Do clients feel increasingly able to manage their own brands in-house? Is the role of the external consultancy changing, and what happens when clients don’t quite get it right themselves?

As it gets easier to produce things and margins become more transparent the more financially aware see an opportunity to cut costs and move things in-house. We can get depressed about this declining revenue stream, or positive about the new role for groups, which is more ideas-focused and consultancy-based. There will always be a need for people to think laterally, and this is easier if there is some distance from the problem at hand.
John Holton, Creative director, Fig Tree Network

Ultimate responsibility for the brand and its application should always sit with the client. External advisors, in whatever shape or form, are there to inspire, advise and help take the brand forward with ideas and creative executions based on insight and perception that is not easy to develop from within a client organisation. Great work has always come from great insight. That hasn’t changed. Neither has the fact that poor decisions are occasionally made, with or without the help of a consultancy. Consignia anyone?
Jonathan Cummings, Director, Start Creative


e debate around taking design in-house or not has been around for a long time. There is no right answer – the most appropriate solution will be driven by cultural (ethos, principles) and business (quality, efficiency) reasons. The prime driver of an external consultancy has always been to challenge and provide fresh thinking to a client’s problem. What is changing is the choice of whether we want to be a client’s supplier or truly become a consultant of value to their business.
Rune Gustafson, Chief executive, Interbrand

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