay the price to achieve your goals.

What else did you learn from last night’s game? Follow me @KenyanMarketer lets discuss this match further on twitter!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

5 Reasons Why Scangroup's Attempts to Monopolise The Industry Should be Controlled.

Just before I give you my reasons why I strongly feel the government should control Scangroups attempts to monopolise the Media buying & advertising industry here's a short story of what Scangroup really is! BIG!
Scangroup and Ogilvy, associates of WPP, a global advertising and marketing services company, launched two advertising firms last year, Scanad Ghana Limited and Ogilvy Ghana Limited. The move was aimed at expanding Scangroup and Ogilvy operations in Africa and to serve an existing demand for marketing and communication services & established to take over the existing advertising and promotional business of Media Majique & Research Systems Limited which has traditionally traded as MMRS Ogilvy and Ogilvy Africa Media Ghana Limited (OAM) respectively. 
Locally the marketing communication agency has in the past four years completed multi-million acquisition deals across East Africa.Scangroup also purchased a 51 per cent in Ogilvy Africa in cash and stock transactions worth $2.3 million that gave it minority stakes in eight media agencies in South and West Africa of between 6.4 and 15.3 per cent.In buying Ogilvy Africa, Scangroup tapped a long list of multinational firms including beer giant SABMiller, Unilever and BAT.Others are Multichoice, Zain and Sun International, which promise to rev up its profits given the huge media spend of these firms.In Kenya, the firm gained access to high net-worth clients such as Barclays Bank, Kenya Airways, India's Bharti Airtel, and Telkom Kenya.
Bharat Thakrar CEO Scangroup
According to Scangroup’s website it’s Africa's leading marketing services group offering a comprehensive and integrated range of Advertising and Communication Services in Traditional Advertising, Media Investment Management, Marketing Consultancy, Public Relations and Experiential Marketing.
Their media planning and buying services are carried out through Media Initiative East Africa , MEDIACOM and Universal McCann. The development of the Communication Strategy and Advertising and its implementation is carried out by eight creative Advertising Agencies: Scanad,  JWT Kenya &  JWT Tanzania, McCann Erickson, Grey East Africa , Redsky and Ogilvy Africa
Public relations consultancy is carried out through Hill & Knowlton while Roundtrip, a subsidiary of Scangroup, carries out experiential marketing and event management while Smollan East Africa Limited provides field Marketing Services, Market Intelligence and Brand Activation. Squad Digital Limited is East & Central Africa's leading digital agency. It is a joint-venture between SITG India, Quasar and Scangroup.

