“So, what do you do?”
It’s a question I get asked all the time (sometimes even by my own family). I’m constantly trying to find a way to capture what account service is, to explain what it is we do all day. There are all kinds of metaphors that try to clarify it–plate spinning, cat herding, etc.–but they all sell the job short.
Perhaps there’s inspiration for how to answer this question in the animal kingdom. This recent Ad Age piece considers the evolution of the role and suggests a different image for today’s account manager: the curious octopus, “infinitely inquisitive and multi-disciplined, chock full of lateral thinking and collaboration.”
With a big brain, three hearts, eight strong arms, and a knack for navigating tight spaces, there’s a lot to like about the octopus–minus the whole squishy invertebrate thing. A backbone is pretty important in this job, so maybe there’s another animal that could be a fit?
Like the hummingbird, with its incredible speed and massive memory. A hummingbird knows every flower in its territory, remembering which are blooming and which have nectar. Not unlike the way account managers need to keep all the details and nuances of each client top of mind, every day, as we move from project to project.
Or one of my co-workers suggested that we’re like communications chameleons in the way we adapt and adjust to our surroundings. Whether we’re in a formal client presentation or a quick check-in with the creative, media, or strategy teams–we have to quickly read the room and find the most effective way to communicate.
Honestly, the answer lies in blending all these qualities–the strategic thinking and multi-tasking of the octopus, the speed and attention to detail of the hummingbird, and the adaptability of the chameleon. Which makes for a weird-looking octohummeleon, but a great account manager.
Have a spirit-animal-tastic weekend, everyone!
-Your grrrmeowwoofmoo friends at Brokaw.