Also known as...
The role in brief...
Creative Directors shape the creative environment and culture 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 output and reputation as a whole.
Internal: Agency management and leadership teams; Creative teams; Group Creative Directors; Executive Creative Directors; Account Management teams; Planning Directors; Creative Services and production staff. New Business Team; HR/Talent Team
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.
They may have line management responsibility for all the creative teams, being accountable for their performance and providing them with professional development opportunities.
- 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. Creative thought leadership.
- Taking responsibility for the standard of creative output of the entire agency.
- Inspiring and 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 and budgets.
- 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...
- Strong in their creative craft and have a proven reputation.
- Successful in executing work and bringing it to market.
- Able to lead, motivate and manage others from the front. Mentors junior teams.
- Discerning creative judges and advocates for great work.
- Strong communicators, confident at presenting, pitching and selling conceptual work, explaining what makes great work and how it meets the brand’s needs. Able to look across a range of channels, and they stay up to date with all the latest ways consumers can be reached, for example AI, games on phones.
- Able to receive, manage, and respond appropriately to feedback from clients, research, and agency colleagues.
- Bold in pushing to deliver the best work possible
- 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.
- Involved in recruitment and selection decisions. They are aware of the need for greater diversity in their teams to get greater diversity of thought.
- Focused on the personal and professional development of their team. They will have a view on what skills their people need – for example the latest idea generation techniques – and the knowledge/inspiration – for example annual pass at Tate Modern, attending Createch or reading books of D&AD award winners
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.