Cheil Canada president Matt Cammaert says that his agency has further established its credentials as an independent networked agency with the launch of a dedicated social media division.
“As the agency is growing across the board – in digital, client services and creative – it was the right time to make the investment against social media,” said Cammaert. “We can’t not have social as part of the integrated mix. It’s too important to ignore.”
Cheil started life as the in-house agency for Samsung. It has since separated itself from the Korean electronics manufacturer – which retains a minority ownership stake and remains a key client – and adopted a local market strategy.
Cheil has made two hires within the new social media division: Jean George, previously a digital strategist with Taxi and the first community manager for Proximity Canada, joins as a social strategist; Drew Bomhof, previously with Rethink Canada in Vancouver, takes on the role of community manager.
Both report into Cheil’s director of strategic planning, Allison Humphries. Having the social media division report into strategy (rather than creative or digital) ensures a more integrated approach to social media and enables clients to speak with a single voice, said Cammaert.
George had previously worked with Humphries at Proximity. “There was a good link there and we knew what her capabilities were coming in, so she was a good fit,” said Cammaert.
Meanwhile, Cammaert had been following Bomhof on Twitter and Facebook, and liked his acumen in the social media space. “The more I read his posts and saw what a keen observer he was in the social media space, the more I liked him,” he said.
In his role as community manager, Bomhof will be the social media voice for Cheil’s clients, starting and responding to posts and being the brands’ social media voice. “It’s a lot of work for one person,” said Cammaert. “It’s the equivalent of a copywriter writing for 14 different brands.” Cheil is currently in the midst of defining the brand voices across its client roster, he added.
Cammaert joined Cheil from Euro RSCG Worldwide (where he was VP, director of client services, new business) in October and immediately moved the agency to its current downtown Toronto location. Since his arrival, the agency’s staff has grown from eight to 30. The agency, which has its global headquarters in Korea, is also active on the RFP front, said Cammaert.
Cammaert reports into Buz Sawyer, who is president/CEO of Cheil the Americas, a broad purview that includes North, Central and South America.