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Job Description: Chief Creative Officer

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The dream weavers at the centre of every creative enterprise, chief creative officers are a unique combination of managerial flair and creative talent. They offer a necessary balance between the CEO and CFO and need to realise that creativity is the equal of business.

Job Description, Salaries and Benefits

Chief creative officer is an executive position that is responsible for communicating and coordinating with a company or organisation's other creative leaders. They are involved with leading staff in the development of the artistic aspects of material that can be used to help promote products or establish and develop their company's brand.

In essence, the chief creative officer is responsible for managing and directing the creative team and their output. A chief creative officer works with and supervises the members of the creative team, including those responsible for branding, marketing, design, media outreach, and message development.

Daily tasks may include:

  • Overseeing staff operations, business planning and budget development
  • Serving as a member of the senior management team
  • Planning, directing and setting the strategic direction of the creative services marketing program
  • Directing the creative staff in effective and efficient use of design development phases
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with agencies, vendors and customers
  • Providing technical support towards the creation of corporate presentations for conference room environments
  • Leading or actively participating in enterprise-wide steering committees aimed at identifying strategic systems solutions and integration for marketing purposes

Chief creative officer jobs usually take place during a typical 40 hour week and working hours are usually Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm. Starting salary starts upwards of £80,000 a year. Median yearly salary typically ranges between £95,000 and £150,000.

A chief creative officer should have:

  • A strong working knowledge of project management, design and brand development, and marketing
  • The ability to translate ideas into actionable projects
  • Familiarity with a variety of branding and marketing strategies
  • The ability to nurture and adapt an existing brand to suit changing circumstances within the company and the industry
  • Exceptional communication skills and the ability to bridge the gap between the business and creative sides of the company
  • The ability to multitask and manage a number of different projects at once
  • The ability to develop appropriate budgets for projects and stay on budget

Chief creative officers do not strictly work as part of marketing teams; they may work for organisations where they help promote certain values. They are therefore not always specifically focused on selling something to consumers but may also be focused on presenting a belief or narrative that they want people to support or adopt. Their objective is to combine practical and creative skills to effectively present their message.

What is the work like?

Chief creative officer input is required for a wide variety of activities, including:

  • Working with the Chief Executive Officer to develop cohesive and productive goals for the company and designs ways to meet them
  • Transforming rough ideas and general concepts into actions, projects, and completed products or messages
  • Leading the creative team and directs project completion in line with company goals
  • Developing design concepts that further the company’s brand identity
  • Inspiring the creative team to more advanced and better work using brainstorming sessions, team meetings, and other strategic tools
  • Formulating short and long term creative goals and strategies for achieving them
  • Maintaining consistency over the quality and message of the creative team’s output
  • Evaluating the current status of the industry and the market to ensure delivery of relevant and useful products, messages, or branding
  • Anticipating the future direction of the industry using both research and own insight, and brings the company into the fore of that trajectory
  • Assigning tasks to creative team and supervises their timely completion
  • Monitoring the creative budget, making sure all projects are delivered within the projected parameters
  • Enforcing deadlines and maintains efficiency in the creative department
  • Coordinating with vendors for timely delivery of goods

Successful chief creative officers will have strong experience in working for communications, media or advertising agencies. They must be an expert in building or creating company brands using traditional and digital media, including through a detailed understanding of relevant business strategies and consumer preferences. 

A chief creative officer must ensure that their creative team is effective, efficient and staffed appropriately; they are involved in selecting, interviewing and hiring members of their creative team, as well as providing timely feedback to staff and conducting performance evaluations.

They must also collaborate with marketing, technology and client service groups within their company, attend meetings with existing and prospective clients, respond to clients’ concerns and suggestions, and stay up to date on industry trends and relevant technology. Travel to visit clients and attend relevant events may also be periodically expected.

Hours and Environment

Chief creative officer jobs typically consist of a 40 hour week and working hours are usually Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Time will be spent in corporate offices and meeting rooms working with a variety of different teams. However, they must be willing to work longer hours, often outside the normal business day in order to complete projects on time.

