Nestlé Kenya last week joined its parent company in launching the Nestlé Global Youth Initiative that will see hundreds of Kenyans get a job, in a move that could permanently increase brand loyalty.
The company has rolled out a number of programmes, including the ‘My Own Business (MYOWBU)’ project, which engage youths in selling ready-to-drink cups of Nescafé in busy public areas such as open markets, stadiums and bus stops, while helping operators appointed by Nestlé Professional to manage their street-vending business.
“We have over 650 operators in Angola and Kenya, and we intend to significantly grow this number over the next two years. The programme has created a source of livelihood for hundreds of jobless youths, especially in the slums in Kenya, who are now making between Sh500 to Sh3000 per day,” said Judy Mwangi, corporate communications manager at Nestlé Equatorial Africa Region.
According to market researcher Strategic Business Insights (SBI), brands are able to create brand loyalty by delivering “identity-appropriate benefits”.
“When a brand meets or exceeds functional benefits and meets customers’ need for certain psychological benefits, the brand engenders brand loyalty,” said David Sleeth-Keppler, an SBI member in a 2011 article.
This is now seeing an emerging trend across Kenyan sectors in creating employment opportunities, where unemployment is one of the nation’s deepest scars.
The banking industry has been a notable mover in this, through apprenticeships, traineeships and entrepreneurship schemes that are seeing young people absorbed into the labour force at a time when unemployment stands at 12.7 per cent among the working age population, according to the Kenya Country Report for the 2014 Ministerial Conference on Youth Employment.
KCB’s Sh10bn 2Jiajiri programme, which plans to help 500,000 small scale entrepreneurs through training and easier access to capital to start or grow their businesses, emplifies this new kind of engagement.
Likewise, Barclays Bank of Kenya has announced that it is investing Sh230m in youth empowerment programmes, part of which aims to impart 70,000 young people with the skills required to start and run a business.
As these and other brands now move to direct interventions to create jobs, they are creating beneficiaries who are likely to carry brand loyalty for a life time.
So great is the impact of unemployment on young lives that the chances of depression among the unemployed are three times higher than for those who are employed, according to a 2015 study, Unemployment and Depression Among Emerging Adults in 12 States by Robin E. McGhee and Nancy J. Thompson.
Addressing such a deep seated erosion of peoples lives and psyches, therefore, has a profound impact in creating a connection with a brand.
Kenyan marketer and MD of Biztrace Marketing, Bruce Gumo argues that this creates brand loyalty long after their problem has been solved.
“When you are using a brand and then it solves that problem, and given that the human nature worldwide is generally resistant to change, customers tend to believe that what they have is the best and they stop looking for better solutions once they get the initial solution, whether it is the best or not. It is a psychological need,” he said.