Uganda has the world’s youngest population.

Brands are waking up to the idea that if they can create loyalty amongst this large section of society, they will reap the rewards for years to come.

But how?

Well a lot of them are going to Belguin, who started Young & Free International, an organisation that helps brands engage with the youth of Uganda.

Belguin gives an excellent overview of his journey so far, what campaigns he has seen work best, and what he learned from hosting a cultural exchange with students from Somalia…

Here are the key quotes:

“We are a youth engagement company”

We link exciting brands with young people in Uganda.

“The youth of Uganda needed a lot of things…”

Talent, academics and business. And we get brands to help sponsor these activities through engaging them in marketing activities.

“We’re sort of a marketing agency”

However we don’t do the field work, instead we do the brain work

“For the university we organised events”

In order to unify the cultures of people from China, Somalia, Nigeria we created the Annual Dinner to showcase different cultures.

“I found the Somali culture most interesting”

It’s very communal. Everything they do, they do it as a group: eating, even talking. I learned that you are stronger if you do something as a group.

“Our most recent event was a pool party”

Youth from around the country come and party with their celebrity idols by the poolside.

“It raises funds to support the youth”

Such as the studio we are recording this episode from. The next events will be going towards building a hostel for homeless youth.

“The music studio is called M-Rod”

It means Moses’ Rod, which was used to separate the sea. This will be the pathfinder for the youth of Uganda.

“There’s brand recognition and brand appreciation”

Brands not only want to be recognised, but also appreciated. When the youth use things like the music studio for free, they will remember the brands there who helped to pay for it.

“Uganda has the youngest population”

The youth of today are the market of tomorrow. Brands want to engage with the youth.

“The main products are…”

Lots of products. Beverages, banking institutions, telcos.

“The youth of Uganda and Rwanda are very close”

At the weekend, all the Rwandans go to Uganda to go have fun. We’ll be expanding to Rwanda next due to the similarities.

“Be fun, the youth will be there”

This is how we’re attracting young people in the region. In Rwanda, clubs close at 10pm whereas Uganda goes til the morning. This is a competitive advantage for us.

“The best campaigns are persuasive, not just informative”

Understanding this, and being able to implement it, are why Young and Free is prospering. They push a person to act, not just get aware of the product.

“People aged 18-35 the interests are food and entertainment”

Most of our brands are related to these industries. Otherwise we use these means to engage other types of industries.

“We haven’t yet felt the pressure of competition”

For now at least we seem to be going well. We research our clients before approaching them. We show them what they should want before they have thought of it.

“Preparing for one meeting takes three weeks”

We do lots of research to understand their needs and ensure we go into knowing as much as possible.

“Customer goals are to penetrate the market”

They come to Young and Free International to understand how to achieve this goal.

“Brands also want sales”

We work with the sales teams of the brands we have to reach their annual sales through the events we hold.

“Our biggest challenge is…”

That brands don’t want to expose that we are the people responsible for their successful marketing efforts. This hinders with building our reputation.

“We will understand youth better than anyone else”

What we do best is study youth behaviour. Understand their pains, pleasures and be able to direct other brands towards them.


Links etc.

Pyramid Italia

Kampala International University

Club beer

Social Media Follows

Twitter: YoungNFreeIntl and Belguin Prosper

Facebook: Young and Free International

Website: www.youngandfreeinternational.webs.com