Business Case: Constant Contact & Ideasicle

One of the key advantages of an in-house agency is that their creative teams live and breathe the brand. And while this can lead to rhythms and efficiencies that save time and drive great work, there’s also a risk that it can lead to insular thinking that limits the brand’s potential.

Tim Weldon, Senior Director of Brand & Creative at Endurance International Group, was kicking off a new TV campaign for Endurance’s flagship brand: Constant Contact. The brand wanted to take a bold, new approach with this campaign, and Weldon’s instincts told him he’d need to present a wide-range of concepts to find a winner. His team’s top creatives would be working on the campaign from start to finish, but they were already stretched thin under the daily onslaught of projects. With just a few weeks to concept, would they be able to come up with enough big ideas?

Ideasicle + Constant Contact, a hybrid solution. Weldon contacted Will Burns, CEO of Ideasicle, to see if there might be a fit. Ideasicle is a company organized entirely to come up with ideas, and only ideas. Burns has recruited a “superfriends” group of tier-one creatives, strategists and specialists from his days at Goodby Silverstein, Wieden & Kennedy, Arnold, Mullen and other creative hot shops. These experts work virtually in teams of four to come up with ideas for Ideasicle clients.

Beyond its ideation potential, the thing that attracted Weldon to the Ideasicle model was the fact the company has no agenda to become an agency of record. In fact, Weldon found that Ideasicle actively avoids agency-of-record enticements in favor of being an idea machine solely.

Weldon was intrigued. Partnering with Ideasicle would enable Constant Contact to keep all creative in-house while taking advantage of external thinking. He figured whether he used their ideas or not, it would be a great gut check on his own team’s work.

Jump starting Constant Contact’s creative process. Weldon hired Ideasicle for one project that included:

Creative Brief Development—An internal strategic session led by Will Burns resulting in a powerful single-page creative brief.

Ideation Round One—Ideasicle presenting 10 different campaign concepts to Weldon and his internal team (key point).

Ideation Round Two—Armed with valuable feedback from round one, Ideasicle came back with 11 completely new campaign concepts.

The entire process took about three weeks—and according to Weldon, the partnership paid off. “The best part of working with Ideasicle is the lack of preciousness over their concepts. They delivered a lot of high-level ideas that our team could take as is, reject, revise, or simply find the germ of an idea to form our own concept. Ideasicle is a great behind-the-scenes creative partner.”

Ideasicle’s Will Burns agrees. “We love projects like this. If we nail it, great—we do so at a very high level where the idea is still entirely dependent on execution by the in-house team. If we don’t nail it, you can be sure our strategy and ideas will bend, twist and challenge the way the in-house team is looking at the assignment. In that sense, our ideas inspire more ideas, which is just as satisfying to us.”

Constant Contact took several TV concepts to testing—a few from Ideasicle and a few from the in-house agency. Then, they moved forward with production of the one that tested best. So, did the winning idea come from Ideasicle or Constant Contact? According to Weldon, “It was an idea our in-house team had that was inspired by the Ideasicle strategy.” A nice balance between internal insight and external perspective. The new Powerful Stuff campaign launched last month: click to view.

Will Burns is founder of Ideasicle and a Forbes contributor. He is also one of this year’s IHAF conference Brand Bootcamp presenters. Hear what Will has to say about “In-House Media in the Tech Age” by registering for our conference today.

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