Brand Management is the New Account Service

The traditional, take-orders, shuffle-papers form of account service is dead.

I wasn’t around to see it happen or watch the smoke clear after the Mad Men era, but I’ve heard plenty of stories and know for sure that a lot has change. (For one, I’m not asking someone to bring me coffee.)

The good news is that with today’s technology and consumer insights, ad agencies can do their job better, smarter and faster than ever before, and we have more to offer clients than just plain ol’ account service.

Clients can expect engagement at the highest level. Challenger brands, in particular, need a hyper-engaged brand management team to meet the demands of an ever-changing market. How else are you going to out think, rather than out spend the competition?

Suffice it to say that being good with people is no longer the only job skill required. Following are the traits you can expect from an engaged brand manager.

Integrated expertise. Yes, brand managers should be good with people. Really good. But unlike the days when the media were limited to TV, radio and outdoor, today’s brand managers need broad knowledge of traditional advertising as well as social media, web site development, display ads, SEO, PR, and more. Mot importantly, they must understand how to pull it all together to create uniquely effective communications strategies. The old templates simply no longer work.

Expert allocation. Brand managers need to be knowledgeable on all marketing disciplines, but they should be wise enough not to be a know it all. The best brand managers know when it’s time to pull in the subject matter experts, such as creative specialists, digital media buyers, web developers, social media gurus, or PR directors. Brand managers may not have all the answers, but they always need to know where to find them. – and quickly.

Strategic insight. Staying on time and on budget will always be a part of a brand manager’s daily repertoire, but effective brand managers must rise above daily tasks and spreadsheets to make sure the flurry of activity is moving the client’s brand toward the larger goal.

A trusted advisor. Brand managers work best when they are brought into the fold as a trusted advisor. The more we know about your business, the more astute our strategic insights and professional recommendations will be. Of course, “trusted advisor” status must be earned, and that’s accomplished by providing clear and timely guidance, delivering on promises consistently, and owning (and fixing) the inevitable mistakes that occur in our fast-paced business world.

bmanagement_copy_image

Focused on your brand. A typical corporate marketing department can be pulled in many different directions from business operations to planning the company picnic (although the latter task is a tragic misuse of talent for skilled marketers). Meanwhile, your brand management team has the ability to focus solely on your marketing strategy and priorities.

Ready for more. Need help planning your franchisee convention? No problem. Stumped with product innovation? Bring it on. Because a brand management team is charged with managing agency resources, and pulling together the talent to meet evolving needs.

All of these qualities come down to one: passion, the intrinsic motivator that pushes brand managers to thing smarter, work harder, and give our best every day. Posted by Chelsea Ratliff

Chelsea Ratliff is a brand director at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency.