7 Traits of Effective In-House Creative Teams
As companies further recognize the importance of branding through digital marketing, the idea of bringing your creative work in-house is growing. Ask any seasoned in-house creative leader how much their role has grown and evolved in the past decade, and you’ll hear how much the digital era has changed the value perception of in-house creative teams.
With that rapid growth comes a unique set of challenges. Being solely responsible for a company’s brand in a medium that is constantly changing means companies need creative teams to not only understand the market landscape they also need to have an intimate understanding of the brand.
Here are some key traits that effective in-house creative teams share, and how you can continue to strengthen your own brand’s team.
1. A Holistic Understanding of Their Industry and Brand
Unlike generalized marketing and advertising agencies that take on a jack-of-all-trades approach, in-house creative professionals are seasoned in their industry and live and breathe their brand. Cella sites that creative leaders identified brand knowledge, high-end creative quality and cost savings as the top three value drivers from the clients’ perspective.
If you’re a budding creative with a particular passion for a particular industry, moving into an entry level position within an in-house team is the best way to grow your portfolio and build experience. Here, you’ll find managers who are passionate experts in their industry to follow in the footsteps of.
2. Powerful Branding
One of the benefits of being so specialized is the ability to continuously fine-tune your company’s brand and image. But great branding extends beyond your company’s brand. In-house creative teams also need to consider their own brand and perception within the company.
While most companies understand the overall value of marketing, creative teams risk being seen as a commodity rather than a strategic department. Managers with a willingness to push back and stand up for their team’s importance, workload and abilities are generally more respected within the company.
3. Strong Relationships with Stakeholders
Being on-site allows your in-house team to strategically be where your client and stakeholders need you at all times. But being an effective team is more than just being in the right place at the right time, it’s about the relationships you build. Strategic creative partners take full advantage, listening for opportunities to position their company for growth, rather than just churning out the expected creative materials.
4. Time Management Skills
Making sure that your company understands the true value of creative work often comes down to proper time management. In-house agencies are not immune to the common misconception that creative work is “easy”. Proving the time investment of your work means ensuring your team is tracking time accurately.
Function Point’s project management software makes it easy for creatives to track time as they work, and easy for managers—and stakeholders—to understand time management and progress using FP’s work planning view.
5. Continuous Evolution and Innovation
Any creative team will have peaks and valleys within workflow—it’s how you engage people during downtime that strengthens your busier weeks. Reserving a budget and time allotment for skill-building activities like webinars, conferences and courses not only improves team know-how, it also prevents boredom and burnout, and improves employee commitment.
6. Knowing Their Strengths and Weaknesses
Being the leader of an in-house creative team also means knowing where your team’s strengths lie, and where you’ll need external resources. Rather than hiring full-time employees, you won’t need year round, or whose salaries are not in the budget, identify where contractors, freelancers, and agencies are a better investment of time and money.
“8 out of 10 creative leaders utilize freelancers, and 68% of in-house creative teams partner with external agencies for particular projects.”
– Creative Industry Report
7. Keeping Things Fresh
The only pitfall of knowing your company intimately well is the potential pitfall of staying with what worked in the past, rather than taking risks with what might improve the future. As a creative leader, it’s up to you to know when to push back with stakeholders when you know it’s time to shake things up. By having proper processes in place, documenting your work flow and proving results, your in-house creative team will be able to garnish enough respect to be allowed the freedom to stretch your creative wing.