Balala was right on Naomi Campbell

BBC.COM screenshot Naomi Campbell and Najib Balala in Malindi, Kenya

I had some free time this past week and spent most of them watching two YouTube channels; Lupita Nyongo’s and Naomi Campbell’s. Here is the background, weeks ago the Kenya Ministry of Tourism unveiled Naomi Campbell as a Magical Kenya global brand ambassador. As is the nature of the Kenyan twitterati, there was an uproar: why not Lupita? Why Naomi?

As a marketer and when reviewing some of these decisions, my sole guiding principle is always that simple yet powerful marketing tool called STP- Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. In this aspect, Hon Najib Balala and the Ministry were right. Naomi makes more marketing sense as an international ambassador far more than Lupita.

First, there is this swahili saying; chema chajiuza, kibaya chajitembeza. If Lupita were to sell Kenya globally we would fall under ‘kibaya chajitembeza’, Naomi with her British, Jamaican, West African and global citizenship falls under ‘chema chajiuza‘. You gain much more when someone else talks positively about you than when you talk about yourself- that is the essence of the current trend in marketing of user generated content (UGC).

And here is the proof, Naomi just showcased her Malindi home on the YouTube channel Architectural Digest. The video was uploaded 20hours ago that’s on 13th April, 2021 and as we speak it has garnered 357,617 views. The Architectural Digest has a subscriber base of 4.24 million. That’s almost 10% of its subscribers and Naomi fans watching. As per the 80/20 rule, Malindi as a destination will be comfortable with just 20% watching for awareness even though awareness levels are always higher. And do you want to see PR value from that single episode; https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/tour-naomi-campbells-sprawling-kenyan-escape, https://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/a36121582/naomi-campbell-home-tour-kenya/, https://www.essence.com/lifestyle/naomi-campbell-home/, https://www.cnn.com/style/article/naomi-campbell-kenyan-villa-architectural-digest/index.html CNN Style, People, Essence, Architectural Digest, Daily Mail and that’s just in 24 hours.

In that video too there are campaign gems that would retire the boring campaign Live the Magic. In this period of recovery and Covid, Kenya needs an emotional campaign not a functional campaign of ‘living‘ and Naomi gives a pretty good campaign gem which I will write on later.

And Lupita too has lately been to Kenya. She learnt how to ride a motorcycle, had an interview with her cousin Kitt Kiarie (loved that interview), gave a nostalgic rendition of a Sunday school rhyme in a tea plantation, took amazing images of Lamu, went on holiday to the beautiful Serengeti, did an interview with Stephen Colbert and Ellen while in Kenya (great internet connectivity). Great moves that are so focused on her own brand and not the Kenya brand as a whole.

Lupita does not owe the destination anything but if we are to look keenly, she is well positioned to be domestic tourism brand ambassador than an international brand ambassador. She understands how our brains work and she does the things we do here. The tourism today is about immersion- when she talks to Kitt about nyoch ajuka my taste buds erect, a nostalgia of home gets my heart racing and then they talk about nyuka that is both cold and hot and instantly i feel like going to LAX and back to the plains of Kano; those are the authentic stories that drive the destination of the future.

Finally, here is the classic Kenyan problem; the CS has made the Naomi move, Naomi is doing her part- she even went shopping with Elsa Majimbo in Nairobi- shows Nairobi is safe, she has talked about the Kenyan artist who does her art, Architectural Digest has posted the video of Naomi’s home, Lupita has immersed us into the nostalgia of what it means to be home and then as always, the technical people who should pick up these little gems and amplify and convert either do not know what to do with them or are totally asleep. Totally frustrating. Here is one thing you can do- sponsor Naomi’s No Filter with Naomi; let it be ‘No Filter with Naomi brought to you by Magical Kenya.

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