Marketing Lessons from the Bench

All Kenyan, all


if you can complete that phrase i guess you get my drift. Jeff Koinange, everybody knows his story, started off in Kenya…made a splash in Kenyan journalism bringing something we had not seen before, swag. He then went to CNN and everyone wanted to chip in when a conversation about Jeff’s success came up, everybody wanted to be look like they were in the know and were with it.

Then he comes back to Kenya and again makes a splash at K24 with the bench. We could all look at k24 and say that it’s a great station but let’s admit it, Jeff brought it to new heights with the bench, otherwise, it would have been just another TV station promising something new and not delivering, as was the case with Classic TV. I am not saying that Classic did not really live up to what they promised, and I am not saying it was not new, but if we were to be honest just a little bit we all can say it gave us what we did not want.

Marketing 101: Know your target market, identify the segments, choose a segment and own it. The trick in Marketing is always to find a unique positioning in the customers mind and not only that but a favourable positioning. Another trick is to be new in what you are offering and be the first. If you cannot find something to be first at, create one or remodel one. Bringing me back to Jeff, is the bench new? Interviewing personalities and bringing out their stories to the world? In general terms no, it is as old as the media industry itself, in Kenya it has been done for ages and KBC (Good evening viewers) did it when it was the only station and continues to do it today, and all other media stations have come up and done it as it has always been done. So ideally speaking what Jeff does on the bench is not new.

Am i then contradicting myself by calling him a great marketer that plays by the foundation rules of marketing especially that one of being new and unique, never done before and a first? No. give me a minute I will drive the point home. Interviewing personalities is not new, but Jeff made it new, fresh and let us admit, relateable, if such a word exists. So what is new, what is unique? Why is the bench a first? And what other aspects of marketing has Jeff used to make the bench what it is today? Well I will list them below;

New: It is on a relatively new station, it is on a bench, it is daily, it’s not in a studio, it is by the same host and it cuts across all industries and disciplines. If you remember all the other interviews that have happened in the past you will notice they are hardly regular, and tend to happen when there is a news article that is bound to capture the interest of the masses albeit temporarily. What do I mean?  I mean all other interviews we have watched before are in the very least, opportunistic. It’s cashing on in the excitement of the masses which is as good as selling vuvuzelas since everybody wants one, which is once in so many years. It’s like a sales promo, a buy-one-get-one offer. Jeff’s bench is not a seasonal offer; he has made it a product and made you love it. No one else has been able to do this. It’s new and its fresh and you will love it no matter who you are.

Unique: it is on a bench!!! How unique is that? You can always easily remember it and the lush green background just appeals to the part of you that loves sunshine and nature and sunny dresses…what?  You don’t like sunny dresses? Really? What are you? A robot? Sunny dresses are…i digress. The guests we see on the bench are not politicians or political analysts or people that have traded in their personalities to a profession. They are real people who have become great for who they are. People not objects.

It is a first: It is only on Jeff’s bench that you will meet Rose Nasimiyu and Reverend Njoya and love them, it does not discriminate and you never thought you would want to know more about Maina Kageni or Sauti sol or Aly Khan Satchu or Bob Collymore…wrong! A part of you has always wanted to meet all of them but never thought it possible, Jeff came through for you and you got to learn more about them. Think about your favourite interview and place it in a studio…not so appealing now is it? Maybe the interviewee would be a little up tight and not as open due to all the big cameras, lights and the small room (yes most studios are tiny) and they would not be open. On a bench, out in the open, at the Norfolk everybody will feel calm and open up and you get to see them in a light you have always wanted. Human.

Other lessons on marketing we can learn from Jeff’s bench

simple: because and I cannot emphasize this enough….a bench is so simple! The interviews are not dragged out, they get straight to the point, the guests for once get to be easy and relaxed, Jeff finds a way to make you laugh,(what’s simpler than laughter on a bench?) and they are mostly on a first name basis. It is just two people talking on a bench! Be honest, how many times have you caught yourself  smiling when they smile and feeling sad when the situation call for it? and let’s not forget, the catch phrase ALL KENYAN AAAAALL THE TIME and he has made every guest say that. lol…and now you can’t get it out of your head, and you always say it with them!!

consistent, we all know the time the show airs! You know where! Which is the thing with marketing, if you have a great product but people don’t know the where and when to get it, it is as useless as the unqualified intern you hired because your mother-in-law asked you to.

content: In the information age, CONTENT IS KING. This means it does not matter what kind of packaging you give it, if the content sucks you will only enjoy the first day of business where everyone buys out of curiosity. You cannot compromise on the quality of content. We have met the great and mighty on Jeff’s bench we have been informed by Jeff’s bench, we know more because of Jeff’s bench you love Kenya a little more because of Jeff’s bench.

There are many more marketing lessons we can learn from Jeff and the Bench but now I need to proof read this and see if I can google some images and maybe a few links. Bottom line, Jeff and the Bench are a Marketing success story. Now to get me some cereal!


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