I never heard this statement when I lived on the agency side of the fence: “Well that’s the way it’s always been”. But I heard it every day when I jumped to the client side to join an in-house creative team.

The negativity and roadblocks weren’t coming out of the creative team, however. They were coming from our internal clients. Sticking to the usual processes in which everyone keeps busy doing the same thing was the preference. I suppose it’s safe and no one needs eight levels of approvals to keep on truckin’.

When I joined, not only was a new marketing team with a creative services arm being formed, but also a new brand was being rolled out. The internal clients hadn’t seen change in so many years and now there was nothing but change.

The in-house environment was much trickier than I had anticipated. I had to hone and sharpen my negotiating skills, so I could defend the brand and stand up for the work our team was providing. This challenge does not exist on the agency side. No one will tell you to stop coming up with great ideas and taking the initiative to innovate on the agency side, but they certainly will on the in-house side.

My best advice having lived through several rebranding efforts: Be prepared to answer a lot of questions; Understand and articulate why you rebranded and what it means for your organization moving forward; Link your marketing strategy to your business strategy and let your internal clients know how your projects are relating back.

It was a difficult environment to navigate for a while, as people settled into new routines, new styles, and processes to support the brand and all of its touch points.

My guess is there are many other organizations that are finding it difficult to innovate, differentiate, and drive new ways of thinking.

So tell us, how have you worked through the challenges that come with implementing change in-house?

Robin Colangelo
VP Board of Directors: InSource
Global Director of Creative Services: White & Case

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