How to make your in-house creative team priceless 

Design teams know how intrinsic to business their work is, and yet they still often find themselves undervalued. Emma Sexton offers some concrete advice on how to solve the problem, and think differently about your team in the process

Image: iStock/DrAfter123

What’s the value of design and creativity to business? This is probably the toughest question the industry is still trying to answer. In fact we have struggled so much with this question that now McKinsey is having an excellent go by setting up its own agency and producing their recent “business value of design” research. They believe the report to be “the most extensive and rigorous research undertaken anywhere to study the design actions that leaders can make to unlock business value”.

Much as reports like this are great for our industry – they don’t help the average creative team to justify their work to their internal and external clients. The most common disgruntle I hear is “why don’t people want to pay for our creative work?. They would never haggle a lawyer or a plumber over their estimate.” The simple answer is that when someone asks you to reduce your fees it is usually because they do not value what you do and you have become a commodity. I know this is tough to hear. But look around at agency and freelancer rates – they all vary wildly. There is always a market for people to pay you more, but how do you get your team there?