Setting up a product test

Since in the last article we discussed the importance of action standards in product tests, let’s remain with product tests. How does one set up a test design?

It’s quite easy, if one is dealing with just two or three products. In this case, you just test one product after the other; bearing in mind, of course, that you need to rotate the order of products from one respondent to the next in order to prevent positional bias. This procedure of exposing a respondent to a product and having him/her evaluate it before proceeding to the next product is known as a sequential monadic test design.

In practice, a simple rotated test design for three products would look like this:

So, when dealing with few test products, every respondent can test and evaluate every product. However, this becomes impractical when dealing with a large number of test products. In a central location test, you could not expect any respondent to taste and evaluate more than two or three different products. And yet, your client insists on having a large number of products evaluated…

The way out of this bind is a round-robin test design with matched cells, which will allow you to include a large number of products in your test.

Here is an example of a round-robin design:

Although you have only 20 respondents per cell; i.e. combination of tested products, in      the end  each product will have been tasted and evaluated by 80 respondents. And every possible combination of test products would have been accomplished. Your total sample would be 200 respondents.

Round-robin test designs go hand-in-hand with a matched cell approach.  You must ensure that the cells are as similar as possible in terms of respondent demographics; e.g. if you have 10 males and 10 females in the first cell, you should have that precise gender distribution in every cell… Other parameters could include socio-economic class or main brand usage, etc.

Rendition and Extradition in Kenya

Extradition is an official process, regulated by treaties, where a nation surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another country.  The suspects are sought for an offence over which the requesting State wishes to exercise jurisdiction.

Where extradition is compelled by law, it is known as rendition.   Rendition is surrender or handing over of persons or property, particularly from one jurisdiction to another.  Extraordinary rendition refers to an extrajudicial procedure in which criminal suspects are sent to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation with a view to extracting information.

An extradition request is based on existing extradition agreements or enabling law.  The extraordinary or illegal extradition can occur where the treaty does not cover the alleged offence, the State of refuge is unable or unwilling to prosecute the alleged offender or due to widening reach of a State’s law in response to transnational crimes.

Under international law, a State cannot exercise jurisdiction in another State without consent.   International law preserves the principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity and prohibits enforcement functions, including abductions, without consent.

Sovereignty

States are obligated to desist from interfering with internal and external affairs of other states under the UN Charter.  The arrest in the territory of another State constitutes interference in the internal affairs of a State.  Sovereignty denotes the authority of a State over persons within its borders.   Where there is a violation of the international law, such State may seek reparation and demand cessation and demand return of the abducted individual.

However, no violation occurs where a State grants permission to the foreign agents to arrest a person within its borders.  Extraordinary extraditions have been justified on the basis that use of force is not aimed against the political independence and territorial integrity of the State and hence there is no violation of State inviolability.

The apprehension of international criminal is consistent with the objective of promoting human rights and that the extraditions are a means to deterring future attacks against the State or its nationals.  The war against terrorism and the ability of powerful States, like the US, to act unilaterally has undermined the rule of law in relation to rendition.

The extraordinary extradition is a violation of human rights due to actual physical abuse, violation of freedom of movement, threat to personal integrity, deprivation of liberty, subjecting the detainees to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary detention and abuse.  This contravenes articles 7 and 9 of ICCPR and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, which Kenya has ratified.

The articles provide for protection from torture and ill treatment and the right to liberty and security of a person.

Further, it contravenes customary international law, especially articles 3, 5, 8, 9 and 10 of UDHR.  It undermines the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial court.  Article 2 (6) of the Constitution provides that any treaty ratified by Kenya shall be part of the laws of Kenya.

Complicity

Renditions are only legal when they coincide with internationally accepted coincide with internationally accepted rules of law and are regulated by treaties.  In extraditions, governments are culpable.  Renditions disclose cooperation between intelligence services.  The participation of the Executive ranges from limited knowledge to full complicity, resulting in presidential oversight and responsibility.

The US Attorney General opined in the aftermath of 9/11 that the Presidential had a broad constitutional mandate to take military action in response to terrorism.  In Kenya, the High Court in Mohamed Aktar  Kana vs the Attorney General has ruled the extraordinary renditions impugn the oath of office by the President to uphold and obey the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.  The court ordered that the applicant should not be extradited to Uganda and that the President should be served with the ruling through the office of the Secretary to the Cabinet.

