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Monatefellaz: Musa Kalenga

At 25 Musa Kalenga is the oldest person in Monatefellaz, but for a youth consulting company that’s a good thing.

Juliet Pitman

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Musa Kulunga

“Tried understanding the youth lately? Let metell you, many companies find it extremely tough. Making a connection relies onunderstanding how young people operate – and we do that better than most,” hesays.

ANew Take On Research

He’s researching the youth market andtranslating the data into something that’s relevant and useful for bigbusiness. “There are a lot of companies conducting research into the youthmarket, but none of it is being translated in a way that enables business tosolve problems,” he says. This is where Monatefellaz comes in. The company has a string of youthmarketing and research wins under its belt for big-name brands. “We usequalitative and experiential research tactics; quantitative data doesn’t giveyou insight into the hearts and minds of the youth,” says Kalenga.

EffectiveTactics

One tactic is to employ foot soldiers.These are young people who are recruited to collect information by talking toand interacting with other young people. Kalenga explains, “If we’re doingresearch into fashion, we brief our recruits to take photos of the shoes peopleare wearing at a party on Saturday night.”

CrackingThe Code

Kalenga knows that the million dollarquestion companies always want answered is, “What’s the key to getting into theyouth market (47% of Africa’s population)? One of the biggest challenges isthat the youth market is almost unbelievably dynamic. They change faster thanany other consumer, and companies still don’t manage to respond fast enough. A lag time of one to two years issimply too long,” he says. The solution, he believes, lies in employing a teamwith the sole purpose of tracking what’s happening in the youth space. But tell a marketing executive toemploy people simply to sit on Facebook all day and interact with“screenagers”, and you’ll probably be told where to get off.  As Kalenga points out though, these are thenetworks where brands can pick up on threads and themes that statistics andnumbers can never hope to uncover. Not to mention that the referencing capacitywithin a young social networking group is far more valuable than anything anadvert can ever generate. “Brands keep asking why young peoplearen’t getting the message, but that question shows that they’re missing theboat. Young people aren’t into getting the message; they’re into creating themessage. The brands that understand this are the ones successfully interactingwith the youth market. We can help other brands get there too.”

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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