It was Albert Einstein who said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun." But these days, it’s all too easy to feel that there is little time to have fun, and even less time to be creative! The ability to think creatively is vital for in-house agencies and brands. Yet, so often it’s difficult, or even impossible, to harness our creativity when it is needed the most.
Today's in-house agencies have become factories
Not only is the volume of production an issue, but in-house agencies are often abused by departments wanting "free service". Not to mention that not all projects are equal. Some have questionable impact or value, but still consume a lot of creative bandwidth. It can be a case of who shouts the loudest, or a battle of job titles.
An EKCS poll conducted in April 2021 showed that one-fifth of IHA leaders still felt that they were mainly a production entity, running as a centralized production team over and above being creative-led.
According to the 2019 In-house Creative Report by Boss and Cella, the top four activities for an internal agency are:
With a long to-do list and many internal stakeholder requests, IHAs can sound more like factories than innovation hubs. The danger for many IHAs is that if you don’t find time for creativity, your agency will become a factory.
The pressure of new deliverables
In-house creative teams are increasingly expected to deliver more for less. And in the changing world of digital marketing, there is always more to do. For example, there is a growing demand for video production that is only expected to grow. Video places significant demands on bandwidth and resources, in addition to the ongoing demands of graphic production work. Video, in particular video editing, can be labor-intensive. And that’s just one example!
How much time do we actually have?
In 2014, Deloitte found that the average employee answered 110 emails per day, and couldn’t spare more than 24 minutes per week. That’s 1% of a 40-hour week. Jump along to 2022, and in a typical working week, most employees only have 20 spare minutes. Creativity for IHA workers shouldn’t be the leftover minutes of the day or week, but quite often it can be.
Keeping creative in-house is fundamental to outsourcing success
There are so many challenges that hinder creative output when working in-house. But the key challenge is time, or lack of it. That’s why more and more IHAs are looking to outsource their creative production to an offshore partner.
So, what can you outsource to make time for your creatives to actually be creative?
Production is a time-consuming process. It can divert the focus of your employees from more exciting creative tasks. You can make time to be creative by outsourcing production and campaign delivery. Have a think about:
What production work can be outsourced to generate more value for the business?
What can be outsourced to free up time for the in-house team?
As an IHA what do you do best?
In-house agencies often outsource these seven areas to free up creative time-
Artwork and retouching
Content localization (social, digital & video)
Annual reports and PowerPoint
Post-production video editing and animation
Web / Mobile App development
American management consultant, Peter Drucker, wrote in the Harvard Business Review back in the 1980’s, “Do what you do best – and outsource the rest!” However, outsourcing should only ever be a small percentage of your budgets, say 5-15%, but having it there will be a lifesaver at some point.
It’s not about trying to reduce headcount
IHAs consist of talented individuals who should always be leading creative strategies. Many creative leaders worry about the effect of outsourcing on staff. Remember, creative production outsourcing is about enabling your staff to do more. Chances are they are consumed by production and as a result, missing out on bigger creative projects. Creative production outsourcing can save time and enable your skilled in-house people to focus on their strengths; ideation, creativity and design.
While you may well have a fantastic in-house team, it’s not realistic that your employees are always going to have the creative production skills you need, especially given the speed at which digital production is evolving.
An offshore creative production partner can’t get rid of the open plan office, nor inject in-housers with a daily dose of creativity, but what they can and do is free up your time to be creative!
Unfortunately, company pressures and corporate priorities will always come into play for an in-house agency, but a creative production partner will alleviate the volume of production that can overwhelm creatives.
By outsourcing elements of production, in-house teams can:
Do what they do best - be creative!
Now that surely is intelligence, having fun.
Find out more
To find out more about finding time to be creative, Robert Berkeley, CEO of EKCS, will be exploring this topic at an online webinar on May 11th, hosted by Henry Stewart Events. Why not sign-up for this free webinar and discover how your in-house creative team can find time to be creative?