5 mistakes in-house agencies can avoid when outsourcing creative projects


There is no doubt about the fact that In-house agencies are booming, however, the marketing landscape is constantly shifting, too. And with the new set of challenges like more volume, variety, and better quality being faced by the ever-evolving creative industry on a daily basis, has made advertisers to make a switch in the whole approach towards creative operations.

Love it or loathe it, but selective outsourcing is your key to success

A solution to the current global creative production challenge is a hybrid business model that is an amalgamation of resources from internal and external agencies to carry out successful creative operations. Outsourcing some of the steps of creative operation cycle has turned out to be a win-win strategy for IHAs as they are able to save their time, effort and resources and are able to deliver quality work on time to their clients.

According to IHAF’s 2018 State-of-the-Industry Report, 85% of today’s in-house agencies outsource some portion of their project load to external resources and are expanding their teams to not just respond to volumes of work but are galvanizing talent, too.

A recent article published by Campaign US also highlighted how Nestle was able to reduce production costs by as much as 80% using offshore production partners. Similarly, there are several brands who have understood the benefits of selective outsourcing and hybrid model to gain production and cost efficiencies.

However, to hold a long-term partnership, the outsourcing business model should be made in a manner that serves the interest of both parties, shares the risks and comprises some flexibility to make amendments along the way. To start with, get an insight into what creative services you can outsource to enhance your ROI. And once you’ve decided to sail in the creative operations outsourcing undertaking, keep a watch on the following five common mistakes that can put this long term partnership into jeopardy.

1. Communication should never be underestimated

It is an extremely common phenomenon that projects hit bottom due to the lack of communication. Therefore, it is vital to not just make your requirements ambiguous from the scratch, however, also have continuous constant collaboration with the remote teams to remain updated. Speed to respond, usage of communications channels, and the communication capabilities have a straightforward impact on the whole creative ops cycle.

Also, with the latest communication tools in the market, effective collaboration is not a major issue to be tackled while outsourcing. As, losing track of the latest developments in the outsourced creative projects might cause unfavorable results and several revisions, which in turn has a major impact on costs and effort involved in the project.

2. Unrealistic SLAs can lead to realistic delays and losses

It is hard to underestimate the significance of negotiating an all-inclusive and realistic SLA and to tell you the truth, this negotiation part tends to be both demanding and time-consuming. Still, the SLA negotiations decipher a lot of the existing “grey areas” in the alliance which makes it all the more essential to be done in the formative period of the relationship.

While 24/7 turn-around capability of your offshore partner can help deliver work overnight, but having realistic SLAs automatically lessens the risk of over or under measuring service as well as performance metrics. It has to be more realistic as both overestimation and underestimation can hamper the company's business interests.

3. Weak onboarding strategy

Onboarding is a vital process in outsourcing to streamline the transition and educate team members about the business, culture, and to make sure that all team members adjust quickly to their new roles. Without an effective onboarding strategy, offshore and onshore teams might fuel disengagement and turnover.

From the very beginning of a creative outsourcing engagement, all stakeholders should be made aware of their roles and responsibilities. An effective onboarding strategy will clearly outline what, why, how, who and when questions so that there is no ambiguity.

4. Not having a robust briefing process

Translating culturally specific creative work requirements to an outsourced partner can be a nerve-wracking task in itself. It is vital that all stakeholders should be on the same page and speak the same design language. For this, the proper briefing should be done. A set of understandable terms should be part of a creative brief to clear off all the differences and ambiguity and enhance better understanding between both the agency and the outsourced partner. The brief should clearly emphasize the creative expectations too i.e. what creative discretion is allowed, brand guidelines, etc.

Also, if this all is not achieved properly there are chances that specifications can be understood differently by developers or designers, be it on creative or technical levels. To ward off any such complications, shared design language and proper briefing should be a prerequisite at the time of creative outsourcing for churning out the desired results.

5. Treating the offshore team as a vendor, and not as a partner

And here’s the most important point. Creating an allied culture of belonging across borders, time zones and job roles is the key to successful outsourcing. The need of the hour is to create empathy and respect among the two teams involved to work upon a unified goal and not act as competitors but work as partners. To accomplish this, an efficient, flexible and accurate structured process must be set up, documented and followed.

Need an offshore partner to support your existing team? We can help!

At Express KCS, we understand that creative production scalability and flexibility while maintaining control is the primary requisite in the ever-evolving creative operations landscape. We partner with and support some of the world’s renowned brands and their in-house agencies to streamline their marketing production, reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

We support them with dedicated offshore staff to work on video, digital and print projects, rebranding and high volume campaigns, seasonal peaks, creative adaptations at scale, etc. To know more, or to play alongside, write to us at enquiries@expresskcs.com.

Mira MalikComment