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Big brands unveil campaigns as post-Covid optimism rises

Financial Standard

Four years of a global pandemic, two wars and ‘higher interest rates for longer’ appear to have taught corporates that it is time to turn around and project into an optimistic future using the resilience they have been building.

Advertising had taken a dip during the Covid-19 pandemic as companies cut back on spending and resorted to reaching their customers via digital channels.

The return of the big advertisements points to a revival of the sector.

With analysis projecting the worst is over and expectations of global growth picking up next year, companies are now ready to come out and grab market share.

According to data from Reelanalytics, advertising spending in Kenya has steadily grown since 2020. In 2022, the advertising expenditure increased by four per cent compared to 2021, due to increased spending by the financial and telecommunications sectors.

With renewed vigour and backed by tidy media budgets, several leading local firms have unveiled elaborate rebranding and advertising campaigns.

Two of Kenya’s biggest banks have already aired new television commercials over the past two weeks.

 KCB Group Marketing and Communications Director, Rosalind Gichuru. [Courtesy]

KCB Group and NCBA Bank have revived their advertising with campaigns titled ‘Opening Doors of Opportunity’, and ‘Twende Mbele’ respectively.

Coca-Cola, Safaricom, Stanbic and Kakuzi have also gone to town with big brand campaigns as they seek to remind consumers of their presence.

The advertisements are part of what is known in advertising parlance as thematic campaigns, which are meant to communicate a brand’s overall positioning.

Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest company, earlier this year revived Safaricom Chapa Dimba, the popular grassroots football tournament that culminates in a big national final.

The telco has put Sh400 million behind Safaricom Chapa Dimba, which has so far held regional finals in Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley.

For KCB, said the bank’s Marketing and Communications Director Rosalind Gichuru, the message to customers and the general public is that Kenya’s biggest lender is at hand to offer a helping hand.

“KCB is on a transformation journey and through this process, we have birthed a new brand purpose, positioned to anchor our brand purposefully for the next decade.

“Opening Doors of Opportunity is a creative expression of our promise to continue to open doors to uplift lives, empower dreams, and create a positive impact across Africa,” Ms Gichuru said.

Multimedia platforms

The campaign is meant to remind Kenyans that the 127-year-old lender has been a catalyst for growth and economic advancement, promoting regional commerce, and linking millions of people throughout the world to possibilities.

KCB is rolling out the campaign on multimedia platforms.

Gichuru said the bank’s intention is also to communicate its commitment to shared value, which seeks to develop business solutions to social problems. 

It cites the 2jiajiri initiative, through which the company trains youth via scholarships in technical training institutions and then gives loans and mentorship to those who have sound business plans.

“Shared value is anchored on unlocking value from what matters most in innovative, socially responsible, and, above all, sustainable ways.

“To achieve this, we have to harness the potential of all our people, customers, shareholders, and partners,” said Ms Gichuru.  

Rated AAA+ by London-based Brand Finance, KCB is ranked 363 among the world’s top 500 most valuable banking brands after recording 24 per cent brand value growth over the last year.

Among the bank’s strong points are its digital footprint where its over 25 million customers are able to access services from anywhere across the world through mobile and internet banking.

NCBA launched its ‘Twende Mbele’ campaign with a TV commercial showcasing the success stories of customers across the country.

Using the contemporary approach of showing off the better parts of the country with aerial shots of infrastructure, landscapes and big business, the advert also includes shots of the bank’s offerings in asset finance, digital solutions, manufacturing, agriculture, real estate, and sports.

The campaign was launched on November 12, exactly a month before Jamhuri Day when Kenya will mark 60 years of independence.

 NCBA Group Marketing, Communications, and Citizenship Director, Nelly Wainaina. [Courtesy]

NCBA Bank is also marking five years since the merger of NIC Bank and CBA that created it.

