Elections 2.0 – using technology to fight for mind share

Every five years, some form of madness descends into the country with every single bit of news and activity surrounding the practice of democracy that is the election process. In the past getting a seat was pegged solely on the amount of expendable cash one had to woo the electorate. A sheer showcase of might and ability was imperative in the battle for bunge.

Enter technological advancements – internet access and mobile devices and this approach is bound to see a radical change. Why? The battle for the mind has gone high tech and engagement with consumers, in this case the electorate as gone emotional and interactive.

On the internet front, the growth of social networks, micro blogging  and near real-time communication platforms has meant that the dissemination, sharing and critiquing of information happens at a fraction of the time than was traditional possible with print, tv and radio that have limited capacity and distribution.

On mobile, with over 20 million mobile subscribers in the country and a registered electorate count of  over 13 million, this will be a must use channel for the players wishing to connect with the electorate.

Through the internet one can quickly establish a presence on all major social networks as well as have their own website though which they can push their vision, mission and agenda. There are a myriad of tools that one can use to grow an opt – in database that captures information that can be used in the future to connect with ones target group. Email newsletters, tweets, wall posts, online adverts , blog posts…you name it will all start taking center stage soon.

Mobile offers the best opportunities yet, if executed correctly. From the sheer numbers that it can reach viz a viz online platforms,  a mobile strategy should be at the core of any campaign. The channels available on mobile are voice, sms and mobile data. Various iterations of services can be built on all three; from intelligence gathering, reporting to personalized communication.

Mobile however also has the most stringent modus operandi with stakeholders in the ecosystem not willing to see consumers suffer undue distress from unsolicited engagements. The Communications Commission of Kenya, the industry regulator only last year clamped down on mobile operators who were flooding subscribers with all manner of marketing messages. The recently formed Mobile Marketing Association also plays an integral role in consumer protection and will be quick to inform and educate mobile consumers. You can also be sure that no mobile operator will risk repercussions from the regulator for breeching consumer engagement agreements.

Interesting times lie ahead, let the games begin.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.
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2 Comments

  1. Marvin Tumbo

    Do you see mobile apps having a role to play in elections given the slow uptake of these apps or will politics be the thing that will make downloads of mobile apps scale because let’s face it, nothing draws the numbers like politics in this country.

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