Business, more specifically marketing communication, have borrowed heavily from the military. Terms such as “guerrilla”, “tactics”, “strategy”, “objective”, “key result areas”, “mission”, “campaigns” are a firm realisation that brands are at war for the main price — ‘Share of mind’ and ‘Share of pocket’ of consumers.
World War II provided military schools with many case studies, which can be extrapolated and used to guide businesses on how to be proactive and reactive to pandemic challenges.
The eight-day “Operation Dynamo” saw the seemingly impossible feat of evacuating large numbers of allied troops from the beaches and harbours of Dunkirk, northern France. The troops were lambs for slaughter as Hitler’s order rested on the Luftwaffe under the command of General Gerd von Rundstedt.
In what Sir Winston Churchill would call the “Miracle of Dunkirk”, the rescue justified the quote, “A small boat that sails the river is better than a large ship that sinks in the sea.”
The superiority of the British navy rested on its super ships, hopeless in manoeuvrability across the Channel against the Rudeltactic (“Tactic of the packs”) where the Germans had hundreds of torpedo-armed U-boats.
The ‘miracle’ is now a strategy game changer for renewable energy marketing. From only about 8,000 allied soldiers on day one, 338,226 were rescued by a hastily assembled fleet of over 800 mostly civilian boats.
The ‘wolf pack’ strategy had found its match in the counter-strategy of going small and nimble. The flotilla of hundreds of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, yachts and lifeboats called into service saved the day.
Nimble and flexible
That is why the KenGen communications officer Frank Ochieng’s article, “Switch to solar campaign is dead on arrival, not now, not ever” (Business Daily, November 25, 2020) cannot go unchallenged. The utility power generator is like a large ship in a ‘channel’ filled with nimble and flexible solar start-ups.
Mr Ochieng asserted: “If you spend Sh700,000, assuming you were paying Sh3,000 per month to the national utility, it will take up to 20 years to recover this money, assuming there are no maintenance costs.”
But a Sh700,000 solar system is institution-grade solar and ranges from 3.5-4 kWh. If you pay a Sh3,000 power bill, chances are high that you are using Sh100 per day at the tariff rate of Sh23 per kWh that affords you 4kWh daily.
Look at the return on investment (ROI). A 1 kWh system for a lifetime of 25 years will cost you Sh2 per kWh; compare that to the ever-rising utility provider tariff at the range of Sh20-23, depending on the tariff band. Be the judge of value for money. Besides, the cost of diesel rose to an all-time high in the latest Epra review — yet utility power, especially that produced by diesel-generating independent power producers (IPP), is a derivative of diesel.
So, will the 2019 Energy Act-established Rerac, mandated to ensure universal energy access by 2022, go the ‘big ship’ way of a monopoly or co-opt renewable energy outfits as partners? Maybe the Churchillian ‘Miracle of Durnkik’ can be achieved.
Ms Hassan is the partnership manager at SolarNow Kenya. email@example.com.