Look, there are women and there are exceptional women. Anyone who knows Gina Din Kariuki will tell you that she is not an ordinary woman. Gina is almost a genius in her field. She is the mother of Public Relations in Kenya. Talk of any serious PR campaign or successful company or individual and you will see that there is GinaTouch somewhere.
From Raila Odinga (the most influential political leader), Safaricom (most successful company in East and Central Africa), GM (most successful motor franchise in the region), CMC Motors, Equity Bank, CFC Stanbic, ICEA Lion and the list goes on. Gina touched all of them and you can do your own research. Gina is a dreamer. She get inspired and doesn’t get scared in sharing her dreams and ambitions even with the lowly mortals. She would share her thoughts to gauge a different perspective or understand what she is getting into. Gina is a genius.
But sometime, Gina might be messed by her ambitions just like it happens to almost every successful entrepreneur. She can be over trusting or overly ambitious.
There was a time that ScanGroup (with all the global influence and financial power, would get scared and shit in their pants at hearing that their challenger would be Gina Din PR. They would do all the crazy things to win a deal and lock Gina Din out. Gina’s involvement in any campaign would turn a company or individual who was formerly just a footnote into an headline.
Look at Kenya Redcross. The humanitarian behemoth is what it is now because of the PR, advertising and marketing strategy out of the brains of the one and only Gina Din Kariuki. NOBODY has ever told the story of GINA. NOBODY!!! Don’t be fooled by glossy magazine covers and spontaneous picks of success. Gina is the power behind the power. She is the ‘wife’ behind the throne. She is the pillar behind the structure. You can’t compare Gina to any lady in Kenya. She is no ordinary mortal. Don’t be fooled by the overly paid corporate bosses and well connected kids of who-is-who. Gina has the connections and the brains. Her life can’t be summed in a blog post.
So in October 2013, Gina Din PR ‘merged’ with some nondescript marketing firm called Imagine IMC owned by Eddy Ndegwa. Eddy had been running the company for some 16 years. His only client during the merger was Heineken where he was handling the Kenya and Uganda marketing bits. Eddy together with Eva Muraya founded Color Creations.
Not much can be said of Eddy Ndegwa beyond that. I wonder how Gina Din even came to have him as partner. I think Gina was desperate so when Mwaniki Nyagah (son to Joe Nyagah) introduced Eddy Ndegwa, Gina didn’t have a choice. Joe and Captain Kariuki are 2 individuals who are very influential in Gina’s world.
After joining Gina Din PR with his nothing of a company, Eddy embarked on poaching employees from all over. He brought in over 8 employees from wherever and fired all those he thought were too loyal and strong at Gina Din. The likes of Johnstone Ole Turana who was being fired from a second job at Bloomberg after Business Daily also fired him, found solace in a non performer like Eddy. Wanjiru Gaitho and Cedric Lumiti were also poached from H&K Strategies. Noel Wandera and Menya Mwambeu were sacked.
From then on, most at Gina Din PR realised that Eddy has no strategy. He embarked on restructuring where duties were just duplicated and no clear roles defined for the new catches even ending up wasting talent and resources. See a situation where Wanjiru Gaitho is head of Samsung account without proper IT expertise while the likes of Alex Owiti are just relegated to being press release pushers in the same company.
Now Eddy is retrenching a total of 14 employees this afternoon. When he came in, he fired 5. Kwani he doesn’t have any other strategy apart from firing? Company needs new business. That is what he needs to get. Key executives at the company complain that Eddy has no PR strategy AT ALL. The guy is as green as Livondo in English language. Gina Din lost Bamburi, KQ, Barclays, Liquid Telecom deals at pitching stage because the guy doesn’t realise that there is need of personal involvement of the CEO and proper networking for a PR company to clinch deals with the blue chips. Nobody in the PR world knows Eddy Ndegwa.
Eddy was very fond of using his own PA to execute dirty deals and make illegal decisions like abuse workers rights. That PA left when she saw that the guy was setting her up and making her have enemies all over. She couldn’t afford to stay. His own finance manager whom he joined with from Imagine IMC is serving notice and almost leaving.
The company’s wage bill is at an all time high of Ksh 5 million. Not much new business is coming in. No effort is being made by the CEO to entice new clients. He found the company with over 70 employees and various assets in good financial health but all that is lost. From today, Gina Din will have only 16 employees. I hear that Eddy wants to run the company with freshmen from college. He wants cheap labour. Someone told him that cheap labour deliver valuable returns. Let’s wait and see.
In the meantime, it looks like Gina Din is also losing the Heineken account. Heineken is not happy by the way Eddy has been handling their account. The guy was paid to erect billboards all over and he used the money to treat his kids to expensive holidays and use part of the proceeds to acquire land. Now they don’t have the money to do the activations. Accounts like AKI, GM, CIC Insurance, Orange Telecom, Old Mutual, Samsung and SEACOM are still with Gina Din. But they might not be there for long if Gina doesn’t take charge and realise that a bird on hand is more important that 20 in Karura Forest.