WeAreSocial's witty cup of tea
Despite city temptations, I am being academic while in London. After bringing my U.S. research to a close, I started again in the U.K. In a nutshellmy research looks at how an agency builds and maintains a relationship with its client.
From what I have googled and am now noticing as my class goes to different lectures is that the structure of an agency and its account service role is almost identical. The position titles and hierarchy may be slightly different but generally these departments operate the same either side of the Atlantic. Their main goal is to keep the client happy and in the know. Or, as George Terry from WeAreSocial put it, they "get shit done."
WeAreSocial is a social media agency that seems to be a hybrid of public relations and advertising. While there I was able to peek at my first U.K. agency and see how they operate.
Surprisingly, this agency andMarcusThomas both radiated a similar vibe. The fun, quirky and random lifestyle is what drew me to advertising initially, so I'm glad to see the same outside of the United States.
While listening to various presentations, I picked out insights that the account representatives mentioned. Helen Simpson, who works on theHeinz Beans account, started to describe the relationship she has with her client.
"The people that run [Heinz Beanz] are a bit mad themselves, so they get where we're coming from."
Many of my U.S. contacts stressed the importance of finding a client that matches the agency's personality, which is what Helen said allows her to get the "build your own bean" ideas approved by the client. They match the client's personality.
John Crozier, an account representative for Adidas, mentioned the #1 buzz word from the U.S. research - trust. He explained that in order to get a client to trust the agency, the team must present recommendations to clients that are backed with proof explaining why it will work.
John and George stressed the importance of having passion for what you do. At WeAreSocial, people are placed in jobs fit for their interests. Both men also exhibited a massive amount of knowledge on Adidas (while sporting Adidas sneakers). This reminded me of Wendy and Jason explaining the importance of living a brand and becoming the client.
During the rest of my stay, I plan to visit other agencies and talk to account representatives. So far, I have predictions as to what I will find different
What Am I Looking for?
I am on a quest to find out how qualitative research fits into account planning. I am conducting not only secondary research, but I am also conducting interviews with professionals who can give me some insider insight.
In my effort to learn more about the role of qualitative research in account planning, I spoke with Wendy Wardell, the advertising account management professor at Kent State University. Interviewing Wendy was a great place for me to start my search for more information because she has a lot of account management experience.
After talking to Wendy, I am very curious/excited to find out if these practices are the same in the U.K.
I am in the process of setting up two other interviews. I briefly spoke to Sue Stabe who is the Director of Insights and Account Planning at The Adcom Group. Sue has a lot of experience and knowledge with qualitative research. I look forward to interviewing her later this week. I also aim to interview Phil Johnston who is the Senior Vice President/Planning at Marcus Thomas.