How Creatives Can Provide Value in the New Brand and Agency Dynamic

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As brands invest heavily in resources to build their internal advertising and marketing capabilities, there is a unique opportunity for forward-thinking agencies to provide expertise and services that fill important gaps for brands. By establishing trust between brand and agency teams, embracing a collective skillset model and offering productized services that extend and enhance capabilities of in-house teams, both entities can flourish together as partners. As creative in-housing specifically becomes more prevalent, the value proposition of agency creative has evolved forcing teams to adapt. Historically, creative agencies were focused on all facets of the creative process. Today, creatives are tasked with filling gaps in an integrated digital marketing ecosystem while sharing the spotlight with data and technology to be truly effective.

This new relationship requires agencies to be skilled in all areas to fill any number of gaps that exist across accounts. Because of this multidisciplinary approach, the role of agency creative is more important and coveted than ever before. In-housing has required agency creatives to serve as an extension of the brand’s creative team, rather than operating as a separate entity. Agency creatives must now focus on how to augment, instead of replace, in-house teams by offering added value. Both entities must embrace a collective skillset model, meaning that the agency and brand both bring their strongest skills to the partnership. The brand’s irreplaceable asset is extensive internal knowledge while the agency specializes in delivering creative and technical expertise, as well as a fresh perspective. This model allows for “gap-filling” abilities that agency creative can provide. Without this collaboration, brands will fail to realize the full potential of their advertising efforts.

In this new model, collaboration is king. In the past, clients and creatives did not collaborate as much as they do today. Collaborations were oftentimes limited to brief kickoff calls or meetings to provide feedback on the work created. That dynamic has changed. It is now common to be physically sitting across the table from a client, for longer periods of time and on more than one occasion. The act of exchanging ideas and feeding off of one another to find a solution is where teams will discover their most successful campaigns.

The gaps that remain as brands build up their internal creative capabilities will be different for every organization. Forward-thinking agencies can provide valuable expertise and services to fill these gaps by setting up their solutions in a way that makes it easy for brands to augment and supplement their internal capabilities in a way that is repeatable, predictable, cost-effective and complementary to what they are already good at. Brand teams succeed at traditional crafts like storytelling and design. Creative agencies’ strengths lie in elevating brand assets by tapping into proven and emerging technologies, formats and capabilities.

In both the short and long-term, agency creatives must continue to break out of comfortable silos in order to more effectively service brands. They have to be proactive, curious, and relentless in their pursuit to differentiate themselves and their capabilities. They need to commit to harnessing emerging technologies and understanding the constantly changing digital marketing ecosystem. Creatives should eagerly fill gaps where they exist, no matter how big or small. This all needs to be done while remaining humble and closely collaborating with the brand as both teams keep the consumer top of mind.

Cory Hudson

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