Introducing our new Head of Digital

This month we take the opportunity to introduce Ewoudt Cloete, the recently appointed Digital Lead of Epic MSLGROUP, who is responsible for strategically advising clients how to improve their online presence, and elevating the agency's ability to develop and execute digitally integrated communications strategy. Ewoudt is currently finalising his PhD in Communications, his thesis titled - 'Exploring the organisational positioning of professional social media within a modern marketing communications context’.

Public Relations and communications agency

Q: Tell us about your experience and professional background?

A: I was very lucky to have landed an opportunity to get into the world of digital communications from the very start of my professional working career. My first job was at a digital and development agency, iGroup, where I was employed as the social media manager and digital communications manager for all serviced brands. Since then, I have been employed at two other agencies, one by the name of EOH Digital and more recently, Aqua Online, where I was employed as the Social Media Account Lead for the agency’s two biggest social media accounts, namely MTN South Africa & Coca-Cola South Africa.

Q: How did you first get into the world of digital communications?

A: From a personal perspective, I had a PC before I had any friends (sad, I know), so digital has been a part of my life since a very young age. Combined with that, I’ve always had a passion for languages and writing, so for me, a career that merged those two interest areas was always the goal.

Q: Why are digital and social platforms key to a successful communications / marketing campaign?

A: A digital presence is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’ for any brand, whether it’s a café on the street corner or a massive global conglomerate. Not only do clients and customers expect their service providers to have a digital presence, but digital is also one of the most highly targetable communication mediums that exist. No longer do brands need to take a ‘spray & pray’ approach to marketing, but rather target a specific audience, down to their psychographic attributes, specific behaviours and so forth.

Q: What are the most important aspects of social media that you wish brands realised?

A: Social media is not just an additional avenue for pushing products and services down the throats of consumers, but an approach that needs to be carefully considered and targeted. If brands plan to use social media for pushing their agenda on to an audience, it should rather stick to more traditional digital channels, such as a corporate website. For social media to drive real and tangible results, the channels should provide the audience with valuable insight. Social media is all about building a relationship with your audience and, as is true with all relationships, brands need to be willing to ‘give’ instead of just receiving.

Q: If you could invite any three people (dead or alive) to attend a dinner party, who would they be?

A: Alanis Morissette, Christopher Nolan & Hideo Kojima (Video game developer).