Engage BCW rebrands back to Engage after global merger of BCW and Hill & Knowlton




Engage BCW, a leading, award-winning strategic communications company based in Kenya, has severed links with Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW), a subsidiary of global PR outfit, WPP. As part of the development, Engage BCW has reverted back to its previous identity of Engage after BCW merged its global operations with Hill & Knowlton (H+K), a firm that has a presence in various countries, including Kenya.

In a statement, Desiree Gomes, the founder and Managing Partner at Engage said that as from mid June 2024, the firm will be operating as ENGAGE.

“Since our establishment in 2013, Engage BCW has worked with numerous organizations across diverse sectors, offering strategic communication counsel to ensure consistent information flow between them and their various stakeholders. Our ability to deliver has been clearly endorsed by the several awards won, new accounts contracted and several clients retained over the years,” said Gomes.

“We are excited to announce a new chapter in our journey. Effective June 14, 2024, we will be operating as ENGAGE… The recent global merger of WPP-owned BCW and Hill & Knowlton, to create Burson, will mark the end of our formal affiliation with BCW. It presents an exciting opportunity for Engage Communications Limited. to build upon our strong foundation of success in the Kenyan and Tanzanian markets.”

In the last week of January this year, WPP announced the merger of its two largest communications agencies, Hill & Knowlton and BCW, to form Burson, in order to deliver modern communications leadership at scale to clients across the world.

Following the merger, Corey duBrowa, the then global CEO of BCW, was named global CEO of Burson and AnnaMaria DeSalva, the then global chairman and CEO of Hill & Knowlton, became the global chairman of Burson. Together, the two currently oversee Burson’s agency strategy, client service, employee experience and culture. Burson will be operational from July 1, 2024, and its new brand will be unveiled later this year.

The merger of the agencies is aimed to enable Burson to best serve clients in a complex and volatile environment in which strategic stakeholder communications has never been more critical. The new agency will draw on both organisations’ unrivaled talent base, exceptional global networks, investments in technology, creative capabilities, and public affairs and advisory specialties to drive reputation and value creation through the interdisciplinary solutions that clients demand now.

The newly formed Burson will have more than 6,000 employees in 43 markets worldwide. Its name honours the late Harold Burson, a pioneer and founding figure of modern PR and strategic communications.

According to WPP, Hill & Knowlton brings significant business momentum, talent and innovation into the new Burson entity. The brand will operate within Burson serving a select group of clients globally through strategic communications, advisory and public affairs services. GCI Health and AxiCom will continue to operate as brands within Burson, offering specialised healthcare and technology communications expertise, respectively, at scale.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “Hill & Knowlton and BCW are two high-performing businesses with complementary strengths, shared ambitions and many shared clients. I am delighted to see the Burson brand brought back to unite them. The new agency will be the standard bearer as the most modern, strategic, technology-driven, full-service communications offer in the industry.”

The new agency will support a client roster that includes a number of sectors across corporate and public affairs, healthcare, technology and brand marketing.

On its part, ENGAGE boasts a team of experienced and passionate communication professionals with a deep understanding of the two East African markets. As has been clearly demonstrated, this local expertise, combined with our established relationships with key media outlets and industry leaders, allows us to deliver impactful results for our clients.

“We are fortunate to have a diverse portfolio of both local and international clients. Our team is fully committed to ensuring a seamless transition and maintaining the exceptional level of service that our clients expect. We will continue to develop strategic communication interventions that meet their specific needs and objectives,” said Gomes.

“ENGAGE is built on solid skills, knowledge, and experience that empower our thinking and ability to deliver. It is business as usual, with an even stronger focus on delivering exceptional results for our valued clients. We are excited about this new chapter and the opportunity to further establish ourselves as one of the leading public relations agency in Kenya.”

ENGAGE holds a number of key accounts and clientele. These include Samsung, Mitsumi Distribution, Siginon Aviation, Stanbic Bank Kenya, Crown Paints, Toshiba Energy Systems, CNN, Hass Consult, iZola, AHI Carrier, Jambojet, and CFAO Motors Kenya (formerly Toyota Kenya), among others.

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