The Marketing Society of Kenya had a very serious, awards gala dinner the other day. The dinner was to award champions in industry and no one was left behind. Suits were donned and the clickety clack of high heels resounded in the hallways of the intercontinental. Or was it the Stanley? Doesn’t matter, it was some fancy hotel and everyone who is anyone was there. Except for me, I was busy.
The setting of the room was probably the same as any corporate dinner. Food, drink with a light touch of over compensations. CEO’s shared smiles that concealed million shilling losses; PA’s ran around and waiters sipped whiskey behind closed doors before serving it. The MC was probably some long girl in a short dress. She pulled a name out of a hat and everyone went silent.
Or was it an envelope?
At some point it got to the best corporate identity campaign. Miss Long made her way to stage and, with a plastic smile on her face, excitedly announced that the winner of the category was none other than Kenya’s finest, Kenya Power. “Wait, what?” is what I would have said if I was the one announcing the winner of that particular category. But sadly, I am not nearly long enough, nor a big fan of short skirts.
I find two things wrong with this. First of all, we should look at the meaning of a monopoly. It makes as much sense for Kenya power to be spending so much money on PR as it does for Bob Collymore to buy airtime. When you are the only option in a market what your consumer thinks of you doesn’t matter—especially when your closest competition is charcoal, kerosene and little hamsters running furiously on treadmills.
Some people argue that Kenya Power have been shed in a bad light – pun —in previous years. They need to clean up their public image. And I agree; the public has been having dark thoughts about Kenya Power’s service. Light humour aside, Kenya power have not been the public’s best friend. Here’s a, wild, thought though. If Kenya Power is so interested in being loved by the people perhaps they should do their job. Actually give Kenyans electricity.
Think about it. The “our prepaid service will be off” text is one of the most common texts. Scheduled rationing happens more often than we actually have electricity, and we probably have the fittest hamsters in the world. The best service provider is one who you have no idea exists. You get slapped with a power bill at the end of the month and you think, ‘that’s due?’ Think about the service you get so perfectly and take for granted. Wait, you live in Kenya, it never does.
And that’s a huge problem, isn’t it?
We live in a country where we have no problem with bad service. A waiter in a hotel shrugs at you and you just sit there, order and tip. The supermarket teller is talking to his friend on the phone? God forbid you interrupt them, and ask for some actual service.
So in light of this I have decided I am opening a company. It will be a company that provides food stuff to households across the country. I will make sure all farmers give their produce to me before I distribute it to everyone. I’ll transfer all costs to the consumer and food will constantly go bad in my stores. The prices will be hyper inflated and farmers will be underpaid. I’ll make it so that it is illegal for the farmers to directly supply people, including themselves with food. That will be simple enough, just give someone in government 0.0006% of the company.
Don’t worry though; I’ll go on a mass campaign telling people how good my service is. I’ll come up with witty advertisements and catchphrases. Then MSK will give me an award, they’ll have to.