5 tips to foster collaboration between your internal and external creative teams


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 parts of the creative operations cycle has turned out to be a win-win strategy for IHAs as they are able to save their time, effort and are able to deliver quality work, consistently. Furthermore, outsourcing helps them acquire skill-sets that are not currently present within their existing teams.

But does success and growth ever comes without challenges?

As there are numerous benefits of outsourcing, there are several factors that may lead to its failure, too. If not planned well, outsourcing doubles up the challenge for creative teams, making several creatives hesitant to rely on the expertise of experienced external partners to help them deliver expected outcome on time, on brand and on budget.

To put it in simple terms "lack of ethics in outsourcing" is the major challenge consisting of factors like:

  • Lack of adaptation of business requirements and processes

  • Fear of losing control leading to less flexibility

  • Lack of collaboration leading to miscommunication or misinterpretation

  • Lack of streamlined workflow leading to the inability to churn out the deliverables, on time and on budget

The key to a successful outsourcing endeavor is the collaboration between the stakeholders. Below are a few tips to foster collaboration between your internal and external creative teams to maximize profitability.

1. Be flexible to adapt the culture through knowledge transfer

No two client projects ( be it onshore or offshore) can be the same, and no two companies ( be it onshore or offshore) can work the similar way. So, be flexible enough to adapt to the changes.

Most often cultural differences are in terms of power distance, comprehension of creativity level, and an active versus passive working attitude in the corporates that eventually influence various dimensions of offshore internal and external agency relationship quality. The objective should be to find out the nature of cultural differences in depth and then figure out the relationship between those cultural differences to make offshore outsourcing a success.

2. Encourage structured and unstructured communications

Offshore outsourcing calls for both structured and unstructured communication using formal and informal channels. Structured communication provides a channel for predefined status updates, and unstructured communication boosts team bonding of offshore partners. Maintain transparency to have an agile and efficient communication network. Listen more, share more and be honest about what can work and what not.

3. Project governance and transition management

A governance plan of an outsourcing alliance is the structure that explains the collaborative operation cycle, whereby all SLAs and responsibilities are defined.

It should be done as early as possible during the transition. Before the project planning, frame out the organizational structure, decision-making hierarchy, and communication process that will lead the project execution methodology for both the partners.

Framing out the plan at an early stage would keep the project moving forward by mapping out what info is vital for which stakeholder or team and which decisions call for review from who. This all will prevent project delays as the right people take the right decisions at the right time.

4. Have streamlined workflow management in place

Advantages of a proper streamlined and structured workflow include clear roles and responsibilities, delivering assets on time, enhancing the production capacity in the constraints of approval and review process. A streamlined workflow management is essential to discern early signs of risk and to make sure that appropriate management can be done through resolution.

It’s a fact that when the right people review the collateral at the right time (considering the SLAs), it lessens the risk of things go haywire. The better the workflow, the better the collaboration paving the way to the transparency and ultimately it fosters trust between all the stakeholders.

5. Effective on-boarding and off-boarding strategy

On-boarding is as important in creative outsourcing as is the off-boarding. Both processes should be done accurately and effectively. The way there should be a streamlined start to a project so there should be a graceful end, so that end seems like a forward-looking alliance in the future for some other project requirement.

A risk-proof on-boarding process can result in laying the fundamentals for an alliance between both the offshore partners that can last for several years to come.

On the other hand, if the work is being transitioned from one external partner to another, the off-boarding process ensures that we learn from our past mistakes or failures and implement corrective measures in place for the success of the new alliance.

Need outsourcing advice? We can help!

At Express KCS, we understand that collaboration is one of the most important factors to ensure the success of a creative outsourcing endeavor. With more than a decade of experience working with brand’s in-house agencies, external agencies, and publishers, we’ve developed an approach to collaboration that enhances the probability of forming a successful long-term relationship, making each creative project a success.

To know more, or to play alongside, write to us at enquiries@expresskcs.com.