Meet the customer

Allen BurchAllen Burch is a frequent flyer with KQ. msafiri asked him about his business and his experiences of flying with the airline

Tell us about your job/business. 
I’m Africa’s Managing Director for Nielsen, which is a leading global performance management company specialising in understanding what consumers purchase in retail outlets or online, as well as what they’re watching on big and small screens. Nielsen has an extensive presence in Africa, with offices across the continent and headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

The reason we’re so focused on Africa as a company is that it’s a large untapped market for our clients who have a keen interest in its vast potential given its population of one billion, which puts it in a similar league to markets such as India and China. It’s also a young, vibrant, exciting continent that’s home to many of the fastest-growing economies in the world and a sizeable and growing middle class. This presents a tremendous amount of potential for our multinational clients such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Unilever and Procter & Gamble, as well as regional powerhouses like Tiger Brands and PZ Cussons. We work to develop their businesses and marketing plans by tapping into the unique consumer insights that we provide.

Where do you regularly fly to with KQ? 
Perhaps the question should be where don’t I fly to on Kenya Airways! I worked out that I’ve flown 285,000 miles this year alone, so by any standard I’m a frequent flyer.

During my travels on KQ, I fly to most of the African hub cities, including: Johannesburg, Lagos, Nairobi, Accra and Addis Ababa, as well as others across the US and Europe. I frequently fly into Amsterdam and recently enjoyed an incredible trip to Paris. I’m looking forward to travelling to Rwanda to participate in the World Economic Forum in May.

What do you like about Kenya Airways?
One of the things I most enjoy is the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft that is composed of ultra-light, composite materials that makes it feel as if it’s literally ‘leaping off the runway’ at take-off. It also has the largest windows of any commercial plane, which means the views are spectacular and thanks to a special coating they have a ‘self-dimming’ capability.

Kenya Airways also has a new business lounge in Nairobi that I regularly frequent for a few hours before my flight. It’s a great place to work and catch up, while enjoying a beverage or meal. Last but not least, Kenya Airways is known as ‘The Pride of Africa’ and deservedly so, given the pride its staff take with affording passengers the utmost in hospitality and comfort, something I can attest to.

What is the most exciting/rewarding aspect of your work?
The most innovative project that I recently worked on was using satellite imagery combined with GPS location and handheld mobile devices to map all 2.2 million retail locations in Nigeria. This created a ‘digital duplicate retail landscape’ of Africa’s largest retail market that will allow us to help clients in building a virtual route to market ensuring an optimal path to purchase.

About Nielsen
Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in more than 100 countries that cover more than 90 per cent of the world’s population. For more information visit