What the heck is client relations?
As it stands today, Imagine is split into three different departments: Graphics, Media Relations and Client Relations. The first two are pretty straightforward, but the last tends to send people for a loop. So, what is client relations? I am so glad you asked!
The client relations department is the home to our account managers, who oversee the day-to-day activity of our client accounts as well as serve as the “face” of the agency to our clients and vendors. As silly as it may sound, it actually took Imagine 14 years to settle on the title of “account manager,” and there is a very good reason for it. As account managers, we do much more than just manage accounts. We are counselors, supporters, brand champions and strategic implementers. We are media buyers, social media gurus, business consultants and cheerleaders. We don’t just serve as messengers to deliver the client’s requests. In fact, I would say, more accurately, we are mind readers, interpreters and strategic thinkers. We are not here just to say “yes” to a client and see a project through; we are the champions of each project and make sure it is the right tactic in an overall master plan.
Here’s an example. Recently, while meeting with a client, I realized there was a communication problem within their organization. Many people were unsure of what role they played, and this often led to frustration on many levels. After many conversations and a lot of listening, I took pen to paper and developed this beautiful image. Ok, maybe it’s not beautiful, but what was beautiful was the look on my client’s face (after she laughed) when she realized that we get it.
So, this is a very long explanation to get to the point that account managers are part of the client relations department because they do more than just see projects through. We get in our clients’ heads (when they allow it), and we strive to solve problems that they don’t have the time to – or, frankly, might be too close to even see.
And, one last thing I just can’t leave out when explaining what we do: Though account managers serve as the faces of Imagine, we are not alone. We have an amazing team that takes our ideas to the next level to truly make our clients shine. Our media relations and graphics teams, coupled with our amazing support staff, are the ones who take our understanding of each client and marry it with traffic-stopping messaging – whether that be the written word or graphic design. Proof of this is what happened after I submitted my crude drawing to our graphics team. Is it magic? I think so.
Megan Neri serves as Director of Client Relations at Imagine Communications. Click here to email Megan.