In-Housing & The New Agency/Brand Relationship

07 May 2020

Last week, the BIMA Brand Council met online to explore in-housing, the opportunities it presents, the advantages of working with agencies and what’s next. Here are the key takeaways.

Why in-house?
There are still big opportunities and benefits for organisations that use in-housing. They include:

Those advantages seemed even more compelling when placed alongside some of the negative aspects of working with agencies, which included:

The advantages of agencies
But the discussion did acknowledge that there are many ways where agency input is invaluable:

The pitfalls of in-housing
The group explored the biggest learning points they or their organisations had experienced when bringing creative or media capabilities in-house. The responses indicated that, whilst in-housing may have many benefits, without the right organisational approach it can be difficult to fully realise them.

Learning points included:

The in-house/agency tension and what comes next
We’re all familiar with the core issues: no one knows your brand better than those who work within it, yet an agency brings expertise, innovation and creativity you may never be able to replicate in-house. The nirvana, it seems, is to have the right quality of people to be efficient and productive in order to keep the work going but still have the agency support to provoke you and create landmark pieces.

But the current system does have its flaws and there’s nothing like a global pandemic to highlight them. What really energised the discussion was exploring what will change over the coming months.

As the above pitfalls demonstrate, organisations really need a framework for best practice in in-housing. And now’s the time because there’s a surplus of great talent in the market. We’re also seeing marketers pivot and supporting them will involve making changes to the traditional agency model. We’ll need different ways of working – ways that are more skills- based and are leaner and agile. And as more work is brought in-house, one way of reshaping the relationship (and agencies’ commercial models) is for agencies to support in- house activities as coaches and educators.

BIMA’s Brand Council will be meeting next month to continue the discussion – email if you want to be part if it.


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