More than 15 years of experience, in agencies such as BETC and TBWA, Maud-Emilie has supported various advertisers: Cetelem, Nina Ricci, PMU, GMF, Côte d’Or, Leerdammer, beIN Sports, Essilor, Allianz, Nokia… . on different topics: brand platform and campaign deployment, locally or internationally. Today, Maud-Emilie puts her strategic vision and 360° skills to good use at Herezie.
LBB> How did you get involved in account management and what appealed to you?
Maud-Emilie> The first time, it was pure chance.
I needed an internship. A small advertising agency was looking for an assistant project manager and everything clicked.
The two young talents I worked with came from EURO RSCG (formerly Havas Worldwide). I saw everything through their eyes and their stories, an exciting, demanding profession and a touch of madness. I got into it right away.
LBB> What about your personality, skills and experience made account management such a good choice?
Maud-Emilie> Relationships with others. When I work on a project, I like to deal with the components of each (character, desires, fears). You have to find the right mix so that everyone moves forward together, in the right direction and at the right pace. And dab when necessary.
LBB> What advice would you give to someone starting their career in account management?
Without listening to customers, we cannot perceive what is hidden behind their requests or their words.
Without listening to the talents around us, we cannot understand the different positions and their needs.
In my opinion, listening is the basis of everything, before being able to move on to reflection and action.
LBB> Thinking back to some of the toughest experiences you’ve had in your career, what do you think tends to be at the heart of the most strained or difficult client-agency relationships?
Maud-Emilie> Exactly that – the lack of listening… to each other.
I think of the agency-client relationship as a team that needs to move forward together to tear things apart.
When listening is broken on one side or the other, the team no longer works and that is when tensions arise.
LBB> And what are the keys to building a productive and healthy relationship?
Maud-Emilie> Understanding, sharing of clear objectives, organization, transparency, respect, not being afraid of challenges. And above all… have fun doing what you do.
LBB> What is your view on disagreement and emotion – is there a place for it and if not, why not? If so, why – and what does a productive disagreement look like?
Maud-Emilie > Is there a place for that? Sure!
These are two legitimate feelings that are necessary to give life to beautiful projects. In a business that revolves around people, we would be nothing without emotion. Who would we be if we tried to reach our consumers emotionally, without putting emotion into the production of the work ourselves?
Disagreement, as long as it is constructive, pushes us to go further, to see things differently and often for the better.
LBB> Historically, account management has been characterized as the mediator in an adversarial and creative customer relationship – what do you think of this characterization, is there a nugget of truth in it or is it wildly inaccurate?
Maud-Emilie> In fact, I find it a bit reductive. Of course, this is a situation that can happen but there are so many others, and much more positive!
LBB> Agencies these days go far beyond traditional campaigns and as account managers you bring together creative, experience, data, e-commerce, social media and more – and that complexity can often also be reflected on the customer stakeholder side? What is the key to navigating (and helping the customer navigate) through this complexity?
Maud-Emilie> An account manager is never alone with all these skills. They are surrounded by specialists in these different fields. Once the decision maker(s) have been identified, the team can move in the same direction to achieve the same goal.
Very often, nowadays, customers are also structured this way.
LBB> Which recent projects are you most proud of and why? What was difficult about these projects from an account management perspective and how did you overcome these challenges? What was so satisfying about working on these projects?
Maud-Emilie> The first project that comes to mind is a campaign for a well-known brand of sauces. I had never known clients so attentive and understanding of our needs and our constraints. It was truly an example of successful collaboration “as one team”.
The second project is a public health campaign where our interlocutors were not in the business at all. It was satisfying to see how we were able to bring them into our world and how everyone’s expertise complemented each other for an unparalleled result.