In an orchestra, dozens of musicians sit row upon row facing one key person – the conductor. Guided by the sheet music, they strive to blend the right sounds and the right parallels to turn those notes into a musical master work.
But a symphony is greater than the sum of its parts. Regardless of how talented a conductor may be, they would be nowhere without the members of the orchestra.
Why am I talking about an orchestra? Because when it comes to branding initiatives, marketing strategies, key messages and communication plans, the role of the creative director is no different than the role of conductor.
A conductor looks at the proposal (in this case the sheet music) and uses the resources at their disposal (in this case the various sections and instruments that make of the orchestra) to create a musical masterpiece out of notes on paper. It is not just the conductor’s musical skills that bring us to this wonderful conclusion, but their vision and ability to orchestrate the skilled musicians.
In the creative world, the creative director takes on that orchestrating role. The creative director first examines the problem or the proposal – which is often a creative brief or an agreed-upon communication strategy that has been based on a thorough analysis. He or she then interprets the concept and thinks through the early phases of the project to develop a vision, which may cross a breadth of media from print to digital, before pulling together the necessary resources and skill sets to turn that vision into reality.
The key to being a good creative director is not necessarily about having great visions and developing unique concepts, it’s about being able to effectively lead and inspire a team to achieve the best possible results.
As the creative director, I set the bar and then bring in the right-sized set of skills to fit the need. Whether it’s working with a writer, a photographer, a graphic designer, a printer and/or a social media expert, I am more than simply the leader of the team tasked with implementing the creative work. It takes drive and passion to push the boundaries of what’s possible and harness the team’s talent and determination.
I am the coach, the mentor and the advisor – not the dictator. Every person that is brought in is not tasked with simply meeting the expectation of the bar, but bringing their own strengths to the table in order to raise it higher so that clients receive the best possible solution for their needs.