Carla van Pletzen has rejoined the Grey team on a permanent basis as PR Director of the Grey PR and the Influencer Marketing Unit.
Carla van Pletzen, PR Director of the Grey PR and the Influencer Marketing Unit
Congratulations on rejoining the Grey! How are you feeling?
I am excited about being back with the Grey Wolf Pack! It is one of the best teams to work with – the people, the approach to solving real business problems and the brand teams we get to work with are unique and hard to match.
What was your reason for returning?
The opportunity to work with the best in the industry; you are learning something new every day and the significant growth the company experiences on an ongoing basis. Within the Grey family, you get to run your division as a business with the support of other disciplines and partners.
What will your new role entail?
To cement Grey PR as a discipline within the company which can add significant value from a public relations (strategy, creative thinking, exceptional earned media, support in times of crisis) and influencer marketing (relationships with leading influencers and celebrities in various industries) point of view. We are growing the department and recruiting the best talent in the industry.
How and when did this come about?
I have been working with the teams on a freelance basis for the past 20 months. During this time, we have secured always on clients as well as been able to appoint permanent team members within the department. It was a natural progression to permanently join the team and ensure further Grey PR growth.
What excites you most about taking on this role?
Growth. There is a real opportunity for integration within the Grey culture amongst clients within the company and to offer our existing and new clients 360-degree solutions.
Public relations and influencer marketing are renowned for adding high cost-effective value to campaigns to resolve real business problems. The members within the PR department offer professional, expert and strategic guidance to our clients – successfully navigating through some challenging industry obstacles and landing publicity in various sought after publications. Our relationships with media moguls are strong, and we have ongoing two-way conversations with them to ensure crafted content meets their needs.
Briefly tell us about your journey into the industry.
I completed an Honours degree in Corporate Communication. While the plan was always to work as a communications manager within a company, I ended up in an agency environment to gain some experience, and 18 years later, I am still working in an agency.
I was very fortunate to start my career working with very well known brands such as Appletiser, House of Coffees, Kellogg's and Five Roses right from the get-go. Beginning at a boutique agency, Sabio Communications, I quickly gained experience relating to all elements PR. Strategy, creativity, execution, media engagements, crisis communications etc.
I have worked with over 90 well known South African and global brands – including Kimberly Clark, McCain, Famous Brands, Revlon, PepsiCo, Cartrack and Volvo Trucks.
What do you love most about your career, the industry and what you do?
It all comes down to solving a problem your client is facing – whether to sell more products, resonate better with their audience or position themselves as a market leader. Finding the best approach, the balance between being strategic and creative, staying true to the objectives and showing real change – real influence. Nothing beats excellent results and jumping up and down in front of the TV when you see your hard work paying off never gets old.
What approach will you take in your role as PR Director of the Grey PR and Influencer Marketing Unit?
Conviction. It will serve as the foundation for our team's journey. I believe in our skillset, knowledge, passion and the ability to overcome obstacles and allow healthy expansion and growth.
What advice would you give to women looking to enter the industry?
Let your work speak for itself. Let the only things defining you be character, integrity and passion.
What projects are you working on at the moment? Or what can we see in the coming months?
We have two active campaigns in the market: The launch of the new Savanna Chilled Chilli
and Viceroy's | Vul’Umlomo Conversations on Culture.
We are working on several exciting campaigns launching soon from Hunter's, Amarula, Scottish Leader and Burger King. We are also pitching for some exciting new business and entering some PR lead campaigns for Awards.
We are also expanding our service offering to include 'publicists' following some requests from top SA talent working with us on numerous influencer campaigns.