What it is like being an account lead in Swing
What is an Account Lead?
The Swing Agency works with multiple clients throughout the semester, and this spring, we are working with five clients. Each client is in close contact with an account lead and an associate lead, who relay the client's goals and objectives to the rest of the team and strategize on how to achieve them. The account lead is the primary contact between the client and the agency and must monitor weekly goals to ensure the team is actively working towards the client's objectives.
What are the Responsibilities of an Account Lead?
This semester I am the account lead of our client, Soul Balm Sisters. Soul Balm Sisters is a beauty and wellness e-commerce brand that makes and sells self-care-oriented products like bath balms, shower steamers, skin oils and butters, and more. At the beginning of the semester, each client receives a proposal- the goals and objectives they desire - filtered through a public relations lens and broken down into various strategies, action points, and monthly or weekly milestones. As an account lead, I was responsible for communicating clearly to the client how each strategy would result in the company being one step closer to its desired outcome.
In order to stay on track, we have occasional Zoom meetings with Soul Balm Sisters, for which I prepare a meeting agenda, lead the discussion, and send any documents or files needed with a summary of what was discussed. This has helped me with my confidence and given me much-needed practice communicating clearly with clients and fellow team members.
Being a team member for other clients allows for interesting learning opportunities; where if I see something I admire about another account lead, whether it be how they delegate work or set up their weekly deliverables, I will try to implement it for Soul Balm Sisters.
Part of being an account lead, in my experience, is balancing the amount of work from multiple clients and being able to take away bits and pieces you deem effective and try them with your client and team members. Balancing the work between assigning weekly deliverables to the team and completing the deliverables assigned to me as a team member on other clients has been an invaluable learning process, especially while enrolled in other courses.
My favorite part of being an account lead is being able to watch and be at the forefront of achieving and working toward the objectives. As an account lead, I have created social content, written newsletter content, designed newsletter content, pitched to media contacts, coordinated with potential influencers, and have become more well-rounded as a student looking to work at an agency in the future.
How to Become an Account Lead
Before the semester started, I wasn't sure if I was up to the task of managing a client, but I knew that I saw myself working at an agency in the future, and I wanted to take the opportunity to see what that would be like. Before being an account lead, I had no prior experience managing clients or using my education in the public relations field outside the classroom. I did not have prior internship experience and was worried about my lack of experience in the 'real world.'
Although initially nervous, after speaking with Professor Semple and learning the responsibilities entailed, I told her I would be interested in being considered for the position. If I knew what I know now about being an account lead, I would never have hesitated to request to be one.
No prior experience is needed to be an account lead; either way, a lot will be learned and refined along the way.
What Have I Learned as an Account Lead?
As someone with no prior internship or job experience, being an account lead allowed me to learn how to delegate work to team members and manage my time to meet my and other account leads' weekly objectives.
Learning how to prioritize what the client wants, what the swing agency can do, what is on everyone's plate for the week, and communicating the plan to move forward, is something I am still refining, but grateful to have the opportunity to refine before I graduate and enter the field. I learned how to tailor my communication skills based on individual team members and clients. Being a team member on other accounts has also taught me how to delegate work to fellow account leads who may have a busy week and not just prioritize my client but work together as an agency to complete the goals for every client we have at this time. This is an experience that I cannot value enough.
As the semester comes to a close, I am grateful I did not let my insecurity about my lack of experience hold me back from this opportunity. Overall, being an account lead is an experience everyone should do. There is no reason not to - anything one may feel hesitant or uncomfortable with will only improve and strengthen throughout the semester alongside Hofstra peers you most likely already know from previous courses.