Living companies and governments know that the youthful customer or the youth vote matters if they have to remain relevant or in power for long, and that’s what Safaricom is doing.
In a move to consolidate its market share and guarantee itself a future, Safaricom has today launched a youthful platform targeting to recruit innocent youths below the ages of 26 but above 10 years with a promise of free devices, talent development as well as choice of use of their data bundles, voice and SMS.
On one hand, Blaze is a captivating ‘joint’ targeted at cool Instagram kids but on the other hand, Safaricom is looking for its next big cash cow as the platform is targeted at fueling the telco’s future growth, in terms of both customer numbers and revenue, by up to 25 per cent.
Various reports indicate the youth spent most of their pocket money on airtime for data which they use on social media and OTT apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp and music. The youth are the fastest growing and biggest spenders on most fast moving consumer goods in the country, and any sane firm would want to tap into them.
According to Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore at the launch, “BLAZE is a platform created to empower youth, enable and celebrate their unconventional journeys to success and give them the freedom to choose how they want to communicate. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before.”
Available both online at Blaze.co.ke and on USSD via *555#, Blaze will also see subscribers have access to branded 3G and 4G enabled devices such as the Blaze Flame, which will retail for Kshs.10,000 + a free selfie stick and phone cover, exclusively from Safaricom shops.
BLAZE subscribers will also get mentorship opportunities, with a lucky few also getting the chance to win funding for their businesses through Be Your Own Boss (B.Y.O.B).
B.Y.O.B, a brand asset under BLAZE, will consist of a series of countrywide youth empowerment summits and boot camps. During these, young people will have the opportunity to tell their stories, share their ambitions and interact with mentors who will inspire them and guide them on their journeys to chasing their passions in various fields including the arts (music, fashion, photography, graffiti, film), technology, entrepreneurship and agriculture.
The B.Y.O.B Summits will also give young people a chance to audition for the BLAZE TV show, also called Be Your Own Boss.This show will offer a select few the chance to compete for funding that will enable them chase their dreams and build careers out of them.
Different elements of the platform will be rolled out over the coming months. These include a music app that will allow subscribers to stream and download music, and share their playlists with friends.
BLAZE subscribers will also have access to innovative new M-PESA-based services that will encourage the youth to take control of their finances, as well as BLAZE Bonga, which is a loyalty programme with rewards that appeal specifically to the youth.
Safaricom’s Blaze is in a way a twisted replica of Airtel’s Trace Music Stars, The Airtel Jam Sessions, a music show and Airtel Future Shapers, a written feature on innovative young Kenyans in a move aimed at providing great local multimedia content online for consumers as well as in support of people doing great work in the arts, culture and technology.
Airtel Jam Sessions are intimately shot shows that invite awesome upcoming stars to jam and talk about their hustle.Blaze has just taken a wider scope including even farmers and everyone else. Looking closely at Blaze, one could still see Airtel Future Shapers in it as it promised to feature young, fresh and ambitious trendsetters in technology, the arts and culture then share them on Airtel Hadithi www.airtelhadithi.co.keas a central portal, where the company will share entertainment content, exciting ideas and stories on innovative people and out of the box concepts.
One would say Safaricom’s new marketing team which comprise majorly of ex-Airtel marketing executives, is simply carrying initiatives from one employer to the next. However, Orange still remains in the dark.