"I obviously love the Orange Botswana brand. So the fear is not the unknown of the brand Orange but rather I have had the same number since 1999 with another network."
"I obviously love the Orange Botswana brand. So the fear is not the unknown of the brand Orange but rather I have had the same number since 1999 with another network."
Binns On Brands

To Orange or Not to Orange? That is the Question

“What is in a number? That if it were different from the one I’m using now would I not answer when it rang-ith?”

By Kabelo Binns

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In my older years, I believe I have started to mutate into a bit of a philosopher. I tend to look for deeper meanings into all the decisions I make. I ponder the meaning of life every time I put an extra teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, for instance. I have started to catch myself thinking about what life would be like if we were all given the same start in life, if we had no wars, and what life would be like if there were no “fongkongs” in Botswana…

Whenever I have a big decision to make, I seek the meaning in it; the impact it may have on the rest of my life. One such is the upcoming change I will be making to my cell phone number.

For context, let me share a little history. Orange Botswana appointed one of the organisations I founded as their Marketing and Communications Agency. To say I was very honoured would be an understatement! I was elated, privileged, proud and looking back at the work we had done with them over the years, I am over the moon too! When I started out in the agency game (over 2 decades ago), a dream of ours was to have Orange Botswana as one of our clients. They were called Vista at the time and they were simply cooler than anyone else. I used to say to my staff “the day when we can confidently service the likes of Orange, then we have arrived!” This was the epitome of the best accounts in Botswana. They were then and they still are today.

So, when they came up for tender, we went all in. We had to have it; I poured out 20 years of my local experience over a 2 hour presentation. I spoke with tears in my eyes for effect; I was prepared to crawl over burning coals if I had to. If they had asked me to run naked down the Main Mall screaming “I love Orange!” I would have done it… I had to get them as a client. There was nothing I would not have done (legally of course!) to get them.

Now, those of you who know me will also know that I do not use an Orange number (yet)… Yes, I was prepared to run naked down the Main Mall but changing my number was a step too far. How does this make sense? What would the philosophers say about this?

As the famous literature maestro once lamented, “What's in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.”… then I have to ask, “What is in a number? That if it were different from the one I’m using now would I not answer when it rang-ith?”

Cellphone
Cellphonepixabay

It is incredible how much we are afraid of change we are as humans. If we change the label on your favourite beer, you will see many wonder if it will taste different. There are studies that show that people assume that a red car is faster than a sensible white car, even if the cars are identical models. Clearly, this has to do with the fact that we have seen more movies showing fast red cars and few with a bland white ones winning the race. It is what has been conditioned into us.

Deciding whether to change one’s number is simply the fear of change. I obviously love the Orange Botswana brand. So the fear is not the unknown of the brand Orange but rather I have had the same number since 1999 with another network. I have been loyal to this number, not having the dreaded ‘three-cellphones’ as I so often see in the hands of well-to-do folks. I have over 3,000 contacts on my phone and I assume a similar number of people have my number. I fear that people will not be able to reach me if I change numbers… I suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out); what if I might miss that next big deal when they cannot reach me? Or what if an old contact needs to reach me? How will I know what’s happening first if my people can’t reach me?! As I write this, I can feel the panic swelling up; the anxiety is real.

I can confidentially state that I believe Orange Botswana offers a very competitive product on all fronts: price, products, services, coverage, service and access. They are in a competitive space so you would expect nothing less; they are a global brand too, so you know they are not here for games! They mean business; they will deliver to Batswana what Matters to them Most!

To prove that they understand that change is hard for me, they asked me to ask myself what I want from a cellphone operator? As in, what is the most important thing to me? I said I want a cost-effective method of communicating both via data and calls. They then pointed out the obvious. I did not say I want to keep my number as the number one reason. Funny that, right? So, it appears that, subconsciously, I know that it is not important. This revelation had me reading up on the offers they have. Suddenly, I am now aware that I can talk 24/7 for free on Orange. I mean, what can beat free?!

So, what is the lesson here? Well, to start off, I believe that not enough people realise how difficult it is to get consumers to change from what they are familiar with. I am talking here not just from brand to brand but even within brands consumers can get set in their ways. And no matter how good the new product is, they simply are not brave enough, or ready enough, to make the leap to something new. If you drive a Hilux double cab, I will struggle to convince you to change to a Ford Ranger. I may even struggle to get you to change from a Petrol Hilux to a Diesel Hilux.

When brands are on the hunt for competitors’ clients, they need to work twice as hard to convert clients. Recognising that the fear of change is probably the largest deterrent, one must spend greatest focus on demonstrating benefits and the consistency of the benefits. Further one must demonstrate the ease of change. So, in my instance with technology like WhatsApp, I remain connected to all my contacts; with TrueCaller I can identify numbers I do not know, and with synchronising tools I can very easily move all my contacts across to a new number. I have no excuse but to change if the offer is better. Which I believe it is! So, I DID IT!

I have overcome my fear, and have made this change to a brand-new Orange Botswana number. I am happier than I have been in a very long time with a provider. Like with most change, one wonders why they did not make the changer sooner.

The Hotwire XChange
www.xchange.co.bw