Blaze Kenya ads have the best cinematography and the models used on the moving pictures have unique skills that are not African. The plans on the other end sound amazing but it’s just crap in a way – doesn’t help at all. The question on the table might be, why is Safaricom too determined to ensure that almost all of the youth join Blaze Kenya and other platforms despite the fact that they have already monopolized the market?
The platform was launched in May with the aim of empowering the youth by letting them be in control of their finances. The service allows you to decide how much to spend over a certain period of time and you have the choice to renew the plan or unsubscribe. For one to join the community, he or she needs to dial *555# or go to BLAZE Kenya website directly then follow the steps.
A common mwanachi who comes across a BLAZE advert on YouTube might think BLAZE is giving free job opportunities or a space to nurture talents. On the other hand, a high school student who walks around with an English dictionary might think people are being exhumed and the initiative is targeting the youth and the vulnerable in our society.
Ideally, Kenyans need real solutions and impactful platforms that cut through the whole generation, but BLAZE targets a small group of people who probably don’t like sending texts because feature phones don’t have emoji’s or don’t allow the user to send pictures freely without limitations. Kenyan youths also need someone or a foundation that can incubate their ideas and later sponsor a product which can add value to the nation and sustain a person’s life.
I attended the official launch party; the organizers staged a masterpiece in an anonymous village. I expected to meet people from different spheres of life like a teenager from Busia, a young lady from Nakuru and a spoilt brat from Nairobi. However, the event brought together celebrities and students from Mount Kenya University who know something about Twitter and Facebook. These groups of people I presume were part of the marketing strategy meant to take social media by storm and encourage people to join the Blazers.
There are a number of reasons why I believe BLAZE Kenya is useless and will never empower the youth as Safaricom claims.
It did not target the Kenyan youth
In Daystar University Valley Road, a small percentage of students have tried using the platform but it never catered for their needs which is daily communication across all forms of communication. One student tried the weekly plan for Ksh.250; he ignited (chose) the MB data and Calls. He was given 350 MBS, 0SMS and 46min 12 Sec. It looks like a good plan because you have been given 46 minutes voice which is not that helpful. Now, this guy is into texting and sending pictures on Whatsapp and this particular day, he was unable to send even a single Message so he ended up calling people. Within thirty minutes he had exhausted his minutes. Ordinarily, people prefer the usual daily subscriptions that allow you to have free SMS and bundles.
Another issue is on the advertisement and branding which is very confusing. Most people on the streets don’t even know BLAZE Kenya was started by Safaricom. They think it’s a Diaspora pop up that is trying to market boxing and skate boarding in Africa because these sporting activities are not found in Kenya; only a few people use skates.
Kenyans like simple adverts. An advert that explains a product and offers a direct solution that people will gain after using that particular product.
The youth outside Nairobi are also in complete darkness because they cannot relate with the product. Even the plans cannot be counted as a solution or an empowering initiative. The ads on the end may seem farfetched for someone living in my village because football is the only sport. Other sports are viewed on TV.
Competition from other networks
Most people believe that BLAZE was introduced because the youth were moving to Airtel because it’s cheap and it has lucrative projects that support the youth. For example Airtel Trace Music Star allows people to call, sing and win. Trace competition has involved international music stars who act as mentors. In addition, the winners receive cash prizes, a music video, a record deal and a trip to the US. I bet this is a better deal than BLAZE because it will attract many people who like singing.
In conclusion, Safaricom should identify a problem the youth have then come up with a solution. The solution can be used to nurture talent directly and not promising people that they are going to make them their own boss when they can’t even afford credit. Safaricom should also come up with platforms that suit the Kenyan demography; a platform that everybody can comfortably use in any part of the country.