Marketers struggle to ‘energise’ in-house creatives


In-house agencies promise many benefits for brands, including brand knowledge, cost efficiencies and agility, but a new study highlights how management finds it difficult to keep creative teams energized and worries about attracting top-tier creative talent.

The findings, which come in a new report from the ANA, Boston Consulting Group and law firm Reed Smith, reinforce the arguments of those who have avoided going down this route.

As Burger King CMO Fernando Machado pointed out in WARC’s Marketers’ Toolkit at the turn of last year: “From my experience, they [creatives]need to be thinking about more than one thing at the same time as they get really bored … I would be afraid of bringing these guys in and turning them into us. I don’t think that we would get the best outcome when it comes to creative if I did that.”

His fears appear well founded. Keeping in-house agency talent energized was a concern among 63% of respondents in the ANA survey of 111 members; attracting them in the first place was also an issue for 44%.

The Managing In-House Agency Creative Content and Legal Concerns report identified two more issues that are on the radar: applying key marketing processes (cited by 37%); and having healthy creative tension (19%).

But those brands that have adopted in-housing are also developing strategies to address the concomitant problems.

The study revealed how they are having creative talent work with multiple internal stakeholders/brands to expose them to a wide array of challenges and they are giving internal creative teams particularly challenging projects that will stretch their skills and capabilities.

Having creative talent cover multiple brands spanning categories also assists the recruitment process. And the creation of virtual teams can help attract talent in less competitive markets – an approach that enables management to identify the right talent in the right location while also maintaining a competitive structure.

Purely practical factors are also in play, according to the ANA: in-house teams can promise job security and better working hours. And creative ideas and concepts developed in-house are more likely to actually be produced than ideas emanating from an external agency.

Sourced from ANA; additional content by WARC staff

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