An Exploratory study on the adoption of innovations at the bottom of the pyramid : a focus on early adopters based on a case study on senator
Iwiya, Jaquiline Nyambura
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This exploratory study examined the characteristics of early adopters at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) market segment, their motivations and their use of information sources, especially media channels. The key themes that guided the research were consumer behaviour, the marketing concepts of market segmentation and diffusion of innovations, from which the conceptual framework was developed. The research was based on a case study of East African Breweries Ltd following the launch of its Senator brand in the BOP market. Secondary data was used to develop and establish the findings in this research. The results of this research suggest that early adopters at the BOP market segment are generally young, with higher income levels than their peers thus facilitating the early adoption of innovations. As they undertake employment activities, early adopters get exposed to Top of Pyramid (TOP) lifestyles which creates a disconnect between their working and living environment. An attempt to reduce the dissonance sees these early adopters adopting branded innovative products while seeking to emulate TOP lifestyles as seen in their preference for media channels that target middle to upper class consumers. In trying to bridge the gap between themselves and TOP consumers, their social status is enhanced and they stand out from their peers. This enhances further their role of opinion leadership as other consumers come to them for clarification or guidance on key issues. The implication of this research is that following from the development of a profile of early adopters at the BOP segment, marketers can now focus their activities on them to enhance the adoption of innovations. Additionally, marketers should consider using TOP media channels when advertising BOP products as opposed to assuming that all low-income consumers prefer regional/local media channels. Finally, marketers need to develop creative ways of stimulating BOP opinion leadership by use of campaigns that arouse curiosity of the audience thus generating product discussions. This in turn promotes word of mouth discussions and enhances product awareness.