What does a typical day in the life of an Account Director look like?
As intermediary between client and agency, much of my role involves understanding client needs (which is often harder than it sounds), before relaying information to the creative, digital, PR and event teams. We’re the voice of the client, so it’s important to make sure their point of view is prominent throughout a project. At the same time, you have exclusive insight to the inner agency workings. So, when you get it right, it should feel as though you’re working in equal partnership with two businesses.
In terms of day-to-day – anyone in a similar role will tell you, it pays to be a people person! I’ll often spend 65% of my time in meetings, then use the rest of the day to strategize. There has to be a careful balance between juggling your own time, and spreading time between clients according to requirements, which can change on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
What do you love about working with clients?
Whilst much of the agency is the bulk of the iceberg, it’s fascinating to sit above the surface. I get the chance to speak with clients about their business challenges first-hand, and it’s interesting to see the entire agency unite in a solution. As an account handler, you learn so much in the job. You’re not a designer, or a digital manager – but you need to understand how these roles work to offer complete clarity. Likewise, you also need a fundamental understanding of your client’s industry.
One of the biggest challenges to overcome is one of balance. On the one hand, clients must believe in your agency’s expertise. On the other, they almost always have the most industry-specific experience. Both these views must be taken into an account for a project to succeed.
What advice would you give to your younger self about working with clients in an agency world?
“Read between the lines!”. There are often vital details missed in the early stages of interacting with your client or colleagues. Make sure you’re actively engaging with both, and you’ll soon learn and understand so much more.
Account Directors often manage a team. How do you fit this in?
Uniting your team is key. At Fox Agency, we schedule weekly 1-to-1s for support in the ever-changing client world. But it’s also important to give people autonomy. No micromanaging here, thank you! In the hybrid-working world, we try to make sure the team meet once a month in person. This offers an opportunity for the team to really get to know one another and talk about anything but work.
How do you grow existing accounts?
It’s rare to see a client utilising your entire agency resource. Which is a shame because, as an integrated agency, it’s what we’re best at. Because of this, we often get the opportunity to show clients how we can go above and beyond, which leads to more work in the future.
What is your proudest moment as an AD at Fox Agency so far?
After only five months at Fox Agency, I received the Fox X Award for Intelligence. It was amazing to get this recognition, it really swept me off my feet! In terms of day-by-day, knowing that my team and clients are equally happy is very satisfying.
How does flexible working benefit you?
Massively! I have two kids, a dog, and a husband. I don’t want to go back to an office full-time as it makes no sense to me. Commuting is just a waste of life. My working day begins when I drop the kids off at school. But I no longer need to run for trains, I no longer have the stress of coming back for 6pm to pick them up. I am far less stressed, and I work more productively than I used to. It’s so nice for employee well-being. It’s sad to see that some companies are making employees go back to the office unnecessarily.