I hate you (like I love you)
On cracking the Creative-Account Management relationship by Karishma Changroth, Sr. Account Director, and Binaifer Dulani, Creative Director
Creative and Account Management have historically been at loggerheads. Conflict is at the heart of this relationship. It’s the classic tussle between the dreamer and the realist; the explorer and the time-keeper, the artist, and the wall street stalwart.
For far too long we have heard of legendary partnerships within Creative. The Art and Copy magic weavers. But we’d like to talk about the Creative-Account Management relationship. It may be one that’s born out of conflict, but that also means it knows how to weather any storm.
We didn’t start off with this realisation though. We had teething problems. And at a point were super comfortable accepting the baggage around the creative-account management (lack of) partnership.
But then we went to Yauatcha, and over several glasses of wine and prawn sesame toast realised that we were at our strongest together.
So here are some things that have helped us be better together, and add more value to our brands and the agency floor at large. (Or at least we’d like to think so).
Be each other’s hype person.
We’re in the business of ideas. And deal with rejection every single day. Self-doubt is natural. It helps to know that you have a partner who’s got your back, and trusts you to make things happen. The next big challenge will seem less daunting when you know there’s someone who believes in you. It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. We’d go to the extent and say that sometimes undeserved praise could create the motivation to finally earn it.
Share your vulnerabilities.
Talk about your weaknesses. Do unplanned moments in the day throw you off? What’s the best kind of carrot for you? What are your professional fears? Know each other’s weak points and find ways to complement each other. Basically, crack each other, and working together will be a dream.
Their growth is your growth.
It’s your responsibility to help your partner in Creative and AM grow. Don’t let them settle for one way of thinking. Make them change their ways to the times. Challenge them to come up with different solutions. And give them more one-on-one feedback. Most importantly, dream for them. And dream big.
Anyone can wear the Hawaain shirt with pineapples.
From time to time, it’s nice to play each other’s roles. There are moments when we switch our hats — and you will hear Kari talking about treatments, pushing the ceiling on ideas, and sharing inspiration, while I’ll send network plans, (unsuccessfully talk costs), and find ways to manage the floor.
The entire team is YOUR team.
It’s instinctive for us to look at our individual functions and teams, and dream for these teams to be their best versions. But they cannot be their best, without every other fraction being their best too. So, feel free to play mentor across the board, wherever you feel you have something to add. And be more than willing to play mentee and learn in the process of teaching.
If account managers and creatives worked collaboratively with each other and our clients, we could create more empathy and connection in our teams; and take an evolutionary step as an agency.
So, go grab a drink with your partner, and put your guard down. It will open up many doors.