Digital News South Africa

#Newsmaker: Dan Herman, Joe Public United's new chief digital officer

Dan Herman has been appointed as chief digital officer at Joe Public United. He joined earlier this month from Wunderman Thompson, where he was head of Customer Experience.
Dan Herman
Dan Herman

He says he’s thrilled to be joining Joe Public United. “I consider it a true honour to have been appointed to this role by Joe Public United. It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity of great importance for myself, for Joe Public United and for the broader industry, and I intend to make the most of it.”

“Combined with Joe’s reputation for creative excellence, I am confident that my multi-faceted experience in digital marketing, customer experience, customer relationship management and user experience will offer clients the opportunity to grow their brands further through world-class and high performing digital experiences that deepen their customers’ journey with their brands, products and services.”

Here, he tells us how it’s been going just a couple of weeks in…

Will you be working remotely and if so, how do you plan to get to know and build rapport with your colleagues and clients under these conditions?

Whether working at home or at the office, I believe that the best way to start any job is to get stuck right in. I’ve been putting up my hand to help where it makes sense, while taking the time to meet with and connect with colleagues virtually. You can definitely get a sense of the great vibe, even on Microsoft Teams!

What does your role as chief digital officer entail?

My job is to drive the digital growth journey of Joe Public United, their clients and our people. This means driving Joe Public United to become the number one digital agency in the country, and upskilling the organisation in digital understanding and capability.

How do you plan to navigate the agency/your team through these unusual times?

I’ve always placed a massive importance on the need to build consensus in my work, and I think in this instance it will be about defining a shared vision for the role that digital needs to play in the growth of the business and rallying the organisation to that cause. To do this, I will need to gain a strong understanding of the business and its current capabilities in the space, understand the market and define the key opportunities for differentiation, and work with the exec team to agree on a vision that aligns to their formidable objectives for growth.

What excites you most about the agency?

Joe Public United has an outstanding reputation for creativity, and I am so excited to help them take that creativity even further in the digital space.

What are you most looking forward to?

I see this role as a real opportunity to make a positive impact on the industry. I am looking forward to playing my part in growing the next generation of digital talent.

Your experience spans corporate and consumer brands among the likes of BMW, Standard Bank, Mondelēz, Coca-Cola and Investec, and your most recent position was head of customer experience at Wunderman Thompson. Tell us more about the experience you’ve gained over the years and how this has equipped you for the role.

I’ve been fortunate to have been part of the Wunderman Thompson success story for the last 10 years, since I got my start in advertising at Aqua in 2011. I’ve been a witness and a role player in the transition of that business from a digitally-focused agency to a true integrated powerhouse. In my view, their success has been rooted in a strong global focus on customer experience and making that a key part of the conversation with integrated clients locally.

It’s high time the industry stopped thinking in terms of traditional vs digital. In 2021, it’s all about growth through customer centricity. It’s about how we use data to get a deeper understanding of customers and their needs, how we identify and resolve the pain points along their journey, and how we design, deliver and measure memorable experiences that build strong connections between customers and brands.
I hope to bring that customer-centric perspective to my new role at Joe Public United.

What do you love most about your career?

I love the fact that every day there is something new I can learn. That sense of continuous growth is what keeps me energised and motivated to do what I do.

What’s at the top of your to-do list?

I’m spending the first few weeks in the job learning about the business, meeting my colleagues and developing a sense of where the main opportunities are.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?

I’m reading The First 90 Days by Michael D. Watkins.

Tell us something about yourself not generally known?

I accepted this job offer the day after my first child was born… I’m a new dad with a new job!

About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Senior Editor: Marketing & Media at She is also a contributing writer. moc.ytinummoczib@swengnitekram
Let's do Biz