“As far as corporate heritage is concerned, NCBA is a truly Kenyan heritage brand serving customers for more than 60 years, and this campaign also serves as our launch pad to celebrate Kenya’s 60 years of independence,” NCBA Group Director for Marketing, Communication and Citizenship Nelly Wainaina said.

During that time, the bank has grown to become the third largest financial services firm by assets in Kenya and the largest by customer numbers in Africa with over 60 million customers.

Ms Wainaina said they have a sizeable budget for the campaign, with advertising on TV, radio, billboards, newspapers, digital and NCBA’s internal assets.

For Coca-Cola, one of the biggest global brands, the big-ticket campaign has been the rebrand of Keringet via the campaign dubbed ‘Own Your Richness’.

The campaign was launched in October and coincided with an identity rebrand that saw an alignment and creation of consistency across all five of Keringet’s premium water brands across the region.

“The campaign marks an exciting new chapter for Coca-Cola’s premium water brand. As consumers increasingly prioritise wellness, sustainability, and meaningful experiences, Keringet is poised to become an essential part of their journey,” said Marketing Director for East and Central Africa Isabelle Kariuki-Rostom. 

“Through this campaign, our customers get to discover the richness in every aspect of their life.” 

Coca-Cola has been restructuring its business and has consolidated and acquired water companies.

One of the company’s strengths over the years has been its understanding of branding. Now with a focus on young Africans, it has tailored its identity and continental branding to afro-optimism.

The brand seeks to appeal to young Africans who are proud of their roots, embracing their multifaceted religious and community identities.

Coca-Cola also brought back Coke Studio, one of its major brand assets replicated in most of its markets across the world, with the target being Gen Z.

The signature collaboration of the campaign this year was between Kenyan rapper Khaligraph Jones and popular singer Nikita Kering.

Motoring sector

In the motoring sector, one of the major changes has been the merger of DT Dobie and CFAO Motors (formerly known as Toyota Kenya).

Following the merger on April 1 this year, the entity will now house all brands under one flagship brand CFAO Motors and offer the Kenyan market a wide variety of automotive solutions ranging from motorcycles, entry level to high-end passenger vehicles, to heavy duty commercial vehicles and trucks.

All of its major brands are on display in the TV commercial it used to announce its new status. The commercial is a remake of iconic TV commercials in the 80s that featured a variety of its vehicles racing across the desert.

The company will be relying on the strength of its brands, market leadership, economies of scale and its 36 branches, dealerships and authorised service centres to cement its hold on the Kenyan market.

The new entity has expanded the local assembly offering by CFAO Motors Kenya, combining the assembly of Landcruiser 79, Hilux pick-ups, Hiace and Hino trucks at Associated Vehicle Assembly in Mombasa, and the VW Polo, Tiguan, Touareg, T-cross, Mercedes truck and buses and Hyundai trucks at Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers at Thika, Kiambu County.

Speaking while announcing the new CFAO Motors business direction, Managing Director Arvinder Reel said: “As the preferred partners for mobility solutions in Kenya we serve a wide cross section of customers.

“This new business positioning greatly enhances our automotive value proposition in the market with the largest portfolio of mobility solutions across this wide segment of customers as well as the largest after sales service network in the country.”

In agribusiness, listed firm Kakuzi recently unveiled its first corporate brand in its trading history.

The new identity also signifies a transition to growing ‘superfoods’ for both the domestic and export markets.

“We have gained immense experience in all our stakeholder engagements and can now aim to unlock value with a distinct corporate identity that underlines our commitment to growing together with all our stakeholders,” said Kakuzi Plc Chairman Nicholas Nganga.

Kakuzi has also officially launched a range of private-label consumer products developed over the last two years for the domestic market, including ready-to-eat macadamia, gluten-free macadamia flour, cold-pressed macadamia oil and blueberry packs.

Other organisations that have introduced thematic campaigns in the recent days are DTB Bank with ‘Bank with us. Bank on us’, and Unga Group with introduction of Amana range of products.

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