How Safaricom reconnected with Kenyan youth

Brian Carruthers

Safaricom is a major player in Kenya, where the mobile operator boasts 26.6m subscribers - more than half the population - annual revenues of $1.5bn and is also home to M-Pesa, the phenomenally successful mobile payments system that now handles around 40% of the country's GDP.

But, Andrew Riungu, consumer segments research manager, explained to the Qual360 audience gathered in Amsterdam in February 2017, the brand wasn't cutting it with Kenya's youth - 15-34 year olds account for more than one third of the population, 15-26 year-olds for 17% - and that was a major problem. Qualitative research outlined the many reasons why.

Milcah Asamba, manager/research & insights at Kantar TNS East Africa, listed a number of emotional and functional disconnects that were uncovered, including:

  • The brand had no connection point with youth
  • It was too expensive
  • It had too few tariff offers
  • It was not responsive enough to problems
  • Loyalty points weren't valued highly
  • It was seen as "a thief that steals my airtime and data bundle"