Gear Seven/Arc Studios/Shift
I Like Music
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

The Art of Account Management: Nyron Fauconier on Bringing People's Ideas to Life


Jack Morton's vice president, senior account director on having an analytical mindset, puzzles and the joys of interacting with people

The Art of Account Management: Nyron Fauconier on Bringing People's Ideas to Life

Nyron Fauconier is vice president, senior account director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a leading global experiential marketing agency. Nyron is a proud supporter of HBCUs and is a double HBCU alumnus of Xavier University of Louisiana (BA) and Clark Atlanta University (MBA). 

LBB> How did you first get involved in account management and what appealed to you about it?

Nyron> Twelve years ago, a client encouraged me to interview for an account management position based on a project I was working on from the analytics side. She believed that, in addition to my analytics experience, my background in sports marketing and my communications expertise made me a good fit for the role. 

What sold me on the account management role was being able to bring people’s ideas to life using my analytical mindset. I also appreciate being able to experience the in-person work on site, which is only possible through collaborating closely with clients and colleagues from all areas of the business. 

LBB> What is it about your personality, skills and experience that has made account management such a great fit?

Nyron> I like people. Being able to interact with people and get to know and understand them brings me joy. I always learn something when interacting with people directly. This also ties back to my time playing sports: everyone has a position and a role, and we all must work together to achieve the same goal. As former football coach Herm Edwards said, “We play to win the game.” 

I also like puzzles, and an account manager solves them for a living. Sometimes, the puzzle is straightforward (less than 50 pieces); other times, it’s complicated (more than 5,000 pieces). And sometimes, the puzzle we set out to solve reveals a different, more important issue that needs to be addressed. That range of scope appeals to me.

LBB> What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting their career in account management?

Nyron> Know who you are and stay true to yourself. When you’re in account management, you can lose your perspective if you focus on doing only what the client or the agency wants to do, instead of ensuring what’s best for the overall business. 

Your job is to keep the brand’s consumers central to the work and stay mindful of the business’ goals and objectives. That may mean you’ll have to defend your opinions, using analytics and documented experience to back them up.

LBB> Thinking back to some of your most challenging experiences you’ve had in your career, what do you think tends to lie at the heart of the more tense or difficult client-agency relationships?

Nyron> In my experience, client-agency relationships rely on clear communication, empathetic understanding and true trust, guided by mutual business goals and objectives. If any one of those areas is at a deficit, tensions will rise. 

LBB> And what are the keys to building a productive and healthy relationship?

Nyron> As I said before, the keys are communication, which builds understanding, which in turn creates trust. Look, all relationships have disagreements from time to time, but when you communicate empathetically, it’s easier for the other person to understand and trust your motives – and perhaps align with your approach.

If you don’t have those three keys, it doesn’t make a difference how right you are. Trust is all an account has; if it’s gone, the account is, too. 

LBB> What’s your view on disagreement and emotion - is there a place for it and if not, why not? If so, why - and what does productive disagreement look like?

Nyron> Of course, there will be disagreements in this job, or any job! That’s good: it shows that people are emotionally invested in the work and, hopefully, want it to be the best it can be. (I’ve never seen an award-winning project that didn’t have any conflict.) It’s all in how you acknowledge and address differences to move the conversation in a positive and effective direction. I like to call that 'productive disagreement.'

Productive disagreement inspires curiosity. It makes us ask ourselves and others, 'Why?' Why do I feel this way? Why do they want what they want? Why are these particular things important? These questions challenge our thoughts and opinions and help to clear common ground so we can move forward together. Being open to productive disagreement is central to mutual trust and clear communication.

LBB> Historically, account management has been characterised as the mediator in an adversarial client and creative relationship. What do you make of that characterisation: is there any nugget of truth in that or is it wildly inaccurate?

Nyron> There is truth to that since we’re always dealing with different personalities and passions. You need to ensure everyone is being heard and everybody understands why certain decisions are being made. You also need to make sure folks know that just because we hear you doesn’t mean we agree with you: like I said before, we must do what’s right for the business.

LBB> These days, agencies do so much beyond traditional campaigns, and as account management you’re pulling together creative, experience, data, e-commerce, social and more. That complexity can often be mirrored on the client stakeholder side too, What’s the key to navigating (and helping the client navigate) that complexity?

Nyron> One of the primary attributes of the agency is to support clients to cut through all the craziness, to help them accomplish their goals in line with their company’s policies, processes and other priorities. Sometimes, the agency’s team members work on an account longer than the people on the client side, and our tenure provides continuity and perspective. Through it all, you as the account manager have to demonstrate that you’re the client’s ally. 

LBB> What recent projects are you proudest of and why? What was challenging about these projects from an account management perspective and how did you address those challenges? What was so satisfying about working on these projects?

Nyron> It would have to be “What Do You Play For?”, an international program that ran for more than five years for our client, Global Chevrolet. The primary objective was to celebrate the passion behind playing sports and how that passion can impact one’s life and the surrounding community. 

The main challenge was learning all the laws and rules for the various countries where we did activations. Attempting to do the same activity in all locations was problematic, because what was okay in one country might not be in others, so we worked with a team that included SMEs for each market to ensure we could move forward. Also, each market had its own cultural norms for communicating and doing business. I took some time to ensure all parties were on the same page by focusing on - you guessed it - communications, understanding and trust. Because of those efforts, everything fell into place nicely. 

Over the course of “What Do You Play For?”, our team positively affected over two million lives worldwide. We accomplished this by providing state-of-the-art facilities to ensure communities could play safely and have an outlet to cope with the negative circumstances they dealt with daily. We also amplified the importance of young girls playing sports. Research by Ernst & Young shows that 94 percent of C-suite women played sports growing up. To highlight that fact, the team created videos about the industries the girls in the program were interested in and connected them to mentors within those fields. 

I was proud that the program had such a far-reaching positive impact, and the fact that that our efforts earned more than 10 industry awards meant a lot to me. 


view more - People
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
Jack Morton US, Tue, 24 Jan 2023 10:04:23 GMT