A Chat with the Masters of Client Services, Part 1

October 8, 2021

Ok, so we’ve had our talk with TAA’s creative department— you’ve learned a little about who they are, their hopes and dreams, and of course, their favorite colors. It was about time to have a little chat with the other side of TAA, aka the savants of scope, aka the maestros of marketing, aka the bigwigs of branding, aka the prima donnas of positioning— no these aren’t good, and yes I will keep going!

So you might be wondering, what does a brand manager do? The short answer? Everything, or at least most things. The long answer? These guys are the absolute managers of the mayhem that comes with the territory of being part of a successful marketing agency. Managing a brand takes a lot of smaller steps to be successful, and our client services team sees them through til the very end. 

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog, which is filled to the brim with ways for us to brag a little bit and help you out at the same time. Stay up to date with The Abbi Agency and learn how to ditch performance marketing, how to thoroughly audit your website (and why you should), how to enhance your brand’s authentic storytelling, and more!   

What Brand-Managing Things Do You Use In Your Own Lives?

Warren: Managing expectations— I set my own expectations of myself when I enter a situation, so I do apply that to both my clients and my real life.

Connie: The iron triangle!

Chani: This is a good one.

Connie: The iron triangle is the idea that in a project, there are three factors: budget, scope and timeline. You can only choose two— if you lower the budget you get less scope and a longer timeline, et cetera. Just like you can’t marry someone who is nice, handsome and rich. You only get 2 out of the 3 guys, I’m sorry to break it to you!

Ashley: I think something that’s hyper relevant right now is a lot of people are changing jobs, and I was thinking about how I have a lot of friends who are doing the same thing. They’re thinking like, s#!t went down last year and they want to change and reprioritize and reharmonize their lives, and a lot of people are reaching out to me for help with their resumes and reinventing themselves. I think a big part of our job is representation, either way. Either we’re representing the client internally or we’re representing the agency to the client, so I would not be surprised if each and every one of us is that go-to person in our friend group. Like, how many people ask us for resume help? How many people ask for interview tips? It’s because we know how to get messages through when having conversations with the right people and understanding corporate jargon.

Connie: I am the go-to person for all my friends’ resumes.

Ashley: Yeah, for family events I’m the organizer, and we’re all probably that person too!

Chani: I think that in the cross section of brand management and marketing and what you’re doing in your life, it’s less where you are and more what you’re doing and how you do it. It’s sort of a parallel knowing that with Covid, people learned how to work from home or from wherever they are. I think that really, we know that we can go anywhere and tell them, we don’t have to live there to know how to market your destination. It doesn’t matter if we’re there, it just matters if we know how to do it, and we know that we can learn, research and do that job well.

What’s a Misconception That People Have About What You Do?

Warren: That we just tell people what to do and push papers around, and be like, ‘the client says this, go do it.’ That’s not true, because whatever they say we interpret it, we analyze it. If it doesn’t make sense we go back. There’s a lot of communication that happens before it gets to the team. Whatever gets to them is what we massaged or talked through. 

Connie: We’re not just delegators, we’re organizers and facilitators. We add value!

Chani: I think those are definitely two of the biggest ones— we’re not just regurgitating, we’re making sure it makes sense, we’re double checking it against the scope and against other things. We’re organizing it, facilitating it and giving them what might not seem like a devised plan, but actually is.

Ashley: I think it’s easy to forget that a big part of our job is understanding the marketplace, following marketing trends and ensuring that everything is strategically aligned with the clients’ goals. We’re implementing the strategy, and there’s an art to that too.

What’s Been the Biggest Learning Lesson?

Connie: Biggest learning lesson for me has been, it’s always better to get the team 

something rather than waiting until you think your brief or whatever is perfect.

Warren: Also that there are hills to die on, and hills to just leave alone.

Ashley: I agree- you can only do so much, and at the end of the day they’re paying you to do what they want.

Chani: I think over-communication is really important, because you can say it in Slack, you can say it on the phone, you can put it in mavenlink, put it in an email and CC the people it, but you need to get it in writing so that next week when someone says you’ve never had that conversation, you can go back and say well, I gave you a follow up.

Ashley: I think learning to apologize is also really hard, and something I’ve had to do over the course of my career because we represent lots of pieces and parts, and sometimes they don’t always come through. Learning how to represent that while maintaining trust with the client was tough.