You have probably heard the contemporary saying that “there is the girl you go out with and there is the girl you marry”. Likewise, there are brands that we flirt with and there are those that we take home to meet the parents.
Nothing proves this best than the mobile telephony industry in the country.
Safaricom has for the longest time been the girl that we marry. In term of rates, she has been the cheapest; in terms of personality, she has been the one with a great sense of homour (the great adverts they had); in terms of charity, she has gone beyond mere philanthropy with the Safaricom Foundation not counting millions that they have parted with in award monies; in terms of reach, she has been the only girl who got along with all the in-laws (they are all on the same wavelength (Safaricom’s 12 million subscribers); in terms of added benefits, she has kept them coming with the Million Shilling prize monies, the MPESA value addition, the consistent offers among many more. In general, she has touched all our right spots and hence the reason 12 million of us Kenyans have married her.
Occasionally, every marriage gets boring because of the same old routine – bamba this, Ongea tariff, and sambaza that lose their appeal. Just because she is now married, she thinks she can let herself go. She no longer cooks right, has added weight in the wrong places, and her sexual appeal has plummeted to near zero thus forcing us to look t other women. To prompt us to taste the forbidden fruit, she acts out of character by giving us water instead of food for lunch, cents in dividends whereas yet we are the breadwinners (arguable), and continue rationing what’s rightfully ours by giving us bundles yet we gave her all the money to pamper herself with the most fashionable clothes – 3G, Wimax, and Fibre Optic. She is acting shady and has forgotten all the little things that attracted us to her in the first place. She pisses us off just enough for us to go out and have an affair.
When we start looking, the candidates are in plenty and damn! They loaded with the right curves and skimpily dressed to ensure we cannot miss! And they are three of them; all of them competing for our attention, making us feel like kings. They introduce themselves as Yu, formerly known as Econet Wireless; Orange, formerly known as Telkom wireless; and Zain, formerly known as Celtel. What they are offering we cannot miss: staring at their cleavages, we are met with discounts. Sneaking a peak at their legs, their stocking spell offers. And when they turn to give us the whole view, they conveniently mention that as opposed to the dowry we paid for our wife, they come for free. Without a moments notice, we jump into bed with them and have the times of out lives. We do things we could never do at home. But then morning comes…
Come morning, we start missing the small things. It hits us that this can only be a hot, short lived, purely sexual affair. At home, there was breakfast in bed, an extended 12 million strong family, and a few other small things that we cannot live without. And a divorce would be too expensive for all of us. There are things that we get at home that we cannot get anywhere else and our wife at home understands that the scale we provide is her only leverage over these mistresses. Safaricom after learning through the grapevine of our indiscretions, she promises to do some of the stuff that these mistresses were offering, just as long as we come back home. Some of us do but those who can afford the lifestyle still come back home to Safaricom having made clandestine arrangements of keeping a mistress or two on the side. That way, they can enjoy the best of all worlds. They call, surf, and text till they drop.
But we never leave Safaricom to marry these mistresses for they are not wife material. We have only met during the off-peak hours and we are yet to find out whether they can hold their own during both peak and off-peak hours. The question then becomes, can you compete with what the wife is currently providing me? She may not be as flashy, but she is stable, knows the neighbours and gets a long well with the in-laws, occasionally surprises me with that sexy offer I cannot refuse and finally, she has the experience.
And though I came back home, the fact that I went looking and got busy with other networks should tell the Safaricom that not all my needs are being met at home. She therefore cannot rest easy knowing that there are skimpily dressed mistresses out there trying to catch my eye. And the fact that I have bought a second house (phone) should tell her that one of the mistresses is showing promise. And that now, I have choice to sleep in either house depending on who has new sexier lingerie on tonight.
My advice to you as a brand, product, personality, or a person in charge of these is, find out whether you are the wife, the mistress, the one night stand, or the ugly duckling in you industry. Then start working on those qualities that will make you a wife material. Or in the least get into the position of a mistress, the one who enjoys all the excesses that do not accrue to the wife.
Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments section below…