Moagi Bodibe was recently appointed chief strategy officer of Publicis Machine, charged with managing the full strategic operations of the group, in Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as the group’s five specialist pillars: Narrative (content marketing), Incentiv (loyalty and rewards), Answered (research), Moon Walk (public relations), and Nurun (technology specialist).
I am 37 years old and so far in my career… I’ve worked in journalism, brand and marketing consulting, telecommunications and for integrated advertising agencies.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way… To be patient and absorb all that you can from those more experienced than you. Never stop applying yourself – everyday. Always give yourself the opportunity to learn new things and to experience new possibilities. I’ve been very fortunate to have a number of fantastic mentors so far in my career. They’ve definitely played a role in the successes I’ve enjoyed thus far. It’s important to keep good counsel.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had… As a waiter at a wedding for an event company in Cape Town. I lasted only one day. I really struggled to find my feet on that day. I didn’t realise how dexterous you needed to be; balancing multiple plates on your arms. It was hard work. I just couldn’t keep up. I have a lot of respect for friendly, efficient and responsive waiters because I couldn’t crack it.
What are the challenges of your new position at Publicis Machine… Thinking strategically about communication and brand building opportunities across many different client portfolios is a balancing act. But most importantly, externally, it’s about making sure that clients see the value in the recommendations that we make and getting them to trust us as their partners. Internally, it’s clearly articulating the opportunities to our creative and digital teams so that they can develop inspired creative and digital communication concepts that simultaneously excite customers and build the brand. There’s so much going on, it’s easy to try and do everything that seems new and exciting. It requires discipline and planning to do what’s right for the business and that which will delight the client.
What advice would you give your child if he/she followed your career path… It’s not that difficult. Keep it simple. Think widely and clearly. Express your thoughts simply. Keep at it and you’ll keep progressing in your career.
The quality I most respect in people is… Integrity; being truthful to others and true to who you are.
My pet hate is… Hubris.
What scares you most… Not growing, being regretful and not learning from the many failures you’re faced with; not taking advantage of the opportunities you’re presented with, and then not succeeding and regretting it.
My best qualities are… My ability to work well with others, being persuasive and generally pleasant, or so I’ve been told.
My worst qualities are… Procrastination (in some areas of my personal life).
My personal motto is… Be consistent and keep it real.
A perfect day would be… Waking up to hear one of my favourite songs on the radio in the morning (dancing a little), being full of energy, getting stuck in at work and being busy. Then getting home to see my fiancé and son and spending some time with him before he goes to bed. Then finally lying on the couch to watch a movie, but then falling asleep 10 minutes after the movie starts. I’ve never managed to get the movie thing right. But I’ll keep trying.
If I could have dinner with someone living or dead it would be… Roger Federer. I’m a big tennis fan and once had aspirations of playing on the world (tennis) stage. The way he plays tennis, when he’s winning, makes me really happy. I’d want to ask him how he’s managed to stay focused and successful for so many years.
The gadget you couldn’t live without and why… I’d like to start living without a smartphone, but I can’t. It’s often such a distraction. However, it gives me access to so many things and enables me to do things I couldn’t have imagined possible before.
My addiction is… Beautifully designed furniture and shoes.
My death row meal would be… A pared down buttery beef burger with fried caramelised onions.
If you were a superhero, who would you be… I’ve been disparaged by some friends for not knowing enough about superheroes, especially Batman. I’ve had to brush up on my knowledge of superheroes and therefore I’d choose the Marvel character, Black Panther who’s considered a valuable ally and a formidable foe. It helps that he’s also acknowledged as a brilliant tactician and strategist.
So far 2017 has been… Thoroughly exciting. While there’s more to do both personally and professionally, it undoubtedly gets better as each day passes.
This story was first published in the April 2017 issue of The Media magazine. Read the digital version by clicking on the cover.