You are not alone…common “battles” of the in-house creative team

You are not alone…common “battles” of the in-house creative team
By: Jackie Schaffer

There are some challenges in-house creative teams face that don’t have easy solutions—and some are more challenging and pervasive than others. This posting doesn’t provide too many solutions, rather hopefully a little comfort that your creative team is experiencing similar challenges as other in-house creative teams.

#1: Who does the writing?
Despite creative teams employing specialized marketing communications writers, many are still challenged to own that piece of the creative process. Instead, internal clients such as subject matter experts in the business units or sales teams insist on doing the writing. And while these colleagues are incredibly talented and knowledgeable about the company’s products and services, they are often too deep in the product to write impactful, concise marketing content.

#2: Who wins: “Executive Row” or the Business Unit?
In-house creative teams regularly struggle with balancing requests from very senior people in the company, e.g., the CEO, with requests from revenue-generating business units and sales team, and this puts the creative team between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Some creative teams have decreased this pressure by separating out a team dedicated to internal department requests from the CEO, HR, and others, though other smaller teams typically don’t have this luxury and instead need to prioritize across the whole lot.

#3: Who helps with IT needs?
Many corporate IT departments have been faced with outsourcing and downsizing across the five years, therefore their ability to prioritize and support creative department requests is almost non-existent. This begins with Mac support (though with the popularity of the iPhone and iPad, more IT departments are becoming apple-friendly) and goes all the way up through DAM and Project Management System implementation support. Some creative teams have gone out and hired their own Mac Support Specialists (one creative leader suggests recruiting from your local Apple Store), others have found contract support, but some are still without reliable support. And when it comes to larger projects such as implementing a Project Management System, many creative teams are running to Cloud versions to avoid heavy IT involvement.

Jackie Schaffer, vice president and general manager of Cella Consulting, is a former in-house leader who has consulted for teams of all sizes, including Fortune 500 clients, government entities and educational institutions and has the unique opportunity to speak with hundreds of creative leaders each year. Cella helps creative leaders and their teams identify and execute strategic priorities, so they can increase their effectiveness and focus on creating high-quality creative.

Cella is a co-author of the In-House Creative Services Industry Report and authors weekly blogs on business operations topics pertinent to the role of creative leaders.