Buyouts and consolidation of IT firms set to hurt Kenya's PR agencies

When a new IT firm sets up operations in Kenya, we all rejoice. It means jobs – both formal "Read more"

Mobile users urged to maximize use of applications to improve lives

Mobile phone users have been urged to maximize the use of their gadgets by employing various applications to manage "Read more"

It’s a battle for new IT accounts for Kenya’s PR firms

We are in the new-year again. Done are the newyear’s resolutions, Valentine’s done and dusted Now, with the year getting "Read more"

Huawei ranked third in global smartphone shipments in 2013

Huawei was ranked third in global smartphone shipments in 2013, according to the leading market research and analysts firms "Read more"

Nakumatt Smart points for school fees

Nakumatt Holdings, has drawn out a record, Kshs 30million, worth of school fees cheques as part of its popular "Read more"

Buyouts and consolidation of IT firms set to hurt Kenya’s PR agencies

yumobileWhen a new IT firm sets up operations in Kenya, we all rejoice. It means jobs – both formal and informal – as well as taxes to the government.

Apart from direct and indirect jobs created, the other industry that is always keen to see new IT firms get into the country is the PR industry. For if the new entrant is an established and ambitious firm with a vision to become a key player in the sector, sooner or later it hires a PR firm to take care of its media and overall communication issues so that it projects an excellent image as well as reputation to the public.

Let us begin by looking at the large telecoms. When Safaricom set up here in 1999, it did not take long before the firm contracted Gina Din Corporate Communications to handle its PR. Airtel Kenya has since setting operations here been handled by ZK Advertising and Scanad with Orange’s external communications and media relations being handled by Ogilvy as well as Gina Din. Essar Telecom’s yuMobile has been handled by BluePrint (an Ogilvy affiliate) and SilverBullet, part of the Young&Rubicam stable.

That is why the recent announcement that yuMobile is set to be sold piecemeal to Safaricom and Airtel Kenya has definitely left a sour taste in the mouths of those who are keen on PR industry issues. The sale means that yuMobile’s current PR agency – SilverBullet – will be an account less when the deal is finally concluded.

Going further back, I’m sure many still remember that Kenya Data Networks (KDN) was for long handled by Corporate Talk before Liquid Telecom came knocking. After the conclusion of the buyout, Corporate Talk lost the account.

Over a year since the rebranding, Liquid Telecom is yet to appoint a PR agency, with some not-very-pleasant rumours doing the rounds that the firm’s top management ( 2 senior male staff members) have decided to instead register a PR outfit then outsource (or single source, depends on how you look at it) the communications function to this new outfit. This will eventually mean loss of this account to the country’s PR industry.

The other local IT firm that has been bought and is yet to appoint a PR agency is Access Kenya whose acquisition by South Africa’s Dimension Data has finally been concluded. Access Kenya never had an external PR firm handling its communications matters while Dimension Data was for long handled locally by Africa Practise. That’s why now the deal has successfully gone through, you can be sure that many of the country’s major PR outfits will be keen to pitch for the Access Kenya business once the firm gives an indication that it needs such services.

Then there is the case of Microsoft and Nokia. From April this year, Microsoft is set to take over the Nokia brand. Now locally, Mirosoft is currently handled by Tell-Em PR while Nokia (devices) together with Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) are handled by H+K Strategies.

This takeover of the Nokia brand by Microsoft will definitely see the former’s account move from H+K to Tel-Em, with H+K only being left with NSN, the infrastructure side of the Finnish firm that was not sold to Microsoft. In a nutshell, SilverBullet and H+K are set to lose PR accounts due to acquisitions and consolidation. We are waiting to see how the Orange Kenya story turns out…

Posted on by Michael Ouma in Analysis & Features Leave a comment

Mobile users urged to maximize use of applications to improve lives

EyeBall's Marketing's Martin Muli, organiser of the Digital Fair.

EyeBall’s Marketing’s Martin Muli, organiser of the Digital Fair.

Mobile phone users have been urged to maximize the use of their gadgets by employing various applications to manage information and small and medium scale enterprises.

Mobile device manufacturer Tecno’s  head of marketing, Gloria Anampiu, says the 3G network services being rolled out by mobile service providers provide opportunity for users to employ more digital applications in their daily lives.

Anampiu said the 3G networks create opportunity  for feature phone users to move to the next segment of internet and smart phones.

Amanpiu who spoke during the Naiobi Digital Fair, where various companies and individual techies showcased latest ICT innovations, said Tecno will facilitate the growth of digital applications by providing the latest technology to mobile phone users at attractive prices.