Here are a few reasons why Scan group’s rapid expansion plans may spell danger to the industry.
1.      1.Poaching talent from smaller agencies.
Everyone understands what this means. Well to the person being poached this may mean more cash ,better allowances and good perks which is what almost every Kenyan wants. However the downside of this is the smaller Kenyan owned agencies may never grow to see their 5th birthday!
Many small business owners fail to grow just because they cannot afford the talent to help them grow. Scangroup can easily kill competition from the smaller upcoming agencies by simply poaching employees from them; and its already happening!
2.      2.Bullying the media
According to the Kenya Research Advertising Foundation 2011 report agency booking was at 51% to 49% percent direct bookings and Scangroup controlled 70% of the agency bookings before fully buying out Ogilvy! That means the figure could be higher this year. What does this mean? For media houses you have to comply and take in all their terms & conditions! This further means that for major media buyers like Safaricom can withdraw advertising spending on certain media houses if they cover certain stories that tell of their failures! This leaves the media houses so desperate! Its all about take in the cash; give the public half baked stories that are laced with lies just to project the image of the big brands and since Scangroup has the bulk of these brands the media houses have to dance to their tune!
3.      3.Unfair Competition
Well as a marketer I understand how the smaller brands feel the heat when they try to slice the bigger brand’s market share. Keroche breweries knows what it means taking EABL head on! It has taken Tabitha Karanja sweat blood and tears to be where she is now!
Back to Scangroup the agency is just too big to compete with! They have certain multinational companies that are no go zone for other agencies.  This is partly due to the long credit periods that multinationals ask for; If a small agency tries to handle big accounts they’ll collapse due to lack of cashflow and lack of technical capability to handle the big brands. If you are thinking of probably pitching for Safaricom’s PR business they could have as many as 27 events in a month! Just picture that!!!!
It’s gone a little bit too far that brand managers invite smaller talented agencies to pitch their ideas and then send the proposals to the latter! The competition gets stiffer; since Scangroup is doing everything these people slowly take in business & slice business from other agencies. If Scan group gets PR business through Hill & Knowlton slowly McCann will get on board to do media and it goes on that till the whole account is handled by various agencies under scan group.
4.      4.'Corruption.'
We all understand the language of kickbacks in Kenya. Scan group as a listed company has investors, some of whom are the CEO’s and senior managers in these blue chip companies who are also clients of Scangroup. It gets even trickier when some top executives in the corporate world get ‘free equity’ or are co-partners with Bharat Thakrar in some of his agencies. For smaller agencies who cannot 'bribe' their way into bigger accounts will stand outside and watch as a few make a killing!
5.      5.Poor Quality
We have seen the poorly scripted ads on TV, creative work on billboards that’s so lame. It gets worse when the same people work on different accounts and give the same ideas & concepts to both clients! Haven’t you seen billboards that resemble others? Or companies implementing ideas that were first used by another brand? It all starts at the creative department of agencies. Same guys worked on two accounts and delivered the same concept!
I am not saying Scangroup does lame work for its clients in fact I know of very talented people working in these agencies however the same people work on several other brands thus transfer ideas to other brands! It’s worse when a new client is given what didn’t work with the other client just because one feels that it should work! This has to be checked!

6.Lack of equal employment opportunities.
This is more of a bonus point however it still counts. A good number of very talented Kenyans are jobless because they don't know people out there. We have very many PR, Journalism, Communications , Bcom- marketing and media graduates who are jobless. If a few Kenyans control the industry that means that their daughters, nieces, nephews,sons and friends will get jobs and internships in these agencies. Days are long gone when you used to drop your CV and get called the following day!  By this I don't mean that Kenyans who work in these agencies are not like the rest but its a game of being from certain families and races. Getting a job in some of these agencies is at times not an issue of being qualified just like a girl can't really work for DJ CK's Capital group if she isn't yellow yellow! You know that too! The colour of your skin matters if you will get a place in  the media mogul's empire!


Friday, 20 April 2012

My Two Cents Worth of Advice To Job-seekers.

