Scangroup launches digital marketing agency in East & Central Africa

27 October, 2009


Launch is critical as consumers interact and engage more with brands on mobile and web platforms

NAIROBI — East Africa’s leading marketing services company, Scangroup Limited, has announced the launch of Squad Digital, a specialist integrated digital marketing agency. The launch of Squad Digital is perhaps the first truly integrated digital marketing agency to be introduced in East & Central Africa. Squad Digital is a joint-venture between Scangroup and leading Indian digital marketing and technology businesses Smile Interactive Technology Group, and Quasar, part of WPP Digital.

Bharat Thakrar, Chief Executive Officer of Scangroup said, “There’s been a lot of hype around the arrival of undersea fibre optic cables in the region, but the reality from our perspective is that we’re seeing a step-change in the marketing landscape as consumers interact and engage with brands on mobile and web platforms. Our Squad Digital joint-venture introduces some of the world’s best digital marketing expertise to the region as of today.”

Squad Digital is the first joint venture for Scangroup with Smile Interactive Technology Group. It is Scangroup’s third joint-venture involving WPP, the world’s largest communications services group, following the successful launches of Millward Brown East Africa, the marketing research and brand consulting business, and Hill & Knowlton East Africa, the public relations consultancy.

Thakrar added, “The launch of Squad Digital represents an important milestone towards achieving our ambition of being the leading marketing communications company in Africa and offering our clients world-class service across all sectors of the marketing mix.”

Squad Digital launches at a time when there is an explosion of interest in digital media channels on the African continent with growth in mobile penetration out-stripping all other global markets, and web usage growing exponentially. Internet usage across the African continent has grown by 1,359.9% between 2000-2009 , and in Kenya, it has more than doubled in the last two years making it the fastest growing media, now with more than 3.5 million monthly users . The same study found that the duration of daily internet usage is now close to that of television. Finally, mobile phone usage is currently a major driver of internet access, with 45% of people in Kenya browsing the internet via mobile phone in 2009, compared to 13% in 2007.

Squad will provide expert consultancy on all aspects of the digital marketing mix, including mobile marketing, digital advertising, online media buying, online reputation management, social media marketing, search engine optimization and marketing, and travel technology services. Using the world-leading technical expertise of Smile and Quasar, Squad Digital will also offer technology and software development of digital marketing applications.
Kamal Krishna, formerly Head of Strategy & Creative of Quasar, the leading Indian digital marketing agency, has been appointed as General Manager to lead the development of Squad Digital. Mr. Krishna has a decade of experience in advising a range of international companies on digital marketing issues.

Harish Bahl the CEO of Smile and Quasar said, “The sophistication of digital marketing has increased dramatically in recent years as brands have increased revenues through engaging consumers digitally. Just a few years ago the focus was simply on web design, but today marketers have a huge armory of sophisticated digital tools to deploy making this medium a crucial link in integrated marketing campaigns.”

“There is immense potential for the growth of digital marketing in sub-Saharan Africa as a direct result of dramatically improved internet connectivity and the mass penetration of mobile on the continent. We believe that Squad Digital is well positioned to advise clients on how to benefit from this new era of marketing.”


About Scangroup Ltd
Scangroup Limited is the first and only marketing services company to be quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. It is the holding company for advertising agencies Scanad Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, JWT Kenya and Tanzania, Grey East Africa, McCann Kenya, and Redsky; media planning and buying companies Media Initiative East Africa, Mediacom and Universal McCann; public relations company Hill & Knowlton East Africa; event management and experiential marketing company Roundtrip and marketing services research company Millward Brown. For more information please visit www.scangroup.biz.

About Smile Interactive Technology Group
Smile Interactive Technology Group started in 1999 with StudioSmile as one of the largest digital services & technology group in India. The Incubation program of StudioSmile is one of the unique ways of growing and increasing entrepreneurship for the digital industry in India. It invites entrepreneurs and professionals to chase their dream projects by incubating them with experience, technology infrastructure, seed fund and management out of a world class facility in Gurgaon. Its other incubations are Tyroo.com, India’s leading internet ad network, Zoomtra.com, India’s first travel meta search engine and Zumtra, online travel technology providers. For more information please visit www.sitg.in  

About Quasar Media
Quasar Media, part of WPP Digital, is one of the leading digital media services companies in India. It has a strong base of media services and technology. Committed to drive the digital media industry in the country it has a capability to give 360 degree services to clients in the area of digital marketing and technology services. Digital advertising is expected to be a USD 560 million industry by 2009 with over 7% market share of the total advertising. For more information please visit www.quasar.co.in 
 
For further information contact Hill & Knowlton:
Solomon Mahinda
T: 0721 26 34 20
E. solomon.mahinda@hillandknowlton.co.ke 

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