In-house? Outsource? Both?
In a time where working practices can be more flexible than working hours, it’s a time when every business can rewrite the rulebook and flex their style.
Over the last few years there has been numerous times that we have observed client businesses switching between having an internal creative studio and having an agency supplier.
Obviously there are pros and cons of each, blah, blah. You know the rest.
But the ultimate goal is mutual. The end result of creative, relevant, targeted, strategic marketing communications that engage with customers. Both those current and those you are yet to win over.
So, here’s a few thoughts starters, trying not to be too biased towards the agency side of things!
Brand and Company Culture
In-house teams are immersed in the brand they work for. The good and the not so good. They can utilise their passion and affinity for their company to create truthful messages, tone of voice and brand essence in their communication pieces. This raises the importance to a company, of having a great internal brand culture. Ensuring that people buy into it, understand it, then live the company vision and aspirations.
We hope that any internal team ‘gets’ what their brand is all about, and that they really want other people to get it too. They’ll work hard to convey the reasons why it’s such a great product or service. Then wish to convince and convert prospects to their belief in what they are selling.
But, it’s still just the one brand culture. Input and influence from other brands and campaigns, perhaps may not affect thinking and creativity as much as it could, if there were to be a larger resource from which they could draw inspiration. Group Think is all well and good, as long as everyone is thinking in the right direction and that the brand culture, motivation and message is challenged regularly.
Corporate practices are very different to 20 years ago. Still, meetings, formality and process can dominate the daily proceedings. A great question to ask of a company culture is: Does it promote and encourage innovation and creativity? Indeed, does it appreciate the thinking time from which ideas are born?
A creative culture knows that whilst ideas can come like a spark of inspiration, it can take time to get there. Agency practices afford time to thinking. Time spent drinking coffee in a library or museum, without the distractions of email and a singular mental responsibility, furthers the process of understanding a brief and the development of original and creative ideas. So if you see a creative director sat in a park, looking at the sky with a caramel cappuccino in hand. He’s working hard, believe me!
Brand and company cultures both need to be conducive towards their ultimate goal. Sometimes that might be managing the marketing process, other times creating the ideas on which a process can be based.
So in short, like all things, there’s a balance to be found. Within the responsibilities of a marketing team, there is a requirement to value creativity, to challenge current perceptions and to understand the time that it takes to develop original thinking.
Whether that is an internal team task, an external agency engagement, or a combination of both, is a choice that lies with senior marketing management and procurement departments. Overall investment, brand buy-in and process management will all appear in a ‘in-house vs external agency’ decision matrix.
If we can leave you with a thought or two on which to muse over if you’re currently considering your options, it would be these: It’s probably ideas that change the world. Where do they come from and what value do they hold? And finally, how best can I create a culture of creativity whether it’s with internal or external resources.
Over to you. Best of luck.