Inside FutureBrand: Insights from Christina, Group Account Director

25 November, 2019 Share socially

What is your background and how did you get into branding?

I started on a path to be a lawyer, I revelled in the negotiating, analysis, problem solving and conflict resolution challenges, however always yearned for a greater level of creativity. The search for a more creative environment landed me in advertising, from there it wasn’t long before I realised the juicy part happened before the ad agency came into play – it was creating the brand.

I have been fortunate to work on brands of many different shapes and sizes and regardless of their aesthetic make up what has stood out is the most successful brands have mastered the paradox of being both stable (reliable and efficient) and dynamic (fast and adaptive).

What skills do you need in account management?

In three words - you need to be entrepreneurial, creative and human.

Entrepreneurial in the way we bring and receive value from our clients. While having one eye on the now; evaluating the relationship and executing, one eye must be on the future; anticipating new opportunities and encouraging calculated risks.

Creativity isn’t the skill of one discipline. Just as a strategist and designer are expected to ideate and showcase their expertise, so too should account managers. Meaningfully contributing through industry knowledge, cultural trends and technology is fundamental to the role. Creativity also extends to how we intend to deliver the work, our approach. Creativity is the transformation of ideas into reality and part of this reality is how we deliver the work. Not only in our methodology but how we collaborate and respond to client needs.

Clients hire people; people they want to work with, that align with their values and with whom there is great chemistry. It’s less about managing budgets and timelines and more about conversations and relationships. Yes, the admin and work itself is critical but the best results come from the best relationships.

What does an effective client relationship look like?

It’s a partnership.

An open process that lets clients in. Gone are the days when clients issue a brief, sit back and wait for the final product to be presented. They want to be involved in creating that end product and to see their input contributing to a successful outcome. Just like any good partnership, it’s getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, pursuing frequent and fluent feedback, all with a ‘can-do’ attitude and commitment to the mutual goal.

What are the main challenges of your role? And conversely what excites you about it?

The same thing that challenges me, also excites me. The agility.

No two days are the same and no two clients are the same. Challenges in stakeholder management, budgets, ad hoc requests are inevitable and universal, what excites me is how we come together as a team and craft the best solution. A project’s trajectory takes many twists and turns, it’s how we translate these into opportunities that I find most interesting.

Which project are you most proud of?

Not sure I could pick just one. Regardless of industry or project scope, the projects where we have an opportunity to create a meaningful change are always the most rewarding, but if I have to name names, Guide Dogs. Working with such a well-loved and trusted brand, the challenge is always far greater. Although the external launch is in 2020, the impact of our work has started to manifest itself through internal operations and environments.

What is the culture like at FutureBrand?

It’s a globally connected and people-centered culture with no egos.

For a global agency, we are incredibly dynamic. There is a hunger to learn and trial new approaches supported by decisive decision making. I believe this level of agility is made possible as we are all united by a common purpose – to make great work happen.

Which brands inspire you?

Nike and Red Cross. While opposite ends of the commercial scale they are brands that have a clearly articulated purpose and live it. Through diverse and relevant story telling techniques they explore challenging contemporary topics with conviction. They don’t shy away from the difficult conversations, rather using them as a platform to further stand by their purpose.