Internal agencies are suffering an identity crisis, defined by everyone from the clients working with them to the press writing about them. It’s time for in-house agencies to declare who and what they are, and who and what they are not. And,
it may just be that they’re not agencies at all—at least, not in the traditional sense.

Today’s clients are looking for broader skill sets, capabilities and offerings from the providers they engage. That’s why agencies of all types need to be as adaptable as they are adept, meeting the demands of today without missing a beat in tackling tomorrow.

For internal agencies, that means taking full advantage of their institutional knowledge, creative prowess and proximity to the business by influencing strategies, direction and decisions in ways that transcend conventional models. It means shifting from linear to hub-and-spoke engagement by becoming the center of creativity and connectivity enterprise wide.

It means investing in a pedigreed marketing communications exec to establish the vision and lead the way for the team to reach its full potential. It means recruiting the best-and-brightest creative talent and then getting out of their way so they can do their jobs without constraint.

Across the industry, there’s never been a better time to woo top talent to work in house. Award-winning creative directors, brand strategists and media moguls are migrating to the “client side”—bolstering the 72% of corporations insourcing today. These people are experienced. They are talented. They are committed to their craft.

The question is, are we empowering them to lead or relegating them to follow?

The full potential of in house can only be realized if we release these teams from operating as add-on providers of traditional external services and start viewing and embracing and permitting them to extend beyond delivering what the client wants to delivering what the business needs, which has yet to be imagined.

Familiar is the enemy of progress; safe is the enemy of innovation. It’s time for in-house agencies to rise above the stigma of being an internalized version of an external provider. It’s time for the in-house model to become an integral, organic competitive advantage.

In-house agencies, you have proximity. You have access. You have institutional knowledge. And, you have talent. Do you have permission? And, if not, are you waiting for someone to give it to you or are you seizing it as your own?