The Shaky Start
For planners who are used to the luxury of secondary data on every category and research budgets for everything from concept tests to advertising copy testing, a stint in East Africa would be a shock. While research data on media usage is available it is used only for those Clients who subscribe to it and that is a fairly limited number. Conducting research in this market is in itself fraught with risks and limitations due to the high crime rate and the increased risk for expatriates. Most planners therefore cope with “surrogates” and common sense most of the time. Research exercises and reports done in the past , offer some kind of a benchmark, at best.
In this rather daunting scenario and with practically no knowledge of the region or its people, its culture or its norms I started my stint as a planning “expert”. J.
The first smell of coffee….Nescafe that is.. J
The first test of skill happened on a Nestle assignment for its beverage brand Nescafe. The result was a highly successful promotion for its Nescafe 3 in 1 recruiter brand. The highlights are given below. For reasons of confidentiality a lot has been withheld in this post.
One of the barriers Nescafe encountered in Kenya which was a tea drinkers market was that coffee drinking and preparation were relatively alien to the bulk of the market. Nestle was also targeting the youth, since attitudes to coffee and to the brand Nescafe could be built easily, as against hardened tea drinkers who were older. To promote trial of coffee, easy to prepare 3 in 1 delivery sachets were being promoted. To further accelerate trial, it was being supported with a consumer promotion scheme. In fact the competition was already using gifts to push their 3in1 coffee sachets in the market.
The challenge therefore, was to design a sales promotion scheme , which not just promote the generic category of 3 in 1’sachets, but create preference for the Nescafe ready to drink 3 in 1 sachet variant.
Data Collection… never mind the danger.
My research involved a few random discussions with University students and youngsters in malls, all of which was arranged by a very resourceful set of drivers in the agency J. It was clear that football is a passion for the youth of Kenya. The World Cup in South Africa had done a lot to make the game even more popular. People followed the game vide the EPL and the European Leagues. Matches were telecast live in East Africa and had relatively high viewership. People followed footballers of African origin and supported the teams that hired them. Football however had a strong male skew. For Music and Fashion were however skewed toward women. Most leisure activities centered around these two pursuits.
The sweet smell of success
My suggestion was therefore simple:
Nescafe 3in 1 which is a ready to drink coffee, is runs a lucky draw for 12 weeks. Every week , the winner either a) gets to go to England and see a football match in the VIP box with all expenses paid. Or b) Gets front row tickets for the Beyonce concert at Glastonbury.( options).
Consolation prizes for random winners which includes branded football merchandise in case of Option A and branded music and fashion merchandise in case of Option B.