I am writing this article in response to the growing number of unemployed but very qualified young people. The number is alarmingly high and universities and colleges are churning out more and more graduates annually.
I am not in any way a human resource consultant or expert but as a young Kenyan marketer who believes job seeking is an issue of selling your skills to the highest & best  bidder. Sadly not many youths even get a platform to pitch or attend interviews to show what they got. As I noted on my facebook update on Wednesday the issue of unemployment shall never be handled squarely by the government and the private sector. I have worked with organizations and individuals in various roles and once in a while vacancies do arise but we just don’t get the right person to fit into that role. What happens is we simply don’t hire and end up overworking the few employees we have because there is just no one among the candidates who showed interest that we felt could fit into the organization.
My case here is that you should be able to package yourself as a suitable would be employee if given a chance before an interview panel. At that stage you are selling what you think you can do. Having sat on both sides of the table as an interviewer and interviewee I understand what it feels like to be grilled by a panel of bored guys who just want to have some fun in an afternoon! As an interviewer I have asked questions to dig deeper to understand a candidate and he/she ends up giving the wrong responses yet I could clearly feel he is very qualified.
I would like to share a few things that interviewers look for apart from your academic qualifications.
This is simple…It’s a question of ‘do you really like what you do’?  This is very key in the interview process as this indicates whether you will give extra to the job, be proactive and seek to learn quickly in your new role. A few desperate young people apply for any job they come across online; if you have been lucky you get an interview chance but if it’s the wrong job for you or a role that doesn’t match your skills your chances of looking and sounding very passionate are very low.
As a graduate with great dreams of making it big in the corporate world leadership skills are really going to set you apart from the rest. This can be demonstrated by leadership roles you held in campus or college or in any other capacity. Well not all of us get to be in these leadership positions so the best way to demonstrate your skills is in situations or moments when you led without a position. There are also those times when your leader wasn’t there and you stepped into his/her position and led the team on a project. This has to come out clearly; bosses always want to hire guys who can help them handle lesser roles and manage teams on their behalf. Please show this!
This is one of the most important things; attitude is almost everything.  There are people out there who certainly do not have that winning attitude. They are chronic complainers, losers ,gossipers; guys who feel that work is a chore that should be just done 8-5. People who don’t take up challenges positively and learn from their past failures. There are also guys who always come up with excuses for every failure and blame it to others. If you lie anywhere here please change now. If you also walk into the interview feeling intimidated and insufficient you will just look & portray just  that! When you get that chance of an interview walk in there confidently, don’t fake it and be honest! That sells a lot!
Have a Plan
The greatest achievers have always had a plan and a vision. They clearly understand where they want to be, when and clearly know how to get there. In the past I have quit from jobs and let go opportunities that I felt couldn’t add anything to my life apart from the pay cheque. If you are young; money will always come if you persistently stick on the path of greatness. If you love what you do and how you do it…keep doing it.  Don’t take up positions that blind you and kill you! As a marketer I always seek to work with brands that I love. That’s what my profile picture & timeline cover  on Facebook is all about. If you end up in the wrong job, the position sucks your energy, the job becomes a pain. The reason why CEO’s go to work every day isn’t because they want just the hefty pay cheques. They love the challenge!  What makes Caroline Mutoko or Manu Chandaria or Chris Kirubi wake up very early? It’s not because their employees won’t work,they love what they do and have a plan of getting bigger. That’s why their companies have a strategic plan , a vision and a mission. They all HAVE A PLAN. Formulate yours!

What Do you Bring on Board?
This is a question that comes almost at the end of the interview. It’s normally a tricky one however if you are a fresh graduate with no solid experience do not worry that much. When I go to interviews I always handle this question depending on the position. If its an entry level position you are interviewing for do demonstrate your ability to learn, show pro-activeness and most important your ability to work in a team. If you already have some experience this changes. Show how what you learnt in your previous positions helps you fill in that role. Being a new organization show your ability to get along with people rather fast. An element of arrogance may show you will disregard your new colleagues so please tone it down. You might be so qualified but nobody wants to hire a know it all! 
 Follow me @KenyanMarketer

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Marketing To The Divas-The Opportunity,Cash & Lies

