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Driven by impact and a desire to curate outputs
Driven by impact and a desire to curate outputs
The last three months have seen workers go home on furlough or job losses across different companies in various industries across East Africa. This season has also been a defining moment of the tenacity of corporate giants to withstand a global crisis. Business models have been put to test.
Adaptability to change is tipping the scales and the bottom-line is no longer predictable. The numbers tell of a different narrative altogether. A narrative that is determining strategic realignments that embrace tech and innovation pivoting to a COVID world. Brands that have been laggards in embracing tech have had this season create deep fissures between them and their employees.
In recent weeks I have been following closely on the media space in Kenya. Journalists have invested their talents, time and resources in breaking down news content into digestible bites for the Mwananchi (common man). They have unearthed and fleshed bare bone leads to meaty newsworthy features that would leave the target audience mulling over tons of information. They have continued to exude professionalism in their craft.
With some receiving termination notices over text messages, like in the case of Media Max employees, while others like Nation Media Group releasing names that have been synonymous with their brand, is telling of the gravity of the situation. Media has defined the careers of these professionals for decades. With all this happening across the media stations who then is the watchdog of the watchdog? A couple of groups including Kenya Editors Guild have weighed in. They have called on debtors to bail out the media by honouring their advertising contracts and have also called on the government to consider reprieve through a waiver of license fees.
Realising the gravity of the situation, we have some media houses who have offered counselling services as an extended benefit beyond the exit. It might arguably be a considerable benefit given the public pronouncements of the exits of these media celebrities.
The exposure, rubbing shoulders with bigwigs, incessant calls and opportunities that come with publicity, all down the drain and the world is mum all of a sudden. All the moderating engagements that would add a penny are out of the question with the ban of external events. This is a very difficult season for media practitioners in Kenya.
Five years ago, following the shutdown of three mainstream TV channels during the government’s digital migration, media houses re-routed to digital platforms like YouTube. That period defined the place of social media in disbursing news. We started seeing a lot of signposting to social media channels for further engagement. This was on before the migration however the digital migration turbocharged the use of multimedia.
Several journalists started doing live engagements with their new segments by opening up YouTube, Facebook and Instagram channels. Unfortunately, others were glistening in the platforms of their employers. They did not create their own channels or if they did, they did not have an exit strategy, hence some might have been subsumed by the pandemic.
Media disruption is proving that many who have desired the screens can have that by creating their channels on social media. This like any other business would require strategic planning, audience research, needs assessment of your target audience, novelty and quality service. Having this mapped out will give you the drive and consistency.
Across careers, social media channels have given us platforms to influence our segments on different spheres. As you manage your company’s brand how well are you building into the next phase of your career? And for the media brands, this is the time to think about sustainability of the media houses in a digital world. The offering to target advertisers needs to be above board.
On the other hand, companies whose services are not on the frontline, have established or still are in the process of establishing their new normal. No doubt, departments have been putting their heads together to establish their delivery model. Boards of Directors have been overworking. New strategies are being chartered, others deprioritised, and trial and error is the new gear to engage in driving the companies’ direction. While in departments like marketing and sales, pushing sales is continually a mirage, the finance team is realising the numbers are not adding up while the HR is dreading to draft the dreary emails explaining the bleak future for weeks on end. The situation is dire as your workers are members of families which might be suffering the competition with company time for example through home-schooling while working.
With the current information age, advancement in tech and innovation, millions of companies across the world are equipped to be able to work remotely. Medical professionals are all hands to the pumps, managing a tsunami of patients.
Your company could be in a quagmire similar to this. How can you continue to reach out to your customers?
There are some PR tips you can employ to continue being on top of the game as opposed to being a sitting duck.
Genuinely show care and concern for your employees, they are your greatest ambassadors. Give them flexible working hours are they balance between office work and homeschooling or nursing young babies.
Repurpose your company’s CSR budget towards the fight against the pandemic. Your generosity will be etched in the minds of your customers and it will come in handy in the long-run.
Have a favourable price list for your products, ease the burden of your customers accordingly. You can revisit your leasing agreements for example by reducing by a percentage of payments for a couple of months. You can also reduce the pricing of your products or add incentives like free delivery.
Globally, we have seen car manufacturers are shifting their efforts to start manufacturing ventilators and others facemasks after governments called for help in managing the pandemic. You can donate such supplies or sell them at reasonable prices.
