MARKET INSIGHTS: WHY THE FACEBOOK GENERATION MATTERS

Fact:24-35 year olds make the largest percentage of any age group spending time online.

Question:Are brands paying attention?

Facebook has changed market dynamics.

It has changed the way we relate to each other,it has brought people from all walks of life together .Created virtual communities around interests and brands in a way that for a person who studies trends online, is simply astounding.

Almost every business is on the online wall of fame…facebook .

You no longer have to pick groceries at the supermarket ,go shopping for clothes,cosmetics or baby essentials at a brick and mortar store.

You can do it online and with the way money transfer works in Kenya…voila ..goods delivered and you did not even have to step out of your house  or office.

This trend is replicated in many other markets across Africa and in the world.

Companies,small and medium-sized businesses are now on Facebook and many have attracted their customers to their pages with offers,discounts and many other enticing goodies and freebies.

But how many of these business are paying attention to what 24-35 year olds are doing and discussing online.

This age group spends a lot of time online.

How many have sat  their marketing teams down  and discussed or even put in place plans for  what their customers will need in five or even a years time?

How many have taken in mind the changing lifestyles of these same group in 10 years time and put in place structures that will ensure they are customers for life?

When Safaricom Limited released its first quarty report,it reported that 80 billion Kenya shillings accounted for transactions between customers on its   Mpesa money transfer service.

Did you get that…. 80 billion Kenyan shillings,a third of the country’s GDP in just 6 months.

Read more about the results here and here.

With the way things online are shaping up,the next quarter will be a fantastic one for the mobile company that controls the largest percentage of the mobile money transfer market. It has more than 15 million customers registered on the mobile money transfer business.

Why focus on this age group?

These are people on their first/second jobs.

They have money to spend.

They are at crucial  periods in their lives  where major decisions like getting life partners,starting families,settling in their careers matter .

They want great service/products and are happy to pay for them.

They are creating groups based on common interests from online businesses/entrepreneurs to mummy groups to dissatisfied customer groups.

They are sharing ideas on where to get the best deals on houses,mobile devices,great discounts and venting when they get bad service.

For brands that want to keep their customers and gain more market share it means they have to be good, really good at whatever service/product they are offering.

They have to learn to anticipate what their customers need and provide it .

They have to provide a really great customer experience .

By paying attention to the lifestyle dynamics   and interests  this  generation enjoys,brands will be able to anticipate their customer needs,meet them  and survive the market place.

Let brands start listening to the online chattering going on among online communities,put their ears to the ground(figuratively of course)…it matters and in more ways than one.

WHAT REALLY MAKES A GREAT LEADER?

April 2010.

My daughter was three years and we  were at the Rift Valley Sports Club in Nakuru .

It was late afternoon and while we were having lunch who comes in?

Kabando wa Kabando in the company of a few other people who looked like MP’s.

My daughter was running around with a book and she happened to pass by Kabando just as he was being shown to his table.

He bent down shook her hand and asked her what she was doing.

On showing him the book she was reading, he took it and proceeded to go through the 10 or so pages with her reading out aloud.

He waved at us and proceeded to join his group.

Now most Kenyan MP’s have this diva attitude about them,like they would rather not talk to the mere mortals who elected them.

They drive around in cars that have tinted windows,have traffic cleared hours before they leave their houses and are members of very exclusive clubs.

I wrote about the reason Kenyans should not be surprised about this behaviour here.

This is in sharp contrast to the very ideal that leadership should be about.

Being a leader is a call to service.

It requires that the men and women who aspire to such positions  be servant leaders.

How many times have you seen a Kenyan leader rise to the occasion and put the country first before self?

Did they do it when they were asked to pay taxes?

Do they do it when joining political parties driven by ideals and not-self interest?

Do they show it when passing legislation in parliament?

Do they show when carrying out their political campaigns?

Are they showing it now as we gear up for the elections in an year’s time?

What really makes a great Kenyan leader?

THE NAKED KENYAN “EMPEROR”

The Nancy Baraza saga has received a lot of coverage.

It reminds me a lot of the children’s bedtime story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”

Here is the story by Hans Christian Andersen

When the Honorable judge was appointed as Deputy Chief Justice the public put in her and the Chief Justice’s hands the scales of justice.

 

What the saga at the village market reveals is that sometimes the people we put in public positions let the heady air of “being special” get to the heads.

But it is not Nacy Baraza’s fault that she thought she was too special to get through the rigours of a search when Kenya is facing terror attacks.

It ois the fault of all Kenyans.

We are much  like the two courtiers the Emperor sent to inspect the cloth the swindlers were sewing and who came back and told him that the cloth was the most beautiful they had ever seen.

We treat our MP’s and other senior government officials like the ground they walk on is to be worshipped,forgetting that they are first and foremost public servants,enjoying the privileges they have courtesy of the Kenyan tax payer.

