Back when I started in advertising, in what some of my erstwhile colleagues refer to as the ‘Olden Days’, internal creative teams working at clients were, well, not looked kindly upon. The common misconception was that if you couldn’t get a job in an agency then you ended up working client side. A deep ‘them and us’ culture pervaded. Agency thinking was deemed to be objectively clever and brilliant, internal team thinking was considered to be subjectively skewed and just not of the same standard. Since then, thankfully, a lot has obviously changed. From the evidence and data they were seeing, strategists started recommending an ‘always on’ communication bedrock. Effective marketing now needs a lot of communication. A lot. This isn’t about simply posting a load of thoughtless guff to all your channels to tick a box, it’s about having clear, well executed, relevant messages, and lots of them. All the time. This volume of work has become unaffordable for some clients to buy from agencies, which is one of the many reasons for the rise of the internal team. There are lots of other reasons too. Here is Lego’s global CMO Julia Goldin explaining why she created an internal agency at the brand: “The [in-house team] provides two things. One is complete integration – same goals, same agenda, the ability to solve problems very quickly, much greater learning across the organisation. And most importantly what that leads to is they are more agile and responsive to the marketplace,”Marketing Week Aug 2018
Yep, all of that. With bells on. The internal team is now quite often at the heart of the brand, driving the thinking and replacing external suppliers. The in house team is no longer a place for careers to die – quite the opposite. But how do brands get objective advice? What about valuable external insight and direction? How about the occasional different way of thinking or some helpful creative input? That can still all happen without a big, traditional ad agency. The rise of the internal team has also been matched by the rise of the expert freelancer and savvy consultant. Which, ahem, neatly brings me onto a tiny bit of trumpet blowing. Outsiders recently collaborated closely with the team at Mountain Equipment on their activation theme for the winter season. We were able to flexibly fit into their business and provide them with just what their internal teams needed to effectively execute the communication. And here’s to that. Efficient, collaborative, effective; good for CMOs, and critically, good for CFOs too. Our work is here – please have a gander.