Can account managers be creative?
30 May 2018
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Most account managers have a secret desire to master client service and make a creative contribution. As client service, our role is about building and growing the relationship with clients, understanding the client's wants and needs, the brand's history and possible future. With the ever-evolving roles and responsibilities in agencies, perhaps there is room for account managers to think like creatives. As a person who freely admits to not being creative - I wonder whether it is possible for me to begin to think creatively. Often when I have praised a piece of work, that same piece is then completely reworked by a senior designer. What did I miss that the senior designer saw? Clearly designers think differently to me, so can I train myself to think like them?

I don't believe that you have to be an eccentric person to be creative, you just need to learn to use the intellect you've got to produce ideas. Inspiration can come from innovation, market trends, other campaigns and each other. If account managers and creatives worked collaboratively, together and with clients, agencies could take another evolutionary step and create more understanding and connection in their teams. Creatives often know the brand but have no face-to-face exposure to the client, this impacts their understanding of the client's needs. Involving the creative right from the initial briefing with client enables the creative to get to know the client and meet their expectations.

Taking the brief together as a team also enables the account manager to become involved in the designer's thought process and assists them to better understand what it means to think like a creative. Involving the account manager at this stage will encourage a sense of ownership and assist them to 'sell' the concept. It would also eliminate the practise of copying and pasting clients' briefs and forwarding them to creatives. If we adopted this process, the team as a whole would think about the design more, problems would be spotted earlier, and fewer reverts would occur. I believe that reverts sometimes occur because the client has a vision that they failed to communicate to the account manager. On that note, I welcome designers into the world of account management and look forward to the day when I enter the world of creative mindspace.

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things." - Steve Jobs.

By Lauren Dickson
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