National courts have held that a person abducted in violation of international law may be tried in the courts of the abducting State.  Kenya has routinely carried out extraordinary renditions.  Examples include the 1976 extradition of two Palestinian suspected terrorists handed over to Israel.  The suspects were arrested near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi for attempting to bomb a plane.  Some terrorist attack suspects of the US Embassy in Nairobi were extradited to US in 1998.

Abdalla Ocalan was captured and extradited in Nairobi in 1999.  About 100 men, women and children were extradited to Somalia in 2007 and 13 men were extradited to Uganda in 2010 without following due process.  There were no warrants of arrest and no judicial hearings were conducted.  The detainees were not given the remedy of habeas corpus before rendition.

Cross border crimes

There is an established but unofficial cooperation between East Africa States to exchange criminal without compliance with extradition laws since the establishment of the EAC in 1967.  This has led to violation of the rights of the citizens.  However, Tanzania has refused to extradite a suspect it is holding over the July 11, 2010 Kampala Bombings without compliance with the law.

International law requires that such cooperation must be defined by law clearly to ensure the rights of suspects are respected.  The applicable law is the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Act.   A fugitive is defined as any person who is in Kenya and whose surrender is requested under the Act on the ground that he is accused of an offence or has been convicted of an extradition offence committed within the jurisdiction of the requesting State.

Such an offence must be an offence punishable by imprisonment for more than 12 months.  The offence should not be of a political character and the fugitive should not have been previously acquitted or convicted.  The fugitive should not be punished on the basis of race, religion, nationality or political opinions.  The request should be issued by the Attorney General on behalf of the requesting government accompanied by an overseas warrant of arrest and a certificate of conviction or sentence.

The fugitive shall be brought to court promptly and shall have the right to apply for habeas corpus.  The court shall issue a notice of committal to the Attorney General.  The fugitive shall not be surrendered before the expiry of 15 days from the date of arrest.  On appeal, the High Court may discharge the fugitive due to the trivial nature of the offence, passage of time between the request and the conviction, and if the application is not made in good faith.

The East African States are separate and sovereign states.  The laws applicable to extradition should be complied with.  If a special mechanism is to be established, it must accord to international human rights treaties, which Kenya is party to.

Human rights

The recent extradition of 13 Kenyans to Uganda has led to the violation of international human rights law and the Bill of Rights.  This is due to the failure to follow the due process whereby the suspects have no opportunity to challenge the process in court, arbitrary arrests, illegal searches, incommunicado detention, and extradition to countries where they may be tortured.

The illegal extradition violates protection offered by the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) Act.  These are oversight by the independent and impartial court and not board room agreement on exchange of alleged fugitives, protection against extradition for political offences, the right to make an application for habeas corpus, the right not to be extradited before the expiry of 15 days and the right to appeal against the decision to extradite.

Before the warrant of arrest is issued, the court must be satisfied that an  extraditable offence has been committed by the fugitive in the requesting State.  The renditions have carried out swiftly where charges relate to terrorism.

Extradition cannot proceed where there is failure to fulfill dual criminality, that is the offence must be an offence in the country of refuge and the requesting State, political nature of the offence, where the suspect may be subjected to ill treatment, for example torture, where the requesting State lacks jurisdictions to punish the suspect and citizenship of alleged offender.  States prefer to hold trials for their citizens rather than extradite them to foreign countries.

Kenya

The High Court sitting in Mombasa in Republic vs Chief Magistrate, Mombasa Ex Parte Mohamud Mohamed Hashi alias Dhodi & 8 others has ruled that Kenya courts do not have jurisdiction to try persons for acts of piracy committed in the High Seas.  Until September, 2009 the Penal Code provided for the offence of piracy jus gentium.

The section was repealed by the Merchant Shipping Act, 2009 without a saving clause.  The 2009 Act is not applicable to this case since it came into force after the offences were committed.  The applicants were charged with the offence of piracy contrary to section 69 (1) as read with 69 (3) of the Penal Code.  At the close of the prosecution case, the court put the applicants on their defence.

During trial, the applicants objected that the court did not have jurisdiction to try them since the offence was committed in high seas in the Gulf of Aden outside the territory of Kenya.  The court ruled that it had jurisdiction and continued hearing the case.  The High Court held that the alleged offence of piracy jure gentium was not committed in territorial waters within the territorial waters within the territorial jurisdiction of Kenya Courts.

Jurisdiction

The court defined the high seas as the equivalent of no-mans land, which is open to all states.  Article 89 of the UN convention of the Law of the Sea provides that no State may validly purport to subject any part of the High Seas to its sovereignty.  Section 5 of the Penal Code provides that the jurisdiction of courts of Kenya extends to every place in Kenya including territorial waters.  The courts are not conferred with any jurisdiction to deal with matters which have taken place outside Kenya except where such jurisdiction is established clearly in the defining law.

