Stacey (Vee) Venter
Head of content strategy, Content Candy
Stacey Venter is the head of content strategy at Content Candy, one of the first content-only agencies in South Africa. She started her career in the Media24 trenches, and struck out on her own in 2010 when she noticed shifts in industry currents, to start Copy Candy. In 2013, she took on magazine editor Brendah Nyakudya-Dandala as partner, and they rebranded as Content Candy.
Today they have nine women in their employ and work with some of South Africa’s biggest brands. Venter also writes the successful and powerful blog www.livinglionheart.co.za, which documents life raising a child with special needs and ran the charity, iPadsforLionhearts, which collected second-hand iPads for families with autistic children.
When asked what made her choose this career, she says, “Whenever a journalist starts working in PR or marketing, we joke about how they’ve crossed over to the ‘dark side’. I like to think I am saving the world from bad advertising as I approach brand storytelling from a journalist’s perspective. I’m always digging for the authentic, the interesting and the colourful angles. It’s less about selling and more about surprise.”
Venter has been inspired by some of South Africa’s most interesting talents such as Craig Rodney of Cerebra, Kirsty Sharman of Webfluential and Tom Manners at Clockwork Media.
“This industry is incredibly exciting for two reasons — emerging technologies and the ever-evolving creative ingenuity,” says Venter. “There are so many ways to tell a story. The future of content marketing is dominated by the rise of the machines. I’ve seen demos of marketing and automation platforms recently that have made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. It’s so intelligent and I don’t know whether to be amazed or afraid.”
Venter has some clear-cut plans for the future, including a sharp focus on what she calls “staying in my lane”. She believes too many agencies try to be everything to everyone, with the result that they are mediocre at most things. Her goal is to be the cream of content creation and nothing else. As for one of her most memorable moments in her career to date?
“My face was on an FNB billboard in 2013 promoting the work I was doing collecting iPads for autistic children,” says Venter. “It was surreal driving underneath a sky-high photo of myself on the N1 highway!” — Tamsin Oxford