Facebook and Brands

Is facebook a channel for boosting Brands? According to My little knowledge on Brand, yes and no. A facebook page is not a guarantee to boost a brand in fact it might be a cause of a disaster depending on how it is managed. 
Lately there's a notion among-st the up coming entrepreneurs especially at the retail level that all you need is a facebook page, upload the pictures of your products and voila, you are selling. People quit their day jobs using this plan and its painful to watch a good talent go to waste because of this misplaced assumption.  
A brand is an experience (emotional and practical) and a mere Facebook page with some likes for a brand without proper management, constant interactions and relevant content sharing with your audience is just like an expensive billboard on a countryside highway where nobody sees it and those who sees it don't give a hoot! . 
Now, don't get me wrong, a facebook page is useful especially when introducing a product, monitoring customer experiences, hearing them and adjusting as necessary. This is the platform when your customers get down to earth and give you their honest opinions (sometimes very hostile opinions) but opinion all the same, who said its a bed of roses? You need to listen, respond, be consistent, share content and watch your page grow organically not a forced 'like our page' that adds no value to your customer base..... how many of you sometimes feel like they are being arm twisted into liking a facebook page? ...Yes, me too.
A bill has currently been passed allowing for regulation of prices of goods commonly used by wananchi specifically price of Maize flour and Fuel.  Price regulation means controlling the amount of money being paid on the said commodities in order to safe guard the common man against the ever-rising prices. This move has effects in whichever economy and the effects can be good or bad depending on the stability of the economy in topic, how it is carried out and the business atmosphere.

Literally from the wananchi point of view, we are game. It’s a high time someone started paying attention to our predicaments. But the main area where the bill has some real repercussions on is the small and medium businesses especially in economy like ours and the so called repercussions will for sure trickle down to the common man and in a huge way.   

The question is, is economy like ours ready for regulation? In my opinion, NO.
This is the kind of bill you talk about… leave alone table it in parliament, after the government has ensured that the trading environment is calm and the cost of production is fair for businesses.

Seems like the government is trying to take a shortcut in settling the anxiety being felt by Kenyans about the food price going higher and higher each day but the truth is at 46 years of age, Kenya can do better than cooling down anxieties and make a real move that will see our economy becoming stable hence accommodating and encouraging new businesses and investments in the country.

Kenyan cost of production is currently one of the highest globally. This means that manufactures in Kenya is finding it rough to compete with manufactures from other countries due to variations on cost of doing business. The best example would be energy where electricity alone constitutes to around 40% of total manufacturing cost. While a Kenyan manufacturer will pay between 10 and Ksh 15 per Kilowat of electricity, their competitors in Asia will pay between Ksh 2.50 and Ksh 4. If you were a manufacturer in Asia, you would already have at least one reason to start negotiating with your government on price control.

The other contributing factor is the infrastructure. Talk about the transport system, there are basically no roads and the few that are there are full to capacity and the amount of time lost on traffic is costing the businesses so much. It will help if the we could move from point A to B in less time and with ease to as to have enough time to think about how we can improve the businesses. Better still, good roads will also save the amount of money spent on Fuel and as a result we can spare some cash to allow for easy expansion of businesses. 

Without proper planning even if price regulation was justified, it will still not work. Kenya is known for doing too little too late or not doing anything at all when needed. Last year people were dying of hunger and this year thank God this year we are blessed but it appears the government are not prepared to store the maize and again we hear news about toxic maize killing people. You want to call this bad lack, I don’t think so, I believe no one was prepared to buy maize from the farmer leave alone store them. Again last year we had power shortage due to lack of rain and this year, water is killing people. You would think someone could be interested in collecting the water but no, the expansion of Masinga dam is just starting and am thinking, why dint someone think of that before April because as usual rains are expected from April and it does kill people every year.

It will be interesting to see how the ‘price regulation’ is going to be exercised now that there are no longer boundary between East African markets. I think this bill must be thrown out otherwise Kenyans will suffer as there’s likely to be diversion of goods. Unless this law is enforced on all the countries in East Africa it is irrelevant otherwise if traders find the cost of input so high in Kenya they will close down and go trade in the other East African countries with no price control after all, it is legal.

I think it’s too premature for Kenya to put such kind of policies in place….

Bella Miruka
What does this remind me of??

Whatever it reminds one of, it better be positive. Even though a brand name is not all there is when it comes to Brand Equity, its of great essence if you look at it from the Brand experience point of view. A brand name should be a word or a combination of words that register in the mind of a consumer, easy to pronounce and of the greatest importance is how the consumer relate to it. In other terms what does the name remind consumers of?

Linguistically speaking…

Language barrier applies to brand names too and it applies variably. It could be language itself, the way its spoken (verbal), or even demographical. A name could be the best in one part of the word but could be offensive in another part of the world.

Big and successful brands have faced such challenges before and at times the popular name is sacrificed in order to fit a particular market in a particular region or better still different words that sounds close to the popular name are combined to get the result but even this cant be so safe because the combination might create another meaning to it in the local language … again we go back to “what does it remind me of”.

