Building and Scaling Your In-House Creative and Content Team

2019 CMO ClubHouse at Cannes Panel Recap

A leadership panel consisting of Aimee Lapic, CMO at Pandora, Simon Martin, Founder and CEO at Oliver and Giles Morrison, Global VP Brand Communications Excellence at Unilever discusses the benefits and challenges of in-house versus agency creative content teams, and of thinking outside the box.

Key Takeaways

  • The benefits of in-housing are in three buckets, 1. Speed and agility 2. Cost efficiency 3. Brand knowledge.
  • is not necessarily about just the cost. It’s also about the expertise and understanding the critical needs.
  • Challenge yourself to think about how quality and speed are closely linked together. Creativity starts through community management and inspiration points. Those two are the most important. Cost is, of course, a factor, but it’s the least important of the three. You’ll have lower overhead by in-housing, but the costs can be passed on.
  • There are always challenges. One set of challenges is asking, “do you have the right talent at the right time?”
  • Another challenge has to do with constantly pushing inspiration and creativity. it’s harder to hold your internal team as accountable as you would with an external agency as fast.
  • Create a team inside of your creative, whose sole job is to generate briefings and to be held accountable. That team has that one sole task.
  • It’s easy to have the brand knowledge and the energy you need to do it well when you have intimacy. You have to watch out for the growing pains. Allow ownership on both the inside and agency side. Adopt a ‘hybrid’ style approach, with someone from inside managing and an agency person able to keep that creativity no matter where they are in the world.
  • Create your in-house team and then optimize. Keep it fresh, elastic and sustainable. You need the right work at the right place. Having talent that’s nearby or offshore at the right price point is an alternative approach.
  • Combine process and technology to optimize it, to scale and access at each point.
  • It’s our job to manage and staff the people in the client’s world with scalability and elasticity. Build the talent ahead of the need. The model is to give the customer access to all talent – we call it “pipeline talent.”
  • Hire a consultancy team to set up the attribution to do the media buying, then hire a team and slowly get rid of the agency. Hire fast and get in-help. It’s temporary help while you get your team together.
  • We don’t want 100% of the work to go through us. Typically, the type of work we do in-house is more digital advertising, and in-the-moment category needs, like websites, how to do videos, etc. Big video projects we use externally.
  • Create centers of excellence and brand immerse teams in the same city, but in their own offices at a lower cost. Then you can have a deep specialism that doesn’t need to be in the building.
  • Hire for amazing expertise in what they do, smarter than you are. Hire 100% for attitude. People learn and adapt if they have the right attitude.
  • You have to hire someone who gets things done. You’re a small cog in a big machine. They also have to be nice. We don’t hire difficult ‘agency’ people.
  • Measure people against your values. It takes a particular type of person. We want people with passion and commitment who go above and beyond.