What Advice is There for Managing a Creative Team in Advertising?

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    Advertising Interviews

    What Advice is There for Managing a Creative Team in Advertising?

    Leading a creative team requires a blend of vision and practical management skills, especially in the dynamic field of advertising. We've gathered insights from top industry professionals, including Creative Directors and an Executive Creative Director, to share their singular pieces of advice. From defining a vision that fosters creative freedom to prioritizing clear, concise communication, discover the four key strategies for steering your creative team to success.

    • Define Vision for Creative Freedom
    • Recognize and Utilize Individual Talents
    • Balance Feedback with Support
    • Prioritize Clear, Concise Communication

    Define Vision for Creative Freedom

    The key to effectively leading creative teams in the advertising industry is to utilize strong top-down creative direction to maximize opportunities for individual creative freedom. While it may seem counterintuitive, by clearly defining your vision and the goals of the project, you actually maximize the individual creative freedom to explore and iterate within that clear framework. The team will feel empowered to seek out their own novel creative solutions while reducing the chance of pivots and rework that sap enthusiasm.

    The act of creation, the transcendent task of bringing something new into the world, requires active and enthusiastic participation from everyone involved. While it can be time-consuming and draining, nurturing that enthusiasm is the key to building high-performing creative teams.

    Alex AeschburyCreative Director, Deeplocal

    Recognize and Utilize Individual Talents

    The key to having a very successful team is recognizing the talents and gifts that your team has and using those gifts accordingly! Do not try to force one person to do the job of three, especially if it's not in their skill set, because you will never get the best result in the end. Make sure that each person has the creative freedom to produce a great product without being micromanaged or judged. Never stifle their creativity with protocol and rules; remember, in this industry, you're working with people who have a creative mindset, not an analytical one. Rules and structure will kill their creativity.

    Crystal RenderCreative Director, Magnificent Morsels Catering

    Balance Feedback with Support

    We have a saying at our studio: 'Check your ego at the door.' But the fact is, when you're pouring yourself into a piece of creative work, part of you is in there. So, finding the right balance between providing meaningful, actionable feedback while remaining the greatest champion of your team's work is key. Great creativity comes hand-in-hand with great sensitivity for many of us, but ultimately we have to serve the work—making it as effective as it can possibly be—pulling our team forward toward that goal. Even when it means crushing someone's dreams. Just do it gently.

    Eric Singer
    Eric SingerExecutive Creative Director, Coupe Studios Music + Sound Design

    Prioritize Clear, Concise Communication

    An invaluable piece of advice for successful leadership within a creative team in the advertising industry is to prioritize clear, concise communication. Providing well-defined instructions, setting clear expectations, establishing milestone check-ins, and fostering open dialogue are crucial. Consider leveraging a project manager to streamline scheduling and resource procurement, facilitating a smoother workflow for optimal creativity and productivity.

    Bernice Chao
    Bernice ChaoAuthor, The Visibility Mindset