The High Seas are not a place in Kenya or within the territorial waters of Kenya.  High Seas are deemed to be outside jurisdiction of all states unless some law in the State brings it into their local jurisdiction, whether municipal law or international convention.  The trial process was thus null and void ab initio.  The defining section 5 of the Code is juristically paramount and overrides section 69 (1) of the Code to the extent of that inconsistency.

This does not affect the prosecution or trial of suspects of the offence in territorial waters.  The judge did not consider that Article 2(6) of the Constitution provides that treaties which Kenya has ratified are part of Kenyan Law.  Kenya has ratified the United Nations Treaty on the Law of the Sea.

THE WAY FORWARD

The suspects illegally extradited to Uganda can claim damages from the Government of Kenya since there is a glaring failure on the part of the Government to accord with the law.

Further, the suspects can seek declaratory orders that their rights have been infringed with the consent and acquiescence of the Government.  Indeed, no rendition can be carried out without the tacit approval of the Government.

The declarations and the payment of reparations to the families will act as a deterrent to violation of the law by the Government.  If the Commissioner of Police disobeys the orders of the court not to extradite the suspects, contempt of court proceedings can be filed against him.

How to create an effective social media profile

If you are anything like me, the information you post on social networking sites is hastily cobbled together with very little thought.  While I quite understand why this happens, to get the best from your on-line presence I believe this approach should be re-evaluated. In your work, social media sites can help you build relationships with customers, generate feedback and market your business. Often your social media profile is the first thing potential contacts will read about you.  It will be an excellent investment of your time to think through the image you want to project – so don’t rush it.  Think of your on-line profiles as an electronic CVs and give it due care and attention.

Here are a few suggestions to help you put together the best possible:

1. Look at the profiles of people you admire.  What draws your attention and what pushes you away? Who do you want to connect with? Learn from what others are doing!

2. Get the essentials right. Tell your reader who you are and what you do as succinctly and clearly as possible – ideally in two short sentences. Include a link to your website.  Don’t write your life story. You will get the chance to elaborate as you get to know people.

3. Use the language of the medium. Don’t be jokey on a serious business networking platform such as LinkedIn, and don’t be wordy and self-important on a personal networking platform like Facebook. Adjust your tone to the medium as each site is different.

4. Tell them where you’ve been and where you’re going. Mention at least one professional achievement. People will want to know how credible you are. Goals are important too – people who see these may be able to help you achieve your aims.

5. Let a little personality through. It should not be all about work – your interests can open doors with others who share them. Balance work and personal information sensibly, though, and think about who you want to connect with.

6. Post a picture. Photographs are more immediate than words, but a picture must be right for the medium and your desired connections. On a business-focused platform, use a good-quality image of yourself looking professional. On Facebook, it is acceptable to include holiday snaps.

7. Brand your profile. Most platforms allow you to change colours or add background images. Use your company livery to reinforce your viewer’s connection with your firm’s brand. Be discreet about logos though – get people to connect with you personally first.

8. Do not be boring. Don’t use your profile to offer a lengthy dissection of your industry, to rant, to outline your company history in detail or to talk about your products, except in passing. Your reader wants to be able to scan your profile and pick out critical information easily.

9. Keep it fresh. Update your profile regularly. If your goals change, or you’ve got a great success story, add that in. If people can see that you have been recently active on a profile they will be more inclined to connect with you.

10. Don’t sell, engage. Never use your profile to try to sell to people – they will leave immediately.  There are other channels you can use to talk about your product or service. The aim of your profile is to give people a reason to connect with you, rather than with your business.

Written by:

JANE DELORIE   |    Principal Consultant

www.evolutionafrica.com

PROSPECTING FOR CLIENTS

REFLECTING AND REFOCUSING

Do you think of clients as an alien species?

Even though I work in what is referred to as a “service” industry, my colleagues and many of the other people I come across think of prospecting for clients as some sort of nightmare they would do anything to avoid.  At best it is viewed as a necessary evil – something unpalatable but unavoidable. I have often wondered why?  Have their past experiences been so unpleasant?  Are they just scared of being rejected?  Do they think of clients as an alien species?

And rather surprisingly I have discovered that indeed they do think of potential clients as some sort of breed apart that has to be carefully unearthed and ‘handled’.  But potential clients are in fact just people that you need to get to know.  They do all the things that you and your colleagues do and can be found wherever normal people hang out.

