Job profile

Creative Director

Creative Director Job Profile

What is a Creative Director?

As a creative director, you will be responsible for leading the creative process within advertising agencies or within the marketing department in-house. The creative process will include the planning and delivery of a strategic vision. 

You will have to give creative direction to the team you manage which will include art directors, copywriters and designers. You will also be involved with planning the advertising. To be a creative director you will need to have a proven track record which demonstrates your creative thinking. You will be rewarded with fast progression, limitless opportunities and a salary that matches your success. 

Responsibilities

Work activities may vary depending on the size of the agency or company and the number of clients, but responsibilities include:

  • Building an environment for the creative team to work in and overseeing their ideas and projects
  • Taking responsibility for the creative philosophy and the standard of output across the agency or department
  • Developing ideas for advertising or promotional campaigns
  • Pitching concepts to clients if you work at an agency, or presenting to directors if you work in-house
  • Overseeing several projects from start to finish, keeping to deadlines, and signing off on these projects before they are presented
  • Liaising with clients to keep them informed and to highlight any issues
  • Understanding the commercial aspects of the agency or marketing department
  • Hiring and managing the creative team.

Salary

The average starting salary for a creative director ranges between £20,000 to £28,000 Once you are more experienced and managing a team you can expect to earn £40,000 to £60,000 Senior creative directors can earn high salaries of anywhere up to £80,000+ depending on the size of the agency.

According to Glassdoor the national average salary for a creative director is £78, 823. Rates can vary depending on the size of the agency and the geographical location. The majority of roles in advertising are full-time, contracted roles with less than 20% of staff in freelance roles – more so in marketing and editorial.

Working hours

You should expect to work normal working hours between 9am and 5pm. However, evening networking events are common and you’ll be expected to work long hours when working on big campaigns. It is possible to have more flexible working options. 

What to expect

  • You’ll be busy working to tight deadlines and juggling multiple projects. This high-pressure environment can be stressful at times.
  • The role is office based but you will be expected to network and socialise regularly with clients and attend a range of industry events and exhibitions.
  • The office environment is young, dynamic and increasingly multicultural. It’s a work-hard, play-hard culture.
  • Working at the cutting edge of new technology you will be expected to grasp changes in technical innovation across multiple platforms.
  • Travel within a working week is common. Overnight absence from home may occasionally be required. Working for a larger agency may mean periods of international travel and will open up opportunities globally.
  • You’ll have the satisfaction of seeing what you and your team create in the marketplace e.g. on billboards or on television and other media.

Qualifications

Many graduates do work within advertising agencies, although a degree is not essential and will have little impact on your earning potential. 

Traditionally, to attain a creative director role this will be based on several years of hands-on experience. Graduates that go into this role can come from a variety of backgrounds whether that be creative, management, or technological roles. 

You may also want to consider other routes to market including content strategist, producer and app developer. Having technology skills will enhance your application and fast-track you into the industry. Competition is rife so discovering ways that will bolster your CV will better your chances. 

Skills

As a creative director, you'll need to show:

  • Excellent leadership and interpersonal skills as well as the ability to inspire the creative team to give their best
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as presentation skills in order to make outstanding pitches
  • Plenty of creative ideas and an understanding of the clients’ vision
  • An awareness of current trends in advertising and design
  • A self-starting attitude and an open outlook
  • Resilience under pressure and against deadlines
  • An understanding of how creative roles complement other departments, such as finance and data management
  • Knowledge of the software and applications involved in the creative process
  • Skills in managing people, projects and resources.

Work experience

Demand for these roles is high so employers will be looking for candidates who already have the life skills and professional experience needed to succeed in their role. To get ahead of the competition, you should start by attending industry events that are open to students and networking with industry people. You may also want to consider putting together a portfolio of your work or running a blog that speaks to industry professionals - this will help you get noticed.

Placement opportunities may also be available during your studies. You can explore these by contacting individual agencies directly or apply to apprenticeship schemes. Demonstrating you’re already practising in the area is vital. You should already be creating a personal brand for yourself showing you are professional on all accounts. Show your commitment while still at university by taking a communications role through the student union or other societies.

Employers

You have the option to work within an agency or go in-house into a marketing department of a large company. 

Recruitment will be handled by the agency or company – in some cases, they may even have their own graduate scheme, but competition for these will be high. A better option will be to gain an internship and gather experience in the industry, build up a reputation and a network of contacts and work your way up from there.

Networking events and speculative applications, followed up by an informal face-to-face meeting, are established methods to find new opportunities, especially for senior roles.

Professional development

You should look to constantly continue your professional development, keeping on top of technological changes and following industry trends – this is done by reading industry press regularly. Most agencies offer on the job training but there are other providers who do offer development schemes.

Career development

Advertising has three key roles: creative director, finance director and chief executive. As a creative director, it's most likely that you'll seek to either capitalise on strong international prospects or set up your own agency in collaboration with a finance director and chief executive.

Related Courses

Undergraduate

University of the West Scotland London – BA (Hons) Internal Business 

Studying towards a BA (Hons) in International Business sets students up with the necessary skills to work in a range of professions. The course involves working closely with academic theory and practical case studies, allowing students to grasp how the theory can be applied in real business scenarios. 

Within this programme, students will cover modules such as business studies, finance, human resource management, marketing, and economics. BA International Business takes a very hands-on approach to learning by incorporating workshops, guest lectures and field trips into the programme.

Other related courses

Postgraduate related courses:

MBA with Digital Marketing

The MBA component of the course takes a broad look at business practice and functions such as accounts, finance, and HR – and how they are all interlinked. This allows students to grasp the importance of strategy and communication within a managerial role. 

 

Alongside a broad business view, this course allows students to specialise in digital marketing in a more focused way. The marketing aspect of the programme is intended to allow professionals with substantial digital marketing experience to hone their skills to enhance their career prospects. Areas of study include digital marketing strategy, management, social media marketing, search engine optimisation, pay per click, email and influencer marketing.

Other related courses
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