Women may represent only half the total consumer market, but in actuality, women make (or influence) vast majority of purchasing decisions. They are gate keepers to information on what men use especially in the FCMG and fashion industry and deciders in what men and kids buy or consume. Fast forward to the 21st century women now have the cash! Hence the new advertising trend and marketing appeal that brands are cashing in on. It’s the Divas! When you attract more divas, along with these women comes the business of their spouses and family members. Ad agencies are struggling to promote often undifferentiated offers, what an attraction to the women? Women want to be very unique, none wants to see another one in the same shoes she has. The agencies understand the importance that in the 21st century marketing will be on-emotion, meaning to create the right emotion at the right time, for the right audience, on behalf of the right positioning of a branded offer. But even with this new freedom to follow their correct instincts (visuals and emotions win), the ad agencies have plenty of work of their own cut out for them. Since Beyonce did her hit song DIVA  the trend has caught up pretty fast. Part of the song says that a diva is the female version of the hustler which resonates very well with what women want to hear.  A good number of this group of urban ,educated women with fat paychecks and successful business empires too have had nasty divorces and now seek the freedom to do anything with no restrictions. Well cool enough babe; you can do anything and buy everything money can get you. The younger women and kids too have been raised too by these divas and want to be 'divas' too when they grow up! Not bad at all; the feminists have told women they need to get equal opportunities and gender equity in everything. From parliament to boardrooms to our homes and straight to the bedroom. Cool enough. So as the young women grow up they are keenly watching what the 'older divas' are doing. I have no issues with this because i am writing this article as a marketer not a divorce lawyer, priest or marriage counselor. But just how are these divas being conned their hard earned cash by brands that have positioned their products or services to this growing segment of the market? You may agree or disagree but as a marketer and a consumer I know just what it is like to be on both sides of the coin. I get to see the 'lies' these brands are brands are cashing in on this and making cool chums. I got no problem with that because every smart man, woman, brand deserves to make good money. As a brand manager you don't have to change things that are working for you. Simple, specific changes to your customer service, sales process and marketing can have a BIG effect. Just make the divas feel a bit more special, do it right and meet their higher expectations and RIP them off!
There are a few 'smart brands' that have turned this phenomenon into gold.
Here are a few of them in Kenya.
The Stanchart's Diva account
Below are some of the features of this account
Minimum opening balance of Kshs.2000 
No monthly charges 
Free recognition card 
One free banker’s cheque every month 
Variable interest rates that increase as your deposit increases.
Customized world class investment solutions
Here's where you get conned;The recognition card probably offers discounts to the account holders at some stores eg Healthy U. The truth is you get to spend your money. These people know that Kenyans are bargain hunters. We all want to buy at that clearance SALE. Secondly is what I see written World class investment solutions? What's that? I think you also have to pay for that! It's more like premium banking;just an excuse for banks to charge you more because premium clients have access to water dispensers and a seat!Variable interest rates for deposits are cool; but can’t you clearly see that the bank simply wants you to give them more money for them to lend another diva to make more cash?

Why do women the world over wear the clothes that they do?  Is it because we see them on a famous actress walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards?  Do the divas buy a new dress because we’ve seen it in a magazine and we know it is the latest trend?  Are women shelling out money to buy clothes because an Internet website says this is a must have item for the season?  Yes they are! A lot of brands in the fashion understand the power of celebrity endorsements. From dressing our TV presenters or artistes to paying socialites to wear these clothes and endorse the brand. The divas then spend colossal amounts of cash on clothes made in china and given Italian labels because a bigger diva said they are worth buying! However, the ultimate message from the fashion industry is; “if a famous person wears this – it must be cool and therefore you must have it too!” .That’s a BIG con! This strategy proves to be a win-win situation for both the fashion industry and celebrities as they cash in on the free items that various designers throw their way because a DIVA paid for all that!!!

Health, Nutrition and Cosmetics 
This is where the divas have been thoroughly mishandled and conned!!There is everything for the divas here. From Soaps, to facial creams to spas to make up kits to supplements and other health products. Not forgetting the craze in traditional organic foods to weight loss consultants everyone is here!!All these products and service providers promise MAGIC...Beautiful skin, shapely thighs, No stretch marks all with a promise to make the divas remain forever YOUNG! I don't have to explain further because we have seen it all. Am not trying to say that all the people and products are quacks or don't work, some do! These corporations have been chemically medicating women through cosmetics for years without their knowledge, consent, and with very little governmental oversight
All these products are lurking just behind your bathroom mirror, where all of your favorite beauty products are housed, is a virtual toxic nightmare. The growing list of synthetic ingredients manufacturers add to their products is turning the most innocent-looking shampoos and moisturizers into cocktails of toxins that could cause cancer or reproductive damage over years of sustained use. Modern cosmetics contain a host of dangerous chemicals. Some of these products have brought the exact opposite of what they promised the users! Just before you use them because they are meant for divas do your background research, understand what's in the tube before you squeeze and apply the cream somewhere....Don't be so dumb to try out everything!
Finally i have one brand that passed my test. It's Redds; an alcoholic beverage with a crisp clean apple taste!!Redds divas is a superb marketing promo. Redds as a brand has been supporting the divas by sponsoring beauty pageants ,fashion events such as Kenya Redds fashion Awards, Redd's Africa Fashion design awards.the fashion week and runway modelling. It’s the only brand that i feels needs to use the word Diva in their marketing! It's also a great positioning for the brand to compete with Black Ice and Kingfisher both brands targeted at the women alcohol consumers. If you haven't seen their new billboards get to Sarit centre; they have one there with the REAL divas!!!So for every diva out there;Lets drink some Redds to that!!!
Follow me @KenyanMarketer lets discuss this further. Lets help our divas put their money into a better use!