I know some of you still suspect this is not quite true, but let’s agree for a moment that clients are indeed professionals or managers who work for an organization. The starting point in prospecting for them is simply to place yourself in the same places.  So, where are you at any given moment?

  1. Working at your desk
  2. Attending a meeting
  3. Talking to someone in the office
  4. Talking to someone on the phone
  5. Corresponding with someone by email (or postal mail)
  6. Commuting to or from work
  7. At the gym
  8. Eating at restaurant
  9. Having a drink at coffee shop or bar
  10. Attending a business function
  11. Taking a class
  12. Participating in a sports or leisure activity
  13. Going to church
  14. Attending an entertainment or cultural event
  15. At home with your family
  16. At the home of a friend or relative
  17. Driving somewhere

I am sure you will be able to think of a few others places and activities but the point is that your potential clients will be doing exactly the same things.

When you refocus and look at prospecting in this way the many opportunities for you to find prospect just jumps out!  Your prospective clients spend a significant percentage of their time either talking to other people or gathering in public places. When they are not doing one of those things, they are usually at their home or office and even these places can be “found” with a little detective work.

So, finding these people called clients really boils down to three possible activities:

  1. Talking to people who can put you in touch with clients.
  2. Going to places where clients gather so you can meet them in person.
  3. Getting names, phone numbers, and email addresses of clients you can call or write.

None of these are difficult and they do not deserve the loathing that prospecting for clients attracts.  If you want to improve your prospecting start the process with a simple description of who your ideal clients are. The more specific you can get, the better. For example:

  • HR Managers in growing midsize companies
  • Marketing Directors for health care providers
  • Small business owners in the Nairobi CBD
  • Midlife professionals in career transition

Then use your description to ask everyone you know these three questions:

  • Do you know any _____ you can introduce me to?
  • Do you know someone who knows lots of _____?
  • Do you know any places where many _____ go?

For many professionals, just that one step will provide you with enough names and places to keep you busy for quite some time. Just keep talking to people and going to places where clients gather. As long as you keep asking the same three questions of every person you meet, your prospect list will continue to grow.

And remember – clients are people like you and me.

Written by:

JANE DELORIE   |    Principal Consultant

www.evolutionafrica.com

What is an “Action Standard”? And why should you have one?

What is an “Action Standard”?  And why should you have one?

Action standards are especially important in product tests. They determine the criteria, which will decide whether a product will be adopted or rejected; i.e. action standards serve as benchmarks for product performance. As such, they come into play whenever a product is re-formulated or in line-extensions.

Product development is always motivated by business objectives. If one didn’t have a clear objective or goal in mind, why bother developing a new product? As the objective is known only to the client, it is the client who needs to set the action standard; i.e. identify the criteria that will lead to adoption or rejection of a prototype.

Superiority & Parity

Two concepts are important in action standards:

  • Superiority: the product must perform significantly better on a number of parameters than either the current version or competitors’ products
  • Parity: the product must perform as well as the current of competitors’ products

In both instances, the parameters of product performance need to be well defined; e.g. taste, fragrance, overall acceptability, etc. Again, it is the client who needs to identify those parameters.

Level of significance

Statistical significance tests are used to determine whether a product is rated superior, at par or inferior by consumers. Three levels are commonly reported on by research agencies:

  • 90% Confidence level: 10 times out of 100 tests the results may not be significant
  • 95% Confidence level: 5 times out of 100 tests the results may not be significant
  • 99% Confidence level: only 1 time in 100 tests will results not be significant.

While we report all three levels in our reports to the client, only one level is used to serve as benchmark. The standard benchmark is the 95% level of confidence. Why would a lower level of confidence be adopted if the 99% level seems so much more accurate?

There are two risks in setting benchmarks:

  • The benchmark is too low; the product appears like a winner – but goes on to flop in the market place
  • The benchmark was set too high; the product is rejected – although in the market place, it might have performed very well; this is a case of missed opportunities…

The 95% level of confidence is neither ridiculously low nor impossibly high; hence it is the most common benchmark

Deciding on Superiority or Parity

As mentioned above, business goals will determine whether superiority or parity are aimed for. A few examples will demonstrate this.

  • Assume a scenario, in which a product is being re-formulated in order to lower production costs, thereby increasing margins. The re-formulated product does not need to be better; it just needs to perform as well as the current formulation in order to retain its franchise. Hence, the benchmark will be parity.
  • If, on the other hand, a product is re-launched with claims of “bigger and better” or “new and improved”, the development version clearly must perform better than the current formulation; hence, superiority will be postulated.
  • A product has been reformulated with the aim of cutting into competitor’s franchise. In this case, we would aim for parity among current franchise and superiority among the competitor’s franchise.

