First of all, perhaps the term account management is all wrong.
“Managers,” after all, rule by authority and position. They tend to define their jobs as holding things in place, and keeping people in line. That is definitely not what we believe good account work is all about.
Leaders, on the other hand, infuse the whole team with the charge that we will simply not settle for second best when it comes to building a brand. To achieve leadership for our client’s brands, we expect our account people to welcome that mantle of accountability, and instill the kind of work environment that can help us achieve it. It takes a multitude of skills.
First and foremost, great account people should be great advertising people. They should love a marketing challenge. They should appreciate a client’s real needs, and a brand’s full potential… and have skills in finding bright strategic paths for success. They should know a smart media plan when they see it. They should crave courageous creative work. They should enjoy the process… with all its twists, turns and occasional craziness along the way. It’s not easy, but the right individual can make a dramatic difference in the marketplace, the client organization and the agency environment.
Since there are so many people to deal with, our best advice is to put the needs of the brand first. This simple, guiding priority is the key to success at Misc. There are other factors as well. We believe a collaborative environment is best created and sustained by account people. They have the greatest potential to build total teamwork.
Now, that doesn’t mean everybody works on everything together. The great account person leverages the individual talents of the team members, while making everyone responsible for the quality of the work and the service we provide our clients. We believe in relationships built on high standards and mutual respect. Our account people are responsible for building a productive client relationship. In today’s world, that means forging an agency relationship, involving many people of many disciplines. If the relationship is built on the right things – ambitious goals, business-building ideas, and an excellent creative product – it will grow.
Obviously, we will not always see eye-to-eye on every issue with our clients. Differences of opinions are not only inevitable; they are a constructive part of the creative process. How we resolve them will only strengthen our relationship with our clients. Before we can benefit our clients, we need to understand their world. To make an impact on our clients’ businesses and lead the agency efforts, the account manager need an insatiable hunger for knowledge. This means understanding the true dynamics of the brand and marketplace, the company, the consumers and the cultures in which they operate.
Only through immersion in the client’s world will we gain understanding and meaningful insight about the business. Account people make it their business to lead a well-run business.
It’s not just more pleasant to work in an environment of clear direction, efficient processes and timely decisions. It’s smarter. And more profitable.
The key is getting it right and making it great the first time around, without a lot of unnecessary, frustrating re-work. Account people are expected to see beyond the horizon.
In a work of constant deadlines and short term work flurries, it is important to see beyond the brand’s immediate needs. It is the fundamental charge of account people to go beyond the day-to-day dream of where the brand may someday go, and envision how the brand might become a brand leader.
Account managers are encouraged to imagine new ways that the brand could be marketed, and to anticipate competitive threats before they become a reality.
More than anything else, it is their responsibility to assure the brand a future more promising, more exciting and more successful than the present.