Collaboration has been a hot topic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nowadays organisations are reaching beyond their internal employees and collaborating with external partners to achieve their goals. When it comes to creative teams, collaboration between the brand and the agency is essential.

The trend of an in-house agency model is growing with 78% of ANA (Association of National Advertisers) members reported to have an in-house agency in 2018. However, a hybrid business model is one that many companies currently use, amalgamating internal and external agencies to deliver projects. 

Outsourcing some parts of creative operations has turned out to be a good solution for many IHAs to meet deadlines and acquire access to specialist skills that are not currently present within their existing teams. Alongside the benefits of outsourcing, there are challenges too.

Challenges of external agencies

Using an external agency to assist an in-house creative team can present issues around: 

  • Control
  • Workflow
  • Time concerns
  • Budget Concerns
  • Brand Understanding

Four steps to successful collaboration

The key to successful outsourcing is the collaboration between the internal and external marketing teams. Here’s four tips for internal teams. 

1. Onboarding is fundamental

A risk-proof onboarding process can result in laying the fundamentals for an alliance between both the parties that can last for several years to come. During the onboarding process ensure the external team understands the brand, what has worked well in the past and what has failed. Listen more, share more and be honest about what can work and what can not.

2. Project Management

Reach an understanding on a service-level agreement (SLA) to define the level of service expected by the IHA. How will the service be measured, and what are the penalties, if any, should the agreed-on service levels not be achieved? Framing out a plan at an early stage would keep the project moving forward by mapping out what info is vital for which stakeholder or team and which decisions call for review from whom. This will prevent project delays as the right people take the right decisions at the right time.

3. Effective communication

Outsourcing calls for both structured and unstructured communication using formal and informal channels. Ensure there is a workflow system in place so both sides can see status reports, measure progress and communicate effectively on the projects. Structured communication, such as a regular meeting provides a channel for status updates, and unstructured communication aids collaboration. Cloud-based technologies and platforms can help this. 

4. Have streamlined workflow management in place

Advantages of a streamlined and structured workflow include clear roles and responsibilities, delivering assets on time, enhancing the production capacity in the constraints of approval and review process. A streamlined workflow management is essential to identify early signs of risk and to ensure that any issues or delays can be managed. The better the workflow the better the partnership paving the way to the transparency that ultimately it fosters trust and collaboration between all the stakeholders.

Need advice? We can help!

At Express KCS, we understand that collaboration is one of the most important factors to ensure the success of creative outsourcing. Since 2002, Express KCS have worked with IHAs, external agencies, and publishers to provide end-to-end creative production services across digital, video, print and packaging for brands. We have developed an approach to collaboration that enhances the probability of forming a successful long-term relationship, making each creative project a success.

For more information email: enquiries@ekcs.co

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