In-house agencies: why brands need specialist partners

The risk associated with the growth of in-house agencies is that brands could end up replicating the very thing they wanted to dismantle; the multi-layered 20th century model of multiple teams and specialists all over the world. If it isn’t implemented with care, in-housing can result in duplicated efforts, added layers of politics and increased costs.

We believe in a more agile model. For more flexibility, working with a new set of specialist partners, that have collaboration as part of their DNA and a passion for creative quality and brand consistency, will significantly enhance the power of in-house agencies.

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 global campaigns.

Why build an in-house agency?

Firstly, let’s review why in-housing is on the rise. The answer is simple: in-housing is an effective way for brands to respond to the complexity of today’s global marketing. The shift towards content-led, always-on campaigns and the predominance of data and analytics mean that brands need to have increased control over their marketing function.

The benefits of today’s in-house capability have expanded from the early drivers of cost reduction and speed to market, to include improved brand consistency, more targeted campaigns and streamlined internal processes. It allows brands to have more dedicated talent and increased transparency of the work and costs. By holding the brand and customer knowledge, and creating assets centrally, brands are able to produce more content, more efficiently. With data-driven media planning also coming in-house, brands can now harness the best channels to get assets to their audiences – at the right price and more often than ever before.

Yet, brands cannot do it alone; they need the agility and objectivity that external partners can bring to the table. And while many agencies see in-housing as a threat, they should consider the in-housing trend as an opportunity to reinvent themselves. Brands now look for partners for their in-house agency that have the right processes, expertise and focus to deliver value.

What kind of partners do brands need?

The best partners are agile and focused on delivering one thing really well: creative excellence, real-time analytics, international film production, global marketing implementation, and more. Brands need to outsource the parts of the process that are inherently difficult to replicate.

The key when selecting the brand’s supporting agency roster is for all stakeholders to play well together. The capacity to adapt and collaborate should define which agencies to choose. Creating efficiencies should of course be part of the objectives demanded of agencies; but it should not be the decisive factor. There needs to be a cultural fit with the brand and the same strive for better value.

What about bringing local marketing functions in-house?

Some in-house agencies are starting to build local teams that focus on local marketing implementation. And yet, global, multi-channel delivery is complex and hard to do. Of course, some local marketing functions can be brought in-house, but brands must be vigilant when identifying the tasks they should outsource, versus those they need to bring in house – and weigh up the benefits of having in-house local implementation specialists as opposed to hiring the services of a specialised agency. In-housing comes with advantages such as increased control over talent and brand consistency, but bringing all resources in-house, would result in increased layers of politics, as well as duplication of efforts and costs. In-housing can come with more flexibility in terms of accessing resources as and when needs arise; however, for full flexibility and the capacity to scale resources up and down easily, in-house agencies will need a network of external specialised agencies they can rely on. This is especially true for global marketing – setting up an in-house team in every market can prove cost and time inefficient, especially when it comes to recruiting and managing staff on a global scale.

There is another way: work with a global marketing implementation agency

A global marketing implementation agency can successfully collaborate with brands and work alongside internal and external agencies – all focused on what they do best to minimise duplication, and collaborate efficiently and effectively. Global marketing implementation agencies were born precisely out of the need for global brands to produce, localise and deliver large-scale marketing content worldwide. Their aim is to add value every step of the creative process and deliver brand communications efficiently and with impact, everywhere. A Global implementation partner like Freedman, will produce and transcreate centrally developed content to deliver the localised, formatted, international assets required – across digital, TV, video, social media, print, and more. They will ensure that everything is on brand and legally compliant, and will distribute to each and every market, publication, media owner or website.

As this is their sole focus and specialty, global marketing implementation agencies complement in-house agencies and collaborate seamlessly with the brand’s creative and media community to ensure smooth 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 and localisation.

We’re here to help

Freedman is an established independent global implementation partner.

We’ve been working with our clients’ in-house agencies for many years, long before the in-housing trend, helping them take their campaigns worldwide in a fast, effective and efficient way. 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.

Are you building or considering setting up an in-house agency? Could the Freedman services complement your in-house setup? No matter your situation, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss how Freedman can help you on your in-housing journey.

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