It's Time to Redefine the 'Account People'
As our industry stares down the ‘talent crunch’ we need to challenge aspects of our own identity and empower the philosophies and personalities that will change things.
When I left university advertising seemed like the place for a fun, exciting creative career. To be part of cutting-edge teams helping shape, craft and steer original, big ideas that changed culture.
The place to learn how to create a brand. For every business needs a brand, from Mick Jagger to Fairtrade. As a creative type, surely you can’t beat that? Yet our industry faces a talent crisis…
There isn’t one cause, but one clear theme is that too much work out there isn’t great. We’re not exactly advertising our industry to the next generation - where they see our output in the real world.
Take a look at many posters – walls of wasted paper lacking personality, wit or humour litter the environment. The physical landscape looks and feels very different to when I wanted to join.
How can we stop this and also attract more talent? I think one way is to redefine the account management function.
I mean account management, ‘account handlers’ or ‘account people’ sounds a bit bloody boring. The vast majority of creatively minded grads don’t come into our industry to count beans and manage financial accounts.
It doesn’t reflect the creative reality of the job. The role’s far more diverse, multi-talented, entrepreneurial and creative than ‘account handler’ conveys. As we know the best ‘account people’ push for great work, edit client feedback, help shape ideas and go for greatness. They build teams of kick ass talent to pursue amazing brand building.
The role takes immense EQ and importantly creative skill.
Creative directors trust the ‘account person’ to protect their ideas from the worst feedback with sound creative judgement. In precious moments ideas live or die if the ‘account person’ can help keep the magic and so their client’s interests alive.
As the ‘account people’ know they’re constantly thinking of ways to create value for their client and so the agency. Yet this title doesn’t reflect the creatively entrepreneurial identity of the role.
It doesn’t reflect a unique creative skill in a creative agency for the 21st Century.
At 2050 we don’t have ‘account handlers’ or ‘account management.’ We’re interested in empowering entrepreneurial leaders with well-rounded brand editing skills.
We want brand editors to manage the client.
Sure, they’re brutally organised, problem solvers, commercially aware and can smash out contact reports.
But ultimately, they are excellent writers, communicators and conceptual brand thinkers in their own right, who exist to ensure the good stuff conceived agency side stays in and the bad stuff stays out for their client.
They look after brilliant ideas, people and positively bonkers thinkers. They guide and inspire their clients so that the brand ripples through pop culture. They ensure the creative team’s idea changes things fast in any touchpoint.
Brand Editors exist to stop ineffective ‘ad pollution.’
That sounds way more exciting to me.