See the World Through My Eyes

Of Power, Light and Kenya

Hey, are you like me? Do you experience a power blackout every once in a while? Do your lights flicker every now and then? I bet you have had a casualty at one time due to these power fluctuations that have become sort of a normal thing these days. I’m taking about electrical appliances.Unfortunately, it’s one of the things we have to live with as a third world country. I hope you don’t expect this problems to end soon, I guess you have an idea of how long a minute it will take. There are so many reasons why this ‘thing’ is here to stay; at least for a generation or two. Some will say it is corruption, others will claim negligence while others just choose to accept that our energy companies are just hopeless. Life has to go on nonetheless.

So today, I was reading the paper as I got my shoes polished when I spotted an ad. Interesting. No. Embarrassing. KPLC have rebranded! How comes no one told me? Well here is my take on what I think of this rebranding. I’m not a public figure but I am confident that my opinions will reach the right ears. I am a shareholder so in reality, I own a piece of this utility. My little share gives me all the rights to comment on how this re-branding will affect my power supply and most important of all, the chances of our people in rural areas ever getting connected to electricity. If you happen to know someone who knows the culprits responsible just pass my love will you?

I am a designer by profession and in my opinion, the re-branding of KPLC is an epic fail. Why? Have you seen the World Food Program logo? Google it. Why the hell does our most significant utility have to ride in an identity that denotes a food relief aid agency? I’m not saying this in bad taste but I think they would have done it better. The logo does not carry any symbolism and worst of all, it DOES NOT communicate. What happened to the days where communication was simple? When did illusionism become part of the corporate communication process? I believe strongly that if your mission is to sell a red dress and make profit, you have no business in  splashing your billboards with images of a different item hoping your customers will ‘get it’. Get me?

I have heard complaints from the people at the bottom of the pyramid. People who have absolutely no knowledge in advertising and corporate communication strategy. They say that the new look is scary.  I agree. I urge KPLC to ran a poll to dispute my claims and shame me publicly if I am wrong. In fact one of my shareholder friends is fearful that the company is being privatized or sold off. I have also learnt sadly that this rebranding is supposed to be in line with vision 2030. To quote KPLC’s press statement:

The Kenya Power & Lighting Company has adopted a new name and unveiled a fresh look in line with its strategic plan and Vision 2030.”

Now Vision 2030 is a very tricky subject. I am starting to think that some of us understood it differently especially KPLC. I expected them to begin by first streamlining their operations. Have the flaws in electricity delivery gone away or at least gone down? I beg to differ. I have even been monitoring my prepaid digital meter and it’s a sad affair. I pay more for electricity than I used to with the old system. I was about to celebrate that by going digital, my electricity  bills would go down and my share price would go up but no! The share remains dangling at plus and minus 3 while the greedy gadget keeps draining my pocket like an ungrateful brat. I don’t mind paying more if it means someone in Turkana will get connected at my expense but to put my money in a bad re-branding? You need to refund me.

Over the next few weeks, the public will struggle to comprehend what KPLC is turning into and this will have an effect on the share price. Seeing that the milk is already spilled, my suggestion is for the company to step up it’s public education on the re-branding; this I will allow my money to do. The success of any company is also determined by public goodwill. In addition, let’s focus on the important things first. I’m talking about, streamlining our communication and public relation. (I have to commend your presence on Twitter by the way. The person behind it should get a raise.) In addition, let’s try figure out a way of making the rural electrification program as affordable as possible if not free because the potential for business in this category is huge. I also pray that like the rest of the world, we will unveil a green energy generating solution that will ensure we achieve vision 2030.  KPLC is a company of the future and we should treat it delicately if we want to achieve the goals of Vision 2030. As for the agency behind the re-branding….HOW COULD YOU??!!!!

3 responses

  1. ahenda

    lol! so true! i saw the AD in the paper and i was a tad bit confused-i liked the lightning bolt guy, i wonder what happened to him!

    well said.


    June 23, 2011 at 12:51 PM

  2. Anonymous

    Just read this post and I love it.i know jack about advertising but i can definitely tell when something is lame and the KPLC move is lame BUT i have to disagree when it comes to the pre-paid meter. Either my area code is getting favors or I’m plain blind but my electricity bill is Ksh 400-500 lower than before. At first I felt it was significantly higher because i used to top up every week but upon doing the monthly calculations my bill is way lower than before and better manageable. To me they’ve done something right. Their customer service kinda sucks though then again it called life in the third world.


    July 19, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    • Thank you! I thought so too (prepaid meter) but after a while i noticed the fue levy and standard charges didn’t go away. Third world country we are!


      July 19, 2011 at 4:50 PM

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