Monday, 9 April 2012

How to do it like a #SocialPro; Lessons on Social Media Etiquette

Social Media is transforming the way the world does business. In your town and your city, this week. Today the implications are huge and the prizes are enormous for those businesses with the wisdom and foresight to get involved – properly – right now.
There is a window of opportunity now open which is likely to close rapidly in the near future. Even if you are one of the (very small) minority of business owners or individual who has the technical knowledge and knows what to do to properly to utilise social media across the different platforms to build your business, the reality is that you almost certainly not all of your followers or friends do really understand how to handle social media like a pro. Just before I give you a few tips on what you should do or never attempt on Social Media,  I need to share something very important with you. I came up with two hashtags to help the world learn from each other on a few aspects of Social Media to increase our effectiveness and realize the full benefits from these platforms.  Start using #BeASocialPro on guys and companies messing, doing things the wrong  way hence annoying people on twitter, brands that don't respond to your inquiries and those with inactive twitter handles etc. On the contrary give #SocialPro for those doing a good job. Guys who clearly understand social etiquette, personal branding, those who respond in real time and brands that give you amazing customer experience on twitter! Do so for those who share useful links with others and people that share useful information on what's happening!
Having said that let me share with you my 5 Do’s and Dont's on Social Media.
1.      Offer information of value.
Don't talk just about yourself and your company. You end up looking so selfish and mean. A research done in the U.S showed that twitter users donate more  to charities  than others on the internet; why? It’s because on Twitter; tweeps do share links, Re-tweet nice information and pass on the news (Good or bad) around. Seriously this holds water because if you read a nice article why not share it with others? Help someone else out there too.
2.      Be accessible.
Your friends want to be heard. And the only way you can prove you are human on social media is by listening and responding. Make it part of your strategy to address inquiries, complaints and compliments ASAP if not in real time. A simple click on the LIKE button shows at least there’s someone on the other end!
3.  Check out the people who want to follow you or be your friend.
Your mother was right when she said that people will judge you by the company you keep. I can easily tell what kind of a person I am adding by simply looking at the mutual friends we have. For me to know about all the opportunities and what’s happening where and when I keep a very resourceful network. This however doesn’t mean you should only befriend the big shots. Keep a network of sensible, centsible and resourceful friends. One of the major reasons why I Re-branded was to lose the Steve Ian brand that stood for something else. With Muthuri Kinyamu the Kenyan Marketer then I began showing the new me, the new brand and people then could accept the freshness and appreciate the ‘NEW’ me.

