Quality is the key in Advertising Outsourcing.

In today’s dynamic business environment, advertising is one of the fastest growing industries globally. More so, because technology is enabling its diversification into a variety of platforms including online, social media, digital marketing, experimental ambient, along with the traditional ones. To cater to the rising demands of clients, more and more agencies are partnering with Creative Process Outsourcing houses (CPO) in India to provide better services at reasonable costs.

One of the biggest questions that need to be addressed before one partners with a CPO is that of ‘quality’. Advertising being a much customized solution needs to maintain the quality of thought and execution throughout its service platter. When this responsibility is shifted to a team offshore, aren’t there chances of the quality getting diluted in the process?

Your concerns are valid, which is why CPOs has special procedures in place to ensure that the quality of work that is being delivered to you is not just up to the mark but also agrees with your region’s domestic sensitivities and contexts.

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A typical CPO would follow a five-stage procedure for quality control in their deliverables.

  1. Templatised briefing formats, designed to capture all essential information within a frame of reference that is relevant to the target customer of your advertising agency.
  2. Regular interactions between the account managers on both the sides via web conferencing to ensure the quality of Work in Progress.
  3. Timely attendance of the creative heads of the on shore and off shore teams to oversee the progress and taking note of client’s inputs, feedbacks and required changes at every stage.
  4. All creative outputs produced at the CPO go through an internal multi-stage review process to ensure the zero-tolerance level of quality control.
  5. Final creative output is then sent to the client in a ready-to-use format.

Standard operations in most CPOs also include bi-weekly conference calls with the agency management for sharing project updates.

Moreover, under the per seat model as well, the CPO follows well-defined procedures to ensure quality of human resources.

India has been a hub of outsourcing for a couple of decades now. From the IT sector, the outsourced duties are now shifting to other industries as well. Advertising agencies being one of the foremost organisations to provide outsourced support to firms in the Middle East and West.

“India has the experience, the resources and the creative talent – just what clients are looking for,” says Arvind Sharma, Managing Director, Leo Burnett, India.

“The Indian thought process is better tuned to the idea of a global village,” says Sorab Mistry, Chairman and CEO, McCann-Erickson India. “We have the strength of talent because of good business schools, and we have the strength of the English language.”

Working with a Creative Process Outsourcing House in India, agencies can confidently take client projects irrespective of their current service portfolio. The CPO only focuses on creative production, hires and sets up the best-in-class resources that are skilled across the required domains. This also saves the agency, the additional costs of hiring and maintaining a new team.

By outsourcing non-core projects, adaptations and sudden workloads to an offshore Creative House, agencies are increasingly exploring the largely untapped SME sector. Moreover, with a wise distribution of work to the CPOs they can save upto 50% of their creative production cost. As the agencies’ core business is delivering high quality creative solutions, diversifying often leads to a higher dependence on freelancers or expensive internal resources doing the job of junior level resources. A CPO clearly provides a dependable, customized and economical solution for diversification and expansion by ensuring greater efficiency, improved bottom lines, faster turnaround and better resource deployment to an agency.

How can CPOs help agencies tap into the SME sector?

What benefits can a CPO help agencies enjoy in this sector?

How can an agency make the best use of a CPO partnership?

Find answers to all these questions and more in our following posts on Outsourcing Creatives.

How can you benefit from a CPO Partnership?

In simple words, what a CPO House does is, it adds to agencies’ capabilities, without a large investment, helping you grow from small to big and from big to bigger.

This is how it works?

Creative Process Outsourcing partnerships can be taken as a strategic move by the agencies in order to gain a competitive edge in the market. It thus, opens up opportunities for organizations/agencies to utilize skill sets and expertise that they normally would not be able to access without a large investment. It can also become a savior to startups and small agencies, which have a modest capital to work with.

In times when creative teams are overburdened with routine jobs that take up much of their time and there is a constant rise in the cost of resources, the marginal profits of the agencies are going down. This is where a CPO can help you out, by helping your provide better services to your clientele, at a lower cost.

Creative outsourcing advantagesHere area few advantages that you enjoy with a CPO partnership:

1.       Enhanced service portfolio:

There are many agencies that provide only specific creative services to their clients, but there are clients’ who want all their creative work to be done from a single point of contact. In such a situation, agencies either have to say NO to the client or have to contact different agencies for each service. This is where a CPO steps in. It can provide a single touch-point for various services required, working for the client on behalf of and under the name of the agency.

