Creative Problem Solving for In-House Agencies

In-house agencies are chock full of creativity, but how do they apply it to solve business problems? Creative leaders from KPMG, DraftKings, and ELEMENT gathered recently for our In-House Agency Roundtables to show more than 200 community members how it's done. Read on for key takeaways from each of our three virtual discussion groups.

screenshot of James Murphy from KPMG sitting in home office delivering Roundtable presentationJames Murphy kicked off this year's Roundtable series, sharing his experience as Director of National Design, Proposal & Production Services at KPMG. In this session, James talked about creative problem solving within a corporate culture that puts people first.

Matching his team members' roles to their skillsets and career goals is an ever-present challenge for James. "Our designers...continue to evolve. And last year's fit may not be this year's passion. Do we know that about them? Do they know that about themselves?"

James also said that to help answer these questions, in-house agency leaders need to engage their employees on a regular basis and avoid making assumptions. This includes starting a dialogue, encouraging them to self-advocate, and having them weigh in on a broad range of creative projects beyond their own.

screenshot of Sarah Juselius from DraftKings sharing a Roundtable presentation with attendees via Zoom video callHow does a fantasy sports platform survive with virtually all sports on hold? In our second Roundtable, creative leaders Sarah Juselius and Scott Salsbury revealed how DraftKings went beyond its traditional live sports model to find new ways for players to fuel their competitive spirit.

The folks at DraftKings pivoted to market new offerings like eSports, Table Tennis and even free pools for non-sporting events like political debates. Without access to a high-tech studio and reliable sports schedules, the in-house agency's resourcefulness resulted in recording content via Zoom and producing TV spots in as little as two days to keep moving "at the speed of sports."

screenshot of Amit Kulkarni from sitting in home office delivering Roundtable presentation to attendees via Zoom video callOur third Roundtable discussion featured the team from, producing creative work to help propel their business forward. VP and Executive Creative Director Amit Kulkarni walked through a recent campaign his team produced to support the launch of a new homebuyer service.

From high-level messaging to specific content formats, Amit offered a tour of their latest work. Session participants also got to see how leveraged an animated explainer video, a detailed online landing page, and on-cam client testimonials to build consumer confidence in their new offering.

screenshot of Eran Lobel from Element sitting in home office delivering Roundtable presentation on creative problem solving to attendees via Zoom callParticipants at all three Roundtables also met Eran Lobel—longtime IHAF member and CEO of ELEMENT, a full-service video production and post-production company.

Eran enlightened session participants by offering what he believes are the three root causes of most business problems and how to address them:

1. Quality

Regardless of channel or medium, high-quality work engages the audience and supports your business goals. It requires a content strategy that clearly conveys your main points and why the target audience should care.

2. Budget

You can optimize how your business spends resources in several ways. Integrated planning across departments can help you estimate costs and eliminate waste by keeping everyone coordinated while streamlining processes. You can also plan for the unexpected, finding new ways to take advantage of existing opportunities like staffing an extra photographer to capture still images at a video shoot.

3. Timeline

High-quality, on-budget work has to be ready when you need it. Effective time management calls for detailed creative briefs, streamlined approvals, and keeping all decision-makers in the loop. To reduce time searching for work you've already done, your team can also curate and maintain a media library that keeps assets on-hand and easy to find.

Attendees then put Eran's philosophy into practice, breaking off into small groups to rescue a hypothetical product launch by applying creative problem solving. Participants lit up through this exercise as well as the discussion that followed, welcoming the opportunity to engage in an exchange with like-minded peers.

In fact, when we polled this year's attendees following each of our three sessions to get their take on this year's virtual discussion groups, here's what they had to say:

"It was good to be able to connect with other members in a live session. Most virtual events I've attended lately don't have open conversation. I liked that this one did."

"Loved the group discussion and problem solving posed by Eran—got everyone talking about current climates, challenges and new ways of thinking."

"The group discussion was insightful and helpful. Always great to share with peers in the industry."

If you're looking to network with in-house agency professionals (or just want to see what all the fuss is about), check-out our program calendar and register for an upcoming event. IHAF is a community rooted in sharing, learning and growing together. We look forward to connecting with you!

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