4.      Be careful with frequency.
Don’t over-post …but don’t under-post either. There is no magic formula for the number of posts per day.  Each medium has slightly different rules of etiquette. On Twitter, for example, it is acceptable to post more than once a day. You don’t want your posts to be so frequent that they become irrelevant to your audience.  If you have to post several times in a day just like I do please vary your content. If you manage a business page please post only during times when the most active age bracket is online. Mornings (6:30-9:00) is a good time, lunch hour (1230-2:00) and around (4:30-7:00). Better still there are tools online that show you the best times to tweet when most of your followers are online.
5.      Spelling Errors.
Compose your posts, updates or tweets in a word processing document so that you can check grammar and spelling before you send them.  If you regularly post tweets or updates full of errors people won’t really take your seriously. If you want to potray the right impression out there; take your time and proof read. If you manage a corporate page like I do, you understand how important this is. Takes me more than 20 Minutes to compose, proof read and make the post as easy to understand as possible so as to engage more followers or Facebook fans.
1.     1.Watch your language.
Don’t use too much slang.  Unless, of course, you want to be a celeb or you manage Ghetto Radio’s account  you can use  informal language on a regular basis . Just make sure you are consistent.  Just because you are a business student, doesn’t mean you have to lose personality either, so once in a while feel free to do posts in Sheng; they are more engaging if the bulk of your pals are in the 18-24 age bracket. However if you want to keep & maintain the 25 and above followers and friends ;posting too much in slang may send out the wrong signals.
2.    2. Don’t be dull.
Coming up with fresh content and events to post about all the time is certainly challenging.  However, you should try to vary the type of content as much as possible.  And don’t just focus on self-promotion.  If you want to be a thought leader, you need to acknowledge other industry-related articles on the web.   Finally, focus on creating buzz worthy posts that people will be more likely to send it to their friends.  After all, social media is all about creating a network. Just note; never post alarming posts eg on politics that elicit sharp reactions. On the same note as we approach the 2012 elections several political groups have been created on Facebook. Lets not fan tribalism or hatred on these forums. Remember Mzalendo Kibunja and his team from NCIC will be watching us on Social media to nab those who spread hate speech.
3.     Privacy
Don't put anything on the Internet that you don't want your future boss, current client or potential clients to read. This is so basic and helps a lot. As I said at the Aspire Leadership Conference in March 2012 don’t place your private life on Social Media. Don’t wash your dirty linen in public!
4.     Don’t drink & tweet!
Never post when you're overly-tired, jet lagged, intoxicated, angry or upset. This is so important yet most people ignore it. You are always very eager to tweet when you get juicy details, when you are so happy or very annoyed. Please avoid tweeting too much when you are drunk; If you are tempted to always tell the world where you are having a drink every Friday please leave your internet enabled phone at home or in the car and carry a Kabambe or the famous Nokia 1110 to the bar.
5.     Control the spam.
If you are spamming the Internet, you  need to be aware that it won’t help you.  Check your Facebook account regularly to make sure that people aren’t posting spam on your feed.   After all, it makes your profile look careless if  it’s covered  with junk.  And when you are posting, make sure to avoid junky phrases or tons of special characters like, “WIN NOW!*!*!*!” that will turn people off from your profile. Be warned that too much of push marketing or self promotion doesn’t help push your event, agenda, sell your product or meet whatever objectives you may have. People don’t want to befriend or follow BILLBOARDS!

Follow me on Twitter @KenyanMarketer for more tips on how to handle your social media like a PRO.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Coca-Cola's Secret Formula Revealed

Lessons for Brand managers from the Success of Coca-Cola 
Kenya ’s brand terrain is littered with many brands. Some are as old as Kenya while others are relatively new having made it to the scene in the 21st Century. Amongst these brands, there are those that boast of having a special place in the hearts and minds of Kenyan consumers.Coca-Cola is one of these brands having been in existence for the last 125 years and still very fresh,funky,cool,warm and an exciting brand that has remained 'young'.
Studies have shown that Coca-Cola is among the most-admired and best-known trademarks in the world. In fact, it is documented that “Coca-Cola” is the second-most widely understood term in the world, after “okay.”If you are a brand manager; or a business owner wouldn’t you want to get this kind of brand awareness and loyalty? Well it doesn’t come cheap to start with!!!However this kind of loyalty,adoration and recognition this brand enjoys is worth all they spend on it. The success of this brand is worth every coin they pump into it and gives them value for money .But just how do they do it? The core of Coca-Cola's success is their marketing department with the biggest beneficiary being the advertising, media and creative industry because of the astronomical budget allowances allocated to the Marketing manager & brand managers.
I am totally fascinated by the transformation of this iconic brand over the years. It remains my most admired company to work with as a marketer and a social media specialist. As you read on you will feel that i sound like am totally sold out to Coca-Cola!
Moving on swiftly,it’s the kind of visibility and brand love they seek that has endeared them to many suppliers.With loads of cash to splash on any idea that gives them an edge over their competitors in the market who would want a share of the cake? 
Who doesn’t love Coca Cola? It’s probably the only beverage you can find in a high end joint or store and still get it in a remote village deep in Western Province in same great refreshing taste. So go right ahead and Open Happiness!
Well the brand too had a few major failures notably the 1985 launch! To hear some tell it, April 23, 1985, was a day that will live in marketing infamy when Coca-Cola took arguably the biggest risk in consumer goods history. It  was working on a new kind of Coke, a variation of a product to tackle the emerging challenge from an upstart called Pepsi.Its was disastrous and what no brand manager would want his or her brand to go through!
Here are 4 pillars/secrets behind Coca-Cola's success. 
1st Pillar
Coca cola’s advertising budget surpassed $100,000 for the first time in 1901 and hit the $1M dollar mark in 1911!That was a lot of money back the and even today just how many business can spend $100,000 of their revenue in advertising?
Interestingly in 1921 Outdoor billboards are introduced as part of the advertising mix.
They began advertising on television on Thanksgiving Day, 1950.have you watched their 1971 Hiltop commercial  "Id love to buy the world a Coke"? That was a great ad to show the world in 1971 and it pains me a lot when i see brands airing poorly done ads on Kenyan TV in 2012!Here's what Coca-Cola global posted on their twitter handle after the company was inducted into the advertising hall of fame.

