Thursday, August 23, 2007

Unsung Heroes

As a kid, I remember leafing through the pages of magazines, studying the ads first and then reading the content. It was pretty clear I would end up in advertising some day. And what a brilliant time it's been so far!

However, upon reading an article by Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO of Brand-comm, I could strongly relate to what he was trying to say. He mentions an executive at his office who single-handedly organized a product launch for a client and yet the client didn't have a single word of praise for her. Disappointed, she left not only the agency but also the advertising business.

"People who have the capability to create history for their clients shouldn't end up consigned to the forgotten realms of history", says Sridhar.

Reminds me of the umpteen instances where young Account Executives (AEs) exceed expectatons on the agency/ clients' businesses. And in the event of success, more often that not, the client pats only the Account Manager/ Creative Director's back.

Account Executives are the 'Unsung Heroes' in the Marketing Communications' business.

They do the most amount of work at any agency and yet they are given the least amount of respect/ importance. Somehow, most seniors in the industry feel "AEs can be easily replaced".

Yea right! And these are the same seniors who keep ranting about a talent crunch in the business!

Try these steps to make a difference:

#01: Pay AEs better.
#02: Big deal if they don't have MBAs. Give them a chance. you'll be surprised how well the passionate ones will perform!
#03: Give them more respect!
#04: If your agency doesn't have a Planning department, empower your AEs with some planning skills. They'll love it and it'll work wonders for the brand/ creative product.
#05: Listen to them
#06: Encourage/ Motivate them to 'think'
#07: Pat their backs when their work is impressive
#08: Mentor them
#09: Try and give them a breather sometimes (You know how to use the photocopier/ fax machine too, right?)
#10: Give the AEs performance based incentives for heaven's sake.

To all the Account Executives around the world, Respect!

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