“Tecno is well placed to be part of the growth process in the ICT sector by offering mobile gadgets loaded with advanced specifications,” she says.

She urged local mobile apps developers to work with device manufacturers so that their applications can be embedded on phones at the production stage.

“Kenya has a wealth of talent in the apps development sector and the fact that the apps are being designed to provide solutions for day to day challenges makes it easier for them to sell the idea of embedding the apps on the phone at the factory,” says Amanpiu.

The Organisers of the expo, whose theme was Powering the Digital Future said the event will become an annual event and extend to other countries within East Africa.

Speaking during the closing ceremony, the organizer Eyeball CEO Mr Matin Muli announced next year’s fair will focus on innovations.

Muli said although there has been a high growth in applications development in the country, their benefits are yet to penetrate the economy due to lack of awareness and limited access among Kenyans.

He said poor consumer culture and inappropriateness of some of the innovations are barriers to their adoption, especially among the poor.

“Digital technologies can only impact the lives of individuals in the society if they offer appropriate solutions to problems and are easily available for use at affordable prices,” said Muli.

Posted on by Michael Ouma in News Leave a comment

It’s a battle for new IT accounts for Kenya’s PR firms

PRJobsWe are in the new-year again. Done are the newyear’s resolutions, Valentine’s done and dusted

Now, with the year getting in motion after going through the “baby steps” of the first weeks of 2014, it’s finally business as usual with people and businesses getting on their feet struggling and strategizing on how to attract and win new clients from competitors.

And the cut-throat competition for clients and new business is being experienced in the country’s PR industry as well. Just as we had reported over a year ago about the battle for new ICT accounts by PR firms, the situation is no different this year.

In 2012, our focus was on Bertolli and Associates that had just lost the Microsoft account which it had served for many years and Gina Din Corporate Communications (now Gina Din Group) that had also lost Safaricom account after decade of service.

This year, we focus on two resurgent PR firms twos – one of which is again Gina Din and the other being Tell-Em PR.

The two firms had seemingly been dormant for some time in as far getting new IT accounts but are currently coming back to the limelight.

Let’s begin with Tell-Em. The firm for a long time never represented any IT account apart from Intel. But since winning the Microsoft account from Bertolli in 2012, it has experienced a change in fortunes.

The firm has managed to attract other IT accounts – including Oracle, SAP, ASUS, Mastercard and Ericsson (which was previously handled by Gina Din).

However, having Tell-Em act as the local PR agency for Ericsson has never been clear to many keen observers. This is because the Ericsson account was previously handled by Gin Din, an affiliate of South Africa-based Weber Shandwick which interestingly handles the Ericsson account in Africa.

Many feel that due to Gina Din Group’s local affiliate status with Weber Shandwick, it would have been automatic for the Ericsson account to be handled by Gina Din but this has not been the case.

However, after losing Ericsson, Gina Din has also managed to win various accounts, among these being ZTE, SEACOM and Tracom. In addition to these, Gina Din handles Orange, Zuku and Vodacom Tanzania.

Apex Porter-Novelli has managed to grab both Google (from Africa Parctice) and HP. Apex also handles Tecno on project basis.

At the moment, the only seemingly lucrative IT firms with no PR agency are Access Kenya (recently acquired by Dimension Data); Huawei which was previously handled by Silver Bullet  and Liquid Telecom (formerly KDN) and which was for long handled by Coporate Talk. But the Liquid Telecom story is more complicated and will be dealt with in a future post.

UPDATE: I’ve since doing this post been informed by Byrone Osir that in relation to IT, Hill+Knowlton Strategies in Kenya handles Mastercard, Nokia, Qualcomm, SONY and Epson and that H+K has handled these accounts for 2+ years

 

Kind regards,

 

Posted on by Michael Ouma in Analysis & Features Leave a comment

Huawei ranked third in global smartphone shipments in 2013

The Huawei Ascend GB600.

The Huawei Ascend GB600.

Huawei was ranked third in global smartphone shipments in 2013, according to the leading market research and analysts firms International Data Corporation (IDC), Strategy Analytics and Canalys. According to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Huawei retained its number three position worldwide in 2013, with the highest year-on-year increase among the leading vendors at 67.5 percent. Huawei captured 4.9 percent market share in 2013 with smartphone shipments of 48.8 million units, up from 4 percent in 2012.