We fe’te them and sing their praises at weddings,funerals and political rallies and they begin to think that it is their right to be treated that way.

We lie to them that they clothes they are wearing are the most beautiful have the most amazing colors when the brash and abrasive manner they treat the mwananchi reveals their nakedness.

We lie to them that everyone needs to admire their new clothes when all they are baring to us is their naked love for power and their need to rule over others as a form of cover up for their insecurities.

Like the emperor who could not see the clothes the weavers were making for him,they feel slighted when mere security guards do not recognize their office.

They forget their “office” is nothing but a shadow.

Just like the emperor’s handlers,assistants were too afraid to tell the emperor that he was being lied to when the truth was before their eyes,these men and women of high office have let their minions mislead them especially when it comes to public opinion.

It took the voice of a child to say what everyone was afraid to say;”But the Emperor has no clothes!”

Hopefully that reminds us that we should not take off the clothes of humility,service ,truth and respect of the law for the non- existent garments made of pride,having a superiority complex and insecurity when we assume any” office”.

THE DOCTORS’ STRIKE :A WAR OF GENERATIONAL IDEALS

Tears….

I am on the verge of tears every time I watch prime time news.

I have been following the doctors strike since it started and I cant help but side with the doctors and cry for the Kenyans losing loved ones at public hospitals that are nothing empty buildings.

They lack basic equipment that would go along way towards saving lives,yet doctors are expected to act like God and somehow save the patients who show up there everyday.

Having worked at the largest referral hospital in the country and even had a chance to do ward rounds with the doctors the few times I was there as a nutritionist,it is a frustrating  experience working in the public health sector…

I watched patients share beds,some sleeping on the floor …

And that was at Kenya’s largest referral hospital,what then happens in far flung areas laround the country?

Kenyan doctors in public hospitals really are miracle workers if they have been able to work for so long with so little and been able to send patients home,cured of whatever was ailing them.

But more than the better renumeration and improved working conditions they are asking for,this is a war among two generations of Kenyans.

On one hand you have the seasoned politicians and trade unionists who are the wheeler dealers in the political scene and on the other are a relatively young crowd of doctors,some of the sharpest minds from the best schools in the country.

Who studied  through high school,got the best grades and were called to med school,went through five years of medical school,worked on cadavers,graveyard shifts,witnessed all the blood and gore found in casualty wards during internship  and finally when they graduated, they realized all their hard work was going to be nought.

Not because they did not work hard enough or love their jobs but because they were working for a government that has skewed priorities.

These doctors whose average age cannot be more than 30 are battling with men and women who have watched over the ruin of the public health sector.

They have watched the way our leaders have placed priority over digitizing parliament when incubators for saving babies remain pipe dreams in most public hospitals.

They have watched the government furnish its Ministers with entourages of fuel guzzlers when for a population of 40 million Kenyans there are only 24 dialysis machines.

They have watched us put up a Vice Presidents residence at the cost of 1 billion Kenya shillings when the government has withdrawn budgetary allocation for post-graduate studies of medical students.

The doctors have watched the way our legislators are pampered with the best in health care insurance,guaranteed even airlifts incase one of them falls sick when doctors in North Eastern province are hanging IV drips from tree branches.

They have watched the way we are spending 200,00  for Kenya shillings for chairs that will be used for 3 days in a week for a few hours by legislators,when we cannot afford to hire pay the same amount to hire more doctors

The doctors have come from a generation of Kenyans that have watched the way politics was played with the issue of taxes by MP’s,where  money was miraculously found to pay of their tax arrears.But none can be found to hire more doctors to relieve the work of the 2.300 docotrs who work 19 hours every day for a population of 40 million.

This a war of ideals but who is going to blink first?

Is it the old guard used to getting their way or is it the young men and women fighting for the ideals they believe in?

That the public health sector needs more funding and that the Kenyan tax payer deserves better services at reasonable cost in public hospitals.

How do you believe a government that has pampered its legislators.

How do you trust a government that has not shown it has the will or commitment to fight corruption?

How do you trust a government that says one thing today and another tomorrow?

How do you trust a government that playing games with the life of its citizens?

How do you trust a government whose ministers(the ones in charge of public health and medical services)are nowhere to be seen when the health sector is in a crisis?

In another country they would have resigned,but hey this is Kenya…..

Where Ministers say they would rather die than resign…

Where all traffic comes to a standstill when the top government honchos are going anywhere,creating gridlock sfor hours even before they leave their houses.

Where their entourages are accompanied by police outriders

….. yet public hospitals lack ambulances and sometimes even  fuel.

Who is going to be the first to blink in this war that is increasingly becoming more a show of mettle than of words?

Is it going to be the generation of Kenyans that have watched over the rot and ruin in the country  or the young Kenyans fighting for a bigger cause ,for somehting they believe in?

GREEN ENERGY :Way to go for the energy sector in Kenya

This past week South Africa came up with a Green Accord that is meant to create at least 300,000 jobs in the green energy sector.