Salary and other benefits

These figures are only a guide, as actual rates of pay may vary, depending on the employer and where people live.

  • Salaries for chief creative officers may start at around £80,000 a year
  • With experience, earnings may rise to above £100,000 a year
  • Senior chief creative officers may earn up to or even over £150,000 a year

Skills and Personal Qualities

There are certain skills that many chief creative officers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. These include:-

  • Self-motivation and innovation
  • Inherent creativity, with a unique approach to persistent problems, adding value to existing products and deriving positives from negatives
  • The ability to take charge of any situation, exerting a dominant vision and encouraging others to support that vision
  • Effective leadership skills and the capability to manage projects and staff in order to meet goals
  • Strong creative talents in order to help develop effective marketing and branding materials
  • Communication skills are essential since they need to be able to work with staff teams and write out proposals for content they are developing
  • Mathematical and budgeting skills in order to keep projects from exceeding expected costs
  • Problem-solving skills can help them work around issues with content development to make their material more effective
  • Time management skills in order to deliver material on time

Interests

It is important for chief creative officers to have an interest in:

  • The creative industries
  • Current trends within those industries
  • An interest in commerce, popular culture, and new advertising trends and techniques
  • Competitor activities and successful campaigns being delivered by other agencies

Getting in

Practical experience in marketing can be crucial when employers are considering applicants for the role of chief creative officer. Many employers seeking applicants for this role will expect them to have at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject, such as marketing or communications, as well as five or more years of employment in marketing or advertising. Production experience is an asset, and those interested in a career as a chief creative officer may also want to take courses in the visual arts and business.

Entry for young people

Chief creative officer is a role rarely attainable for recent graduates. It’s a role that you build up to over years of experience in various different sectors, having developed a deep and balanced portfolio and amassed a career’s worth of skills.

Entry for adults

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you fall into chief creative officer jobs. In fact, many chief creative officer jobs require experience in a role such as creative director. Meanwhile, many chief creative officers also have previous career experience in roles such as art director or vice president.

Training

If you're interested in becoming a chief creative officer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 70% of chief creative officers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 15% of chief creative officers have master's degrees.

Getting On

As you move through your career, you may start taking on more responsibilities or notice that you've taken on a leadership role. A chief creative officer can determine their own path through the career progression by assigning themselves bespoke career goals. For example, they could start out with a role such as founder and chief executive officer, progress to a title such as board of directors member and then eventually end up with the title board of directors member.

Further Reading

Chief Creative Officer: A Complete Guide by Gerardus Blokdyk - All the tools you need to an in-depth Chief Creative Officer Self-Assessment. Featuring 952 new and updated case-based questions, organised into seven core areas of process design, this Self-Assessment will help you identify areas in which Chief Creative Officer improvements can be made.

Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull - This is the story behind the company that changed animation forever. Here, the founder of Pixar reveals the ideas and techniques that have made Pixar one of the most widely admired creative businesses, and one of the most profitable.

The Cluetrain Manifesto by Rick Levine and Christopher Locke - Ten years after Cluetrain's original publication, too many companies still ignore the idea that markets are really made up of people. In our rapidly changing world, this book's message is more vital than ever. Companies may be wired for business, but they still struggle with how to talk to their customers like human beings.

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger - The journalist and innovation expert shows that one of the most powerful forces for igniting change in business and in our daily lives is a simple, under-appreciated tool--one that has been available to us since childhood. Questioning--deeply, imaginatively, "beautifully"--can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities. So why are we often reluctant to ask “Why?”

Chief Joy Officer by Richard Sheridan - Chief Joy Officer offers sage, hard-won advice to any manager or leader who yearns to make more of an impact on the lives of others, including: Self-understanding is the cornerstone for every virtue of leadership: authenticity, trust, humility, and optimism.

The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger - The CEO of Disney, one of Time’s most influential people of 2019, shares the ideas and values he embraced to reinvent one of the most beloved companies in the world and inspire the people who bring the magic to life.


Header image: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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