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Kenyan IT entrepreneur with passion of empowering brands

By Fredrick Obura | June 26th 2020
Mr. Santos Okottah at his Nairobi office

NAIROBI, KENYA; One Sunday morning while working at a leading media house, Santos Okottah woke up to so many missed calls from his employer.

His phone had run out of charge due to power blackout, he decided to call back the office to find out what was a miss. The ICT expert was told to rush to the office to sort out a mess that saw many clients call the company to inquire about a mix-up.

“I basically forgot to hit the date button and update logo on the website to read Sunday despite changing the site content, so the website could still read Saturday instead of Sunday and our readers thought everything in the site was stale or had not been changed, and this was a little bit sensitive owing to the fact that it was a popular news site,” he said.

“Web Design then was not advanced, and so was coding, this is something which I later learned required a small line of code to aid the automatic change of date and the logo that could have saved the day. Its good the problem was solved amicably and I kept my job,” he adds.

Several years after leaving the media company, Mr. Okottah has been back to the drawing board on how to use his ICT skills to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporates, and individuals improve the visibility of their brands online.

His line of thinking has been centered on the growing use of social media platforms as a marketing tool.

One of the applications he has been working on over the last three years is a product called The Brand, which enables any person or business to create compelling content and visuals in a matter of seconds.

This is targeting posts on twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms

The Brand uses a state-of-the-art cloud platform that involves fast processing of photos using Artificial Intelligence, integration with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, integration with Google Drive, and Dropbox.

“The power of our innovation is its ability to pick posts on social media mentioning your brand and automatically create designs around them to make such content more appealing and stand out,” he says.

"What takes a professional designer 2 hours, only takes three seconds on The Brand app, the tool enables any person or business to create compelling content and visuals in a matter of seconds."

“Our most popular feature in the brand management tool is called HashBrand. It automatically converts tweets to engaging pictures in under three seconds,” adds Mr. Okottah.

In an interview, he says the tool has registered commendable growth during the COVID-19 pandemic with some 4000 users exploring the application. Companies and non-governmental organisations prefer the tool to boost engagements of up to 40 per cent.

One of the measures globally to combat the Coronavirus spread is through the social distancing, a measure which has reduced physical meetings and gatherings. Non-governmental organisations and corporates have resorted to meetings through webinars.

The Brand application has been of help to entities conducted meetings through webinars due to its capacity to automatically document talks and capture comments from social forums such as Twitter and Facebook.

It boasts of entities such as Bonfire Adventures, NCBA bank, Umma Insurance, KENIC and Laugh Industry using the platform, and a number of individuals.

“This is a one-stop solution for businesses and SMEs to get noticed, tell powerful visual stories in the form of engaging posts, presentations, infographics, and other visual content. Individual users can access the platform online for free, while SMEs will need to pay Sh1, 000 per month and larger corporates Sh10, 000 per month.”

Experts argue that the higher internet penetration in Kenya is likely to fuel such innovations in the coming years.

The Internet market in Kenya has continued to exhibit positive growth over the past years. Some of the factors contributing to this growth include increasing population coverage of 3G and 4G networks, availability of affordable smartphones and data plans, and increasing consumption of e-commerce, e-government, social media, and other online content.

During the first quarter sector statistics report for the financial year 2019/2020, the total internet subscriptions rose by 4.1 per cent to 52.0 million, from 49.9 million reported in the previous quarter.

Mobile data subscriptions accounted for 99.3 of total data subscriptions.

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