The Account Manager: The Brand Manager

As with every role within the advertising agency, there are many stereotypes associated with the Account Management function. Many assume we have the easiest job in the agency and that we’re the keepers of timelines and budgets, or the schmoozers of clients. When I first started in this industry, I thought the same thing however, while budgets, timelines, and client interaction are aspects of the Account Management role, there’s far more to it than that.

Account Planners—as Claire Kane so aptly pointed out in her 7/2 post—are the voice of the customer, while Account Managers are the voice of the brand. Many assume that the ‘voice of the brand’ means that we simply translate what the client’s demands are to the rest of the advertising team. While this may be the case for some agencies, we at HLM value the Account Management team more as Brand Managers who are there to support the client, but also to push back when the activity doesn’t fit the brand.

So what does it mean to be the “Brand Manager” for our clients? It means that it is our job to aid in the development of a strategically relevant brand by finding that point of difference for the brand, in order to find the space in the marketplace where our brands can thrive. We do this by living and breathing the product or service that our client offers—to know it as well, if not better than our clients do.

And once we identify that niche in the marketplace, we ensure that the brand maintains its integrity, stays on strategy, and stays cohesively intact. We are the brand evangelists that help our clients police the use of the positioning, logos, brand colors, photography, and messaging. Essentially, we do everything we can to ensure the brand stands up as intended.

While many may enter the advertising business as Account Managers thinking it’s the easiest role possible, it’s actually quite the balancing act. To truly thrive in this role, you must become a Brand Manager for your clients, keeping the product or service on the right track, on budget, and on time. Oh yeah, and keeping the client happy at the same time. Doesn’t sound so easy now, does it?