The recently launched Jubilee portal has generated politically oriented discussions. I see it as a marketing strategy for the advertiser. Marketing has 4Ps among them promotion, referring to communication used by marketers to provide information to raise awareness and not just generate sales but also create brand loyalty. The promotion process hinges on advertising.
A key aspect of entrepreneurship is innovation. In my opinion the portal is an innovative hence entrepreneurial way of advertising the achievements of the Jubilee government and here let credit be put where it belongs. I quickly add that all ads generally fit into one of three generic goals: to inform, persuade or remind customers.
I am tempted to eliminate the reminder goal precisely because reminder advertising is known to be used mainly to reinforce previous promotional activities to keep the product/brand name in the public domain. Coca cola advertisements fall in this category.
Despite the fact that coca cola has already carved itself a niche in the market, it must keep reminding the consumer that it is still around. I do not see this objective sitting pretty for Jubilee Party, which is just building a base in Kenya’s political arena. Indeed Jubilee does not have any previous projects to remind us about.
That the portal informs us about Jubilee projects qualifies the informative goal. In strict marketing, informative advertising makes sense in two basic scenarios. One, when companies introduce unfamiliar products to the market. Two, when companies sell complex solutions deemed not to be understood by the market.
Most of the projects I see on the portal are neither necessarily unfamiliar nor complex solutions to Wanjiku’s problems to qualify for informative advertisement as described.
I seem to be left with persuasive advertisement, which is generally used to play on the emotions of the audience to move into action. The idea is to persuade a target audience to buy a product. When blue band makes a boy run very fast and beat others then relax with the bread spread the aims is to make kids think that eating blue band makes them run fast.
This advertisement convinced my daughter while in primary when her class wasn’t winning athletics contests. We had to switch from butter to blue band for the sake of our only girl then, having failed to convince her that it does not just simply work that way. Indeed it did not work for her and later she switched back to the original butter. That seems to be the flipside of persuasive advertisements which can be summarized by the saying, “you can cheat some people sometimes but not all the people all the time”.
The message I am trying to put across is that while the aim of all advertising is to ultimately get consumers to buy, the form elected should be the right one at the right time to the right audience.
The Swahili people have a saying that I use in teaching advertisement: chema chajiuza, kibaya chajitembeza, meaning a good thing sells itself; a bad thing must be advertised.
Over the years the Kanga (Swahili wrapping cloth) has dominated the fashion industry in East Africa. I always wondered why the kanga have writings on them. I discovered that apart from its protective and decorative role, the kanga is all about communicating a message. The clothe is a valuable medium of expressing personal, political, social, religious and many other ideas and aspirations in Eastern Africa.
The writing that is printed on the kanga is usually of central significance and it is the one that makes people buy the kanga. The philosophy here seems to be that the Swahili woman would rather you looked at the writing on her kanga and made your conclusion rather than her telling you the message. Finally it is Vladimir Illich Lenin who said that politics is a concentrated expression of economics.
Crudely translated, it means that politics that does not place ugali on the tables of the electorate is bad politics, to borrow and paraphrase the expression by retired President Moi. A project that does not bring down the price of unga however persuasively advertised will not cheat all the people all the time.
Prof Bwisa teaches entrepreneurship at [email protected]