Here are 8 signs your creative director isn’t pulling their weight

A creative director needs to be comfortable working with large teams and to be flexible. They need to consider the needs of all the individuals. In addition, they need to understand how to reach the masses, and they need to be ready to pivot when needed.

Ultimately, creative directors must be some kind of a matchmaker for the creative people who work under them. If a creative director chooses poorly, a person who is talented will walk out the door. So, that’s a lot of pressure, right?

Here are 8 signs your creative director isn’t pulling their weight:

1. You are constantly being bombarded with ad ideas

Don’t take this to mean every time you call your creative director’s desk, they are handing you a hundred ad ideas. And don’t be offended if this never happens. A good ad agency needs time to create a new campaign so it takes them time to settle on an idea.

But one thing is for sure, if you have more than two creative directors with varying opinions on a client’s project, you are going to need to be bombarded with ideas. If you are finding yourself constantly calling for an ad campaign that is just not happening, ask why. They may have their reasons but it’s important to be honest about it.

Creative leadership is the art of connecting disparate ideas to come up with the best solution to a problem. If you cannot connect disparate ideas, then you don’t have the bandwidth to be creative

2. Your creative director doesn’t respect the business side of the business

Many creatives are gifted with the ability to focus on creativity alone and do it quite well, which is great because it leads to some really good ads. But often, in an advertising agency, there are also business priorities to be considered, which are often at odds with creatives’ opinions. If you see your creative director letting a business department dictate the final outcome, this should be a major red flag.

3. Your creative director doesn’t understand the importance of sales

Every business has to make money in order to keep trading. The good thing is, creative directors are usually in a position of power within the advertising agency, so they do have a bit more sway in sales departments.

However, there is a fine line between being a good salesperson and being a salesman. A creative director who is not getting the sales departments the results they want is most likely a creative director with poor leadership skills and is not the right person to take you to the next level.

4. The creative director doesn’t push for better client services

If your Creative Director isn’t fighting for your business to get the right attention for your business, then you might have a problem. This doesn’t mean the problem isn’t your company’s fault, however, it does mean your creative director isn’t helping to sell your company’s services. Many times you have nothing to gain but everything to lose by having a creative director who isn’t giving your business the attention it deserves.

5. The creative director isn’t innovating

Think about the last few ad campaigns you saw. Most of them had the same-old, same-old, predictable approach to them. Yet, not all ad campaigns need to be the same, it’s important that your creative director is creating a variety of ad campaigns, some that push the boundaries of what we have seen before, as well as some that are more traditional.

One of the reasons that the smart people in tech make great creative leaders is that they can cut through the clutter to the “big ideas” in a way that even the most gifted creative leaders cannot.

6. The creative director is not keeping track of changes and innovations

The most creative agencies always try to stay on top of all the new technology and trends out there. When your creative director is not keeping an eye on the latest products that are being used on the market, they are certainly not cutting edge. If you don’t see your creative director keeping a close eye on your product, company or client, this should be a big warning sign.

7. The creative director constantly puts the client’s needs second

You would expect your creative director to put your needs first, not their client’s or what they think would be a good idea for your client’s company. By putting your client’s needs first, your creative director is not putting your business first and could be putting you in a bad position. Your business will pay the price if you don’t have a creative director who is putting your needs first.

8. The creative director is too controlling and makes up rules before it’s time to compromise

As a business owner, you’ll want to respect your creative director and the role that he or she plays in the agency. But, like any business owner, you need to realise that sometimes, you have to give in when you need to. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t compromise sometimes, it’s going to get worse and it’s going to make a bad impression on other clients or business contacts.

Conclusion

Creative directors are there to guide you to success, but only if they are people-oriented and have the right management skills. These people need to respect you as a business owner and put your needs first, not their own. If you’re ever tempted to pass over someone with bad management skills or poor leadership skills, you can’t afford to do so, as these two things can send you and your company right down the drain.

If you’re looking to add to your creative team please get in touch with us today, not only can we help if you’re looking to put together a job description but, we have years of experience placing creative leads into key roles.

Alternatively if you’re looking for a creative director job please take a look at our vacancies page.

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  • Tom Salvat, CEO, CONCURED
    "As a fast-growing start up, we need great people with a tough set of skills to find. They need to be hungry, experienced and fit the culture of a business that is always adapting and growing. Finding these people using Linkedin and other job boards is tough, time-consuming and rarely bears fruit. Ross has always been able to uncover gems for us, and we are benefiting greatly from his skills at CONCURED. Ross has a rare ability to really understand the business, the culture and the people that will nail the role. I couldn't recommend him highly enough, and he is the only recruiter we deal with"      
    - Tom Salvat, CEO, CONCURED
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