 2.       Better focus on core competency:

As the agency grows or the number of clients grows, routine jobs for the creative teams also multiply. These jobs take up much of the time and energy of the creative teams. Outsourcing these jobs frees the creatives from non-core functions and puts their focus back on their core competencies. This also gives the agencies more time and opportunity to expand their business, while reducing the cost of human resources and infrastructure.

 3.       Complete flexibility of resources:

A CPO house provides you complete flexibility in choosing the resources as per your requirement. These are trained in your regional and cultural sensitivities and do not take much time in understanding your brand and agency procedures.

Besides, each resource comes with a probation period, where you can observe the resource’s performance and in case you are not satisfied, you get an option of replacement at no extra recruitment cost. Additionally, you have the flexibility to lay off a resource by giving a notice of just 15 days, without paying for any liability or dues.

 4.       Reduced operating & resource costs:

Lower cost is perhaps the biggest advantage of creative outsourcing. Work is done at a fraction of the cost as compared to the cost incurred when it is done locally without compromising on quality. Besides the resource cost, you also save on your operational costs with limited resources stationed at your entity.

 5.       Entry into the untapped SME market:

Today,the SME market is not just massive and growing but also mostly untapped. This is mainly because the agencies find it difficult to bear the high costs of the resources in the region for exploring this low-cost segment. With a CPO partnership, an agency can easily enter the growing SME market, without having to bear the cost differentials.

Listed above are just some of the advantages that one can enjoy by outsourcing work to a CPO. Be it a small sized agency looking for growth, a mid-sized agency looking to diversify or even a large-sized agency planning to expand in various sectors and regions, a CPO can always come handy for providing better, more diversified and cost-effective services to the relevant market.

How does a CPO work for you?

CPO or Creative Process Outsourcing refers to outsourcing a segment of the creative process by advertising agencies to a team sitting offshore.

If you identify with any of the following, CPO could really come handy for your agency.

  • Overburdened creative teams
  • Mundane, routine jobs taking much of your resources’ time
  • Rising cost of resources
  • Unreasonable client demands

Anything that you think is taking up too much of your time and effort or is getting unmanageable with the available resources can be tossed over to a CPO. These offshore teams work in two basic partnership models with you. You can choose the one that suites you the most.

1. Resource Support:

This model seeks to fill in a human resource gap that you may have, or in fact help you expand your team at a lower cost. No matter what skill set you require, be it a writer, or a designer, a web developer, a content creator or a proofreader, you can acquire it on a per seat basis. These resources come with complete infrastructural support at no recruitment cost and are well trained in regional and cultural sensitivities. They work as an extended team for your agency sitting offshore, and follow all agency procedures, as is expected from your in-house resources. In case the agency is not satisfied with the resource’s performance during the pilot, it can request to change the resource. Also, if you feel there is no need for the resource anymore, he /she can be laid off at a shorter notice period without paying any penalties.

The CPO follows the following steps to make sure the agency’s requirements are met adequately:

  1. Understanding agency requirement
  2. Estimating the required number of seats
  3. Understanding the required resource quality, skills and expertise
  4. Freezing the variables based on which the candidates are selected
  5. Sending the selected profiles to the agencies
  6. After approvals, training the resources to assure quality
  7. Sending regular work reports to the agency

2. Creative Support:

Sometimes, agencies do not wish to hire a resource, but do have some mundane work that needs to be taken care of. In this case, the agency can seek CPO services on a per project basis. This model is usually used for repetitive and template-based work like ad adaptations, BTL promotions, newsletters, catalogues, etc. This is also very useful for regular digital marketing services like SEO, blog/ web/ social media maintenance and the like.

In some cases, agencies also seek creative support to expand their service umbrella and capture new markets through pitches, without incurring the cost of additional human resources, infrastructure, etc.

Since, in both these models, the resources work for or as part of the agency, any work produced for the agency, during the course of the partnership remains the intellectual property of the agency.

What are the advantages of a CPO partnership?

Can a full-service agency also benefit from it?

How can it help you better your services?

Find answers to many more such questions, in the next post on Outsourcing Creatives.