A Stanford University study showed that middle children are considered to be the most envious, least talkative and most rebellious of all the birth orders. Logically however, they are also shown to be highly social and excellent team players! Little surprise then that since 1787, no fewer than 52 per cent of all U.S Presidents were middle children.
Account managers, very much like U.S Presidents are required to have great communication skills, a gift for negotiation and debate, ability to think on their feet under pressure and a determination for justice.
It is the duty of an account manager to hold an extensive comprehension of, the agencies capabilities, the strengths of the people who work there and the steps required to manage a client’s expectations. A successful account manager has a tricky task, consistently balancing the delivery of quality client projects, on-time and on-budget, whilst simultaneously motivating his team and ensuring they are nurtured sufficiently to produce their best work.
Brilliant account managers look for like-minded agencies that operate with the highest ethical standards and refuse to deliver work that’s anything short of magnificent.
So how do they do all of this?
Well some say they are gifted from god, others say that the devil is in the detail and they have mastered the art of carefully crafting contracts. These valuable documents lay out the future working relationship for both parties, carefully clarifying the expectations, work protocols, deliverables, time scales, payment schedules and every variable possible.
Here’s two tips with respect to contracts:
- The client should be aware of all the services an agency offers, but never forced into taking up services that they don’t want or need. The team at Brand Lounge are adamant about this and will never compromise by creating unnecessary collateral for the sake of making money.
- The contract should clearly highlight the scope of work. It is vital that both parties understand the respective roles they are expected to play in order for a project to be successful. There are agencies out there that don’t hesitate to shout “OUT OF SCOPE” when in fact, their contracts were created to win the account and neglected to highlight the finer details of the project (long-terms vs. short term goals here).
Account managers are the big brother of the creative team, standing up for them when they can’t be in a meeting and ensuring nothing is promised to clients that can not be delivered. Unrealistic deadlines are a daily and inevitable part of account management, but these seemingly minor changes can unbalance schedules in the short term and cause burn out to creative’s in the long term. Burn out is the Achilles heel of an agency, without a healthy creative team, the quality work that the company is known for is non-existent.
In the heat of the battle, the account manager must call on their great communication skills, gift for negotiation, ability to stay calm under pressure and determination for justice to empathize with his team and communicate drastic changes honestly, openly and positively. The best attribute they can have is to be worthy of trust.
So next time that you underestimate the power of the middle child, or an account manager for that matter, always remember that everyone has a place in the process. These diligent middle men were born to work unseen, but never think that means they should not be recognized. It’s a science and an art, incredibly powerful when it is done just right.