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#Newsmaker: Terence Steenkamp appointed Mercedes-Benz SA's new media specialist

Mercedes-Benz South Africa recently announced the appointment of Terence Steenkamp as its new media specialist to replace Lebohang Matsoso, who has moved to a brand specialist role. The company said in a statement that Steenkamp is responsible for media strategy and engagement, which includes the managing of all media queries and requests, as well as the Friends of the Brand programme.
Terence Steenkamp | image supplied
Terence Steenkamp | image supplied

He joins the company with a varied career in media and PR and graduated from the University of Pretoria in 2005 with a BA in Languages specialising in journalism. He completed his BPhil Honours degree in journalism at the University of Stellenbosch the following year. Steenkamp also holds a diploma in public relations from the University of Cape Town.

His career kicked off as a news journalist before becoming a copy-editor for the Wiel motoring magazine. Terence also worked his way up to editor at South Africa's oldest motoring media brand Car.

I caught up briefly with Steenkamp to find out more about himself and his new role.

Congratulations on your new appointment. How are you feeling about it?

Both excited and nervous! I’m elated to join Mercedes-Benz – it’s a brand I’ve admired since childhood and it’s a dream come true to join the stable.

Briefly tell us about your career.

Like many PR professionals, I started as a journalist, first at a daily newspaper and then at a number of magazine titles, culminating in the editorship at Car. Before joining Mercedes-Benz, I was the PR manager at Kia South Africa.

What will your role as Mercedes Benz SA’s media specialist entail?

I’m responsible for media strategy and engagement – which includes the managing of all media queries and requests – at the Cars division of Mercedes-Benz SA.

You will be responsible for handling Mercedes Benz SA’s Friends of the Brand programme. Can you tell us about this and what it means?

The Friends of the Brand programme is a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and a number of people in the public eye who we believe represent the best of South Africa. They run the gamut of celebrated sportspeople such as Siya Kolisi to innovative chefs like Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen and David Higgs, to musicians, entrepreneurs and artists, all of who drive a model from the extensive Mercedes-Benz range.

What approach will you be taking in your role?

Distilled, my main responsibility is to create positive awareness of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Thanks to my background in journalism, I very much see the value in working closely with the media and various content creators to achieve this.

What do you love most about your career and the industry you are in?

It combines two of my loves – communication and cars. Win-win!

Take us through a day in the life of Terence Steenkamp

Every day starts with a good cup of coffee, a cuddle for my Boston terrier and miniature Schnauzer and, if he’s lucky, my partner too. Mercedes-Benz operates on a modern-day flexible office setup, so some days I’ll drive into the office, and on other days I’ll work from home.

We usually have quite a number of meetings with colleagues both local and global, and I’m in regular contact with journalists and content creators. After work, we usually take the dogs for a walk and then I cook (another passion).

What advice do you have for PR professionals/journalists?

Figure out what your specific skill set is and then find out how it can make you money. Some of the most successful journalists I know, function in a defined niche in which they offer a certain something no one else does. As for PR professionals? I need their advice!

About Imran Salie

Bizcommnity Editor: IT, Automotive, Entrepreneurship. Imran loves all things technical and has a passion for the world of motoring. He keeps a close eye on the tech industry and has recently become infatuated with the entrepreneurship space in South Africa.

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