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19 February 2015: Irvine Partners has secured the public relations account of the South Africa division of tech giant Google.

Google is the most recognisable name in internet search engines, and has grown to offer services far beyond that. In Africa, it works to get more people to use online tools by developing an internet ecosystem that is accessible and relevant to them.

The rigorous pitch and vetting process saw Irvine Partners beat off five other agencies to secure the account.

Rachel Irvine, Managing Director of Irvine Partners, says that she envisages taking the message of Google beyond the usual echo-chamber of techies talking to techies.

“Google is the world’s biggest and most influential tech company, so in the media space its activities on the continent are always at a risk of being overshadowed by the innovations and technological advances coming out of San Francisco. Our aim with Google Africa’s PR is to highlight the tech giant’s African activities. Google Africa is indeed a part of Google, but it has its own unique and commendable mandate on the continent. And that is the story we will be telling. It’s a story that resonates beyond Africa’s plugged in tech community,” she says.

Google South Africa Head of Communications and Public Affairs Mich Atagana says, “We were looking for an agency who could demonstrate that they understand who we are and how our mission can be translated and made relevant to audiences across the continent. It was key for us that not only were we able to find an agency that has strong media connections in South Africa, which is our base of operations, but one that can communicate across sub-Saharan Africa.”

Lebo Madiba, Managing Director of Irvine Partners’s Johannesburg office, which operates under the name PR Powerhouse, says that the addition of Google Africa as a client consolidates the agency’s position as a leading name in public relations.

“Being invited to pitch for the Google South Africa account against some of the most established agencies in South Africa was an honour in itself, but securing the account is also a validation of four years of hard work put into establishing our business,” Madiba says.

Irvine Partners and PR Powerhouse entered into a merger agreement in 2014 to consolidate national reach and strengthen their service offerings. The merger marked the formalisation of the existing relationship between Johannesburg-based PR Powerhouse and Cape Town-based Irvine Partners and formalised a new operating model.

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