Conclusion

Action standards are a crucial element determining the success of product tests. They must be in line with business goals. No research agency can – or should – second-guess a client’s business objectives. Hence, it is important for the research team on the client’s side to liaise with the marketing and R&D teams in order to formulate meaningful action standards that not only conform with the client’s business strategy, but can then be passed on to the research agency to inform the research process.

WHY CUSTOMER IS KING – ALWAYS

There’s a reason why the common saying the customer is always right. Of course logically the adage holds no water because the customer is, in fact, sometimes (even often) wrong. But the customer can never be made to feel wrong.

Here’s why:

1. Wrong = negative

When trying to make a sale, a salesperson tries as hard as possible to get the customer to say “yes” as many times as possible and to keep the conversation as agreeable as possible. He, the salesperson agrees to everything – even when he disagrees! For example:

Client: so, if I were to buy 2 of these instead of one you can give me a 40% discount on one, right?

Seller: why that’s a great idea! But tell you what – I need to be in business tomorrow so I can bring you some more wonderful things so let me give you the very best offer of 10% off if you pick both.

The point is, the conversation stayed positive even though the customer made an unreasonable demand. No = no sale; yes = sale!

2. Customer has options!

In the 21st Century, regardless of what one’s business is, there is a lot of competition. Even worse is that unlike a few years back, when the competition was down the street, nowadays the competition is halfway across the globe – and often they barely speak english!

Because of all of the options that a customer has, a supplier cannot afford to be arrogant or aloof – even when dealing with an unreasonable customer.

3. The customer has influence.

Research has shown that a lot of people depend on word of mouth when making decisions on which supplier to use. Despite the fact that advertising has proliferated every aspect of our lives – TV, Radio, online, billboards etc, we take the word and endorsement of someone we have met much more. Its a question of trust.

As a seller treats the customer as king, the customer is disposed to brag about the wonderful experience they had to their friends, many of whom take the endorsement seriously.

The nature of the relationship is not one of equals. The seller/ supplier is a servant of the buyer. The most successful businesspeople are those who realise that early and no matter how successful they get, never forget this.

The Business of Philanthropy

Regardless of each person’s views on the subject of helping less fortunate people do better, it has been found to be as sensitive a subject as how babies look. The fact is, not every new born is found to be as beautiful and deserving of the adoring “ooooh” that ensues from seeing the baby for the first time. Whether we mean it or not, we react as society expects us to when presented with a new born tot. “what a beautiful baby!” we will exclaim as proudly as the onlooking parent, and we will acknowledge every yawn, smile and grimace with an appropriate “oooooh!”

As with our views on babies, our truthful perceptions of philanthropy or charity tend to be nicely hidden and locked up. Indeed like with babies, those who truly support the notion of philanthropy or charity will tend to engage in activities that help other people more and advocate such activities voraciously.

On the other hand, like with babies, those who honestly do not see the big deal with the new arrivals (and perhaps have a less than positive review of the looks of the bundle of joy) will keep their views well hidden and make all the appropriate noises.

Rarely will someone object out loud to the notion of charity or philanthropy (yes, there is a difference – and no, not just in spelling!) because the tendency of their audience is to judge them to be miserly and no one wants to be viewed thus.

The relevance of this candid analogy is this: those of us who work in the “do good” industry and who as a result have to fundraise to continue helping others must accept that despite the noises everyone will make, not everyone agrees or cares and therefore the “do-good” arguments that we design and talk about almost always are met with nice noises but little action. Often, getting one person to give out of the sheer goodness of their hearts is akin to pulling wisdom teeth.

The reason for the reticence in giving is simple. Life is hard. People work hard for their money and they are increasingly aware of the fact that tge cost of living going up considerably with time and the opportunities for making more money is getting slimmer. In addition, as African governments make more investments in basic structural investments such as roads, water, energy, health and education, the tax burden is becoming heavier by the initiative. Add onto that, the detail that with increasing income comes social pressure to live in certain ways, which makes it hard for people to give what little disposible income they have.

Disposable income. Let’s delve into this concept a bit. After taking care of their basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, transportation) and their basic social needs (health, education, extended families – this is Africa), some money is left over to cover the social-pressures driven lifestyle – entertainment, comforts, investments, etc. This last part, the disposible income part is where philanthropy is found – at the bottom of the list.

