Over the last two years, our businesses, employees, and careers have been transformed by COVID-19. The sudden transition to remote working required a shift in our core thinking to ensure that we were still true to who we were before “the big change,” and continued to deliver world-class creative to support every facet of the Netspend product portfolio. While it's easy to focus on the things that are different, it’s also given our team an opportunity to reflect on how we have used these challenges as opportunities to grow and continue to provide industry-leading products, services and support that our customers and partners have come to expect from us.
As a Creative Director at Netspend, part of my role is to foster an in-house agency environment where our team members have every opportunity to do their best work in bringing innovative products to our customers and partners. The Netspend creative team was recently recognized at the 2021 American Graphic Design Awards by earning five awards for outstanding graphic design work representing both our brands and our broader partnerships with consumers and other businesses alike.
While this recognition is a great honor for any team, it has also been one of those opportunities that I can look back on as a creative leader to consider what a strength that the internal Netspend creative team is for both our brand and our business.
The trend of cultivating internal creative agencies is not a new one. According to the Gartner 2020 CMO Spend Survey, almost 32% of work has shifted from external agencies to in-house teams. CMOs cite benefits such as greater agility in executing campaigns, the ability to spend marketing dollars more cost-effectively, and a greater control on brand messaging. What I’ve found in my experience managing an in-house agency is that another often unrecognized benefit is the ability to serve our customers even better while also building an environment where creative talent can be retained and cultivated.
The retention in creative talent is not only a win for you, but for your customers overall. All teams, creative included, seek to craft a cohesive and carefully managed customer experience. Your customer experience is an extension of your brand, after all. And in a highly regulated industry like ours, engaging campaigns can be a challenge. While some agencies may lack this experience, we’ve had over 20 years providing marketing and branding to partners. If your brand is successfully living and breathing, then the rest of your organization can also grow your bottom line as well.
The ability for our team to deliver across a broad spectrum of creative channels has given us an unexpected return — significantly higher employee retention even within the remote work environment.
For those with an internal creative team or if you’re looking for a foundation to create one, I wanted to share a few best practices that my team has been able to use, adapt, and (I think) succeed as an in-house creative team while transitioning to a 100% remote model.