Kekeads leverages CSR for growth

GLOBALLY, the current most popular business mantra is: ‘Doing well is good business’ or to parody a popular street lingo: ‘Givers never lack.’ This act of giving or philanthropy by brand owners or corporate bodies is known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Companies and entrepreneurs today leverage CSR to help solve most of the biggest problems in their immediate environment and beyond.

Exactly like most companies now, KEKEADS, Nigeria’s pioneer social impact advertising platform has in nearly a decade now been living true to the writ and spirit of CSR through its activities to build its brand and empower the people.

Since it began operations in 2009, the KEKEADS platform owned by Smate & Smate International Limited has been engaged in diverse social causes that have changed lives and impacted on the society. Perhaps, one of its most memorable CSR projects was the ‘Creative CSR: Transit Communications for Good Causes’ which was staged in 2012. Billed to be annual creative art and graphics competition, the project helped to showcase the creative works of graphic artists in Nigeria and also revealed the cre-ative energy, vibrant colours and the attraction of the KEKEADS Display System in communicating various social causes by displaying creative works from creative advertising practitioners on the Keke vehicles.

Endorsed by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), KEKEADS working in tandem with a number of other creative agencies in the marketing communication industry was huge success. Giving reasons for embarking on the initiative way back then the managing director of Smate & Smate International, Esona Onuoha said: “It is about time the public were made aware of the many social problems and issues affecting the country. The competition will be the catalyst required to encourage a legion of creative professionals in the industry to showcase their skills and their belief in the power of the synergy the keke motor tricycle has with commuters in addressing these issues. We are expecting the pub-lic to support this competition by voting for the favourite campaigns online, which is free and come out to show our talented, upcoming graphic artists that we support their development.”

Also, shortly after this competition KEKEADS as parts of its CSR programme launched a road safety campaign in Abuja and the FCT. Working in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and utilizing the Keke advertising display system, a call centre telephone numbers for the Lifeline Care Association, which provide ambulance services and rescue missions in the FCT for emergency purposes. The numbers were promoted through the back panels of the tricycles all over FCT. The objective of the initiative was to promote safety on the roads, use of seat belts, and discouraging drink driving in order to save the lives of road users.

Other socially impacting initiatives recently launched by KEKEADS include the ‘Free Advertising Platform for Made in Aba Products’, ‘The KekeAds Find Us Noticeboard Advertising product for SMEs’ and the ‘KekeAds collaborative campaign with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria’. Besides, only recently, KekeAds took its empowerment initiative to a higher when it collaborated with the Abia State Government to empower Keke tricycle owners and opera-tors. Speaking on the collaboration, Onouha, founder of KekeAds said: “KekeAds is not just a strategic choice for effective public enlightenment and communication in the state,it has also become a tool for social transformation, reformation and empowerment. Our platform is also expected to be an invaluable source of financial empowerment; as the daily revenue per vehicle can further be optimized by allowing the tricycles to be used as an alternative media outlet for commuting, urban, and captive audience.” Adding that, “The initiative will further demonstrate the willingness of the government of Abia to allow those low income earners the opportunity to earn additional income alongside the social enlightenment service they will be enjoying. The increase in commercial activities and extended opening hours would be the initial advantages and will be followed by the potential increase that will be felt by the operators when the average vehicle would be able to run two shifts and return in excess of 25% more revenue.”

Taking its corporate social responsibility agenda to a higher pedestal, KEKEADS is set to launch an empowerment programme for the vulnerable in the country in October. The campaign, tagged KEKEADS 4 change is an empowerment and sensitization platform for the vulnerable people in Nigeria using social impact advertising. According to Onuoha, the latest initiative was prompted “ by the wide range of social problems faced by Nigerians including poverty, crime, domestic violence, internally displaced people, human right abuses, security challenges of all shades and hues, drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, drunk driving to safety on our roads.” Onuoha stated that given the prevailing challenging times in the country it is only a social impact outdoor advertising platform like KEKEADS that can convey the necessary information to help people get their lives back together and on track when emergencies strike.

“And this is because KEKEADS recognises the social issues in Nigeria and offers an innovative social advertising strategy to build awareness of the social problems and to motivate people to undertake socially desirable actions through the use of the transit media platform. “Giving further insight on the initiative, Smate and Smate operations manager Lois Peters said that Kekeads 4 change as a social impact concept adds value on all sights of businesses. “For brands it is an impact advertising medium with a robust interface for activating direct sales and promos. And for the tricycle (keke) operators it has become a valued source of additional income generator that is stress free,” Peter said.

Founded in 2009 and patented in Nigeria by Smate and Smate International, the Kekeads platform has so far empowered over 20,000 keke operators whose vehicles are used for both ubiquitous mobile advertising media and as a veritable medium of public enlightenment. To further drive the campaign to greater success, Onuoha called on business owners across the country and government agencies to partner with Kekeads to give life back to vulnerable in the country by sponsoring some of its CSR projects.

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