How to Best Work with Your Creative Director

How to best work with your Creative Director



If you would like to get great results from your Creative Director, then read on about several ways you can do this. Put these suggestions into practice and you could see some fantastic creativity work for you and your company!



School of Horse-Eye Jacks following Longjaw Squirrelfish, underwater shot --- Image by © Ocean/Corbis


One of the best ways to support your Creative Director in their success is to provide good leadership.


This means beginning by building a good and positive relationship where you can share between you the good, the bad and the in between without important information being withheld. Yes this is communication too!


Make sure your Creative Director’s strategy and goals are in alignment with the company. Are they focusing on the right customer(s)? Are they tasked with attracting the right volume of new and existing customers? Do they know their role in the grand scheme of the company’s success plan? If yes, you are leading them well and putting them on the right track!


Establish accountability with your Creative Director. Your Creative Director should understand their responsibilities and take ownership for those responsibilities. Whether it’s keeping in standing with the company values, presenting your company in a certain style or maintaining pace with a marketing plan, your Creative Director should understand they are responsible for it all. It’s your job to make sure they know it, understand it and take responsibility for it.


Ensure resources are allocated to your Creative Director. Creative Directors need resources too, and their resources may often look like a production schedule for a movie, but without it, they cannot do their jobs. This means you are giving them the budget to accomplish their plan. As the year goes by, be sure to measure and review their actual spending to their budget to see they stay within their resources. Yes, occasionally they will ask you for resources outside of their original plan. It’s your job to weigh the value you receive should you spend on these additional requests and make the decision.


In the grand scheme of the company, you should focus of the end results the Creative Director is committing to deliver and trust them to achieve those results. This means you should avoid judging or interfering with the methods they select to achieve your desired results. Yes, that may mean not questioning that plan that looks like a movie production schedule and impressing upon them the need to deliver a quality movie within the budget! This is important because they are creative people with ideas that may far exceed the results you are looking for. Avoiding judgment and interference on planned activities is the way to give them that creative freedom to perform. With good leadership from you, they can perform with surprising results! Lesson learned: You selected them for their talents. You pay them well for their talents, so you should trust their talents!


Nine people rowing

Another great way to see your Creative Director succeed is to collaborate well together as an executive team.


This begins with asking your Creative Director to provide a strategy plan and key marketing metrics that support your budget for them. Sometimes, it’s a good strategy to ask them to provide two to four budget scenarios where they can under spend by a certain percentage, another scenario to spend at the budgeted level and another two scenarios to spend at an above budget amount. Be sure to ask for specific and measurable results for each scenario such as activities, timing and exact results such as leads generated, number of potential customers reached, numbers of views of your brand and anything else that my ultimately generate your desired results. Doing this could result in marginal increases of budget spending that could result in expanded market impact with your brand and/or new sales.


Seeing your Creative Director succeed through collaboration also means you should fully understand their strategy. Having regular meetings to understand their strategy is important at the start of each plan year. You should also be having regular meetings throughout the year to understand their activities and how those activities support your strategy. Because marketing is such a creative process, you should be highly aware of what you don’t know about how activities may be supporting your strategy and ask your Creative Director to illuminate for you their strategy supporting plans as activities progress through the year. Many leaders make the mistake of assuming, negatively, when gaps in their understandings of marketing exist and they attempt to fill in these gaps themselves without the input of the Creative Director.


Hold the Creative Director to the plan. As the year goes by, you should see your Creative Director’s plan unfold. They should be reporting to you about what’s happening, when and with budget accountability. If things get off track, off plan or off budget, you will see it. Should this happen, consider whether the results could be beneficial or not. Keep the flexibility about whether this is affordable and if the results are worth it. Most of all, keep your Creative Director on the path to the results you are looking for, even if this means you encounter acceptable variations in the plan.


Communicate regularly with your Creative Director to measure against target achievement. This means regular meetings to see their actual metrics beside their originally planned metrics. Not all plans go exactly as planned, so have an attitude where you seek to understand why any significant variations exist. If your answer to this question of why is favorable, you may still be on the right track. If you see an unfavorable answer, you may want to take adjustment actions.



Businessman painting abstract colorful design on gray background concept for business creativity, imagination and inspiration

Even if you have differences, embrace your Creative Director’s Creativity. Chances are, you the leader of the company, thinks in terms of convergent thinking. This means you may quickly evaluate your information and options to determine your single best decision. Your Creative Director most likely, thinks in terms of divergent thinking. This means they are thinking of many different options to reach the same results you are looking for. The differences in the way each thinks can be difficult to work with. Appreciating this divergent thinking and using it to your company’s advantage means you can task them to provide you with several options. This will allow you or your team to decide your best solution from a pool of choices. If you follow the formula of allowing your Creative Director to provide you with several solutions, then you will likely find yourself in the position of more new and creative ideas to select from. This can be a huge competitive advantage over rival companies where creativity is stifled because it is not asked for or encouraged.


Executive Summary

Your Creative Director is a valuable person to have. Here are the keys to working well with them:



  • Build a good relationship
  • Align marketing’s strategy with the company
  • Establish accountability
  • Allocate resources
  • Trust their methods and focus on the end results



  • Your Creative Director should strategize and plan with several scenarios
  • Understand their strategy well
  • Hold them to the plan
  • Communicate regularly


Embrace their creativity


I invite you to contact me if you have questions!

Rodger Stephens, CPA, CGMA

CEO, Prize Performance LLC


Prize Performance LLC is a consulting firm specializing in accelerating business performance for small to medium sized businesses. Contact Prize Performance LLC today to take your business to new places!



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