In-house creative teams to grow: study

Forget the ping pong tables, beer fridges and late nights at the agency. A new survey from The Creative Group and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) says in-house creative teams are expected to grow and exert more influence on business in the coming years. Of the 400 AIGA members surveyed, all of whom […]

Forget the ping pong tables, beer fridges and late nights at the agency. A new survey from The Creative Group and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) says in-house creative teams are expected to grow and exert more influence on business in the coming years.

Of the 400 AIGA members surveyed, all of whom work in-house, 55% predict the size of their team will grow in the next three to five years versus 6% who think it will shrink. Six in 10 respondents expect their company’s budget for creative services to increase in the same period, while only 10% anticipate budget declines. And 61% of in-house creatives believe they’ll have more influence on their company’s business decisions in the next three to five years.

When asked to name the greatest single benefit to companies utilizing in-house create teams over external agencies, 57% of respondents cited the deep knowledge of the company’s brand and product or service offerings they can provide.

“In-house creative teams recognize and respect all of the creative initiatives that are going on within the company,” said Alicia Brum, branch manager of The Creative Group in Toronto. “Companies involve [in-house creative teams] in more of the decision-making because they are closest to the brand.”

Other key advantages of using in-house talent are cost effectiveness and faster turnaround times. “Real-time feedback and suggestions help move projects to the finish line faster,” said Brum.

The report said it wasn’t just the client marketers who benefited from this arrangement. Those employed on in-house teams find benefits too. Many survey respondents said that in-house jobs often provide better work/life balance, pay and benefits. And unlike agency work, the report stated, there’s no need to worry that losing an account means losing your job.

Of course, working in-house also has its challenges – 52% of respondents named heavier workloads as the greatest challenge for in-house teams over the next three to five years. The report said this is due to numerous factors, including busy seasons, unpredictable workflows, special projects and budgetary constraints that prevent access to additional help when it’s needed.

That said, four in 10 respondents indicated they will turn to freelancers and agencies to help with heavy workloads and more than half expect their teams to rely more on these types of services in the coming years.

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Other challenges of working in-house include “corporate politics and resistance to change,” “design by committee,” “clients who want to be designers” and “too many levels of approval,” according to respondents.

Despite the challenges, the report said corporate gigs are clearly gaining favour and for many. Nearly half (47%) said they expect to maintain a focus on a corporate career in the coming years, whether at their current firm or on a different in-house team.

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