Trends in Marketing: 2017

As we come to end of yet another year, it’s a time of reflection. We look back and gauge our achievements, wins, misses and losses. It is also the time to look into our crystal balls and project what the coming year will bring. In Kenya, the biggest story next year will be the Presidential elections. Politics will be the talk of the town and I personally look forward to the performance of power that each side will showcase.

Now, back to our business, marketing. A quick gloss over of the various global reports gives the following highlights:

Live platforms: The evolution of video

Live platforms like Periscope, Meerkat, and Facebook Live have emerged over the past couple of years, quickly becoming a popular way to engage with customers. New live streaming platforms, better content, faster connection speeds, and bigger data plans, will lower the barriers for adoption.

The chart below from the latest KPCB Report on internet trends shows the evolution of video in the past century.


Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) has been the talk of the town this year. We saw an AR cultural phenomenon with Pokémon Go. The nostalgic game was a hit worldwide, garnering over 720,000 downloads on peak days and 650 million installs within 80 days of launch.

Locally, what comes close is use of Samsung Gear Virtual Reality at product launches. I attended a University fair where this was used to show the campus experience to prospective students. More show, less tell. But what I’m most excited about is immersive viewing.

Immersive viewing:

Videos are no longer just one dimensional, as shoppable films and 360° videos break the fourth wall and immerse viewers. Early adopters include auto and real estate, where 360° has been around for a while. Recently, lifestyle brand Ted Baker released a spy-themed entirely shoppable film, Mission Impeccable, that dominated its home page. The Guy Ritchie shoppable collaboration allowed viewers to add items to their online carts with a simple click, switching up the usual online shopping experience. Please click on this link to experience immersive viewing.  I cannot wait to see this kind of tech on conventional TV like the next episode of Scandal. I would be all over Olivia Pope’s wardrobe.

kofoa ni?

Back Home

Now, don’t get me wrong, reports are great, but they can be too general at times. I like getting insights straight from the source. And behold, the social media gods, granted my wish through the post below on the Facebook page: Buyer Beware.



So, marketers, this is what Kenyan consumers think of the brand communication we presented this year. The analysis below is a summary. Please go read the post yourself.  It’s pure gold, I tell you, pure gold.

  • Winners:
  • Coke: brothers
  • Bamba TV
  • Gentle detergent
  • Ramogi FM
  • Losers:
  • Movit
  • Sawa Shower
  • Ariel
  • Harpic

A couple of issues came out clearly from the comments:

Do you, boo:

Do not pretend to be something you are not. Kenyans loathe fake accents. The Ariel ad ends with the heavily American accented lady saying “kofua” instead of “kufua” which means cleaning clothes in Swahili. This is the most recurring negative comment on this post. Another gem from the KPCB report is the number 1 quality viewers are looking for is authenticity. Keep it real, bro.


Ads that build trust:

I have made this argument before and I will make it again. Your consumer is an intellectual being who sees through farces. The Movit ad came under fire here. Your communication must be based on reality. In fact, Deloitte & Touche found that companies that are customer-centric are 60 percent more profitable. “Fundamentally it means treating customers with the respect they deserve,” says Brian Monahan, former CMO at Walmart.

Timing of ad placement:

The Harpic ad is a victim of this. This is a catch 22 situation. Harpic is a toilet cleaner and the prime TV viewing time is from 8-10pm. This is also the time, the family sits down for dinner. And from the comments, toilet cleaner ads & trying to eat ugali don’t mix.

This Facebook post got me thinking. To the organizers of the MSK Marketing Excellence Awards, next year, let’s think of having a Consumer Choice award; chosen by the public, much like the Viewer’s Choice Awards. After all, the consumer is the most important judge of them all. She votes with her wallet.