Al Navarro, CCO & Co-Founder

One development I’ve noticed over the 15 years Mint’s been in business is that many companies have started or expanded their own in-house creative department. Brands like Target, Hyundai, and Fidelity all have in-house creative departments (or self-owned shops that act like in-house agencies).

While there are any number of reasons for this trend — including cost efficiency — it’s also true that sometimes even companies with large in-house creative departments still use outside ad agencies. In our experience, here are three common reasons why.

1. Bandwidth

Let’s face it, even the largest in-house creative department can get overwhelmed with work. Especially if it is in an industry prone to seasonal spikes. For example, if the company has an annual conference. Over the years, a number of companies with in-house creative departments have reached out to Mint for help managing workload in preparation for a conference, trade show, or new product launch. Mint is considered an extension of their in-house creative departments and, in many cases, works hand-in-hand with client creatives. We have occasionally been placed “on call” to support in-house departments when key employees are on vacation.

2. A different perspective

One of the advantages of an in-house department is an intimate knowledge of a given company’s brand and brand standards. Since they are often housed under the same roof as their “clients”, in-house creatives can really be steeped in the who, what, and why of an organization. While it is usually a benefit, this also means that they can get entrenched in a particular way of thinking, writing, or designing. Over the years, a number of our clients with in-house resources have asked Mint for a fresh take on a particular assignment. In some cases, it’s for perennial projects where thinking can get stale after a few years. Other times, it’s for new initiatives that call for new thinking.

3. Specialized experience/expertise

Often an organization’s in-house creative department is staffed with generalists (or specialists in a limited range of media), and the company uses an outside creative agency like Mint for help with a specific media type. Mint has a wealth of experience with direct mail and social media, so those are two channels that we are often asked to develop creative for. Our expertise in the gift card category is also valuable to clients who need to design and market gift cards.

Additionally, because Mint offers media planning and buying services for both on- and off-line channels, we are sometimes hire solely for our media capabilities.

If you’re an organization with a corporate creative department and face any of the challenges mentioned above…don’t be afraid to go outside of your in-house resources to get a job done. Our clients have found that using an outside agency like Mint can re-invigorate the on-staff people and point them in new directions.