McCann NY's Head of Ops Rich Whalen Shares Best Practices at ANA In-House Agency Day
McCann recently hosted the ANA's (Association of National Advertisers) In-House Agency Day at our offices. Rich Whalen, EVP & Head of Operations, McCann NY kicked off the half-day event with a discussion around working with clients that have an in-house agency and best practices to ensure a good working relationship.
Rich has worked with in-house agencies of all varieties and sizes — big, small, technology teams, creative studio only and everything in between. He talked through 8 tips that help balance the relationship between your internal and external agency:
1) Set the Tone - Diffuse the competitiveness and make it about partnership. Show both parties how they can benefit from each other and above all, stress respect. It’s also wise to include the success of the relationship in both of their sets of goals.
2) Ownership - When selecting an external agency, include your in-house studio in the decision-making process.
3) Defined Roles - Lay out each group’s objectives and swim lanes, define the processes between groups and ensure that the leaders have a relationship. This is a crucial step during the hand-off process.
4) Workshop - Have the in-house agency host the external agency to present their capabilities and to meet the people. Even better, have them present their ideas/learnings to date. Leveraging the agency can get their ideas to a larger stage.
5) Briefing – Be sure to include the in-house agency in the creative process. Depending on the type of in-house agency you have, consider including them in the briefing process. Giving them ownership from the start will pay off in the long-term, as they will have to live and breathe this work once you define the creative direction.
6) Co-Present – Consider having your in-house agency present with the external partner. The two groups should explore how the work will live beyond the concept deck and how they will bring it to life in different channels.
7) Governance - Include reps from both parties in weekly status calls but let the groups define how they will consistently meet and discuss projects.
8) Never Settle – Doing things the way we have always done them is a sure way to fail in today's ever-changing landscape. Ask you internal leaders how they will change, innovate and prepare themselves for tomorrow. Ask your external agency for new models. Don’t let them push a basic studio structure. There is not a one-size fits all balance between Strategy, Creative and Production.