Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Jose Chameleon's 1 million shillings concert will be a hit

Last Thursday, Jose Chameleon announced at his Club unplugged performance that tickets for his December concert will go for a staggering 1 million. Way more than any other concert in Ugandan's history.

As expected many of his fans will protest the price tag and as predicted, Jose will pay a deaf ear to critics, given he is an exception to many entertainment rules. I am particularly happy about his announcement for two reasons.

Time for the rubber to meet the road

From the beginning of Jose Chameleon's carrier, he has closely been compared to Bebe Cool and Bobi wine. However in recent years without a doubt, Jose has managed to constantly and consistently reinvent himself and his music, leaving his competiton far behind amidst little mention in media.

Following his social media streams, it’s apparent that he has toured more countries in the past four years than any other local artist. Proving that he is a well sought after act internationally.  He has achieved this by concentrating on what truly matters to him and his fans; music.

The fault with many artists and by extension celebrities, is they take stardom overly serious that with time fans associate them with scandals instead of their primary business; entertainment. Chameleon continuously delivers to his fans, hits each year in a variety of genres.
At the moment, I can’t tell Bebe cool or Bobi wine’s latest hit which means their visibility is fading and their survival will depend on loyalists who love them for who they are not what they do which will affect their brand growth because they are still selling their music in same market space as they did ten years ago.

Chameleon by default is a trail blazer and his expensive concert will have a positive impact on his brand equity through providing a new opportunity for him to sell to a new audience while creating an even better entertainment experience for his loyalists. A case of behavioral change communication.

Intangible value of brand Equity

Brand equity is a phrase used in the marketing industry which describes the value of having a well-known brand name, based on the idea that the owner of a well-known brand name makes more money. Given his successful carrier spanning well over ten years, it comes with no surprise that his brand name commands more respect than any other name in East Africa's music industry. He was ranked in 2011 as the sixth most talented African Artist, closely following the likes of Akon and P. Sqaure. He has since consistently kept his fans in the loop of what is happening in his music career on social media, steering away for ego- centered interactions.
By focusing on his work, he has managed to attract an heir of aspiration around his brand which makes him far more valuable in the real world and his concert will be proof of that.

For example, Radio and Weasel have good music and are arguably as famous, following their BET nomination last year. However they are falling in the same trap of brand unconsciousness as many entertainers before them. Which is; fans love their music however because they are not communicating their brand story, consequently letting the public tell it for them hence giving them a low score on brand equity scale.

Equity is like leverage, it can be traded in for tangible rewards and I believe Jose is about to cash out on his efforts in digital branding.

Without a doubt, the success of his concert will change the music industry for good for it will change fans perception towards the value of local talent.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why the GOU and 2016 elections can fuck themselves (Numbers don't lie)

My major grievance with the national budget 2014/15 is that its exclusively targets the poor and middle class population who constitute the majority of the country. For example, a service like Mobile money, which has encouraged monetary transaction for the unbanked sector has been levied a 10% tax per transaction. Which means sending Ugx 50,000/= will cost 5,000/=. This is an exorbitant fee for a service that is making banking available to low income earners. This isn't only bad news for the population but also the agents whose profit margin profit has been on the decline due to market saturation. 
If the ten percent is levied, it will exponentially reduce the number of transactions per individual, directly affecting the profit margins for agents, consequently forcing them out of the market which reduces the number of agents per constituency and eventually making mobile money as less accessible as banks.

Perhaps the most worrying tax increment is on kerosene, hoes and seeds. In rural Uganda, kerosene is a basic commodity for among its many uses power local;y made lamps (tadoba) to provide household with light at night . Increasing its cost by a few shillings means that a family in Arua may have to ration lamp usage at night, a hard reality. 

On the other hand, I would be more comfortable if the cost of cooking gas increased since it is consumed by the affluent population who would still purchase it even if the price increased. The taxation of hoes and seedlings is just inhuman, given the same local population practice subsistence farming; they eat what they plant and taxes on the tools is just absurd. Publications have emphasised the need for Uganda to focus on Agriculture, how are we achieving this if we are making it more expensive for a farmer to plow their land?

