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ASSESS YOUR IN-HOUSE AGENCY’S ADAPTABILITY: IS IT AGILE ENOUGH FOR 2019?

Last July, Cella posted a 3-part blog series, The New In-House Agency Success Story: Adapt or Die. The blogs explored 12 best practices areas that in-house creative teams must master to meet and exceed clients’ expectations, adapt to new business needs, and quickly seize exciting opportunities on the horizon.

Now on this last day of December, when the new year is barreling down on us in full force, it’s time to take another look at adaptability. Why? Because adaptability is one of the most neglected foundational pillars of in-house agencies, even though it may have the single greatest impact on your team’s future success.

So here’s the question: Are you ready for 2019? Does your team have the agility and adaptability you’ll need for tomorrow, and beyond?

Cella recommends that you download the Adaptability Self-Assessment Checklist that we’ve developed so you can help evaluate your agency’s readiness.

In-house agencies have made great strides over the last decade, both in terms of newly established groups and newly added services and responsibilities. After years of diligently and earnestly proving themselves worthy of a seat at the table, in-house creative teams are now being given a greater amount of higher-level, higher-value strategic projects – ones that are information intensive and require specialized expertise.

The checklist will help you assess if you have the infrastructure, talent, processes, management and technology needed to seize all the longed-for opportunities that are headed your way.

Sometimes as creative leaders we’re too close to the day-to-day operations of our team to come up with the questions that lead to the insights our in-house team needs to act on. This tool can be used as a guide to help you ask the right questions and discover some answers.

The question of “Are you agile enough?” is uncovered by assessing how proficient you are in the 12 areas that are critical drivers of adaptability. The Self-Assessment Checklist covers factors ranging from account management to mission statements, defining the value that each one contributes to your team’s agility.

For example, expert account management is one of the pivotal enablers of adaptive teams. Account and project managers act as liaisons between clients and the creative teams. Working with clients, they help design tactical market plans, provide strategic insights and manage client expectations. Within the agency, they assist with the resource planning that will help generate powerful results from well-crafted assignments. Not only do they position the team for future success by executing on these core business practices, they also act as the antenna for new business opportunities by leveraging their relationships with clients to uncover new client expectations and needs.

By the same token, a well-defined triad of the in-house agency’s Mission, Vision and Value Proposition can be the North Star that guides team culture and its behaviors. They set the expectation that adaptability and continuous improvement should be the mindset of every associate, and that their activities and performance should be aligned with this culture.

In the day-to-day churn of an in-house agency, it’s easy to lose sight of the strategic improvement opportunities that are available to us. As you kick off the new year, we hope that this Self-Assessment Checklist will serve as a valuable asset in continuing your quest for greater adaptability in 2019.

Happy New Year everyone!


Andy Epstein

Andy Epstein is an industry thought leader in the field of in-house creative. He currently serves as the Director of Studio Operations for Cella Solutions where he has oversight of the managed in-house agencies run by Cella. Andy has written and spoken extensively on in-house issues and published “The Corporate Creative,” a book on in-house design in the spring of 2010. He is a co-founder of InSource, the former Programming Director for the InHOWse Managers Conference, and a key member of Cella’s professional development team. Andy is focused on empowering in-house teams to raise their stature in the design and business communities.

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