While it might not make sense to look deeply into the Linguistic or verbal challenges especially when your product is targeting locals that might have a common Lingua Franka, you might be faced with a harsh reality when it comes to demographics. Whoever is in charge of naming should consider that a name might be very appealing to adult population but not to children or it might appeal to everyone except women population. Again the target market has a considerable value here.

This is it…

Of late locally, (in Kenya) we have woken up to mobile banking promos. We have different names here and if I may list… M-Kesho!, Bankika tu!, Lipuka and the most interesting of all these is PESA PAP. Pesa Pap! are two words and if I consider the target market the majority of it being the youth, “we” are going to take a shortcut and call it “Pap”. For heaven’s sake, what does Pap remind one of? It might be a very comfortable name to the other population but not to the female population. I’ve not carried out the survey of what women feel about this name yet but as a woman it reminds of Pap Smear (a medical procedure testing cervical cancer) I love the idea behind Pap… I mean… Pesa Pap but its value can be optimized even further if a great thought was given to its name.

Now I want to accuse the Ad agencies for this. At times or rather most times locally, the ad agencies are not doing justice to organizations when it comes to strategic input on the ad campaigns. I think this comes as a result of clashing interests. To the ad agencies, the bigger the budget the greater the input in terms of time…not strategy while for the client, they want to maintain if not pull in more customers depending on the kind of campaign being carried out… but then again it goes down to the love of money, if the client can’t meet the budget then don’t do it but if you decide to do the campaign then do it well. Ad agencies are obviously prioritizing their input according to figures and to worsen it, even with the “figure influenced” input, the result is still fifty fifty (No guarantee)
Other factors…
The client should also be ready and not act because the competitor is acting. Brand Valuation can help identify contributing factor to the Brand value, which can help in planning the activities around the brand and even budgeting. 
Ad campaigns vary; some ads are for maintaining the existing client while others influence new ones. Whether it’s to maintain or influence, you still want to manage the perception when innovating a new product, remember that how they will perceive it… ‘what it reminds them of ’ could hinder or facilitate their ability to respond to the new product and since this kind of product (the Pap kind) was long waited for, its only a matter of time before the “maintained clients” moves to your direct competitor who by the way does not necessarily have a better product but has better name i.e. a name that is associated with good feelings.
We have a few ad agencies around here namely, Scan group, McCann-Erickson Kenya, Mashariki Brand Communication Saracen amongst others.

The Pap campaign is proudly presented by McCann-Erickson Kenya… Lets wait and see!!

Bella Miruka…. 
The other day my colleague was shouting about Kenyan churches being hypocrites. I dint know whether I should agree with her or not but now am inclining towards her side. I’m appalled by the churches celebration on the court’s verdict on Kadhi court in the constitution being illegal. Every Kenyan is wary of why the courts have chosen this particular time to deliver the judgment …may I add (six years later)

The church is considered a leading institution and that Kenyans depend on for guidance, so when they are out there campaigning against the new constitution for whatever reason, they should be frank and point out the loopholes whether its favoring them or not. I mean this would be the only difference between the Churches’ NO campaign and Ruto’s NO campaign.

Isn’t it redundant for the court to deliver judgment now when we are about to vote on the new constitution? Here is the proposed constitution and we are being given a chance to decide on issues like Kadhi courts amongst other important issues like abortion. We are going to vote and reject or accept it and the courts opinion at this time is a deliberate move to confuse Kenyans

Do we want to assume the Church is not seeing anything wrong with this? They don’t suspect anything wrong or are they closing their eyes to the reality because the ruling in favoring them?

We are in a nation full of hooligans from Political to Religious leaders.
Feels like there’s an accident waiting to happen following the threat by Egypt to open a diplomatic war between her and the Nile basin states. Now whatever basis the British treaty was drawn on, it gives Egypt a veto on all Nile related waters, which to me as a Kenyan is obnoxious and so old fashioned. It feels a bit awkward to still maintain the pre-independent treaties… What happened to change? Now water bodies from a country like Ethiopia contributes to approximately 80% of the Nile water but for them to use River Nile waters for simple irrigation, they have to get permission from Egypt. This is unsettling to me.

I know as third world country modern colonization is common but in this age and time it shouldn’t be so “in your face”, I don’t expect institutions like the world bank to take sides. I read that Egypt is threatening to talk donors out of financing the project currently running along River Nile and according to statement issued by the 12 development partners convening under a trust fund hosted by the World Bank, there seems to favoritism towards Egypt and Sudan against the other seven countries.

Read the reaction by world bank on the meeting held by Nile Council of Ministers (Nile CoM) in Kinshasa… “We are very concerned that outcomes of your meeting may result in some countries, without others, moving forward with an agreement and a Commission. Our experience of providing support in other river basins suggests that this will not deliver the scale of economic and security benefits and reductions of future risks that basin-wide co-operation will yield.” I'm curious to know the details of the so called “economic and security benefits”…