Soaring prices of goods require innovation from African marketers

By our News Team | 2023

Innovative leaders must completely redraw their pipeline, launch inflation-resilient innovations, or remodel to reduce pricing vulnerability.

As African consumers devise new ways to keep pace with the soaring cost of goods due to inflation, brands are facing disruption to their innovation pipelines as they firefight emerging priorities like stock shortages and rapidly shifting consumer priorities.

In a recent blog post, Ipsos in Kenya Managing Director, Chris Githaiga, notes that innovation leaders face choices to completely redraw their pipeline, launch inflation-resilient innovations, or remodel to reduce pricing vulnerability.

Marketing Innovation

Chris Githaiga, Managing Director at Ipsos in Kenya. Photo credit: Ipsos

Even when price increases are inevitable, whether to directly raise prices, downsize or use other indirect methods still present marketers with tough choices to make. 

Innovating during inflationary times is tough, but successful leaders have followed a disciplined approach empowered by strong research tools to navigate through the challenging times,” Githaiga says.

“Successful marketers start by understanding the pricing landscape and decoding the driving forces that determine the magnitude of impact their category and segment will face. They map out cross-elasticity across existing offers in their space to find the best competitive position to innovate in.”

Marketers must bring differentiation to the space

According to Githaiga, to build an inflation-resilient innovation portfolio, marketers must bring differentiation to the space to reduce ‘substitutability’. Overlaying claims beyond the category’s core cost-of-entry has proved effective overall, but the key is choosing the right claims that offer superior ‘permissibility to pay’ and choosing brands with the right equity to carry those claims.

Marketers must also constantly adapt their pipeline based on changing consumer behaviour and attitudes, while balancing value and premium innovations to protect profitability.

When a price increase is inevitable, whether to increase price directly, or indirectly using discreet approaches like downsizing and cost reduction, is a delicate choice. To be successful marketers must balance short-term gain and long-term risks.

“At Ipsos in Kenya, we evaluate thousands of innovations propositions each year and the relationship between concept performance and pricing resilience are often examined,” Githaiga states.

He adds that one performance which continuously stands out as showing high correlation with price resilience is differentiation. Innovations that offer distinctive benefits reduce substitutability and consistently outperform competitors when it comes to withstanding price increases.

“During inflationary times, as consumers diligently seek value for money, overlaying claims beyond basic efficacy claims often provide the justification [that] consumers need to pay a little more than the absolute minimum to get the job done.”

You can read the full blog post here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.