Also known as...
Creative Partner; Executive Creative Director.
The role in brief...
Creative Directors are vital for building a fertile environment in the agency where great ideas are born and can thrive. They stimulate creative energy and nurture the creative talent within the agency, inspiring great work, and evangelising for it when it leaves the Creative Department. Creative Directors are aware of the commercial aspects of running an agency and act as guardian to clients’ brands across all work being created. They steer the agency’s creative identity and are responsible for its creative reputation as a whole.
- Internal: Agency management and leadership teams; Creative teams; Group Creative Directors; Executive Creative Directors; Account Management teams; Creative Services and production staff.
- External: Client marketing team; Print producers; Commercials directors; Commercials producers.
- Creative Directors are part of the agency management and leadership team, with overall responsibility for the creative department.
- Leading the creative department, inspiring it and, with it, the whole agency.
- Establishing the agency’s creative philosophy, strategy and objectives, and occasionally representing the agency at industry events, panels and groups.
- Taking responsibility for the standard of creative output of the entire agency.
- Managing the work, performance and professional development of creative teams.
- Acting as the brand guardian across all agency accounts, ensuring that work is both creatively outstanding and effective, but also adheres consistently to required brand guidelines.
- Pitching ideas and campaigns to existing and potential clients.
- Directing the production of creative outputs e.g. advertisements, TV commercials, mailings, social media content, etc.
- Working effectively with the wider agency and client teams, across multiple accounts.
- Reporting key team data to the agency’s senior leadership and human resources departments.
Those who succeed are...
- Able to lead and motivate others from the front.
- Discerning creative judges and advocates for great work.
- Strong communicators, confident at presenting and selling conceptual work, explaining what makes great work and how it meets the brand’s needs.
- Able to receive, manage, and respond appropriately to feedback from clients, research, and agency colleagues.
- Knowledgeable and passionate about their client’s business, with a clear understanding of the brand’s values and where and how advertising contributes to its success.
- Tenacious and resilient under pressure and up against deadlines.
Where they come from, and where they go...
Creative Directors come from a variety of backgrounds, most typically having gained experience as Copywriters or Art Directors. or as Group Creative Director of several teams in a big agency, before taking on responsibility for an entire department. Some continue their creative partnership and take on the role as Joint Creative Directors. Following the Creative Director role in the management and leadership team of an agency, they may go on to become an Executive Creative Director, with the same responsibilities taken across several agencies within the same group, or holding company. Alternatively, they may decide to collaborate with other management partners to launch an agency of their own.