BrewDog and Starbucks on why it is ‘a mistake’ not to involve in-house teams in pitching

Both brands admit they have learned the hard way that not involving in-house teams with pitch processes can create a “negative environment” internally.

BrewDog and Starbucks have both admitted that not involving in-house agencies with pitch processes creates a “negative environment”.

Speaking at a Creativebrief event this morning (6 March) BrewDog’s marketing director, Sophie More, said: “Traditionally [in-house teams] haven’t been involved in the campaigns and marcomms sides of things which creates huge tensions when you then have an agency working on something and an internal team getting really annoyed by it.”

BrewDog has a “sizeable” in-house design unit and creative director, with More pointing out that when she has previously failed to involve them it has created “a negative environment for both sides”.

She adds: “You have to involve both so they can know what’s going on and share knowledge, share insight and collaborate.”

This opinion was echoed by Starbuck’s vice-president of marketing and product, Reuben Arnold, who noted he had “made that mistake a couple of times”.

He explained: “If we say that the pitch process is fundamentally about trying to understand how we work, it’s a huge miss not to include [internal teams]. They are going to be collaborating quite a lot, and they then don’t feel like they are part of the process and can feel the direction has been changed rather than being involved in shaping it.”

Graze’s global head of brand, Christina Loaiza, also agreed, adding that just involving an internal team can put you in danger of “inward thinking”.

All three marketers said involving in-house teams with outside creatives is a balancing act but vital for avoiding tensions.

More concluded: “It’s trying to explain we need fresh thinking. [Internal teams] often [say] ‘we can come up with the ideas, we can come up with the campaigns, we can come up with the creative’ and we have to take them on that journey with us about why it’s super beneficial to get fresh ideas and expertise into our business.”