A Day in the Life of James Tollington, Senior Account Manager, Fuse Sport + Entertainment

James Tollington

What does a Senior Account Manager do?

Advise on strategy, lead activation and evaluate sponsorships & partnerships for brands to help meet business objectives. One of the great things about my role is how versatile the remit is – a Monday morning you may be leading a team on a strategy presentation, or it may equally involve managing brand ambassadors at a film or photoshoot.  


Can you lead us through a timeline of a typical day in the office?

My current role is to manage Nissan’s sponsorship of Team GB & ParalympicsGB, and I’ll usually plan to spend at least an hour each day meeting with or talking to the client - either to update them on a specific project or to get their approval on a proposal. My time is then divided between working closely with colleagues to plan activation points (including content/experiential/staff engagement), or meeting with partners to discuss those plans. There are usually a few ad hoc requests needing immediate attention as well. One of the great things about Fuse Sport + Entertainment is the breadth of different activations and partnerships being managed within the team, so I’ll often attend creative sessions to help come up with ideas for other clients too.


How do you become a Senior Account Manager?

Being part of Omnicom Media Group, quite a few ‘Fusers’ have joined from companies within the group, including myself. I came from a media planning background, having worked within one of the group’s media agencies, which I’ve found to be beneficial as it gives you a good sense of how partnerships fit within a brand’s overall marketing strategy. Others have joined from different marketing disciplines & agencies within the sport & entertainment world, giving the team a nice mix of skillsets. There are often graduate roles available at Fuse too, which may start out as temporary but can quickly turn into something permanent.


What are the qualities needed to be a Senior Account Manager and what have you learned since being in the role (challenges/opportunities)?

First and foremost we work with some amazing brands and organisations, so a strong interest in sport or entertainment (preferably both!) will mean you get the most out of the role. Aside from that, it’s important to build a rapport with clients and partners, so being personable is a must. Your ability to manage a team is vital, as you’ll spend a lot of time in meetings and juggling multiple projects. At a senior account manager level, you’ll also need strong project management skills and excellent attention to detail. I’ve learned that while it’s a very competitive industry to enter, once you are in very few people leave - which is testament to a sector that is fast-paced and rewarding.    


Can you tell us about a project/task within your sponsorship career that you have particularly enjoyed?

I’ve been lucky enough to attend some great events in a working capacity, particularly in sport & music. My highlight of 2014 was working with Olympic medallist Jenny Jones & creative agency TBWA on a snowboard film shoot for the Nissan Juke. While a trip to Verbier may sound glamourous, the weather problems and tight schedules we encountered made it an extremely challenging week, but we were very proud of the end result – a great film which shows how a brand can use a partnership to tell a product message in a dynamic way.

Fuse Sport + Entertainment is a leading sport and entertainment agency, part of the Omnicom Media Group. We create inspiring partnerships and experiences for brands. We are proud to have won UK Sponsorship Awards 'Consultancy of the Year' two years in a row, 2014 & 2015. We have over 75 staff in the UK and 170+ across Europe. Current clients include Vodafone, Disney, Royal London, Gatorade, McDonald’s, Google, HTC, Nissan, Intel, Virgin Media, Waitrose, John Lewis, Starbucks, Pepsi, Specsavers and Visa

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