Cella’s previous blog post based on data culled from our COVID-19 Impact Report, underscored the success in-house creative and marketing agencies have achieved in meeting and exceeding their companies’ expectations during the pandemic. The drivers behind this include a level of operational and organizational excellence that has positioned them to best execute on the shift in the marketing needs of their host companies and the need to work remotely.

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Communication and Collaborative Tools and Tactics
There are a number of tools and tactics in-house agencies have leveraged to achieve the higher level of team performance needed to succeed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Video conferencing topped the list of communication and trafficking solutions with 87% of respondents using this platform. Closely following video conferencing were communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Google Chat at 86%, with three-quarters also relying heavily on project management and workflow solutions. It’s important to note that these tools not only fostered necessary communication and collaboration, they also drove enhanced productivity and continuity of business.

Similar platforms for communication also supported the complex design concepting process. Video conferencing and screen sharing were again the primary tools for collaborating and brainstorming on concepts at 91%. A little over half of the teams responding to the survey used email with the same percentage leveraging collaboration tools (primarily embedded within their PM solutions). A key takeaway is that the ability for teams to engage in collaboration activities that are critical to driving strategy and concepting remained unaffected by the pandemic through the use of these tools.

In tandem with these tools, in-house creative and marketing teams are implementing a variety of communication best practices: 

  • 67% of teams have increased personal conversations with direct reports and other team members; with the dual practices of flexible work schedules and informal virtual team get-togethers following close behind at 66%. 

  • Increased team-wide messaging and private 1:1 recognition rounded out the top 5 measures at 62% and 53% respectively. 

These practices coupled with in-house agencies’ companies doing a good job of keeping the teams informed of COVID-related developments and clear plans of action (80%), have positioned creative groups for continued operational success by providing clarity of expectations and the business environment they’re operating in.

The Importance of Digital Asset Management
On the flip side, a gap that a third of in-house agencies acknowledged, was not having a Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool to support their teams in working remotely. This validates a key finding in the Cella 2020 In-House Creative Industry Report where 38% of participants admitted to having no form of DAM. As a result, many of these teams now report a need for a DAM in the current COVID-19 world and beyond. Easy intuitive access to creative assets in a remote work environment is now more critical than ever before.

Managing the Creation of Assets
For the creation of video and photography, in-house agencies are taking an all-hands-on-deck, out-of-the-box approach to enable the continued production of needed marketing assets. Almost half of the respondents have moved equipment to employees’ homes where they are also engaging in the production of creative deliverables. A third are leaning on external vendors for support and another third are using employee- and freelancer-owned equipment.

Supported Teams are Successful Teams
Not surprisingly, given the successful adoption of the above-mentioned tools and tactics, 86% of survey participants felt they were well prepared to do their jobs. 85% believed they were being provided with the necessary resources to cope with the pandemic underscoring the effectiveness of proper planning and providing tactical support. 

Finally, and most importantly, in-house creative and marketing teams believe the organizations for which they work have their backs and are setting them up for success. This perception along with the reality of true support in the way of the provision of state-of-the-art tools and industry best practices is driving high performing teams who are successfully delivering for their clients in the throes of an ever-challenging pandemic.