This week I had the pleasure of speaking to Lucy Kozak, a long time Account Manager who previously worked at G2 before moving to Fallon this year. In this interview we discussed how she broke into the advertising industry and what her keys tips are on how to become an Account Manager, great for all you future Advertising graduates out there.
Like most of us graduates, Lucy’s career all began from an internship, so there really is no one better to seek advice and tips from than someone who has done it from the ground up and is now at one of the largest ad agencies in the world. For those who aren’t yet familiar with Fallon, they are the agency behind the Skoda Cake and Sony Bravia ‘Balls’ and ‘Paint’ adverts – to name but a few. I actually made a list of my favourite 5 adverts from Fallon, take a look and see the ads for yourself.
1. What is your day to day role?
I am an Account Manager and the accounts I handle are Cadbury and Cheesestrings. I manage the daily running of brands across my accounts, working closely with the Project Managers to ensure timings plans are in place and being followed.
During the conceptual phase of a project, we review creative work internally with the Project Managers and the Creative Team / Planners and present to the client on a weekly basis, usually before the creative is signed off for production. During the production of a TV or print ad, I work closely with the producer to each project to ensure things are progressing as they should and that client feedback is being incorporated. Any client requests come through us, so it’s important for us that expectations are managed carefully – we can’t always say “yes” or “yes we can get that done for you now“. It’s important we build a good partnership with each and every client – trust is essential.
2. How did you get to where you are now?
I was lucky in that I have close family members in the industry, so I was always aware and exposed to the creative world. However, it wasn’t until I was in my last year at uni (studying Politics at Nottingham) that I decided I wanted to go into advertising and become an Account Manager.
I applied for a lot of graduate schemes and got nowhere. After persistent emailing, I managed to get myself work experience during my uni holidays (BD Network first, then G2 Joshua). During a weeks work experience at G2, I was offered a role as an Account Executive for when I finished university, which was fantastic! I was noticed because despite not being paid, I was in the office from 8am talking with people and being as helpful as possible; from making tea, organising cupboards to putting presentations together. I then had three interviews on one day and got the job!
It was massively a case of being in the right place at the right time, but you shouldn’t forget that people are always watching you’re doing work experience or internships, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
3. What was the biggest challenge you faced to get to where you are now?
During my first role, I worked on a very male orientated piece of business. During my first week, a client made a joke to my male boss about the reason for hiring me (hinting that it was due to my appearance). This was a shock to me as I very naively thought, coming fresh out of university, that these kinds of comments didn’t have a place in the modern work environment. It was a shock and challenge to my perceptions, but it only inspired me to work harder and be the best I could be to prove myself. To lead by example. The industry houses many extremely bright and successful women, which is incredibly inspiring as a young female.
4. What do Fallon look for from future Account Managers?
I am extremely proud to be part of the Fallon family. Fallon Account Managers need to be ‘doers’. They are efficient, hard working and strategically minded. They must use their initiative to get stuff done! They must be passionate about what they do and the creative industry they work in. Where possible, it is important to be entrepreneurial, even if it’s hosting a bake off to boost morale!
“Put the hours in at the beginning of your career, volunteer for additional work and be up for anything.”
5. What advice would you give to budding Account Managers?
Everyone told me to put the hours in at the beginning of my career, to volunteer for additional work and be “up for anything”, which I think still stands true. If you put the work in, you will be rewarded for it. However, I think it is important not to burn out. It’s super easy for enthusiasm and drive to take over what’s good for your body and mind, especially as a grad who will do anything it takes to succeed. It is important to strike a balance, especially once you’ve established your role within a company or team.
6. Are there any steps you would recommend to become an Account Manager?
Try and do work experience when you can. At uni you get a lot of time off and this time should be spent wisely. Keep up to date with the latest ad campaigns, anyone going into advertising should be able to talk about what they like and dislike about ads, why they think it works or not – this is always discussed in interviews so be prepared! Think about how campaigns work through the line (e.g. as event or digital) not simply TV. As a grad, you probably don’t have any real experience, even if you’ve done work placements, so you’ve just got to be eager to learn. You’re not expected to know how to do things, so you can only impress if you do a great job – this is the only time in your career you’ll be in this position.
7. What as been your career highlight so far?
Seeing my first TV ad (which I pretty much managed on my own) on TV. The process wasn’t perfect, but we got there in the end and I learned heaps!
I also got flown to Dubai on my own to drop off some research stimulus to a client for a weekend, which was also pretty cool.