How Do You Search for a Creative Director in a Multiplatform World?

Finding the Right Candidate Is Much Trickier Today Than Even a Couple of Years Ago

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Marc Brownstein
Marc Brownstein
My agency is hiring a new type of creative director. This was always the easiest hire for me to make. Not so this time. As I was writing the job description with our HR manager, I realized that what we need today and tomorrow is more challenging than ever before.

To succeed, it takes more than being able to lead teams and execute offline and online. It's about having a different approach to building brands, shifting a mindset from instinctively assigning copywriter/art director teams to being as creative and strategic with staffing projects as with the concept itself. For example, a creative team now may include a user-experience expert, digital designer, video director and blogger/copywriter. Think that's easy for someone who's been creative directing for five or more years to adapt to and truly believe in?

Another aspect to consider: Is it better to hire a creative director who started out in traditional advertising or bring in a digital native? Our experience has been mostly the former. But perhaps now's the time to seriously consider the latter. In an integrated agency, it's truly best to find a creative leader who comes from either background, and embraces multiple platforms.

Many candidates claim to be that special individual. Few actually possess those talents.

Another thing to consider: In Brownstein Group's structure, and that of an emerging number of small-to-mid-size shops, the creative director works closely with a digital strategist to brief, and guide creative teams. For some CD's, that just won't work. But we've found that the digital strategist works like a brand planner, only the insights are about user experience, navigation and consumer engagement.

This process will be fascinating, for sure. I'll write a follow-up post and let you know the outcome.

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