Closer home who doesn’t remember Papa Shirandula’s Brrrrrr ad that aired a few years ago? Their billboards are are really cool too.Fast forward to their latest A Billion Reasons To Believe in Africa" ad, I so feel this ad...can't stop humming I love you Africa.Kudos Steve Kekana & the kids; you did an awesome job. Although I am a big fan of the Guinness & bud light commercials; Coca- Cola did a great job on this one. We had a discussion with a group of marketers and ad critics and after watching the ad and interestingly they sang along to the ad the second time they watched it ,with some nodding their heads like rock stars! I also asked a few tweeps on Twitter how they feel about the ad and got really pleasant replies and several retweets!
Please leave a comment at the end;let me know what you felt after watching the ad. 
If you haven't watched it yet;click here to view the A Billion Reasons To Believe In Africa Commercial 
2nd Pillar
Digital Media
At first glance this doesn’t seem like a corporate blog at all. But in truth this blog that was started in 2008 and already has 1 million hits is all about one thing… marketing.
Here’s how: 
It’s about deepening the brand  – in a very subtle way, with all the historical items they share, this blog shows you that not much of the Coca-cola brand has really changed… the brand has been a leader for over a century
It’s about deepening loyalty – because Coca-cola can reach back and bring up historical documents that are over 125 years old  they are communicating to their customers “you can trust us to take care of you and your children.” 
It’s about deepening the experience – Experiential marketing is hot these days, so it’s natural Coca-cola would jump on that train, giving fans a taste of what the brand was like in the past. It’s truly a unique experience. 
What can you do with your blog to adopt some of Coca-cola’s strategies? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
  • Outside of your cornerstone content, what do your readers find interesting? What do they care about?
  • Can you develop a niche blog and niche community around that topic?
  • What is it about your brand that’s unique? Are you giving it enough attention?
  • In regards to content, what can you give your readers that will build loyalty today and in the future?   
This is a great platform for deepening engagement with your consumers. Coca Cola knows it’s wise not to ignore the 800 million member social site. Although you can’t fully brand your Fan page experience you can customize certain aspects of your page. The new time line pages enables you to list your milestones; a good way of sharing Coca cola’s rich heritage!
In Kenya their fan page is currently at 4700 fans since it was created in February 2012.Well I have always argued that social media isn't just about the numbers; Its not just about being there and posting daily;it's about the level of interaction and engagement with your fans. What's Coca-Cola Kenya is doing is amazing.The page is all about sharing happiness,excitement and joy while subtly pushing the brand in a very creative way. With a lot of Fan to Fan interactions this is definitely a page you need to check out.The page has applications that keep people coming back to the page;such as the Coke Parties Rock App,The Media App for Coke Music and the A Billion Reasons App which is set to go live next week.
Please note that the page has been grown to that number with minimal give aways and thus the people their are consumers in love with the brand and they aren't just fans;It's a marketing ARMY!
However Coca-cola Kenya twitter handle is inactive!This doesn't mean you should not go on to twitter,simply work with what you can handle!What you understand well and can control! I hope you know Twitter can be disastrous to brands at times,Some companies have faced the wrath of tweeps case in point the famous Mc donalds  #McDstories promo that turned into a PR nightmare after the conversation digressed to a platform of airing the bad customer service one had experienced at the store.All wasn't lost though at least because Mc Donalds saved tons of research cash they could spent have on customer surveys.
Please Check Coca-Cola Kenya Facebook Page here and pick a few more lessons to apply on your Social Media.
3rd Pillar
Experiential marketing allows your customers to engage and interact with your products, and services in sensory ways that provide the icing on the cake.It's all about personal experiences that help people connect to a brand to help them make intelligent and informed purchasing decisions.It's a unique approach which integrates elements of emotions, logic, and general thought processes to connect with the consumer.
Coca-Cola Kenya has a few campaigns running of currently such as;
1.Coke Parties Rock-takes the brand to the 18-24 target market.Its a very personalized strategy to take the brand to consumers. This solid idea leaves a longer lasting impression to the young people hence more talk ability leading to increased brand loyalty. You just register your party on the Coke parties Rock App,Vote and if you win they crash your house party with Ghetto Radio or Capital Fm which are the most listened to FM stations among the urban and the ghetto segment of youths.

