There was a lovely post from @pellesjoenell (Executive Creative Director, BBH) over at the BBH-Labs blog: on Creative Direction vs. Creative Selection. The thrust of the post was that the real role of a Creative Director is so much more than a mere ‘selector’ of creative work:
It’s a combination of three professions – a politician, a farmer and an assassin.
That’s a fantastic description of a Creative Director’s role. In my view, what separates a great Creative Director from an average one is: Planning. Yes, Planning. I have noticed that while one could be immensely talented in Art or Copywriting, the great ones who go on to become Creative Directors are quasi-planners. Without resorting to number crunching or psychoanalytic mumbo-jumbo they have the ability to sift through complex business problems and figure out the right thing to say. I am not saying that great CD’s do not require Planning inputs. They do. But they also have the uncanny ability to get on board very early on in the project and work with or aid Planning team’s inputs.
Secondly, the good ones don’t just play the role of a bouncer in a bar – they don’t simply reject ideas with a ‘not good enough’ nod. They work with the team to either point towards another direction or improve on an average idea. To get to that level one needs to work with & manage small teams before getting into the big league, as it were. Unfortunately, in today’s agency scenario, people who’ve never managed a team can become CD’s and then are thrust with teams of copy writers to supervise. A learn as you go along kind of process. Which is true of so many other aspects of the business. No?