Fake it ’til you make it… as a creative director

In a piece that first appeared in Rob BelgiovaneEncoreRob Belgiovane from Sydney agency BWM tell us how to be a CD.

What does a creative director actually do? 
Help people define central organising ideas and lead creatives to interpret great insights before bringing them to life in fresh ways, across multiple channels.

What skills do you need to be good at the job?
Identify and employ great people. Be willing to stand behind the decisions you make as you’re ultimately responsible for the quality of your team’s work. Trusting your instincts and being confident in your decisions is vital along with possessing a strong backbone, to withstand dilution of creative integrity by committee.

Who are the people you work closest with?
I still work very closely with founders of BWM Paul Williams and Jamie Mackay at a board level and on major projects. As chief creative officer, I also manage our team of creative directors in Sydney and Melbourne.

Is there any lingo we need to know to do the job?
“You could do that.”
“Got any good ideas?”
“How much do you earn again?”
“Central organising idea.”

What does a typical day on the job entail?
I start each day out with a 30km cycle. However, once I get to the office there really are no typical days, but that’s why I love what I do. It always varies, depending on the project and the phase of the project we’re in. Days and hours can be long but it’s an exciting, fast-paced industry that’s always changing. I work hard to stay abreast of trends and tools so we can continually offer our clients world-class thinking.

What’s the best part of the job?
Delivering creative ideas that have the power to get Australians talking. Real people – taxi drivers, friends or parents. Being able to see the success of BWM-led integrated campaigns that are delivering results and taking well-known Australian brands to the top of their category. I also enjoy judging, learning and speaking at international festivals.

What’s the biggest challenge?
Dealing with people who have a lot of emotion and a lot of ego. The challenge becomes that you’re managing in a subjective realm where there is no real right or wrong answer but you ultimately decide whether its ‘good or bad’. Throwing out work and crushing someone’s idea that came from inside them does not make you popular. You must listen, keep an open mind but ultimately trust your own judgement.

How do you become a CD?
I don’t think there is any one formula for becoming a creative director but there are a few things that can help. Continuous creative brilliance, strong leadership and always be willing to learn and improve your skills. Not all good creatives make good creative directors. Get a good education, start getting experience as early as possible, but know that it’s a role where you will never stop learning.

Rob Belgiovane is a founding partner of advertising agency BWM.

Encore Issue 33This feature first appeared in EncoreDownload it now on iPad, iPhone and Android tablet devices.



Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.