In the report, global smartphone shipments increased by 38 percent in 2013, with over one billion smartphones sold in 2013. Huawei attained a year-on-year increase of 56.5 percent in Q4 2013 with smartphone shipments of 16.4 million units, up from 10.5 million units in Q4 2012. Huawei shipped 55.5 million mobile phone units in 2013, ranking number five with 3.0 percent global market share.

IDC commented, “Huawei maintained its number three position worldwide, attained the highest year-on-year increase among the leading vendors, and raised its brand profile with a higher proportion of self-branded units compared to the ODM work it had done for other companies.”

The ranking demonstrates the success of Huawei’s strategy to focus on flagship products to build its brand globally. According to Huawei, 52 million smartphone units were shipped in 2013, more than a 60 percent year-on-year increase from 2012 witha total sales revenue increase of 18 percent to US$9 billion for the year. To date, it has launched its products in over 140 markets via more than 600 channel vendors globally, resulting in its smartphone business reaching more than 80 percent of retail markets in China, Russia, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and South Africa.

In 2013, Huawei’s smartphones accounted for 87 percent of its phone product line in 2013, of which 12 percent were mid-to-high class phones priced over US$250, such as the flagship high-end smartphone HUAWEI Ascend P6, which is now on sale in over 100 countries and has surpassed three million unit shipments since it was launched on June 18, 2013.

In addition, Huawei launched a series of promotional campaigns worldwide to build its ‘Make it Possible’ brand which included sponsorship activities with leading football organizations, such as Liga de Fútbol Professional (LFP) in Spain, AC Milan in Italy and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

The third place global ranking reinforces Huawei’s commitment to become one of the leading mobile phone brands within the next five years by bringing quality, innovative and fashionable products within reach for more people.At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Huawei launched HUAWEI Ascend Mate2 4G and showcased its full range of 4G LTE devices. With a 6.1-inch IPS screen, 4050 mAh battery and 5-megapixel front-facing camera, HUAWEI Ascend Mate2 4G will ‘Make it Possible’ for more people to live a faster, more connected life.

Posted on by Michael Ouma in News Leave a comment

Nakumatt Smart points for school fees

Nakumatt Global cardNakumatt Holdings, has drawn out a record, Kshs 30million, worth of school fees cheques as part of its popular back to school smart points’ redemption scheme.

A report released by Nakumatt, today, indicates that, 2850 cheques were, drawn to various local schools countrywide during the 2014 First term school period.

According to Nakumatt Holdings, MD, Atul Shah, the number of cheques drawn this season represents a 45% growth from the average rate registered during the three school terms last year.

The unique redemption program is one of the numerous benefits extended to loyal Nakumatt Smart card and Nakumatt Global cardholders who can redeem their accumulated Smart points for school fees cheques drawn in favour of the shopper’s school of choice.

This season, Nakumatt Smart Card holders enjoyed a Kshs 2 per point redemption and an extra 10 per cent free top up donation by Nakumatt Holdings as part of the retailer’s commitment to boost academic development in Kenya.

While commenting on the redemption plan for school fees program, Shah explained that the program is open to all shoppers including those who may not necessarily have school going children. Such smart shoppers, he said, may choose to redeem their points in favour of a needy friend, their domestic workers, family and colleagues.

“The Nakumatt Smart Points for School fees redemption programme is an effective avenue to extend your gratitude to your neighbour, friend, domestic staff, or even colleague and goes a long way in relieving them of their school fees burden,” Shah noted, and added: “all Nakumatt Smart Card holders are encouraged to routinely redeem their accumulated points at every start of a school term as part of their value added benefits for shopping at Nakumatt.”

Nakumatt Smart Card and Nakumatt Global cardholders enjoy various benefits, which include discounts, earning extra points on purchase of products and higher redemption value for products during specific offer periods.

Nakumatt late last year embarked on a strategic process to upgrade the Nakumatt Smart Loyalty card as part of the retailer’s efforts to deepen customer loyalty. In partnership with Kenya Commercial Bank and Diamond Trust Bank Nakumatt Holdings Limited launched the Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard card, which is an EMV compliant multipurpose loyalty card. The new Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard provides a range of enhanced benefits and security features.

With the multicurrency Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard, cardholders accumulate their smart points for all purchases made across Nakumatt outlets.  Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard cardholders also earn smart points for purchases made with the card at any of the over 35.9 million acceptance points, including 2.1 million ATMs, where MasterCard is, accepted worldwide.

Posted on by Michael Ouma in CSR Leave a comment
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