How to enhance your in-house creative team with an external creative production agency

Over the course of my career, I’ve seen several trends where clients move services from one agency to another, split responsibilities between agencies, decouple production from agencies, spin up their own internal creative services teams, or even dismantle them.

While these trends have benefits, they can also bring notable downsides.

In recent years, we’ve been constantly approached by brands with in-house creative service teams facing several challenges such as:

  • Budget cuts
  • Increased mandates and deliverables
  • Rush deadlines
  • Resourcing and skill set limitations
  • Adopting tech
  • Increased operational costs

… and that’s only the beginning.

A daunting challenge? It doesn’t have to be.

Partnering with external creative production agencies has proven to provide cost-effective outlets and solutions to most, if not all of these challenges. In this article, I will walk you through some basic factors to keep in mind when considering if it makes sense for your brand to follow this model.

Production is one of the most significant challenges that agencies face, as their teams often lack the necessary skill sets to produce content that efficiently scales across formats and channels.

Partnering with a creative production agency provides the benefit of collaboration for both strategic and creative elements of a campaign under one roof, resulting in meaningful content that elevates your brand, optimizes your message, and transcends language barriers.

Let’s say your team comprised of a creative director, a graphic designer and a copywriter, has been tasked with developing concepts that drive awareness of a product or service for your latest campaign. The project may consist of several executional elements ranging from online assets, video, product imagery, banner ads, brochures, and many other deliverables.

With the team already at capacity, this new program may require you to deprioritize others to accommodate, causing delays with other initiatives.

Why compromise?

Having a creative production partner on your roster provides your teams with access to readily available designers, developers, writers, proofreaders, video editors, audio engineers and producers with existing knowledge of your brand, tone of voice and access to asset libraries.

This offers you peace of mind knowing your teams will not have to compromise in their work, still have insight and final oversight of all assignments.

Add in the ability to provide cultural consultation for deployment into other markets and you’ve now expanded your output and reach.

The struggle is real. For example, Yelp had been struggling to meet their increasingly growing internal and external needs for marketing and business communication.Craft Toronto was the perfect partner for Yelp, as they were looking for a nimble, flexible team that could function as the creative extension of Yelp’s internal leads, providing different production resources, wherever and whenever required.

“Always there, always diligent. Always communicative. Craft has become a true extension of the creative team at Yelp, allowing us all to elevate our creative and gain efficiencies”– Peta Martin, Director, Creative Operations and Project Management at Yelp.

Harnessing the power of collaboration.

Clients have found partnering with external creative production agencies has delivered several benefits, including:

  • Cost savings: Most in-house creative services teams do not have their own production staff and hire freelance services or contractors. Many of the larger agencies can give an agency a better rate for the same work because of scale.
  • Speed to market through scalable resources and automation: More often than not, internal teams are bogged down by creating, so they don’t have the bandwidth to look at efficiency models or tools to expedite.
  • Immediate impact: Effective extension of creative and production teams with very little onboarding and effort.

Another benefit we’ve found that separates partners like Craft, is our ability to bring various strengths (unique combinations of first-rate creative and technical knowledge) to deliver comprehensive solutions that work across channels and cultures.

Three actionable steps you can take today.

Below are several actions you can take to start improving and enabling your creative services teams to collaborate with an external creative production agency:

  1. Assess what parts of the whole agency/department are working, which ones are not, and where you think human intervention and technology can be leveraged to enhance team effectiveness and collaboration.
  2. Implement a set of standards, best practices, processes, and workflows for project tracking, feedback, approvals, and collaboration with internal and external resources. You can hire an experienced external creative production agency to quickly assist you in creating these.
  3. Set up regular check-ins to monitor progress, address any issues head-on and develop progress plans.

Moving forward.

It is essential to work with a creative production partner who is aligned with your agency’s philosophy to effectively collaborate, communicate, and connect on the right path.

At Craft, we offer fully integrated creative production solutions that have been successful in solving several issues for our clients. Our producers sit alongside strategy, creative and media, to bring the expertise that informs how a campaign, experience or asset come to life – in any language or culture.

Along with best-in-class processes, workflows, technology, and overall expertise in integrated production, we offer:

  • On-demand scalability
  • Cost-effective commercial models
  • Specialists’ vs generalists
  • Onshore/Offshore capabilities
  • Brand continuity and stewardship
  • Quality control at every stage of project lifecycle

If you are interested, feel free to drop us a message about your concerns, and we will come back with solutions for your brand.


Steve Ferreira is VP, Managing Director, Craft Canada. A tenured project manager and long-time studio operations lead with McCann and Craft, honed his skills managing multichannel integrated programs for many top tier local and global clients.

Craft Worldwide is a global, industry-leading creative production agency of 1,300+ creative makers and problem solvers in 120 countries specializing in content creation and transcreation across all channels. Craft’s approach to content creation is informed by data and powered by emerging production technology, driven by one value: to responsibly produce and create beautiful, intelligent and efficient content that drives business results. Craft’s work has been recognized with awards such as Cannes Lions, D&AD, Effie Awards and Gerety Awards. 

Craft Canada is headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Calgary and Montréal to support clients nationwide.