Resilience and reinvention helped brands and their in-house agencies sail through the pandemic. It has been 18 months since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It is heartening to see that so many in-house agencies (IHAs) and brands have stepped up to the challenge, adapting their organizations to protect their employees and to continue serving their clients and customers. 

In a survey earlier in the year, McKinsey found that 80 percent of executives believed their businesses responded effectively to the pandemic. The most successful organizations who have proven to be more resilient than others, rapidly adapted their strategies to address both the challenges and the opportunities created by Covid-19. One consequence of the pandemic has been the need for brands to function with more agility and more efficient working practices.

Both sides of the Atlantic, we saw brands and IHAs step up to the challenge. Those businesses with in-house teams responded quickly, flexibly and in an agile way. In the UK both the BBC and Channel 4 worked closely with their in-house departments to produce public service announcements. The Drum reported that the ‘#StayAtHome’ campaign for Channel 4 was turned around in 48 hours. This highlighted the advantage of having an in-house agency and access to in-house talent. 

During lockdowns, when restrictions and rules were ever-changing with a moment’s notice, many firms were burdened with providing accurate messaging to clients and customers. Restaurant chains, particularly in the USA could see closing times change by state so it was here that IHAs could keep up and change marketing communications and advertising campaigns quickly. 

The global pandemic saw a rise in the demand to produce more communications, marketing content and digital work at a faster pace. Despite the difficulties of working from home, brands were still able to produce creative assets and EKCS were able to assist with creative production

For many different businesses and brands, the pandemic highlighted that traditional models of external agencies wouldn’t work as effectively as an in-house team. 

In-house agencies were starting to increase in popularity just before the global pandemic. In a 2020 report, IHAF found 72% of corporations have some form of in-house agency, and that the number continues to climb. When the Association of National Advertisers ran a survey three years ago, it found that 78 percent of its members had some form of in-house team. Today, in 2021, that figure is closer to 85 percent. The pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges that already led brands to consider in-housing resources.

It isn’t surprising that IHAs appear to have really demonstrated resilience during the most unusual of times with transparency, productivity and innovation really coming into play. And, even now, 18 months on, it would appear that the momentum from in-house has not slowed down. 

Going into 2022 

Driven by cost and efficiencies, it is likely that CMOs will lean on their in-house agencies to take on even more high-profile campaigns. In fact, Forrester Research has already revealed its marketing predictions for 2022. Four in ten CMOs will bolster their in-house agencies’ remit from execution to creation. Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey reveals that 44% of US marketing executives plan to move more agency work to their in-house teams next year. 

IHAF Conference 2021 

It is hardly surprising that the theme for the IHAF conference this November is Resilience to Reinvention. This year the IHAF Conference & Awards is a hybrid event and EKCS is delighted to be attending in person and sponsoring the Awards.

If you are an IHAF member we might just see you there! 

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