2014 In-House Agency of the Year
TIAA-CREF Financial Services
In late 2012, TIAA-CREF Creative Services took a hard look at its organization. Its full-time employees (FTEs) barely outnumbered it contractors. External agencies numbered more than 50. Work wasn’t brand strong, budget wasn’t effective, and big change was needed. So an ambitious plan was born: “Creative Services Transformation.”
By early 2013, the leadership team had set out to build a new in-house agency. Following a true agency model, the team would include account managers, project managers and creative professionals under a single creative director. The vision? To elevate their creative product to exceed that of external agencies – and to make the in-house team the go-to agency for its clients.
Today, the Creative Services team of 62 FTEs is supported by a limited number of contingent workers and outside firms, including an agency for pure production projects. All work—even work created outside—funnels through dedicated internal account management and creative teams. This “super-agency,” complemented by brand execution and template strategy teams, has facilitated the execution of a huge volume of brand-strong, results-focused marketing campaigns at a significant cost savings to the company. In 2013, the agency managed 3,151 jobs and looks to complete more than 5,000 in 2014, with savings in excess of $1 million achieved through process and resource efficiencies. And the kudos are rolling in.
At the heart of TIAA-CREF’s success story is a remote workforce model that attracts and retains strong talent from across the country. The team is further driven by a creative culture that embraces collaboration and pushes boundaries to help clients achieve success. Most importantly, corporate culture encourages and supports the spirit of what Creative Services embodies by continuing to live the premise of Andrew Carnegie’s 1918 mission: To serve those who serve others.