Happy branding wanted

The sad crease on Kenyan faces and that scowl of anger are making them spend less on consumables slowing down consumption and economic growth. According to Pierrine Consulting, a market research firm, only half of Nairobi residents, and by extension, Kenyans, report feeling unhappy, which is bad for businesses.

These disheartened individuals believe their economic situation has worsened over the past six months, primarily due to soaring prices of goods, inadequate leadership, and smaller paychecks.

Factors such as job losses and the adverse effects of weather on crops and livestock further contribute to Kenyans’ gloomy outlook.

As a consequence, Kenyans are cutting back on expenditures, including sugar (chai dufia), enduring power outages, purchasing fewer mobile phones, and reducing their cable and internet subscriptions.

“Kenyans cited rising high cost of living, prevailing corruption amongst the leadership, and mounting pressure on their available disposable income, as reasons for being worse off compared to six months ago,” Pierrine Consulting CEO Seyi Adeoye said.

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A declining shilling

Kenyans have been enduring months of rising inflation, driven by a declining shilling, insufficient rainfall, and increased government taxation.

Inflation reached 6.78 percent in September, nearing the upper limit set by the Central Bank of Kenya, as all sectors experienced a general increase in prices.

The most recent surge in prices followed the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority’s decision to raise fuel prices, significantly impacting inflation in Kenya. This has led to higher transport costs, increased expenses in power generation, and rising prices of agricultural produce. Kerosene, commonly used in households for cooking and lighting, has also seen price hikes.

To cope with the situation, Kenyans are opting for matatus instead of driving, reducing their fuel consumption, canceling one Glovo and online delivery service, and cutting back on new household items.

Interestingly, despite the economic challenges, many Kenyans have continued to indulge in certain pleasures, such as alcohol and coffee. Travel remains a priority, with consumers willing to spend more in this area. Women, in particular, are reluctant to give up their skin care products, clothing, and accessories.

Ads that exude positive vibes

Pierrine Consulting suggests that brand engagement should focus on lightheartedness and creating happy memories. Advertising that exudes positive vibes, humor, celebrates everyday moments, and leverages the relationships in the lives of Kenyan consumers is likely to resonate well.

Furthermore, new product launches should be affordable, as consumers have become more pragmatic and are more inclined to buy products within their expected price range for a given category.

“In spite of current headwinds facing consumers, we see the application of the lipstick effect; as the decline in spend does not apply to all product categories. Kenyan consumers have increased spend on local travels, beverages, beauty products, skin care,” Mr Adeoye said.

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