The main problem the government of Uganda has is it funds the budget solely from taxes and grants because it sold all its state owned franchises like Uganda railways and Air Uganda that would have otherwise brought in extra income to supplement tax revenues. It seems announcement of the national budget has come to knowing which areas taxes have been increased, as opposed to presentation of strategic approaches of how government is investing and making money from other ventures. 

The final blow came when America announced withdraw of Aid and grants amounting to over Shs. 20 billion over the anti-gay bill signed by the president earlier this year. Much as homosexuality is not a practice we as a country  support, it was not a matter of national interest but rather an interest of a handful of politicians seeking support for re-election in 2016. We were told that we do not need foreign Aid and that we could fund the budget ourselves. Well now, numbers do not lie do they? 
Effectiveness of foreign aid over the years could be debated, but we also cannot deny that it has had its impacts on healthcare and education especially in rural Uganda where our government has neglected its mandate to its own people prompting intervention of other governments (embarrassing).

Herein lies Uganda's major problem; politicization. In anyone's right mind, a sex bill is the last thing our country needed when we have failed to implement basic healthcare and education reforms. We still don't have a national birth database! Everything is political now and if a notion does not serve the political interest of a handful, it is not of "national interest." 

But I do not blame the government as much. I blame the individual bureaucrats  who portray behaviors of greedy spoilt rich kids who expect lunch on a silver plate without having to work for it, at the cost of the common man who is taxed to the eyeball. I hope that the coming generation will teach their children to save and invest so that when they are elected to government offices, they will value the importance of hard work, saving and investment.

I cringe at the thought of an election two years from now and for the record, I care less what the government or opposition have to say or do. I am just trying to make an honest living, raise a family and be happy. Being Ugandan is waking up everyday knowing that you have been fucked over and screwed so bad that its worthless to give a shit. All I ask politicians is to keep the ordinary man out of their petty egocentric fights. "Tuli bakowu."

My 2016 prediction; the opposition will loose at the polls, the government will spend trillions funding the exercise causing high rates of inflation, prompting the central bank to increase taxes in the economy to reduce public expenditure. But really, who are we fooling?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A silver lining to world's end

I woke up in my childhood room. Same bed, I slept in since high school. The window I broke has never been fixed, making it especially chilly at night. The reality is sinking in that I am finally back home because I resigned my job and just might possibility be on the brink of being sidelined by Real marketing for AAR’s business. For now it’s a possibility and a good one at that.
At this point, it’s easy to slip into a state of depression and anxiety by the chilling thought that I just might have lost everything. From a logical perspective, I walked out on a good job that perhaps in another reality would have yielded great returns.
My dream; to make phenomenal art with Carlos and reinvent the technology industry with Frank.
In my heart I know that I am much closer to my goal now than I was a month ago even though current circumstances may suggest otherwise
Regardless of the outcome, I would still do it all over if I had to.  I would much rather trade a mediocre corporate job to work with geniuses like Carlos and Frank. Ultimately we live the lives we design for ourselves and if mediocre is what we settle for in one area of our life, it eventually grows into  other areas till we wake up ten years later, only to realize, we are not living in the house we envisioned and  working on projects that bring us joy, happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment.  
I have found that the things we dream about while asleep, awake and the times in between, should never be traded for, no matter what. Status quo will always tell us it’s impossible, rewarding those who play it safe  making an example of us who don’t. To frighten us to believe less in our ideas. And when you pay enough attention to them, you will start to think they are right. The fact is we are all right.
it’s a small margin between ordinary and exceptionally remarkable and to make it to the latter, you have to be brave to take decisions counter to status quo. Intuitive to trade carefully and minimize risk gradually, be willing to loose for the possibility will keep you sane and lastly, surround yourself with people who will catch you when you fall; feed you when you are hungry, encourage you when you are down and constantly remind you that you are great even when you don’t believe it yourself. For a life shared is more fulfilling.
It’s not enough to just build a profitable company But rather, have a team that will through, conviction and dedication follow an ideal to worlds end. To see the silver lining even in when the day gets cold and lonely.