July 23, 2019

The following is republished with the permission of the Association of National Advertisers. Find this and similar articles on ANA Newsstand.

By Bill Duggan

The ANA has teamed with the Boston Consulting Group and Reed Smith on an initiative to understand the top concerns in-house agencies have for both creative content development and legal issues. Importantly, our work also provides strategies to address those concerns.

In-house agency penetration is rising and workloads are increasing. According to the landmark 2018 ANA study, "The Rise of the In-House Agency," 78 percent of ANA members have an in-house agency and for 90 percent of those agencies, the workload has increased in the past year.

Our new study, "Managing In-House Agency Creative Content and Legal Concerns," identifies four primary issues in-house agencies have with creative content development:

  •     Attracting top-tier in-house agency talent
  •     Keeping in-house agency talent energized
  •     Applying key marketing processes
  •     Having healthy creative tension

Keeping in-house agency talent energized was noted as a concern by 63 percent of respondents, the most overall. Strategies to address this issue include:

  •     Having creative talent work with multiple internal stakeholders/brands to expose creatives to a fresh set of challenges
  •     Giving internal creative teams particularly challenging projects that will stretch their skills and capabilities
  •     Providing training workshops to help employees hone their skill sets

Attracting top-tier in-house talent was also a notable concern, cited by 44 percent. A number of strategies to attract talent are employed, including:

  •     Creating a virtual team that helps attract talent in less competitive markets. This enables management to identify the right talent in the right location while also maintaining a competitive structure
  •     Emphasizing the attractiveness of the total compensation package during recruitment and being prepared to pay for specialized roles. Job security and working hours can be very attractive, especially when coupled with other benefits such as maternity/paternity leave, working remotely, etc.
  •     Reinforcing that the likelihood of in-house efforts actually being produced is much higher than at an external agency

Respondents were also asked about how they manage legal. Working with Reed Smith, ANA's outside legal counsel, 16 legal issues were identified related to in-house agency work. The key finding here was that legal issues did not rise to the same level of concern as creative content issues. Most respondents felt that while these were all areas of importance, they were already well-addressed by their companies. The top four ranked legal issues — all noted as concerns by less than 20 percent of respondents — are: contracting with talent, trademark clearance, contracting with photographers and SAG-AFTRA or other union issues.

I'd like to acknowledge the contributions of our partners on this project at BCG (Petros Paranikas, Nate Perkins), Reed Smith (Keri Bruce) and Greg Wright, my colleague at ANA.

To download report CLICK HERE.



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