Topsail Group, LLC

Case Histories: Advertising Agency Communications

Case: 1 2 3
  • “Advertising Agency experience makes training of young account managers in a hot agency more relevant”

    Situation

    This very successful advertising agency considers their investment in training of their young account managers a competitive edge. In this case the head of Account Management wanted to improve the past training efforts. Although previous training was conceptual enough, the trainers did not have the in depth experience of ever working in an advertising agency. Topsail has both internal agency experience and client experience. This “other side of the equation” made the training very relevant.

    Solution

    Topsail met with the key people at the agency that were involved with training and constructed a program that used the Topsail Group proven “Skills and Drills” training format. The method included reading and “homework” assignments before the interactive workshop sessions. These workshop sessions introduced “Skills” that were then driven home with various hands on “Drills”. This experiential exercise cements the concepts and insures remembrance and frequent use in the future. Further each individual received a training manual so they had a personal reference of the workshop material and their personal notes. The key was how the personal experience was integrated into the training, using actual examples from everyday agency and client experience. Case histories with relevant connections to what these account managers dealt with everyday and even more. We covered integration of services, Internet trends and the issues facing today’s advertising business and in particular account management and the new responsibilities coming out of all the dislocation in an industry in transition.

    Results

    A comprehensive post workshop measurement was taken by the agency; Topsail Group scored much higher than any past efforts by other consultants. A Group Managing Director involved in the training reported: “Overall, it looks like the attendees really liked the seminar. It seems like their (Topsail) personal expertise was, as we know, very relevant to the industry and therefore made it a good experience, and in general the information, tools and exercises were very helpful.” An account manager attending the workshop: “The workshop was most successful because the consultants have deep-rooted experience and many examples to share.”

  • “Advertising Agency wants to improve presentation skills”

    Situation

    Making presentations with: more creativity, more confidence, more discipline, more enthusiasm, more persuasion, more content, and more strategy was what the CEO wanted for his medium sized Advertising Agency in Manhattan. He wanted it across the entire top level of his employees. Not just account management, but all the departments: creative, direct, media and more.

    Solution

    Topsail delivered an interactive workshops with in depth focus on presentation skills. A valuable bi-product of this effort was the team building that occurred with the participants. Although presentations need individual skills, most advertising agency presentations are delivered by teams of people. Many times the presentations are not viewed as a team exercise and the presentation suffer due to lack of an overall integrated vision of the end deliverable, grand standing or self promoting by some members of the presentation group, lack of coordination between members, inadequate preparation and lack of actual formal rehearsals. Topsail “learn by doing workshop” covered: videotaping of presenters, in depth critiques, how to convey concepts and ideas, presenting creative work, eliminating nervousness, superior organization, engaging the audience, correct body language, eye contact and much more.

    Results

    The CEO was very pleased with the workshop and he was complimentary about Topsail Group’s agency and client advertising experience which made the sessions more relevant. After the workshops were completed the CEO and the COO had an open discussion with all the attendees. They all felt it was worthwhile and they added considerable learning to their personal experience. Importantly they thought Topsail Group moderators initially were so experienced they worried about how they would identify with the audience. On the contrary they had great respect for the depth and energy level of the trainers and their actual experiences and stories of how exciting and well prepared presentations made a significant difference for an advertising agency. Most importantly, the CEO had witnessed a marked improvement in their presentations which resulted in selling better and more creative work to clients and more New Business wins.

  • “How can account managers do better with tough clients?”

    Situation

    The CEO of this Washington DC advertising Agency wanted his account managers to be more effective with their tough clients; since his agency had more than his fair share. He wanted to find techniques his managers could use to avoid needless conflict and abrasion that normally is precipitated by difficult people.

    Solution

    Prior to any engagement with the account managers in a workshop setting, Topsail Group asked for a depiction of the toughest clients and problems facing these account managers. Here are just three examples: “Communication. I have a difficult time getting my client to communicate properly, whether it is needs, issues or desires.” “My largest challenge is dealing with my client’s hot/cold personality. One minute we are praised the next we are degraded. The client’s military mindset crosses the border in agency relations.” “Staying ahead of the curve, beating them to the punch in coming up with creative and effective programs for reaching their goals.” These issues and more were all addressed in open session and many solutions were discussed and acted on. Role playing with Topsail acting as these tough clients was part of the interaction. Trust building was examined, as were methods of working up through the levels of an organization and a set of 20 hard rules to use with tough clients. Another unique part of this program was to bring actual client mindset to the discourse. One of the Topsail Group principals had a career as a client and his perspective on how clients regard advertising agencies and their people was very helpful to complete the picture.

    Results

    Although the theme of this client engagement had to do with tough clients, the by products of this workshop really helped this agency. The CEO believes the tough client workshop and the additional teamwork orientation helped in the overall agency approach to agency client relationships. Further, their tough clients seemed to have more respect for the agency in future dealings. Topsail wished that these tough clients would discontinue being tough; but obviously that did not happen. What did happen however, is the account managers were more proactive with these “toughies” and were better equipped to handle these confrontations professionally rather than just being “caught in the headlights”.

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