Following the recent news of Rapt Creative opening offices in London and Kiev, the agency has expanded its services to include PR and influencer marketing. As such, they've appointed Khangelani Dziba to head up the new division. He will be based at Rapt Creative's Johannesburg headquarters but will work closely with all business units across Cape Town, Johannesburg, the UK and Ukraine.
“When we were evaluating our business offering, we realised the need to expand our services to include PR and influencer marketing,” said founder and group Chief Executive Officer of Rapt Creative, Garreth van Vuuren.
He added that PR is a highly specialised discipline which is proving to be an asset to Rapt Creative’s business model. “I am a firm believer that digital, social media and PR should live as one function and bringing someone like Khangelani onboard will assist us in bridging that gap enabling us to dramatically differentiate ourselves from our competitors in what is already known as an oversaturated space.
“It is no longer enough for the PR function to push ‘earned’ opportunities and exposure. With the convergence of media and the blurring of the lines when it comes to marketing and advertising disciplines, PR has to shape and inform the messages wherever the conversations take place and opinions are aired. That’s Khangelani’s job.”
Dziba studied journalism and is in the process of completing his Masters in Brand Leadership, and has worked at Fleishmanhillard, DNA Brand Architects and Group Africa Marketing, across multiple blue-chip clients in various industries, including the likes of Standard Bank, Nestlé, Vodacom, USAID, Clark & Sons, Bongang Matheba and Penrod Ricard.
After almost a decade working for some of the industry juggernauts, all of whom inspired him to briefly head up his own consultancy, the opportunity to join Rapt Creative could not have come at a better time, he said. “I have often written about my passion for PR and the need for practitioners to be able to merge what I believe are necessary industry disruptors into the solutions agencies offer brands. My role at Rapt Creative will allow me to do just that, and I am excited for what the future has to offer,” he said.
Here, Dziba tells us more about his career journey to date and that he’s learned that the work of advocacy is something that has to be embedded in who you are, as you will always need to go back to this point of strength to keep you going when the stories and ideas you have are not taken forward in the work you do…
How do you feel about joining RAPT Creative?
I am honestly the most excited I have ever been in a very long time! What an honour and privilege to be working with the incredible team at Rapt.
When did your appointment take effect?
I joined Rapt Creative in February this year as a consultant, but the appointment took effect in March.
Are you working remotely and if so, how are you getting to know and building rapport with your colleagues and clients under such conditions?
Fortunately, I have the option of doing both remote and office. My preference to date has been to work from the office precisely because I wanted to get to know my colleagues on a one-on-one basis. It is also a Covid-19 compliant space so I am happy that I can come into the office every day.
What does your role entail?
At this point it has been about establishing the discipline within the brands we service. This has essentially been about introducing PR and influencer strategies to our clients and showcasing how it would add value to the overall approach to communication.
How do you plan to navigate the agency’s PR & Influencer Partnerships division through these unusual times?
Quite significantly, this is a service most of the brands we have been working with have been enquiring more and more about. This is very much informed by the fact that communication is something that most brands have relied on during these times to remain relevant and top of mind to consumers.
The influencer part has also been receiving much attention, which is probably informed by the fact that advertising budgets have had to be prioritised to where brands will be able to get measurable value while also tapping into where audiences are spending most time – digital platforms.
What excites you most about the agency and this division in particular?
It has to be the opportunity to be able to influence and shape some of the communication to go out. It is something I have always been passionate about and which has been at the core of several articles I have authored for a number of platforms, including Bizcommunity.
It also has to be the fact that the clients are willing and exited to listen while also trying out new solutions to their brand challenges. This was why I was asked to join the team; to infuse my passion points and somewhat fresh approach to comms into the strategy.
Lastly, it has to be the fact that I work for an amazing human in Garreth van Vuuren who is always willing to empower and guide us all towards realising our real potential. That’s trust and leadership right there!
What are you most looking forward to or enjoying thus far?
There absolutely nothing to date that I have worked on which I have not enjoyed. I relish in all every day to be honest! I am looking forward to winning and working on more business that will enable us to take the Rapt business into newer terrains.
Tell us more about your background/experience and how this has equipped you for the role.
My background is in journalism and communications. I started off my career in corporate South Africa working for one of the big five law firms. I then made the informed decision to move into the creative space as I understood that this would give me more of an opportunity to tell authentically South African stories through brands that we’d all come to love.
I am currently reading towards a Masters in Brand Leadership at Vega which has allowed me the opportunity to explore much deeper issues around diversity, inclusion and representation of maligned groups in advertising. The journey so far has taught me that the work of advocacy is something that has to be embedded in who you are, as you will always need to go back to this point of strength to keep you going when the stories and ideas you have are not taken forward in the work you do.
What do you love most about your career?
It definitely has to be the journey and how I have grown in leaps and bounds. Nothing has happened by chance. It has all been hard work and sheer commitment to becoming a better professional.
What’s at the top of your to-do list?
Gym! I honestly wake up with the need to fulfil this part of my day.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
Reading – The 5am Club by Robin Sharma
Watching – RuPaul's Drag Race
Listening to – An eclectic mix of music from different artists and across genres
Tell us something about yourself not generally known?
I am a very spiritual person. I pray and believe in a bigger force in control of the life we are destined to live.
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