How do you get the best out of your in-house creatives?

How do you get the best out of your in-house creatives?


The client and agency relationship has been evolving for a long time and it’s not about to stand still anytime soon, so the need to stay as connected as possible with the shift in challenges on both sides is imperative to survive. Gone are the days when agencies were the only ones burning the midnight oil – our client-side friends are busier than ever, shouldering multiple roles with ever-increasing pressures. This does however open up a great opportunity for a different way of working – one where we share the challenges and successes from both sides and learn how agency processes could work within businesses, and vice versa.

The introduction of the in-house ‘agency’ has been sweeping some household names for the last few years, including Coca Cola (Content Factory), BBC (BBC Creative) and Channel 4 (4creative). We too have been working in partnership with some of our closest clients to help build and launch their own in-house hubs of excellence, serving both their internal teams and partner businesses. Their proposition tends to lead with bringing fresh knowledge into the heart of the business whilst measuring the effectiveness of every piece of communications – mirroring the rise of the accelerator approach where a team within a business are able to test and learn quickly and efficiently to ensure they keep pushing their processes and communications forward. This has been an extremely interesting and rewarding process for us as we’ve been able to dig deeper into the politics and internal comms of our clients than ever before!

Our work with these brands opened up a debate within our team recently around how we could help inspire our clients’ creative thinking, and what we could learn from them in return. At Creative Spark, we are extremely lucky that everyday is different, and although challenging at times, we are able to exercise our creative minds in multiple ways, for a variety of start-up, national and international brands; however this doesn’t mean we don’t need to search for inspiration outside of our four walls. I once read an article from a lead creative at AirBnB that discussed the importance of ‘refilling your creative cup’ as often as possible, and it stuck with me. It’s vital that you step away from your usual environment and open your eyes to things that refresh your thinking – whether you’re a designer, a creative, a copywriter, an account manager or a sales person.

In light of this, we have recently spoken at length with a national retailer and a global FMCG group to find a common need for bringing the outside in, for the purpose of keeping thinking fresh. Both brands are in complete agreement with the need to knowledge-share more openly, a kind of value exchange agreement where we immerse ourselves deeper into their organisation (therefore benefiting from a greater understanding and stronger relationships), and they benefit from us and our collaboration network, bringing ideas and expertise to the table that help them and their creative teams work more effectively in-house. After all, this is about striving for more than just good design – it’s about the brand’s desire to create an experience around their product and their communications.