Implementation: How to Build an In-House Agency | OLIVER In-House Agencies
agency implementation, in-house agency

At the ISBA Alternatives Conference on December 6th, OLIVER Chief Executive Officer Simon Martin will be explaining what it takes to build an in-house agency.

It’s a process that changes from client to client, and can present some tricky logistical challenges – which is why OLIVER set up an Implementation Team.

Implementation Director Gemma Daly explains all.

Implementation… what?

Ensuring consistent, seamless and successful deployment of our on-site agencies – that’s our mission.

It’s a comprehensive service offered worldwide, served out of all OLIVER’s regional hubs, covering every aspect of setting up a new agency. That includes thinking about the talent we place on-site, and making sure our people are a good cultural fit for the client; but it goes right down to the IT and technology that’ll be required for the new agency to hit the ground running.

We work closely with the client to make sure nothing slips through the net, but we also do all the heavy lifting, so to speak, to allow clients to carry on with business as usual while we’re building their new agency.

Why do we need it?

Clients know what they want to achieve, but often need help figuring out how to make it happen. And because we work right at the heart of a client’s business, it’s critical that we get it right.

This “how” changes for every client. We come armed with best-in-class process, but have to mould that process to the client’s business and their challenges in order to build the perfect bespoke solution.

There’s no single template for building an in-house agency; but we’re so practised at this now that new agencies are built from scratch in under twelve weeks – and sometimes as little as four.

But doesn’t the sales team do that job?

We’re part of the sales process. We get involved early and help to guide discussions to agree the best approach.

It’s also worth mentioning that our service is often bought by CMOs and Procurement Directors, who know the business’s core challenges inside out, but may not be directly involved in creating and briefing work.

Our team, meanwhile, all have backgrounds in areas such as client services, project management, studio management and operations. So we help to knit all these different areas together and ensure that the client gets a solution precision-tailored to their needs.

So clients don’t always know what they need?

We never underestimate a client’s knowledge, and most of the time they have a good understanding of what they need.

Frequently, though, they’ll overestimate the size of the team. Brands are used working with traditional agencies which can’t always dedicate staff exclusively to one account. Clients are often shocked at how much work can be produced by a smaller team working with complete transparency, and by how collaboratively and reactively we operate.

Bringing an agency in-house… isn’t that a bit scary?

It’s a big change for a lot of clients, so it’s only natural for them to have reservations.

But that’s why I’m here: addressing any perceived risks at the start and providing solutions to ensure a seamless transition.

This is where we make a real difference, by helping the client to see all of the components coming together.

Shouldn’t other agencies do this?

I imagine other agencies do undertake some form of implementation, but normally this will be to address their own new internal services rather than looking at client-specific agency builds.

If you’re going to build an in-house agency, then yes, I’d say you definitely need a team like ours.  There are just so many considerations: people, processes, technology, workspace, furniture, TUPE law –  the list goes on.

Scale that number of variables across the many different shapes and sizes of clients’ businesses, and you can imagine the complexity of the task.

No two clients’ businesses are the same. Our implementation process allows us to view each new client as a blank slate, and deliver the same high standard of service across the board.


Like the idea of having your own agency?

…feel slightly uneasy about having them in your office?

OLIVER’s in-house agencies are currently inside over 50 brands worldwide, working in sync with internal marketing teams to deliver better work, faster.

Get in touch to discover how we’d create the perfect bespoke agency for your business.

Book your slot at the ISBA Alternatives Conference here.


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