VaynerMedia's Steve Babcock launches in-house specialty shop

Babcock was VaynerMedia's first chief creative officer.

Steve Babcock, who recently left his post as chief creative officer of VaynerMedia, has opened an agency focused on helping brands build or bolster their internal creative capabilities.

The idea for the new venture, dubbed Made In-House, came from Babcock’s recent observations of the industry landscape, such as marketers taking more advertising in-house and agency creatives jumping to the brand side of the business. Babcock said he even lost some of his own creatives at VaynerMedia to clients.

"This divide between in-house and agencies and one being better than the other isn’t true," said Babcock, "but brands historically have not been built with the right mindset or structure for creative capabilities."

He added that brands are typically set up by specific channels or divisions to service specific needs, like going to a YouTube team for a video asset or Instagram team for a piece of social content. Agencies, however, are able to use strategic thinking and an understanding of culture and media to solve problems first and then figure out what creative makes sense for the brand, said Babcock.

This is why the creative veteran is embedding himself with clients to help them figure out their internal creative plans. For example, he has spent the last five weeks on the ground with a client on the West Coast.

"You have to get in and spend some time there to make lasting change," he said.

One of the most exciting parts of his new endeavor has been seeing how "hungry" marketers are for this type of change, said Babcock, adding that they’re "so close and passionate about their brands – even more so than the agencies."

For now, Babcock is the only employee at Made In-House, but he said he will pull in some freelance friends on specific projects. Former VaynerMedia Chief Strategy Officer Justine Bloom is currently helping on one client.

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