With the little few thousand shillings that are left over if one is lucky, one could buy many things – beer, magazines, holiday, gifts, new cloths, shoes; pay for things – events, dates, manicures and hairdos or even invest it in a secure future – and yes, give.

The reality on the ground (what does this phrase even mean) is that charity and philanthropy as concepts are fighting for as large a share as possible of the same Wallet that beer, airtime, salons, that extra suit, a new carpet for the dining room, a new stereo system for the car, etcetera etcetera are aiming for.

More over, the share of that wallet that COULD go to giving is then being fought for by as many charities and causes as the imagination could fathom – children, hunger, obesity, youth, teenagers, drug abuse, environment, music, parks, wild animals, domestic animals, old people, education, hope, religion – the list could go on for decades.

It is basic human psychology that we will deal with emergencies and urgent situations before dealing with long term problems. It’s the principle of prioritisation. For organisations that are fundraising for endowments, the challenge is greatest. “keep money aside? While people die? Do you know that there are girls without sanitary towels today, children without an education?” It is hard to make an argument for an endowment in that context. Yes, an argument that we need to keep some money aside for helping people in future can be heard given time – but let’s face it: it goes against every fibre of our ‘superhero’, fairytale inclinations. It is far more compelling to resolve an issue TODAY. “we need to keep money aside to support the needy in future” is too uncomfortable an admission – that we can not achieve the ideals that we aspire to – eradicate poverty and disease, achieve equality and prosperity, no man, woman or child left behind, world peace, happily ever after…

So therefore given such a bleak analysis, and given that we must fundraise, what then do we do?

The following is my view of the pragmatic course of action for philanthropic organisations in particular is as follows. Charities have an easier time pulling at heart strings with heart-rending sob stories so from this point on, we will ignore them.

#1: Understand and appreciate our competition

Based on the analysis above, our competition is far wider and more impactful on us than we traditionally recognize.

In the 1990s, Coca-cola, the world’s largest beverage maker realized that when one is thirsty, one has a huge array of drinks that one could take – water, juice, coffee, tea and a host of other beverages packaged into literally thousands of brands. Their approach to marketing changed on that basis.

For us, the time to correctly understand our market dynamics has come.

#2: For every initiative, offer TANGIBLE value

People prioritise themselves before they figure out others. Our fundraising strategy must Capitalise on peoples’ self interest. In a way they can touch, feel and experience.

In essence therefore, we must Create opportunities for people to gain materially or with fame, stature and prestige. The doing good must be allowed to be what it is in their minds – a bonus (it will over time grow in culture)

#3: Get aggressive

We do good but no more Mr. Nice guy. Our competition is working hard, finding interesting and unique ways to reach the minds of the wallet-owner and stay at the top of their minds. We too must invest on ingenious ways to reach our audience and stay on their minds. We must create the avenues for them to engage us on their terms (this is important because people will not change to suit our needs. If they change it will be because they are compelled by their own perceptions).

Related Links

ESOMAR Global Prices Study 2010 – Africa Highlights

Every two years, ESOMAR conducts a global survey on research prices. Participating countries and/or agencies submit dummy quotes for a number of hypothetical research projects. For example:

…the standard specifications for a U&A, using face to face interviewing, are as follows:

  • Topic: Chocolate Confectionaries
  • National sample (n=500)
  • Respondents: regular users of chocolate
  • Interview length: 25 minutes
  • Deliverables: tables

…while the specs for FGDs:

  • Topic: Retail Banking Services
  • Number of Groups: 4 groups in 2 cities (2 male / 2 female)
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Deliverables: personal presentation and audio recordings

Included in the survey are other research products and approaches such as: online, CLT, face to face, telephonic, etc.   As most of these data collection methods are not (yet) relevant in our African markets, this evaluation will focus on the traditional U&A and focus groups.

Global Perspective:
The global average (median) cost for an in-home U&A is $17,580; the average cost for FGDs, $10,412.

So, where does Africa stand?

U&A studies in West & East Africa are 22% more expensive when compared to this global average. However, compared to Southern Africa, these regions are practically a bargain.  A U&A in Southern Africa is 73% more expensive than the global average and almost approaches Western European levels.

In contrast, in East and West Africa our FGDs are 12% less expensive than the global average.  In Southern Africa, though the difference is less extreme, focus groups still come in 34% above the global average.

The only sub-region in Africa in which research costs fall below the global averages is North Africa, with U&As being 13% and FGDs 35% cheaper.

Thus, project costs across West and East Africa are at an uneasy point of compromise: higher than our clients would like them to be; and lower than we need them to be if we want to continue building up local capacities and resources and developing a truly world class research industry in Africa.

