In-House Agencies Report Significant Achievements Despite COVID-19 Limitations

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In-House Agencies Report Significant Achievements Despite COVID-19 Limitations

Creative, Marketing and Digital Teams Uniquely Positioned to Adapt to COVID-19 Today and in the Future

May 27, 2020

ROCKVILLE, Md. – May 27, 2020 – Eighty percent of creative teams report that their productivity remains as good or better than before the onset of COVID-19, according to a new report from Cella, a nationwide staffing, consulting and managed solutions firm. The report, COVID-19 Impact on Creative, Marketing and Digital Teams, found that 70% of creative teams were well prepared to tackle COVID-19 with established contingency plans in place to support off site working, and that over 90% of teams’ work quality remains as good or better than before the pandemic.

Cella surveyed nearly 250 leaders of creative teams and in-house agencies from April 15-24, 2020. These leaders represent Fortune 500 companies, as well as middle-market and not-for- profit organizations spanning multiple industries. A large majority (80%) of respondents felt that their organizations had communicated clear plans for employees in response to COVID-19, most (86%) felt well prepared to do their jobs, and many (85%) said they have the resources and support they need.

“The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently found that in-house agencies have proven to be incredibly valuable to their organizations over the last two months, and our own surveying supports this,” said Jackie Schaffer, Vice President and General Manager, Consulting and Managed Services, Cella. “While many stories about the effects of COVID-19 focus on the negative, creative, marketing and digital team leaders are celebrating significant achievements during this unprecedented need to work remotely. They have been able to quickly pivot and collaborate to support new marketing and communications plans, as well as reset responsibilities and operations in response to staff reductions.”

Close Collaboration and Common Purpose

While collaboration—specifically on new conceptual work—may have been considered one of the largest hurdles to overcome by remote teams, 84% of respondents reported they did not experience challenges collaborating with clients or teammates. Video conferencing, (87%), communication platforms (86%) and project management and workflow tools (74%) were the most popular ways to accomplish collaboration. Not only are these the tools being used by the most teams, they are also ranked in the top three technologies supporting business continuity and productivity during COVID-19.

More than half of in-house agencies (51%) have also reported that their work has increased, and 77% are continuing to produce photo, video and audio content. That said, over one third (39%) of respondents said they are addressing near-term needs while their leadership teams are in the process of resetting plans for 2020.

Future Planning: Both Positive and Negative

In adapting to the crisis, many organizations are refocusing their marketing efforts to social media (71%) and crisis communications and public relations (54%). Thirty one percent say that SEO will gain importance in their company’s strategy moving forward, and 82% reported that their company’s content marketing strategy had shifted to reflect the current environment.

More than two thirds (82%) of teams have implemented cost savings measures, although only 25% have implemented furloughs or layoffs. Forty percent of teams have either eliminated or reduced spend with external agencies. However, 75% of teams' contingent labor budgets have been kept whole allowing leaders to expand the team with contract workers.  In addition, 80% of teams will employ remote working opportunities and arrangements following “return to work.” This coupled with productivity and quality performance may lead to more off site and remote roles in the future which will widen recruiting geographies and introduce new talent to companies.

The report is available for download here, along with additional resources like Cella’s 2020 In-House Creative Industry Report.

About Cella

Cella is an award-winning leader in consulting, staffing and managed solutions for creative, marketing, digital and proposal development teams. We help people build meaningful careers and partner with companies to help them win. Our secret sauce? The Cella Trifecta: we have the right people, we understand our clients and we deliver results. Success requires a partner who offers all three. Together, we put passion to work. Cella is the only creative staffing firm to win the Best of Staffing® Client and Talent Awards 10 years running and is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise. For more information, please visit or contact [email protected].