Samsung engages new PR agency as OPPO Kenya loses PR and Communications lead

After more than 3 years with Engage-Burson Marsteller acting as its PR consultants, the Samsung Electronics management has decided to change agencies and signed a deal with Redhouse Group to handle its communications needs.

Before moving to Engage-BM in (or around 2016), the Samsung account had been handled by Ginadin Group for a number of years before the pioneer PR agency lost most of its talent to Engage. There are those who believe that pitching for and winning the account was less challenging for Engage-BM as most of its staff had handled the account at their previous employer and also developed a good working relationship with the Samsung staff and gained good knowledge of the brand.

(TOP: Head of Mobile Division at Samsung Electronics, Charles Kimari (right) and Product Manager, Ryan Mule, scroll through the features of the Galaxy Note9 after it was launched in Kenya. Samsung has signed up Redhouse Group as its PR agency. BELOW: James Irungu, the former PR and Communications manager at OPPO Kenya (left) displays the OPPO A7 during its launch).

However, by picking Redhouse Group as its PR agency, Samsung will be served under the same group with the firm which for long used to handle communications for its competitor, LG Electronics. For a number of years and up until last year, LG Electronics had been working with Mediaedge, a Redhouse subsidiary, as its PR and communications agency. The LG Electronics account has since moved to H+K Strategies, part of WPP Scangroup.

Though still a formidable brand both in Kenya and globally in the Mobile, IT and Home Appliances, Samsung’s local office has undergone various changes since 2014, a situation that has led to various high-level departures from the firm’s management team, including Simon Kariithi (now head of Multichoice’s GOtv brand in Kenya) and Allan Oyier (who has since joined Bosch as the VP for sub-Saharan Africa).

Away from Samsung and change of PR agency, another mobile brand, OPPO, has lost its PR and Communications manager. James Irungu Kagwe, the firm’s PR and Communications lead who had become very instrumental in creating awareness and visibility for the OPPO brand by liaising closely with bloggers and journalists, quit his job at the beginning of the year. He’d worked at OPPO Kenya from early 2017 after moving to the mobile device from Kenya Film Classification Board where he worked as a Photographer.

The reason(s) for his resignation however remain sketchy though rumours state that he’d been facing internal challenges at his work station. Maybe this is what caused him to resign with immediate effect on January 1, 2019 when his then immediate boss, Jesse Wu (OPPO Kenya’s Brand Director), could report back to the office from December holidays.

With Irungu’s departure from OPPO Kenya, the device vendor now has to work directly with its PR agency, Ogilvy PR, whenever they have any media activity or need to engage with bloggers. It’s also seeking a Media and PR intern.

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