There are countless articles and opinion pieces on how to be a great designer, on building successful relationships between clients and creative teams. But it’s not often that we come across insights into what makes a great account management or client management team.
At Vault49, no one team, job role, or individual is more important than the next, and our client management team has always been recognized as a vital part of the agency.
The day-to-day contacts for our clients, people in this team aren’t just a group of project managers (although they ARE great at running and managing projects), they each combine the skills of master problem solver, organizer, planner, trend spotter, motivator and nurturer.
Think of them as the conductors of our agency orchestra, your project as the piece of music.
Guiding and inspiring everyone involved, they bring different skillsets in and out, as and when needed. They ensure that everyone is heard and feels part of the process. They are always there, keeping the time and momentum, bringing positive energy, and driving the rest of the team (orchestra) forwards.
Musical metaphors aside, the people in our client management team wear many hats. With diverse knowledge across brands, business and the creative process, they are the glue that holds a project together. Keeping team morale up, they make sure that everyone has the information and resources they need to deliver the standout, innovative creative work Vault49 is known for.
With all of this in mind, we asked our Client Managers and Client Directors to share insights on how clients can make the most out of their relationships with them. Here’s what they had to say…
9 ways you can build a better, more meaningful relationship with your agency’s client management team
1. Treat them as your partner
On a very fundamental level, both sides here have a shared goal: to make awesome, effective creative work together. So think of your agency’s client management team as an extension of your internal team.
We are there to get the best out of our strategy and creative teams, to manage the end-to-end process, and we can facilitate collaboration between all of the stakeholders involved.
To help us do this job as efficiently as possible, break down any “us vs. them” barriers and create a collaborative environment alongside us, where everyone is equal in the process. A true partnership.
2. Sometimes less is more
Whilst we do love a challenge, a 100-page briefing document can be somewhat challenging to extract the necessary information from. Pull out the key facts, the things we absolutely need to know, so we are clear on your requirements and what we need to achieve. If we have to go digging for this, there’s a chance we could miss something crucial.
For more complex briefs, take the time to set up a kick-off meeting or workshop so we can talk it through and hash it out together. The more clarity we have up front from the briefing, the better the outcome will be.
If you’re new to briefing a design agency, or you want to shake up how you do things, we’ve created a simple guide for how to write a great creative brief.
3. Take responsibility
Getting a feeling that you might have mis-briefed us? Tell us. It happens. Part-way through the process and realizing that you’ve steered us in the wrong direction with subjective feedback? Own it. This can also happen. We get it. We don’t hold grudges, and that level of accountability and acknowledgement will only build on our mutual trust and respect, leading to a better working relationship.
4. Be open and honest
Not happy with something? Impossible deadline? Budget taken a dive? Be vocal about it before it becomes a big issue. We appreciate the honesty, and we won’t take anything personally. But keep it positive and constructive. Share your challenges with us in the same way that you would with your own team, and we can find a solution together.
5. Feedback Part #1: Consolidate and clarify
Collate all of your feedback in one place, and then take the time to talk it over with us so we are 100% clear on the next steps. Feedback is an important part of the creative process, so let’s make this stage of our journey as efficient and useful as possible.
6. Feedback Part #2: Start with a positive
When you are delivering feedback, always start with a positive. This will immediately put everyone at ease, and make the process run more smoothly than if you launch in with something negative. This is something we do internally – trust us, it really makes a difference.
7. Problem? Take a beat
If things aren’t going to plan, allow the space for both sides to take a pause, and then regroup. Having a “can-do” attitude is all part of the job and we’ll do everything we can to make it work, whether that’s organizing a collaborative workshop to go through the challenges together, or redefining the brief with you. As with any type of relationship, the ability to identify when you need space, and when to work together, is crucial for it to flourish.
8. Talk it out
Whilst we live in a digital-first world, defaulting to email is not always the best form of communication. It’s often easier (and quicker) to jump on a call and chat for five minutes, whether for good news or something more challenging.
Emails are great for sharing important information that can be referred back to, but the tone can sometimes be read differently to how it was originally intended. A quick phone call, or a face-to-face if we can make that happen, is more efficient, more human, and can even lead to new ideas, discussion points or creative springboards.
It’s good to talk.
8. Embrace the fun
We love what we do. Working in the creative industry is way more fun than most other jobs we can think of, and our client management team is dedicated to making your experience of working with us exciting, involving and fun, too. So embrace that element of the day-to-day with us. Get involved, celebrate the wins (big or small), and allow us to bring a bit of fun into your working day.
Did somebody say “team night out”…?
What makes our client management team unique?
We get to work with some amazing clients, people who are excited about exploring creative disruption, every single day. We get to know each other on a personal level – one of our previous clients now leads our London studio, how’s that for personal? – and we work collaboratively towards achieving their individual goals, as well as those of the brands they work with. Building this kind of personal connection is a large part of why we love what we do, and what we believe makes our client management team truly unique.
If you’re looking for a new agency partner, get in touch, we’d love to learn more about you and your brand’s challenges.
Equally, if you’re looking for a new challenge and Vault49 sounds like the place for you, check out our latest Careers opportunities in New York and London.
Vault49 Client Management Team