The growth of In-House Agencies needs collaboration with a new set of specialist partners

One of the dangers in the exponential growth of In-House Agencies is that they could end up replicating the very thing they are replacing … the 20th Century model of teams and specialists all over the world – so duplicating effort, adding layers of politics and increasing the costs they’ve taken out of their processes!

There is another way! Working with a new set of specialist partners, that have collaboration as part of their DNA and a passion for quality in their own part of the brand’s needs, will significantly enhance the power of In-House Agencies.

Brands mustn’t replace the slow, legacy production delivery networks with a new one of their own!

This article looks at the growth of In-House Agencies for Global Brands and explores why they should still collaborate with best in class external partners to ensure they maximise the effectiveness of their worldwide communications.

What’s caused this growth?

Firstly, let’s review why In-House Agencies are growing so fast (55% of Global Brands have added them in past 10 years*). Clearly part of the answer is the complexity of today’s Marketing – digital content, channels & programmatic, the rise of proprietary Big Data and the decline of the influence of big Holding Company networks.

The Benefits of today’s In-House Capability have expanded from the early drivers of cost reduction and speed to market, to include significantly increasing the knowledge of the brand, the target audiences and company processes; having talent that is really dedicated rather than a mythical Agency FTE percentage; and also to have full transparency of the work and costs of their delivery (vs. working for the traditional model’s true master (the Holding Company’s P&L). By holding the brand and customer knowledge, and creating assets centrally, a Global Brand is able to produce marketing content and assets more efficiently than ever before. With the rise of Big Data driven media planning also coming in house, Global Brands can now decode the best channels to get these assets to their audiences at the right price more often than ever before.

Unaffordable legacy costs and slow, traditional processes have punished and pummelled the 20th Century model of a Big Global Brand with a single Global Agency partner. So Global Brands now look for partners to their In-House Agency teams that have the right processes, expertise and focus to deliver value of quality AND cost.

What kind of Partners?

Global Brands are bringing many capabilities in house (ranging from digital design, advertising, and sales collateral to video production, social media, media planning) – and are now adding Programmatic advertising (such as EA, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nationwide, JLR, Target*). At the same time, all Brands with In-House Agencies say they expect to continue to collaborate with external partners.

The best partners are smaller, more agile and focussed on doing one thing really well. Fantastic Creative Strategy. Insightful real time Audience analytics. Multi Country film production. Those parts of the process that are inherently creative and difficult to replicate. And there are specialists that can help Brands do the same when delivering communication assets globally too.

Some In-House Agencies are starting to build local teams that focus on local implementation. But having lost the original global agency with their local market reach, brands are starting to replicate what they have just taken out. They were replaced for reasons of cost, transparency and speed. Global multi-channel delivery is complex and hard to do. The easiest solution has been to add more inhouse resources, but the result is increased layers to a process which adds duplication cost and slows things down again.

As we said earlier. There is another way. There are already Global Implementation agencies successfully collaborating with Global brands and working alongside Internal and external agencies –all focussed on what they do best to minimise duplication, collaborating efficiently and effectively – to ensure a brand’s customers always receive the hundreds and thousands of planned messages in the 100s of local channels relevantly, on time and on budget – day in day out throughout the year.

Freedman is an established independent global Implementation partner.

A Global Implementation Partner (GIP), like Freedman, will adapt and transcreate centrally developed campaigns and content to produce all the localized, formatted, international media assets required – digital, TV, video, social media, print. They will ensure that everything is on brand and legally compliant, and will distribute to each and every market, publication, media owner, website.

As this is their sole focus and specialty, GIP’s benefit In-House agencies and collaborate seamlessly with the brand’s creative community to ensure seamless campaign planning and implementation.  They will provide early creative and cultural consultation as brand concepts are being developed, to give fast international feedback on any creative themes before they go into production.

We’re here to help

At Freedman, we’ve been working with our client’s In-House agencies for many years helping them to take campaigns global in a fast, effective and efficient. We also help clients build their inside agency capabilities by acting as an “incubator” for latest technologies and ways of working – we start it up, work it out, scale it and hand it over to the client to run internally.

We ease the transition from the outdated full service network agency model to an In-House agency approach by taking care of all the global implementation challenges. This allows the inside team to scale up creative and media capabilities without the risk of campaigns running late or falling flat internationally.

Do you need a Global Implementation Partner or not?

Here are some key questions for an In-House agency teams to consider:

  • Do you need content and campaigns for more than 5 markets?
  • Do you have diverse streams of content that need to come together in to a cohesive multimedia, multi-channel, multi market campaign?
  • Do you have multiple content creation teams – in-house and external?
  • Do you need a consistent global brand that still needs to resonate strongly for different local markets?
  • Do your creative teams need access to global creative and cultural insights to ensure that creative concepts and content can be effective for different markets and cultures?
  • Do you need to take account of local market content needs (imagery, product shots, product features, client specific stories) when defining production plans?
  • Do you need a structured way to manage licensing and rights globally (for talent, images etc)?
  • Do you need expertise to manage approvals and regulatory clearance for advertising in the markets needed?
  • Do you need global tech tools to make things runs smoothly – online ordering, asset sharing, approval workflow?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these, and you’re not sure you have a good solution, then please come talk to Freedman. We’ll show you how we do it and perhaps we can help you to.

Contact Max Goodliffe –

Freedman International
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