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The gig economy is alive and well. In fact, this modern online phenomenon has only been exacerbated by the global pandemic. Our subsequent shift to remote work and The Great Resignation lead seasoned professionals to quit their jobs in pursuit of more flexible freelance careers.
When it comes to sourcing talent for creative production — think anything from designing a logo, writing compelling copy, or creating a good old-fashioned ad campaign — brands of all sizes have more options now than they ever had.
But is that always a good thing?
Creative Strategy and Decision Fatigue
Freelancing platforms like Upwork and Fiverr put thousands of global creators right at our fingertips. Of course, it’s always nice to have options, but as anyone who’s stood in the cereal aisle for too long will tell you, a sea of endless potential can be overwhelming. Decision paralysis halts forward motion, while decision fatigue can lead to sub-par hiring practices.
If it’s always possible to find someone who will do it cheaper or faster, where do decision-makers set the bar for quality? This is a double-edged sword for creators, too. Freelancers certainly benefit from the discoverability factor these platforms offer but may be forced to lower prices and increase turnover rates to stay competitive.
For brands, it can become difficult to understand when or why creative production is worth $500 vs. $5,000 — or even $50,000. From individual designers to social influencers, our current online culture makes it easy to style oneself as an expert. However, this can distort what it really means to be an “expert.”
An abundance of prospects doesn’t necessarily make it easier to find the right candidate for the job. While some projects are small or flexible enough that a “good enough” freelancer can satisfy the need, it’s essential to understand when agency work is the better path.
5 Benefits of Working with a Creative Production Agency
Working with (the right) freelancers can have many benefits, from knocking out those random one-off projects to completing a highly-specialized endeavor. That being said, when it comes to creative campaigns, the best option depends entirely on a brand’s needs.
Here are 5 benefits of working with a creative ad agency:
1. Legacy Knowledge
No man is an island, but many freelancers are. One undeniable benefit of working with an ad agency is the pool of legacy knowledge that comes in tow. Creative production professionals continuously learn from one another, expanding their existing skill sets with each past project, partnership, and/or team they work on.
Revolutionary brand campaigns often require a complex mesh of talent to pull together, which can get cumbersome when hiring multiple freelancers. Nothing beats working with a cohesive team of experts.
2. Vetted Creative Production Experts
One of the trickiest parts of hiring new talent is establishing whether or not they can deliver the goods. When it comes to freelancers, the vetting process is entirely up to the hiring party (that’s you). Brands can, however, rest assured that those who are already working for reputable ad agencies — in a highly competitive field — have been vetted, trained, and vouched for by experienced agency leadership.
3. Consistency & Reliability
Let’s face it. Freelancers can be hit or miss, especially when so many are juggling freelancing responsibilities with part-time or full-time jobs. Depending on your goals, you’ll need to determine whether your demands are simple and flexible enough to be at the mercy of someone’s side-hustle. Even those who freelance full time tend to wear many hats and may have less time to fully devote to creative production.
Remember, for every reliable freelancer who consistently delivers excellence, there are at least ten who will ghost you — or worse. Ad agencies operate with internal and external accountability, which means getting reliable, consistent results can be less of a gamble.
4. Streamlined Access to Resources
If you’re in need of a multi-stage creative campaign, you’ll need separate resource silos for each step, depending on your needs — think conceptualizing, designing, writing, audio and visual production, printing, etc. Full-service ad agencies often have the necessary talent and resources in-house. If not, they almost certainly have their own preferred, vetted vendors you’ll have access to by proxy.
5. Small Ad Agencies
The rise of the boutique ad agency offers brands a happy medium between expensive, bloated agencies and freelancers going at it alone. Working with a boutique agency typically means faster response times, greater flexibility, and direct access to agency leadership — all without sacrificing the benefits of working with a razor-sharp, experienced team.
Art by Adamastor on Dribbble
Art Before Advertising
There are many, many projects where a golden egg of a freelancer will deliver amazing results. There’s also the reality of freelancing in today’s digital landscape: quantity over quality. With increasing pressure for freelancers to deliver work faster — and for less — something has to give. An honest assessment of your organization’s values, goals, and needs is essential when it comes to deciding between hiring a freelancer and working with a reputable ad agency.
Curmudgeon Group is a women-owned boutique ad agency that works with brands investing in a climate-resilient future. We pride ourselves in creating revolutionary work, always putting art over advertising, and delivering masterpieces — not paint by numbers.
Contact us today to learn more.