The age-old practice of storytelling falls front and centre of the African experience: it’s how information is disseminated, skills are exchanged, and histories are kept alive. That’s why when it comes to getting to know someone, the wealth of insight (usually hidden under time constraints, budget cuts, border gates, and red tape) is richest when you place yourself in environments where the act of storytelling unfolds.
This is where marketers find themselves doing their brands a disservice. They fail to recognise the diverse backdrops against which consumer realities take place. The absence of this critical cultural context is how brands find themselves out of sync with the consumer narrative. The cracks begin to reveal themselves, and it becomes clear that their market activity is based on assumptions.
At 34° we acknowledge that we live in a time where storytelling takes on different forms and lives in a multitude of spaces. We believe that in order for a brand to truly find a comfortable place in consumers’ minds and hearts, we need to understand how brands best fit into the consumer’s story (both physically and emotionally).
Constantly challenged to understand new categories and target markets, and the scarcity of “textured” research upon which to base deep insights has been the key motivation for developing 34°’s research platforms; 34° Families, 34° Chats and the 34° Councils. We needed a direct pipeline into new markets, one that would connect us to the stories from which the riches insights are born. Using these “street-smart” tools, we are able to help our clients get up close and personal with their target audiences and shed light on why they do what they do.
With 34°’s footprint extending to Nairobi, and on a mission to better understand Kenyan consumers, we felt that Kenya should be a natural extension of our research platforms. We have leveraged these tools to help ‘fill in the blanks’, by delving deeper into Kenyan realities and shedding some light on how decisions are made.
34° Families connects us, and our clients, to diverse Kenyan families where our insights are drawn from the nature of unique family dynamics. By spending time with these families, we are better able to understand the nuances driving consumption, where family members inadvertently shape each other’s purchase decisions.
The 34° Chats tool on the other hand, takes us out of the home, and into the social company of like-minded individuals with similar need states. Here our insights are drawn, not from traditional focus groups, but from unscripted banter that unfolds within a social context.
Finally, taking Kenyan’s digitally savvy nature into account, 34° Council of Women and Council of Gents is where we intercept conversations as they happen on social media. This progressive form of storytelling, where respondents are engaged in a way that is second nature to them, is critical source of valuable insights. The combined benefits of these platforms afford us the luxury of testing new packaging; gauging consumer attitudes and perceptions; and understanding shopping patterns. There are endless stories to uncover that enable our clients to connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways than ever before.
With this artillery of street-smart tools that run off of conversation and human connection there is no market that will evade our curiosity. It’s our way of enabling brands to stay in touch with the stories that make them matter, and how we help them discover their rightful place within the consumer narrative.