Account vs. Creative: Win the battle

It’s an age-old rivalry. Screaming matches, dirty looks, jokes at the expense of the other team. No I’m not talking about sports; I’m talking about Account vs. Creative. The great divide between those who create and those who organize can be huge. But here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be. All you need is one little word. Empathy.

Most of the time when I see problems between creative and account, it usually stems from both sides not fully understanding what the other has to do to complete a project. Account thinks creative can come up with fully blown out concepts in no time and creative thinks account sits on information until the last minute. Obviously these things aren’t true, but it is easy to fall into the trap of assuming someone else isn’t doing their job.

Part of being a great account person is not only knowing your job responsibilities, but the responsibilities of those who are doing work for you. The better you know their process, the better you can plan for a project’s workload. It will not only help your relationship with your creative team, but will also help when you are planning with your clients.

So what are some simple ways to start doing this?

1. Start by asking questions. Ask your Art Director and Copywriter what their process is and how long they need for their steps.

2. Learn to compromise on timing. You know your clients deadlines and it’s about fitting all the pieces into that timeline. Also, know when to raise a timing concern with your manager. If creative is pushing back hard on a timeline there might be justification to ask for more time. Just know that most of the time, that deadline isn’t going to get pushed and you’re going to be the bad guy. Buck up friend – sometimes that’s just the price we pay for being on the account side.

3. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. There’s some wise truth behind that southern idiom. People are always going to be more willing to work with you if you are polite and considerate. This is a high-stress industry, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk.

So take that extra time to understand what you are asking people to do, they are going to appreciate because at the end of the day everyone wants to feel like what they have to do matters. Watch how your relationships change and how much easier it becomes to cross the battle lines.

Dear Joan

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