Cella is pleased to share with the in-house creative community early results of the 2017 In-House Creative Industry Report as part of our continuing commitment to supporting the industry with valuable benchmarking data.

The Report consists of more than 100 questions spanning over 10 categories, specifically designed to provide operational insights, highlight best practices and remain a source of validation and direction for in-house creative leaders. The Cella survey's breadth of respondents and topics covered is unmatched. This means that it takes a significant amount of time to participate and so we'd like to thank the 375+ creative leaders who took the time to contribute and respond to this year's survey.

Each year we add topics and enhance questions to provide data and information creative leaders like you are seeking to adapt and stay relevant within your organizations. New and enhanced topics in this year's report include questions on:

  • Department Organization (agency model, flex-time and working remotely)
  • Service Offerings (proportion of team hours dedicated to digital vs. print projects)
  • Creative Leader Job Market (leadership tenure)

2017 Key Takeaways

Consistent Trends
Year over year, we see consistent trends across many of the subjects we survey. When consistent results occur several years running, we retire questions in favor of new ones--should we identify a need to bring a question back, we will. That said, some questions we retain as the results remain important even without year-over-year change. To that point for the fifth consecutive year, creative leaders' top five challenges have not changed. Client behaviors, career-pathing, gaining respect, value recognition and staff funding are still top challenges for in-house creative teams.

The number of teams with just one location (70%) has remained fairly consistent, as has the number of teams with locations both domestically and internationally (8%). Managing a team across multiple locations and time zones introduces challenges other teams rarely need to consider: comparable staff appreciation events, meeting times convenient to all parties, multi-location server access and building a shared culture, to name a few. However, these teams also have advantages, including business continuity during weather-related closings, a longer business day to spread work across minimizing overtime and a larger geographical recruiting base.

Changes of Note
Unfortunately, there's been a small decline in the number of creative leaders who can utilize freelancers to support volume spikes. On a positive note, 98% of teams are expected to grow or remain the same size--a small increase over 2016 expectations. In addition, there has been a notable shift in team size: the percentage of mid-size teams (11-30) has increased by 5% at the expense of small teams (>=10). Also promising is the fact that more teams are utilizing digital asset and project management systems and there's been a slight increase in the number of teams with dedicated account and/or project managers.

First-Time Results
As the talent market continued to tighten and retention has become a priority, we introduced two new questions to learn how many organizations were able to offer their team members flexibility in schedule and work location. We learned that 23% of teams' companies do not allow flexible schedules and 12% do not allow any remote work--even on an ad hoc basis. On the other end of the spectrum, 12% afford their employees complete schedule autonomy so long as their responsibilities are met, and 20% regularly practice remote work--these organizations have a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

Cella also broadened our question set in the final section of the report, "Creative Leader Job Market," to include how long respondents have worked for their current employer and how much longer they anticipated staying with their current employer. Perhaps not so surprising is that senior team members tend to stay with an organization longer than their more junior counterparts. The most popular tenure response was 10+ years with the same organization (44%) with 6-10 years being the second-most popular response (24%). One-third of respondents indicated they expected to leave their current employer in less than three years. We also learned that 30% of creative leaders have worked in departments outside of their company's creative organization.

2017 Outlook
Beyond this survey, Cella sees internal creative organizations continuing to gain momentum within their organizations. Some groups are investing significant time and money into becoming full-service in-house agencies, while others are chipping away at it and making progress in a more measured manner. Regardless of method, creative organizations are identifying ways to increase their value to the greater organization. Augmentation in team size, broader service capabilities, investment in tools and the hiring of account and project management resources are all signs of growth. It would also behoove our industry to make an increased investment in professional development, decrease the senior leader to direct report ratios, place a greater focus on internal partner/client feedback and improve the budget knowledge and financial acumen of creative leaders. This will enable our teams to adapt to the increasingly fast pace of business and change within the creative industry.

Cella's consultants are experts in supporting organizations like yours in critical ways including; standing up in-house agencies, conducting and implementing process improvement plans, implementing project management and DAM tools and much more. Cella's teams of experts bring real-world experience and subject matter expertise to their assignments and they possess a wide range of up-to-date industry knowledge including benchmarking, trends and best practices.

You can download full report at www.creativeindustryreport.com