Melissa Attree is an experienced marketing and communications professional who is passionate about getting brands and people talking. Her company, GetOn eMarketing, has a special interest in using Web 2.0 ‘stuff’ to connect brands and consumers in a creative, accessible way… it all starts with a conversation. Melissa was born in the UK but, after two decades, most definitely considers South Africa home. Melissa is a fan of gadgets; music; list writing; anything to do with advertising and branding; good wine; and Jack Russells. For more on Mel, visit or

1. What was your first job/ where did you start?
I started off as a copywriter at an agency called Foghound Studios.

2. What made you want to build a career in your profession?
I’ve spent my career involved with branding in some way – advertising; marketing; PR. So taking all this knowledge into the online environment was a way for me to apply my skills and passion in a different space and learn something new.

3. Describe a day in your life at present.
Every day starts with a ‘To Do’ list, I’m a compulsive list writer - it seems to help me put my day into perspective. First thing I do is check email; Twitter; and scan some key RSS feeds to see what the latest news is and if anything has happened that relates to any of the campaigns I’m working on. Then I’ll usually have a meeting or two and then I’m either managing online campaigns and ‘working’ content online (blogs; Twitter; Facebook; social bookmarking; online PR), or I’m writing strategies or proposals. I’m also trying to set aside time to work on two other personal work projects. As a rule I try to ‘switch off’ in the evenings and spend time relaxing with my husband, reading or watching some good telly.

4. How do you unwind behind the scenes? List your favourite song; movie; and book.
It’s really tricky to name one favourite song... I love music and enjoy many genres - you need different styles to match different moods! My favourite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; and when it comes to my favourite book – again, there are too many to choose from - I love reading.

5. Who would you most like to meet – dead or alive, and why?
I’d probably like to have met my mom’s mother. My mom is a strong, wise woman, so it would have been interesting to have known where she comes from.

6. What has been one of the most important lessons you have learnt?
Think before you speak, and when you do, choose your words wisely.

7. What is your secret indulgence and your three ‘can’t live without’ items?
iPod; MacBook; mascara.

8. What has been the key to your success?
I’m pretty self-motivated, so over the years I’ve always taught myself a lot and then applied that knowledge. The answers are all out there, it’s up to you to find them if you want to go further and learn more. Having respect for others is high on my list also – don’t trample on others to get ahead. Learn from your mistakes and understand that messing up now and then makes you human, and hopefully wiser. A good sense of humour helps in tricky times - laugh a lot.

9. Who do you truly look up to, and which qualities do you most admire about them?
There’s no one person – my family; friends; industry leaders; global figures... I draw inspiration from different people in varied fields, as and when I need it.

10. What’s your stance on social media?
It’s definitely a powerful way for brands to engage with their consumers, IF it’s well-planned and executed, so do your homework and have a strategy. Social media isn’t the ‘be all’ and ‘end all’, so the basic rules and principles of marketing and branding apply, and social media marketing works well as a complementary medium to strengthen existing campaigns and initiatives. I’m passionate about spreading the knowledge, as I don’t think it’ll be too long before we see more big companies employing dedicated social media specialists.