What are the challenges facing account managers today? And what does it take to be a great leader? DDB Sydney’s Managing Director and AdSchool course presenter Chiquita King shares her insights and how you can benefit from the upcoming eight-week Account Management for Tomorrow course.

What are some of the challenges facing account managers today?
Selling great work. Protecting great work. Making great work. 
Making great work does not come easy. There are so many stakeholders making decisions that by the time work leaves the agency, it doesn’t look like it did at inception. Our job has always been to ensure our ideas cross borders safely, if not in the state that they were in at the start, then better.
Look at the latest KFC print ad run out of the UK as a great example. The purity of the ad is tangible.
Whilst we face many challenges, this is one we have to master.
This course aims to turn a good account or brand manager into a great leader – what does a leader look like to you and what is your leadership brand?
I’ve always loved Stephen Covey’s definition of leadership. Leadership is a choice not a position. You’ve got to ask what legacy you want to leave behind and let that shape your values and behavior.
I’ve always strived to be someone who serves those around me while being very clear on where we need to head and what it takes to get there.
If you’re well respected, there is no need to exert your authority. How old school and ineffective. I prefer to set the bar high and pave the way for those around me to give the best of themselves in order to succeed. That only happens if they believe that they have something to contribute and that their contribution is valued.
I’ve experienced first-hand what it means to have someone believe in you. You end up giving far more than you ever thought you were capable of and that’s leadership at its best.
How is the evolution of commercial creativity having an impact on account management?
The pressure from our clients to deliver more for less is not new news. The demand for efficiency is ever present. And the tension really prevails when we’re expected to grow agency revenue in the midst of declining budgets.
So we’ve just got to look at it differently. There are always ways to mine additional revenue but those opportunities only make themselves visible when you know what to look for. Knowing what keeps your client up at night and then being creative about how to help solve those problems is what keeps it interesting.
A true partnership transcends procurement demands and helps both client and agency business flourish. While client budgets aren’t what they once were, creativity will always command a price because it delivers results. 
You once said that advertising is about “mass mattering” – what do you mean by this?
I’ve always believed that creativity changes the world for the better. We can sometimes take our skill for granted. When applied appropriately, we can do so much more than shift product off shelves. We can shape culture. We can change behaviour.
What can students expect from the Account Management for Tomorrow course?
I think this course is about reminding people you have to be invested in the industry and love what you do. It’s not just about upskilling to be comfortable with new media platforms, digital disruption and new channels. It’s about knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what you want to be doing with your life.
Advertising is not a career void of purpose. It’s quite the opposite. This course gives you the confidence to go the distance and while the industry has changed significantly over the last three decades, the art of Account Management has never been more pivotal to agency success.