Last week we reviewed one of the latest industry trends which is seeing brands revert back to in-house creative agencies, otherwise known as in-house studios. While there are multiple benefits to having an in-house studio, there are also a number of challenges that these creatives face.
1. A perception exists that no charge means free and unlimited resources.
One of the biggest challenges faced by studio teams is the perception that they are working for free. In other words, if there is no exchange of money for services, it’s easy for other departments to undervalue the time and resources available in studio. This perception needs to be managed carefully to ensure that studio isn’t inundated with requests that cannot be met. A respect and understanding for the work studio does is paramount.
2. Quicker turnaround and speed to market can spell overload for in-house studios.
While speed to market is a benefit to the business overall, it can also present as a real challenge to those working in an in-house studio. Having a studio team on hand, other stakeholders might conclude that last minute changes to a campaign are simple and quick to do. The problem with this is, like every other department, studio is already juggling multiple projects and deadlines. Stakeholders need to take this into consideration when requesting urgent work. Lead time is everything.
3. Managing deadlines in a glut of work.
If stakeholders do not take into account that, on a day-to-day basis, in-house studios are working on multiple projects, they could place undue pressure on their creative teams. If more work is piled upon an already heavy workload then studio are going to struggle to make deadlines for a number of their projects.
4. Heavy reliance on spreadsheets to manage projects and resources can result in more work for creative teams.
It’s often the smaller in-house studios that are under pressure to complete a growing number of projects with the same amount of resources and budget. Unfortunately, traditional project management tools such as spreadsheets do not offer the flexibility or transparency to manage multiple projects. The result sees studio teams and other departments unclear about what work is in progress and what resources are available or at capacity. A lot of effort is, therefore, channeled into managing the project and chasing up information. This is a similar challenge seen in external ad agencies, where inefficient project management tools are making more work for creative teams rather than streamlining the process.
5. Heavy workloads and poor planning leads to stressed studio teams.
The key reason driving the trend to bring creative teams back in house is cost-cutting. While an in-house studio that is working effectively can save brands a lot of money, if points 1-4 above are not adequately remedied then your creative team will be constantly under pressure, unlikely to meet deadlines and probably won’t derive a lot of pleasure out of work. Sick days, staff turn-over or uninspired creatives will be the end result.
Next week we’ll take a look at marketing project management software and how it can remedy these challenges for in-house studio teams.