Collaboration Inside & Out

If orange is the new black, collaboration is the new integration.

Remember when agency integration was all the rage? Just a few years back, clients and agencies focused heavily on the importance of strategically communicating across multiple channels. While still important, integration has been supplanted by a new standard—collaboration.

As an agency-search consultant, I’ve found that collaboration is more than just a buzzword. It’s a top priority for clients looking for a new agency and a term that continues to evolve with industry demands, most recently and notably, when it comes to in-house agencies.

There was a time when clients in our agency reviews defined agency collaboration as external agencies working with other external agencies, e.g. a new AOR partnering with stand-alone digital or PR or media agencies. Today, more and more clients are including in-house teams in their definition of agency collaboration. In fact, we are seeing clients include in-house agencies in the mix of external agencies that all need to work together to help marketers achieve their business goals.

Clients have noted that in-house agencies now play more significant roles as strategic partners. They know that their in-house teams understand their brands and see the intrinsic value of tapping into them as brand stewards. And clients have observed the increased sophistication of in-house agency capabilities—moving from collateral, print and POS only to digital, PR and media.

So, while agency collaboration takes on a variety of permutations based on specific client’s needs, in-house agencies have earned their place and consideration in the conversation.

This week marks the start of the IHAF Huddle on Internal/External Agency Collaboration—our traveling discussion group series where six internal/external agency duos will share their stories of partnership and collaboration. We’re huddling in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, NYC, Richmond and San Francisco—join us!

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