Dr Ewoudt Cloete, Avatar's newly appointed chief digital officer, joined the agency last month. "Avatar is an amazing agency and I feel truly honoured to be able to contribute to its already impressive legacy.
Dr Ewoudt Cloete
“I've worked at and partnered with a diverse range of agencies over the span of my career and I can confidently say that I've never been exposed to an agency that is so in touch with the South African consumer,” he says.
Here, he tells us that he’s looking forward to helping the agency find new and innovative ways of better understanding the local consumer market and more about his career in marketing communications…
What do you love most about your career?
The type of culture that usually develops within a marketing communications agency environment is something that really appeals to my highly extroverted nature. The opportunity to collaborate with other creative and intellectual thinkers is reason alone to get up each morning.
Any career highlights you’re particularly proud of?
I love the natural sense of pressure and intensity that a new client pitch brings. My favourite pitch was winning the Public Relations/Integrated Communications pitch for Nando's back when I used to work at Epic MSLGROUP (now known as MSL_SA). I'm also particularly proud of the work I did back when I was the social media account lead on MTN SA and being able to guide and mentor a team of up to approximately 20 individuals during my position as the head of social media for Wunderman SA.
You have a PhD in Communication Studies. Why did you decide to specialise in communications and briefly tell us about your thesis or key interest?
Since as long as I remember, I've had an inherent fascination with language and the intricacies of human communication (you can blame the animated X-Men TV show for that), which is why I studied communications before starting my professional career in the marketing communications industry.
When I, later on, got an opportunity to start a career in social media, it felt like the perfect fit. But, because I've always been an academic at heart, I wanted to keep my one toe in the world of academic research, which is why I decided to continue my part-time postgraduate studies in communication studies, with a focus on social media marketing.
I wanted to, however, ensure that my academic research would be something that could contribute to my day job in the marketing communication agency world, which is why my study focused on the organisational structuring of social media and how brands can assess which type of social media operational model is best suited for their unique circumstances.
Tell us a bit about your experience and how this has equipped you for your new position.
I started my career where most people start in social media, i.e. as a social media community manager, managing the pages of brands, such as Stuttafords and Pastel Accounting. I then worked my way up the agency ladder and jumped between various agencies (I even worked at one agency twice). In so doing, I was able and privileged enough to build up experience across social media marketing, broader digital marketing, online reputation management, as well as general brand strategy development and implementation. I also got to learn from amazing mentors, such as Astrid Ascar, Jenny Olivier, Verushen Reddy and Miralda de Waal (who gave me my first job in social media).
What are you enjoying most?
There is an amazing sense of energy that comes from the fast-paced atmosphere that Avatar has managed to nurture within the agency. In the short, while I've been here, I've already learned so much from my colleagues' refreshing perspectives on communications strategy, PR and creative – to see all these elements work together so beautifully is really inspiring.
What’s at the top of your to-do list?
Further, build and develop the agency's already impressive digital offering and explore how digital can support and be supported by the agency's other competencies.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to for work?
One of the students that I supervise at Boston Media Campus in Sandton is working on an intriguing study on blockchain technology, and it makes for fascinating reading.
Tell us something about yourself not generally known?
I am an avid music festival goer. 2019 is, in fact, the first time in 11 years that I haven't attended the annual OppiKoppi Festival in Northam and the only reason I'm missing it is that the festival isn't actually happening this year.
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