For those in influential roles like politicians, it is not the time for mudslinging your political rivals. Your constituents’ need you to show leadership in matters that matter to them. For example are you providing them sanitisers or hand washing facilities? In these uncertain times they care less about the political landscape and they need support to contain the pandemic.
Automate as much as possible. If you have a general enquiries email and you currently cannot handle the scale of the enquiries you can send automated messages redirecting the customers to particular actions. As you do this for your enquiries email, mirror the same in your social media channels like Facebook and twitter. Automate and redirect but do not ignore.
If you used to employ strategies like cold-calling, you need to re-look into genius ways of how to go about this. Given that people are working from home and most probably are dealing with a lot including childcare and health burdens, the least they want is bombardment by a sales pitch.
As Robert H. Schuller aptly put it, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” These tough people are the key contributors to either loss or profitability of companies. So making it or breaking it, is your responsibility.
Choice, as simple as it sounds, can be nerve-wracking. Making choices especially when it comes to shopping can be daunting. Shopping malls, to open-air markets, to clothing stalls, to beauty salons are all embellished and full or flair promising heaven and oftentimes delivering hell.
In supermarkets, aisle after aisle, shelves are lined up with audacious salesmen and women chattering their brand superiority. This can be daunting to the ever-growing fickle consumer who wants an effortless transaction process. Instant as if magic is becoming more attractive, and disrupting those that still swear by status quo. The big question is how can one build brand loyalty given the circumstances?
Know your product inside out
It is embarrassing to have wobblers swinging your logo and taglines in well organised supermarket aisles, yet your talking heads are stuttering with every question of interest a potential customer prods. Great organisations demonstrate leadership through their employees. Invest in training and development and you will avoid unnecessary losses.
Create ease for your customers
In the 1990s our parents would effortlessly go to the supermarket or send their little ones to go pick powder soap, bar soap, bathing soap, oil or flour, brand notwithstanding. This would easily be timed as it was a grab, pay and go process. Almost three decades later, you tap and within minutes it is delivered on your doorstep. Few if any parent would consider sending their children for such purchases. This is because the time for delivery might be longer as they will go fiddling with their gadgets. Adverts would occasionally pop up and likely influence their choice, which would give the parents unnecessary headaches. As a brand think creatively of ways to ease the shopping process of your customers. This can be through deliveries.
I have been learning a lot about inclusion in recent months. Following the disability summit co-hosted by Kenya and the UK earlier in the year, in addition to a series of workshops I have been attending on inclusion, it is rather obvious that a lot needs to be done to ensure equal participation for all, in Kenya today.
Companies that are looking to wade through the competitive mucky waters of the business environment, must be diverse and accommodative. Many companies would proudly underscore in their job adverts that they are equal opportunity employers, yet when an interviewee turns up with a sign language interpreter, for example, they become less accommodative. The non-verbal communications speaking rather too loud to ignore. They are not convinced that the sign language interpreter, in this case, is just but a mouthpiece of the very able interviewee.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an edge for your business. Working with colleagues who are abled differently, helps your brand to have the optics of a market segment you might have overlooked. It enables you to cover a wider market segment, and most of all, customise your services calculatedly as per the need of each segment, hence higher chances of success.
Last month, the Ministry of Devolution and planning in partnership with the Council of Governors launched the County Public Participation guidelines in braille. This shows that Kenya has joined the vanguard of nations that continue to be responsive to the needs of persons with disability.
This article was published in today’s People Daily, Read on!
This article has also been published this morning on People Daily! Read on!
Last week marked one year since the declaration of the August 8, 2017 election results. And they were greeted with either jubilation or anger depending on the political divide — President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee and Raila Odinga’s Nasa.
There was anxiety and uncertainly across the country. This was a hotly contested election, whose outcome — Uhuru’s re-election — was rejected by the opposition.
The tense atmosphere kept sensitive sectors such as businesses on a razor’s edge. For months, business remained muted and efforts to resuscitate them has been a slow climb-up the hill.
One year later, though some businesses are on recovery path thanks to the thawed political atmosphere after the Handshake between Uhuru and Raila on March 9. Others are still struggling with looming layoffs and no hope of resuscitation.
As a Kenyan brand trying to permeate the maze and reach the fickle consumers, what are some of the strategies of bouncing back? Read more
Driven by impact and a desire to curate outputs that contribute to the sustainable development goals we are experts in brand visibility and we are out to journey with you to achieve your goals.
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