2.Copa Coca-Cola-This is a under 17 youth championship tournament that seeks to develop talent among the youths.Some of the notable players in Kenya discovered in the tournament are amongst others Mc Donald Mariga.

3.Coke happiness Machine; check what the machine does,what happened when they visited USIU Kenya and find out where happiness will strike next here

4.Sprite slam 2012 Check all about it here; Be Uncontainable
5.A Billion Reasons To Believe in Africa.
This is the real deal. 
There are close to 1 billion people in Africa each with a reason to  believe in Africa and because Coca-Cola knows, understands, lives and breathes Africa they can influence positive attitudes amongst Africans. The world sees Africa as dark & hopeless with majority of the news that come out of Africa being negative e.g. war, hunger, poverty etc locally, our focus is also on negative news, as that’s what sells and people are tired of the negativity & it’s effects. Africa has a lot of positive news to offer and so why not tell those stories? So Coca-Cola created platforms for Kenyans to tell their positive African stories and opportunities for teens to interact with positive African influencers/role models and showcase their 1 Billion Reasons To Believe in form of (stories/images/videos) in Africa. Watch out for this campaign; with Patricia Mbatia of EXP Kenya handling the experiential arm of the campaign you can rest assured that this will work out!
After all the marketing what a consumer needs is a Coke near his place of work, home or school and Coca-Cola has managed to deliver happiness to almost every corner of this country. Coca-Cola is a sort of franchised operation. Most people refer to Cola-Cola as if it were a single entity and it is not. You have the people in Atlanta who take care of the brand and overall marketing, product development and so on, but then each country has its own bottler, or more likely, bottlers. Although Coca-Cola may have an interest in some of these bottling operations they are generally separate legal entities. Having said that, many, in their current form, are totally dependent on Coca-Cola as they do not bottle anything else. The bottlers do have the technical capability and financial muscle to handle the demand in a region. Then there's the Manual Distribution Centre (MDC) model which operates within densely populated areas eg around large towns and cities. The MDCs are independent businesses with links to their local bottler who may provide technical support (eg sales training and general support) and credit to the MDCs. Distribution from the MDCs is mostly ‘manual’ with crates being loaded on to handcarts, bicycles etc. This ensures that you will get Coca-cola's products to a Kiosk near you anytime!

Please tweet me your comments @KenyanMarketer and join the #BillionReasons & #iBelieveInAfrica conversation on twitter.