Kenyan metal roofing materials company, Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM) last week unveiled the winners of its photography competition called, ‘Eye in the Wild’ that sought to raise awareness on environment conservation.
MRM began the campaign in 2017 as a way of raising awareness, especially in the construction industry, on steel as an alternative to timber in order to conserve and preserve the environment.
“Conventionally, when people think of construction, timber is the first material that comes to mind but the more there is demand for timber, the more trees are cut. While it is key to grow the brand awareness, the awards create awareness on the dwindling forest cover in Kenya and the importance of conservation,” said Karen Gikunda, MRM Head of Marketing.
The awards, which were held for a second edition, were in partnership with camera manufacturing company, Nikon. The judging process focused on four main criteria — expression of theme, creativity, composition and photographic quality — and was overseen by a panel of three judges with vast photographic knowledge.
Salma Shah, a 47-year-old holistic therapist by profession and an amateur photographer, emerged the overall winner for her piece that showed how a common papaya tree can influence environmental beauty and support wildlife. She beat 538 other entries from established and amateur photographers and received Sh350,000 cash prize.
Photographers were tasked to document the beauty of the environment and the impact of the deforestation. This year, the campaign was conducted online in a bid to endear the brand to younger consumers, who do not ordinarily engage with it. This has grown its brand awareness.
“Since we started the ‘Eye in the Wild’ campaign, we have seen our brand affinity scores go up as a result of the public appreciating the active role that MRM plays in the community through advocating for environmental conservation. Also our association with the photography competition is appealing to more Kenyans,” said Mr Gikunda.
The campaign reached over 1.8 million people on Facebook, 500,000 on Twitter and over 10,000 on Instagram this year, according to MRM online statistics.
Research shows that companies’ own award events especially that target the common good, can increase brand awareness. Such awards evoke positive emotion towards the brand especially for the participants who are likely to continue using its products on a long-term basis or influence others to use the brand.
A 2012 case study conducted by the European Fundraising Association, on how to run a successful awards programme, found that when a company hosts an award, it reinforces the image of the brand among the attendees and participants, growing its awareness.
The study was conducted on the National Fundraising Awards that are held in the UK annually by the Institute of Fundraising, a registered charity and the professional membership body for UK fundraising.
Its awards, in its 26th year as of 2018, have 20 categories that recognise the different fundraising techniques used by charities or individuals in the previous year. It allows the nomination of the charities as well as individuals from the public and is thereafter overseen by a panel of judges well-versed in the industry.
The ceremony is then attended by over 800 people, making the event highly credible and well-placed to recognise and reward success in the sector even as other organisations launch their own awards in the same industry.
“One of the benefits we derive from holding the awards is being able to showcase our organisation with our brand being reinforced not only to attendees, but also those who leave the show have had a very positive experience,” said Ruth Moore, Head of Training and Events at the Institute of Fundraising in the study.
“It also has a positive impact on the wider sector through promotion and coverage of the event, the shortlisted and the winners. Well-run awards shows are profitable for their organisers.”
- African Laughter