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Trend: Global Prices Study 2007 -  2010
Comparing prices for a U&A study across the four African countries represented in both waves of the study, South Africa would seem to have the least increase in research cost, Kenya the highest (with Nigeria not lagging far behind). However, in order to know why we’re not laughing all the way to the bank, one would need to figure in the massive devaluation of the US Dollar that occurred within that period and further the erratic fluctuations in the exchange rates of Egyptian Pound, Kenya Shilling, Nigerian Naira and South African Rand…


Factors Influencing Cost of Research in West and East Africa:

So why is research in Africa so expensive?  The key contributors (as identified by members of East Africa’s local research body but relevant across Africa) include:

POLITICAL UNCERTAINITIES

  • Political & social instability
  • Project specific research permits required by many governments
  • Complex / ambiguous tax laws
  • Government corruption

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Lack of utilities / basic infrastructure
  • Low internet penetration
  • Poor telecommunications
  • Crime / insecurity
  • Inaccessible rural areas

ECONOMIC

  • Booming / fluctuating demand
  • Currency fluctuations
  • Inflation
  • High staff costs / turnover / training
  • High travel costs
  • High communication costs
  • Corruption

CULTURAL & SOCIETAL

  • Multiple local  languages
  • Lack of education / literacy
  • Some markets view research suspiciously

RESEARCH RESOURCES

  • Lack of experienced / qualified staff
  • Small pool of researchers with high turnover
  • Briefcase researchers giving research a bad name
  • Poor secondary data resources
  • No syndicated studies / panels
  • High price / availability of technology

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Hard to reach groups
  • Top-end – too much security so hard to access
  • Bottom end – no security for interviewer
  • Rural – poor road access
  • Some markets difficult to access (visas, direct flights, work permits)

After evaluating all of these it is easy to see where the money goes and why the African research agency struggles to grow.  Having little control over issues such as infrastructure or government policy, researchers need to direct their attention to what they can change.  For example:

  • Focus on bringing more young people into the industry and building research as a credible career
  • Work with universities to build research skills and create awareness of research as a career option
  • Build accreditation schemes for research staff at different levels to encourage professionalism and quality control
  • Build stronger relationships with clients and be willing to educate the clients on the realities of Africa

Highlights prepared by Margit Cleveland and Jane Delorie

The Potential for Social Media Marketing in Nigeria

Although Internet penetration in Africa as a whole is still at a low 8.7% (85 million users), growth rates are phenomenal; between 2000 and 2009, internet penetration grew by 1,810%. In Nigeria, in the same period of time, internet penetration grew by almost 12,000%. Internet penetration stood at 16.1% by the end of 2009; there are now almost 24 million Nigerians surfing the web. In fact, 27% of all African internet users are Nigerian. With fibre-optic cables coming online, this growth is expected to continue. But already the internet community in Nigeria exceeds the population size of Ghana; thus, marketers should seize the opportunities opened up by this new medium.

Connectivity remains an issue, however. Wireless connections (71%), mobile devices (30%) and GSM modems (27%) are the most commonly used modes of access. Cable, such as ISDN or DSL, or Vsat remain the exception. Dial up connections are still in use; as are cyber cafes and business centres, which also often make use of dial up connections.

Even without the frequent power cuts, connections tend to be erratic and unstable. Users complain that they spend more time establishing a connection than they do actually surfing the web. Another complaint is the high cost of accessing the internet, especially on mobile devices.

Despite the obstacles, Nigerians are enthusiastic about the internet: 82% connect at least once a day; 25% are connected around the clock. A minimum of two hours is spent surfing the web per day.

Being online has profound effects on users. For one, the internet is perceived as a valuable resource: knowledge, entertainment, opportunity to make friends and expand one’s network, and, last but not least, opening up new career opportunities.

But perhaps more importantly, the internet is perceived as liberation from social norms and strictures; i.e. the internet opens up an opportunity for self-actualisation without fear of censure. Curiously, users are content replacing their offline friends with an ever-growing circle of online friends and connections. In the long run, this will undoubtedly lead to a questioning of social norms that guide and confine social interaction in traditional society – in short, modernisation and cultural change from within.

Slow connections had a definite effect on browser shares. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is used by 51% of the global internet community; in Nigeria, it comes in at just 28%. The leading browser is Mozilla’s Firefox with a share of 45%. Google Chrome attains 20% in Nigeria vis-à-vis just 8% global share. Not only are these alternative browsers faster than Internet Explorer; they can be customised to block out advertising and heavy Flash animations. This, of course, has implications for online marketing, as traditional advertising with banner ads and other adaptations of traditional print advertisements will have limited reach. Online marketing in Nigeria, however, could be rendered effective by embracing the concepts of social media marketing; i.e. initiating a dialogue with members of the online community on popular platforms like Facebook.

