Business: 3 Companies That Are Using Events To Connect With Target Consumers & Differentiate Themselves


Marketing is at the heart of every business, however, with the spread of ICT, consumers are beginning to encounter brand messages in every inch of their lives to a point where it has become advertisement overload. However, in all that noise, there are brands that are standing out by marketing themselves without you even noticing so. They are reaching consumers through activities that are sometimes far from what they are known for, and thus creep their way into the hearts of consumers. Here is a look at some of them.

Safaricom and the Jazz Festival

Safaricom has been holding the Safaricom Jazz Festival since 2013 and the event has been growing ever since; the company spent Ksh.100 million in the 2017- 2018 circuit alone. The festival brings jazz musicians from all parts of the world and has been headlined by music greats including the legendary Hugh Masekela, BWBBranford MarsalisManu DibangoDavid Sanborn, Kunle Ayo, Jimmy DludluJonathan Butler, and Salif Keita. All proceeds from the concert go towards the Ghetto Classics program, which is a music programme that equips underprivileged kids with classical and jazz music skills.

Why is it Significant?

From the outside, the Jazz festival doesn’t look much like something a telecom company should be using its marketing budget on. However, at a closer look, you will notice that the attendees of the festival are the same people Safaricom normally targets; they are the users of its products. The student attendees paying a discounted entrance fee of Ksh. 500 at the Jazz festivals are the same demographic under Safaricom’s segmented Blaze movement who contributed to growing the company’s customer numbers by a five-year high of 8 % in 2017; that ’s according to Charles Wanjohi, Safaricom Head of Segmentation. Is it coincidence? I think not.

Part of BWB [Left to right Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun]. Image from
The Jazz festival also majorly attracts the working class professionals of this country. They might be in khaki shorts on a Sunday while enjoying the soothing tunes of Chris Bitok at the festivals. However, once the week starts they are the IT technicians, business owners, CEOs calling the shots on which company will provide high-speed internet in the office. Who do you think will come to mind when a family who’ve just had one of the best times of their lives at the Safaricom jazz festival, is trying to decide on who will provide wired internet connection for their home?


Safaricom and Safaricom Chapa Dimba Tournament

Football is dear to many Kenyans across all divides and features in many nostalgic childhood stories for most of us. The Chapa Dimba na Safaricom is a football tournament for young Kenyans aged 16-20 years that aims to give talented youth national exposure to coaches and cash prizes of up to Ksh.1 million. The exposure has been meaningful to the participants, here Meet The Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Tournament’s Emerging Star Oscar Kengwa

From a marketing move, the Chapa Dimba tournament has many benefits to Safaricom. For instance, a 30 seconds advert in the any of the national media stations will leave a company with bills running into hundreds of thousands. However, when the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom gets featured on all the TV stations as sports news several times a day, the Safaricom brand gets exposure for free.

David Majak Receiving his MVP trophy

Additionally, the tournament’s participants get Safaricom branded merchandise; jerseys and training kits which will be used by the participants on a daily basis from big cities to tiny villages all over the country. Without even knowing it they act as live billboards for the company. On the other hand, the tournament’s youthful participants are bound to grow in purchasing power as they advance in life and Safaricom will be the likely beneficiary. Additionally, their family and friends get endeared to the brand viewing it more as a partner rather than a business.

SportPesa and Out of the Ordinary Sporting Events

SportPesa has risen up the brand awareness charts in Kenya despite being less than a decade old and this is just not because Kenyans love gambling. Since inception, SportPesa has sponsored the Kenya Premier League (KPL) and the Kenya Rugby Union, Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards football club. A few days ago they brought English Premier League side Hull City to Nairobi and fans flocked to the Kasarani stadium to watch their favourite stars.

SportPesa All-Star Team Image from

Last year the company brought Everton FC and Wayne Rooney, the much adored Manchester United former captain to Tanzania, and Kenyan club Gor Mahia got to play against them. To football fans, what SportPesa is doing is like bringing rock stars to town and allowing fans to see them without having to pay the usual extremely high fees; something that few thought possible.

However, it doesn’t stop there, last year I remember a friend of mine not being able to shut up about his experience trying out and almost making it to the SportPesa All Stars team. The All Star team flew to England to play against Hull City’s junior team and was built using recruitment camps held all over the country from the grassroots level up to the national stage. World class coaches were flown in from England to hold a camp for the prospective players and help make the final selection.

Why is it Significant?

Such events have a long-term impact than a typical 30 second TV commercial would to consumers; they endear them to the brand. I can’t imagine holding a one-hour conversation discussing a cool SportPesa commercial I saw on TV, but I remember holding conversations for days with my friend over his experience trying out for the All-Star team courtesy of SportPesa. That is the power of non-traditional marketing as it sets companies apart in addition to creating a permanent positive image in the minds of consumers.

Jameson and The Jameson Connect Experience

Music connects people like an invisible string, whether you speak the same language or not, and it is this fact and culture that the Jameson alcohol brand has capitalised on with its lively Jameson Connect Experience.

Ty Dollar $ign Headlined the Jameson Connects 2017

It happens annually and last year’s event was one and a half, it started out earlier than usual with experiential events; free haircuts from celebrity barbers, incredible sneaker displays, live watching of the English Premier League and Dubai 7’s in addition to foosball competitions. However, this was just a tip of the entertainment iceberg, the event was headlined by American Rapper Ty Dollar $ign and his South African counterpart Nasty C, alongside Kenyan performers including Khaligraph Jones, the Kansol and Muthoni the Drummer Queen.

Why is it Significant?

Well, for starters Jameson being an alcohol brand would benefit from being associated with a fun experiential event. When a reveller remembers the time they met their favourite artist and Jameson is in the picture, it becomes more than an alcohol brand. It becomes an experience, one that can be later complemented by traditional marketing to reinforce that picture. Additionally, the artists that Jameson brings; Ty Dollar $ign in 2017 and Tinny Tempa in 2016, go home having associated Jameson with the experience of visiting a new country, meeting new fans, discovering new tastes etc. This makes it easier for Jameson to work with these artists in future engagements through sponsorships and even a simple mention or an appearance in a music video could go a long way in boosting the brands reach

All in all, these brands show that you don’t really have to run TV advertisements that explain your products to be successful. But rather that you can connect to existing and potential consumers more organically through events and activities that are experiential. Which is something even small businesses can do especially in this age of millennial majority. Speaking of millennials here is why Marketing To Millennials Requires Companies To Think Outside The Box 

Want to make your event memorable for your guests? Here are 5 Giveaway Ideas For Your Event Attendees.

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Gabriel is an entrepreneurship enthusiast, with a fondness for questioning the workings of everyday things. He is an entrepreneur, a lover of stories and a member of Rotaract. He is a freelance writer ( engage me at, skilled in crafting engaging content; from fintech to marketing techniques, startup culture, business development, analysis...the list goes on ..the only thing that keeps him up is the fact that anyone can change the world.