Monday, December 27, 2010

Local Content, Conversation & Branding in Africa

Late in 2010, TNS released a Kenya digital study as part of a three month study of the habits of online Africans; In Kenya it involved 800 interviews - 400 online, 400 face-to-face and tried to answer various questions like - Who is online? What are people doing online? How can brands connect? What messaging/digital communication channels are best?

Some findings included:
- Internet penetration: Kenya & Uganda is 10%, Tanzania is 1.6%, Nigeria is 29%, Egypt 22%, South Africa 11%. In local capitals - 49% of Nairobi residents have tried the internet, 53% in Kampala, 31% in Dar es Salaam (and 42% & 49% in Mombasa & Arusha respectively) for an average of 45% of EA urban nationals
- Cyber café are the primary mode (67%) of access Internet in Sub-Saharan Africa, but in Kenya its the mobile phone (60%)
- Many people started using Internet in last two years and are on a learning curve; Companies need to make sure they educate the users on how to use their sites more effectively. This is compared to countries like Japan which has high internet penetration but low interest (its a part of life, no longer exciting)
- In terms of daily media access, digital is still lower than conventional media – so companies/brands have to continue with old media; Also radio is very important, compared to global where radio trails TV
- Top e-mail sites: Gmail Yahoo, Facebook, MSN
- Top social networks: Facebook Google Yahoo Youtube
- Top knowledge sites: Google Wikipedia Yahoo DailyNation
- Top news sites: Google BBC Standard DailyNation
- Top multimedia sites: Youtube Google CapitalFM Facebook
- Very few people (7%) say they are shopping online
- Kenyans (and Africans) want to do more activities online - like internet banking, pay utility bills, watch TV, make travel bookings, submit taxes, advertise online. This will become an annual study by TNS to monitor trends in the online space.

One of their partners, VML (Kansas, US) also did a complementary study on digital monitoring of some Kenyan and African brands over several months this year using SEER ecosystem to find a link between bloggers and brands. They looked at mobile companies (Orange,Safaricom,Yu), countries as brands (Kenya,Nigeria,South Africa) and banks (Stanbic,Ecobank)

Some findings:

Mobile: Orange is way ahead of everybody else (846,000 mentions with 92% positive) but may have little to do with Kenya (more the international Orange brand)
- Safaricom had 11,000 conversations online, with people talking about the business, Michael Joseph (outgoing CEO), but not about products & prices. 66% was positive, and this varied from month to month, with some negative on their customer service and competition/regulation.
- Most intriguing - the bulk of conversation abut Safaricom does not happen in Africa - it's highest in US, UK, Germany. In Africa, there is some conversation in Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa - and in Kenya its associated with 4 blogs (Kenyanjobs, siku-moja, bankelele, kenyaprincessproject)

Banking: Ecobank has 5000 mentions, and Stanbic 900 mentions – but Ecobank spiked as a result of an unrelated Ecobank twitter account in Japan (not Africa) while for Stanbic it was due to coverage of a cricket tournament in Zimbabwe
- The highest conversation about Stanbic is in UK, while for Ecobank its in the US,
- These are very few conversations about banks or their business, and these are happening mainly outside Kenya and Africa (Ecobank is associated with this blog on the strength of a couple of blog posts about the bank’s 2010 AGM in Nairobi)
- There is an opportunity for banks, to engage, and not just about Internet banking products.

Tourism: Kenya tourism conversation is 81% positive, 16% negative – (jambo ad annoyed people on the net) - and again a lot of conversation in UK and US.
- While Kenya gets good conversation given the budget they spend, Kenyan tourism only get as much positive conversation as Nigeria – showing a need for more positive content creation and engagement online.
- Concern that despite the natural beauty of Kenya (wildlife, beaches, scenery), 0% is taking place on photo or image sites - a missed opportunity to create visual content.

Summary
- Very little conversation about African brands is originating in Africa, and there are opportunities for links to be created either with influential blogs, or social media etc.
- Complaints cause large spikes in conversation
- Companies need to monitor online conversation, beyond press clippings
- Companies need to incorporate digital plans in their branding exercise

7 comments:

Juma M Kilaza said...

Great post
"Concern that despite the natural beauty of Kenya (wildlife, beaches, scenery), 0% is taking place on photo or image sites - a missed opportunity to create visual content."

This has baffled me for a while. There almost seems to be no non news related images of Kenya online.(Actually Daily Nation & the Standard caries very few photos even on travel stories)
While other countries have multitudes of amateur and professional photographers uploading millions images of their cities and people daily
On Flickr - the internets most popular image sharing website- a search for Kenya on the Places page results in few charity related images of starving children.

Also although more Kenyans are getting online today than few years ago most activity is happening on facebook which is a closed ecosystem - and has actually resulted in less vibrant pre-facebook online communities like Mashada Kenyanlist etc.

Soud Hyder said...

Well said Limo. Certainly there is immense opportunity and untapped potential. I can comment on the case for Kenya, well I believe what is needed is documentation of success stories. For most of the established brands and businesses, digital business and processes are yet to take precedence in their modus operandi simply because it is assumed that "digital" does not work for this market.

Another reason for the low adoption of e-commerce is the low lubrication of relevant payment platforms. Well, there has been immense improvement over 2009-10, entry of Visa via I&M, some effort by PayPal on localisation, various online payment bridges such as PesaPal and Jambo Pay. We're still in the early adoption stage and the likes of Safaricom really do need to explore how they can open up M-Pesa to the local entrepreneurs and content creators. Seamless integration of M-Pesa to the local internet will literally create a bubble, new industries and new ways of doing business. The same way Safaricom revolutionised lifestyles in Kenya via mobile broadband and M-Pesa.

In my opinion 2011 will be an inflexion point, we're fast approaching campaign time set to kick off in the later half of the year and run us through to 2012, as much as we love or hate politics and politicians, they will set the tone and precedence on new use cases on the digital front. As the statistics put it and the famous MJ, Kenya is indeed 'peculiar' and it will be interesting to see how the mobile, desktop and traditional models pan out.

Eric Gitona said...

Going straight to the summary note number 1. I agree, little of what we see in pictures online is by Kenyans (speaking specifically to this country). This has inspired me to travel the country and take photos of its various landscapes (my passion, leaving people related photography to those with that passion) and have them online. This, hopefully, will bring to light the beauty of the country akin to what the likes of Ansel Adams did to Yosemite National Park in the US. I do have to give lots of credit to Safaricom for their bit in this with their ads, especially their latest Niko Na.

Thanks for posting this!

kiterunner said...

I totally agree with the article and all the comments above. My concern too is the amount of content about kenya and Africa in general on the internet. There s relatively high number of Kenyans on the internet but I dont know a single friend who is running a blog. If you google the world renown Mombasa, there isnt a single website dedicated to it ,while elsewhere even every small towns have proper websites

bankelele said...

Juma & Kiterunner: I think there are local pics being taken and blogs, they are just not properly tagged or given a description

Soud: I think the perception that digital does not work is changing, now that the major agencies (scangroup & others) know how the digital space works

Eric: Keep it up

Paul said...

Most Kenyan companies don't take their online presence seriously. Many will just have a fancy website with little or no interaction with their potential clients. And having facebook and twitter accounts doesn't count here. And please, can we have someone manning those info email accounts. you never get a response!!

Paul said...

Most Kenyan companies don't take their online presence seriously. Many will just have a fancy website with little or no interaction with their potential clients. And having facebook and twitter accounts doesn't count here. And please, can we have someone manning those info email accounts. you never get a response!!

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