Participating in social networking is the single most important activity among Nigerian internet users: 95% are members of one or more social networks. Among these, Facebook is the most important with 93%. Twitter and Linked In achieve 22% each. What is the potential of a social networking strategy for engaging consumers in a dialogue with marketers? To this end, we conducted a Facebook monitoring exercise, recording activities on our private pages for a period of one week.

At first glance, the results are disappointing: the bulk of activities revolves around status updates and announcements. Facebook is used to keep tabs on one’s circle of friends and to enlarge it. Communication then occurs via instant messaging. We found no evidence of Nigerian consumers engaging with brands or corporate entities. A dialogue has not begun. Does that imply that Nigerians do not engage at all?

When Goodluck Jonathan launched his profile on Facebook, the response was overwhelming: more than 100,000 Nigerians have become his fans, posted tens of thousands of comments in response to a mere handful of presidential posts and updates. Collateral Facebook groups have already been established. Other examples of Nigerians engaging can readily be found. As such, Facebook already has become a valuable resource for monitoring the political mood in the country, as we literally hear “the voice of the people.” So, why do we not see a similar development for consumer engagement? The answer seems to be that marketers have not even begun to explore the opportunities of social media marketing.

Giants in the FMCG or telecoms industries may well maintain global corporate profiles and/or brand pages on Facebook; yet, the point would be for companies operating in Nigeria to seek the dialogue with Nigerian consumers. We checked the Facebook presence of Cadbury’s Bournvita, Nestlé’s Milo, Cowbell, Peak Milk, Globacom and MTN. Although MTN maintains a local business page on Facebook, this page suffers from blatant neglect. Globacom’s local business page is more successful in providing content; it, therefore, attracts more fans than MTN’s page. And yet, Globacom has only taken first steps toward social media marketing: official website and social media pages are poorly integrated, as if Globacom management still needed convincing of the potential of social media marketing. The very fact that Nigerian internet users have taken the initiative to establish an unofficial Globacom fan group, however, demonstrates consumers’ readiness to engage.

At this point, it is well worth reiterating that the size of the Nigerian online community is 24 million; thus exceeding the entire population of Ghana or Cameroon; i.e. markets that would not be ignored in traditional marketing. There are opportunities for social media marketing.

The success of using social media would not be measured in direct sales; rather, in the quality of engagement and user experience, ultimately resulting in enhanced loyalty. Unlike traditional marketing with unidirectional advertising, social media platforms enable dialogue. Therefore, brands are no longer positioned by marketers; brand positioning evolves interactively through a process of co-creation. Social media marketing at its best involves consumers in the process of rejuvenating brands and maintaining brand health. This, of course, requires re-orientation on the side of marketers.

In the final analysis, the question is not whether Nigerian consumers are ready to engage, but whether Nigerian marketers are ready and willing to enter a meaningful dialogue with consumers.

Philanthropy

MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE

To give away money is an easy matter and in any man’s power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large, and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man’s power nor an easy matter.” ~Aristotle

Very few people in Kenya describe themselves as philanthropists. Indeed few can even define what the word means. But all seem able to agree that it somehow applies to people such as Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey and definitely not to them. Yet when we look at the definition of the word we find many of us are undeniably philanthropists.

The word philanthropy is thought to have been coined some 2500 years ago by the ancient Greeks and quite simply refers to ”effort or inclination to increase the well-being of mankind as by charitable aid or donations”. In reality philanthropy is simply about people giving their time, help and care to a cause they support in order to make the world a better place to live in.

According to recent qualitative research conducted on behalf of KCDF almost all of us are instinctively philanthropic, no matter our wealth or background. The research sought to identify attitudes towards philanthropy and explore the resulting behaviours in order to understand how best to tap into and grow philanthropic activities in Kenya.

Recognizing that distinct cultures may have differing exposures and opportunities, and respond differently to need, the research explored the attitudes and behaviours of Africans, Europeans and Asians separately. The results show that while all cultures believe in “giving back to society” their method of giving and the pay-back expected is indeed quite different by culture. But while how we give and what we give may differ significantly, our reason for giving is unwaveringly consistent – we want to improve the lives of people less fortunate than us! [read more – Philanthropy by Jane Delorie – 132K – PDF]

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