January transfer window: PR firms and new ICT accounts they’ve signed up

CThe EPL’s January 2016 transfer window closes on Monday February 1, 2016. And just like the Barclays EPL teams which are all currently grappling with the challenge of signing new players to their squads before the deadline elapses while jealously guarding the existing team members from other clubs’ preying eyes, competition in the country’s PR industry is getting tougher and stiffer.

What with new entrants in the industry – examples here being firms like Engage Burson Marsteller and Wheels Media – competing to attract and sign to their stable the same number clients with clients on the other hand looking out for an agency which will provide the best quality of service at the least possible cost.

Communication firms have therefore been doing all they can to sign in new clients from rivals while at the same time doing everything possible to ensure that they hold onto their existing accounts.

While some have been successful in getting new clients and retaining their old business, some have not been as lucky, loosing accounts and failing to replace the same with any new business. Below are examples:

RedHouse Group: Managed to wrestle the Telkom Kenya – Orange account from Gina-Din Group (GDCC). GDCC had represented Orange Kenya for over 3 years, having signed the account in 2012. Even with the challenges related to change of ownership at Orange Kenya, this is still a big cache for RedHouse Group. This is also a major feat for RedHouse having lost its only other ICT-related account – Multichoice Kenya – to EngagePR in 2014.

Engage Burson Marsteller – The firm – which is still considered one of the ‘newest’ PR outfits in the industry – has snapped and signed the Samsung East Africa account from Gina-Din Group. Engage PR was founded by former Gina-Din Group staff and has since engaged in what can be termed as “poaching” of clients from the latter. In 2014, Engage PR signed the MTN Business Kenya account after the client failed to renew its contract with Gina-Din group. It also handles CNN’s communication and PR duties in the region.

However, Engage is also the PR agency for Lenovo East Africa and it will be interesting to see how the firm handles the two accounts – that is Samsung and Lenovo – considering that the two firms are competitors in the mobile devices market.

Corporate Talk: The firm, which previously handled Kenya Data Netwrorks (KDN) – now Liquid Telecom Kenya – and now has Microsoft East Africa and SimbaNET among its major IT clients, has added two to other accounts to its stable, Kenswitch and Fintech. The two accounts previously had no PR agencies handling their communication matters.

As the month progresses, we’re sure of many other ICT clients changing their PR agencies and PR firms signing up new clients.


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