This is the fifth and final post in a series of posts that provide insight into the evolution of creative organizational modeling and resourcing within the large corporation. If you haven't already read the previous installments, you can find them here.

The "Center of Excellence" has become quite a common organizational strategy within corporate America across the past decade, though often it is a misunderstood term. The term is used to define a broad range of centralized org structures and operational scenarios within large companies, and has many potential applications for the internal creative team. One of the most common points of confusion around this term comes when "Center of Excellence" is considered as one and the same as the "In-House Creative Team."

Though the two capabilities can (and in my opinion, should) co-exist as part of the same group, managing the in-house creative team is only one portion of the responsibilities that a true Center of Excellence should take on. Best-in-class creative teams at Fortune 500 companies reviewed by Cella typically empower the Creative Center of Excellence to influence the organization in the following areas:

Creative Excellence

  • Strongly influences corporate and product-level creative strategy, design thinking, and overall excellence in creative execution across the company

Brand Excellence

  • Strongly influences corporate and product-level brand strategy and governs adherence to design and voice guidelines

Procurement & Supplier Management

  • Manages the company's creative supply chain, including procuring and managing relationships with the company's third-party creative resources (agencies, BPOs, managed services firms and staffing providers, etc.), and facilitating effective coordination and collaboration between various internal and external resources

Creative Operations

  • Develops and governs the use of tools, platforms, processes, performance management approaches and other operational best practices designed to enable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective creative execution.

Project Delivery

  • Directs, project manages and executes the delivery of high-quality, timely, and cost-effective creative and content assets as needed at the corporate and product levels of the organization. This is accomplished through both managing the in-house creative team and the company's portfolio of 3rd-party suppliers.

The name of the game for in-house agency leaders is no longer simply about justifying full-time headcount and freelancer budgets to build their in-house creative teams. The highest performing teams, operating as true Centers of Excellence ("COE"), are orchestrating and optimizing the total creative landscape with the mission of maximizing the value that creativity brings to the company. Building your organization to serve this purpose requires a mixed resource approach, as an FTE-only approach is unlikely to be the most efficient or effective strategy. Informed by Cella's deep benchmarking of Fortune 500 companies, we've created a matrix that maps COE performance areas to the most appropriate resource as identified in our previous post in this series. Though certainly over-simplified in this example, establishing a matrix like this one will help you and your management team begin visualizing your company's organizational and resourcing strategy for the in-house agency.

This concludes the "Evolution in Creative Resourcing" blog series. Need help in bringing this all together? If the need exists for you as the in-house agency leader to evaluate your options in much greater depth and plan your path towards the most effective organizational and resourcing model for your company, the Cella consulting team can help you get there.