The sectors targeted in this accord are agriculture,energy and transport.

It hopes to manufacture wind turbines and solar panels locally to meet the country’s energy needs.

Meanwhile back home in Kenya fuel prices have gone up again and everything else from the packet of milk to the tomatoes at the grocery will soon reflect this rise in price.

I was watching a short feature on one of the news channels that was focusing on solar energy use and was appalled to see a government employee decrying the high cost of solar energy.

In his opinion it was a venture too expensive for the government to undertake.

Yet if you think about it there would be so much to be saved in the long run.

Apparently it only takes about 130,000 Kenya shillings to install a solar system in a residential house.

If you think about the annual cost in expenditure on electricity bills annaully per household , we would see that using solar energy would be win- win for all involved in the long run?

The Kenyan government has been talking of commissioning a nuclear plant,which will cost billions in tax payers money.Yet   being in the tropics and enjoying so  much sunlight we would be better of making use of what we already have-the sun.

Countries which do not enjoy as much sunlight as we do are already making use of the free energy the sun provides by investing in it,so why cant we?

Will we always remain a anet importer of fuel to power diesel driven genrators,shackling the Kenyan tax payer with more national debts to pay and  to a life of misery .

What is the work of the expertts and bureaucrats in the energy ministry if they are not offering alternatives to the energy crisis that will only become worse as the Kenyan population grows?

Maybe it is up to home owners now to take charge of their energy use,next time you are putting up that sprawling mansion,put aside some money to install your own solar panels to power your  home use.

That way you will be saving yourself a lot of heart ache from the intermittent supply from the Kenyan Power and thousands of shillings in electricity costs in the long run.

KENYANS,WE SHALL NOT BE AFRAID

Cowards have never won wars and Kenyans we will not win war by cowering in our houses,afraid of going shopping,taking our children to school or going to work.

What we should be doing is standing tall and proud ,confident of our men and women in uniform who have gone into Somalia in search of the enemy in “Operation Linda Nchi.”

Watching the news yesterday at 9pm, after the second blast in less than 24 hours ,the fear and the antelope- caught -in -the- headlights of a tour van look  was clearly visible in the eyes of our news anchors.

That is not what we need.

We need to be confident  that we are doing the right thing not only for ourselves but  for our children.

Just think of what Kenya will be like if we let the Al shabaab overrun us with fear and intimidating attacks ?Kenya will cease to exist,all 542,650 square kilometres of it.

Like all terror groups the Al shabaab are thriving on instilling fear in all of us,fear of walking out of our doors of going on with our lives as usual,and who wants that ?

Am sure if the freedom fighters had though for a minute that their home-made guns could not stand up against the British,we would still be a  colony still.

Why should a band of rag-tag militia scare us?

We need to fight for the pride that we had at independence  when so many of our fathers, mothers,brothers and sisters who are not here with us saw the Kenyan flag being hoisted up for the first time.

We need to fight and reclaim the sense of nationalism we had at independence when we were all united together in forging a common future.

We need to fight off the fear that the Al Shabaab are better armed  than our armed forces,ofcourse they are not.

Our men and women in uniform are among the best trained and disciplined forces  in Africa.They can and will win this war.

Media houses need to do away with the me- first mentality when it comes to news reporting.They are quick to tell us when and where the blast was, but how many have bothered to give a face to the men and women in uniform. fighting away so many kilometres away from home?

Or their families who are worried about the safety of their loved ones,praying that they come back home safe and sound when this is all over.

Let news editors not be afraid of raising the national psyche when it comes to this war with great stories of how well our armed forces are doing.

As for politicians lay off the bickering……

We need to see senior government officials rallying Kenyans around the cause of Operation Linda Nchi.

We need to see government officials  visiting  our troops and telling them we are so proud of them,it will do wonders for their pscyhe.

Let religious leaders pray that our men and women in uniform come back home safe and sound

Let them urge their congregations to speak up when things are going wrong in their neighbourhoods.

Granted they may all be marching to heaven but last time i checked our feet whether we are religious or not are still firmy planted on the earth.

Let us make it a better place to live in as we await our heavenly abodes.

I am so proud of the father,mothers,sons and daughters of   Kenya who were not afraid when national duty clalled…they answered.

Dear Kenyans do not be afraid ,we shall win the war against terror and we are already winning.

We shall not be afraid

We have forgotten our tribal tags and for once we are united against one cause and that is protecting our land.

Let us not be afraid of naming suspicious looking people in our estates,at bus stops and other social places

Let us not be afraid to report on suspicious activities that we see taking place in our estates,at  our  work places or even places of worship

Let us not be afraid of asking our politicians to quit the navel gazing and focus on important national security issues.

Let us not be afraid of wearing our national colors when duty calls.  

Once we let fear get to us,they will have won,don’t let them win.