OPPO has made huge strides in the Kenyan market in the last few years. More and more people are appreciating this phone brand. I wanted to know more about the plans that OPPO has and why people are falling in love with this brand. I got to interview Muthoni Wachira, the head of Corporate Communications and Projects at OPPO Kenya.
Tell us about yourself and what you do at OPPO?
My name is Muthoni Wachira; my background is in Public Relations as well as graphics and animation. I have been practicing PR for 9 years in both corporate as well as government organizations. I am a lover of life and I love anything that has good energy and positive conversations.
How long has OPPO been in the Kenyan market and what are the major milestones in that time.
OPPO has been in the Kenyan market for almost 6 years now, and over that time, we have achieved a number of milestones as a brand and key among these being the fact that Kenyans are now able to associate with the brand. It is through the support from our customers in the interest and purchase of our devices and accessories that we have managed to spread out into other regions within the country.
How has your (OPPOs) experience been so far dealing with the African market?
Like every other smartphone brand setting up in this market, we have faced our equal share of challenges. Nonetheless, we have not only managed to have a good operational unit but have also been able to have the brand interact with Kenyans in their own settings. Our key focus is to ensure that we blend into the different cultures so as we can be able to grow as well as empower our employees.
What are some of the trends in the mobile market in Africa last year and early this year and how does OPPO Mobile intend to use these trends to capture its audience?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the latest technologies that we are really focused on. Most customer interactions such as emails, online chat, social media conversations and telephone calls, currently require human involvement, hence at our research and development centre through AI, we are able to automate these communications. By analyzing data collected from previous communications it is possible to program timely as well as accurate response to customers and deal with their enquiries. What’s more, when AI is combined with machine learning, the more the AI platforms interact, the better they become.
Your company has the reputation of releasing newer and better versions of smartphone devices. Do you think the pace you are taking with the releases is adequate enough for people to take in your gadgets?
Change is the only constant thing in the technology field, and innovations keep on getting better by the day. Our aim is to offer our consumers the latest and best technology that is available in the market, and hence the huge investment made towards research & development. With this in mind, we are also cognisant of the fact that today’s tech customers are savvy and up to date with the developments in that space. We are therefore ready to provide them with the latest technologies through the various products we introduce in the market. You will also agree with me that customers have varying tastes and preferences; therefore, the different models we release will always have an interest from a particular demographic.
Kenyans already have high regard for your products. Could we be expecting a higher roll out of OPPO to other parts of the continent?
We are so far grateful for the acceptance in this market over the years and as earlier stated we are looking at immersing ourselves more into the market. As far as the African market is concerned, we are already on the road to expansion. We are already in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Nigeria, and looking at expanding further to the south. As our name depicts, OPPO, we are all about seizing the opportunities that are within our reach and maximizing on the resources we have.
This year you have launched a couple of OPPO devices what had been the response from your customers?
This year has had its challenges and we have not been any exception. However, it’s notable to say that the reduction in smartphone purchase hasn’t been highly affected and that is because the world has moved into the digital space, hence everyone wants to own a device that is trendy and equipped with the right technology. Through the pandemic, we have seen an interest in customers looking at features such as a quality camera for content generation, a powerful processor for activities such as gaming, and all this at the right price point. The response from especially the OPPO Reno4, the OPPO Watch – our very first smartwatch in the market, and the Enco W31 wireless earphones has been amazing, and we continue thanking our customers for their continued support.
What makes OPPO stand out from its competitors?
A good phone manufacturer is defined by history. Looking at OPPO’s milestones reveal a giant in the mobile phone sector that is determined to channel out the best of phones to their customers with each passing release. Take for instance our latest smartphone in the market, OPPO Reno4, which comes with a refreshing design and powerful settings in both hardware and software. The Reno4 aims to deliver advanced technology in everyday usage scenarios.
What are some of the major challenges and opportunities you have faced in this market?
Our greatest challenge has been the Chinese perception. With the OPPO brands, we have invested immensely in products that meet the highest quality tests in Europe and our consumers should rest easy knowing that the quality of our products is not compromised. At OPPO Kenya, we are also keen on empowering Kenyans within the organization by availing opportunities for career growth and also an entrepreneurial path by becoming one of our dealers. We are also delighted to have played our role in investing into the entertainment industry through our long-term partnerships with our O-Stars – who are our brand ambassadors, Avril, Pascal Tokodi, Moji Shortbaba, Laura Karwira to name but just a few.
Do you plan to expand in smaller towns and rural areas, or do you just want to stick in bigger cities?
We are already in other towns within 254, namely Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Meru, Machakos, Kisii, Thika, Nyeri just but to name a few. In the coming years, we also hope to set up regional offices for easy access and familiarization with the locals in those places. In fact, we have just concluded a tour with our O-Stars Avril and Pascal Tokodi in some of these regions; Nakuru, Meru and Mombasa. We are planning for such engagements in the future as we make the brand and products accessible to more Kenyans across the country.
Are you doing anything for the community?
We have managed to participate in a few CSR activities in the past and we are looking at doing more of this in the coming future. Our core interest is to ensure that we make an impact in the local communities and see that the talents are utilized. We are keen to promote the sports and arts culture hence that is why we are working closely with the different influencers in the industry.
What can we expect from OPPO in the coming years?
A lot of lined up activities are lined up for us as a brand and our hope is to ensure that we deliver great customer experience to our consumers. From a brand perspective, we want to ensure that we are not only seen but our impact is felt and heard, hence brand visibility and strategy are our core and key focus as of now, and like always, OPPO is keen to continuously be a gamechanger in the smartphone industry and we can only request that our consumers can be sure that the future is bright.