One of the greatest struggles for in-house creative teams is getting a "seat at the table," showing that you are a strategic force to be reckoned with! So the question is, how can you do this when you feel like you're driving down the road into oncoming traffic?
The Saint-Gobain Creative Services team faced this exact challenge. We are a 36-year-old in-house creative department that was viewed as a low-level production shop in a global company.
I knew I needed to change the perception of the department, so I proactively looked for the opportunity and I found it after asking for honest feedback. Warning: Be prepared to hear the truth...and what I heard loud and clear was that I needed to make a change--and fast! Our evolution was accomplished in a methodical, step-by-step, strategic manner. But I'll be honest, at the time it felt like trying to change the tire on a car moving 100mph.
Where do you start? Do your homework: assess the situation and then develop your roadmap--your strategic plan. Then share it with the influencers and decision makers in your organization. As you rally your team of supporters, let them help clear the way to the executive team, so that you can present your plan in a clear, concise manner. In the evolution of a department, if you want to make lasting change, you need their buy-in to make it happen.
So what happened to the Saint-Gobain Creative Services department? During the course of one year, the group completely evolved. Processes were developed and metrics were captured and shared on a regular basis. We rebranded ourselves as The Hive--Saint-Gobain's Creative Hub. We developed our new mission: to help support our co-workers by solving their business challenges in an effective, creative and memorable way.
Department morale went up and customer opinion improved drastically, with clients noting the increased efficiency, stronger customer service and overall higher-level creativity. We constantly remind our "customers" that we are not a vendor; we are their co-workers.
We are educators, brand protectors, advisors and problem--solvers not just in North America, but globally. We know the company, we know the culture and we know how to make this stuff fun!
Be persistent and don't give up. Go into it with your eyes wide open, knowing that you will hit bumps in the road. As you're changing that tire, sparks will fly, but in the end it is worth it!