Game of musical chairs as Kenya’s PR firms sign up new ICT accounts

The competition by the country’s public relations and communications firms to attract new clients has been intense since the beginning of the year, a situation that has seen major accounts change from one firm to the next.

The Microsoft PR account, which has since the opening of the regional office here in the late 1990’s been handled by Bertolli & Associates, has finally moved to Tell-Em PR, after more than a decade at Bertolli. Tell-Em also handles computer chip maker, Intel.

After parting ways with Safaricom this year, after another more than a decade-long relationship which began in 2000, Gina Din Corporate Communications (GDCC) has gained new telecoms clients in the names of Telkom Kenya-Orange (previously handled by Ogilvy PR) and Vodacom Tanzania.

And it gets interesting in that after losing Telkom Orange to GDCC, Ogivy PR – a Scanad Group affiliate – has taken over the Safaricom account.

BluePrint PR, another Scanad subsidiary, has just attracted the Essar Telecoms Kenya (ETK) yuMobile account from Silver Bullet, part of the Young & Rubicam group.

But BluePrint has also not escaped unscathed in the current drive by rivals to attract new clients as its former client, Samsung, has been snapped by MediaEdge. Prior to losing Samsung, BluePrint also lost Nokia to Hill & Knowlton Strategies (H&K), another Scanad subsidiary, in what was seen as many in the industry as a classical case of internal or in-house competition for clients among the Scanad affiliates.

Due to the intense and bare-knuckle competition among the PR firms, the public is keenly watching to see which firm will sign up which unattached account or snatch a client from a rival.

And it’s not just PR firms that are changing clients and signing up new ones. The staff within the telecoms and IT firms are also frequently moving in and out of companies and changing employers in such of new employment opportunities and better terms of service.

Notable among those who have recently changed employers are Antony Hutia, formerly the chief commercial officer at ERP developer Alliance Technologies who has now joined Samsung. Mr Hutia previously worked for LG before he joined Alliance Technologies. The other is Albert Kigada, formerly the regional sales and marketing manger for Mustek East Africa who are the manufacturers of Mecer PCs. Albert recently joined Samsung to drive its printing solutions division.


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