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By David O'Hearns

By David O'Hearns

Why More Businesses Could Benefit from Having a Creative Director on the Board

David O'Hearns, founder and MD at creative agency, Dawn, explains why businesses can benefit from Creative Directors.

Five years ago, it was almost unheard of for a business to have a Creative Director (CD) on the Board. While creative roles were very much present within the marketing team, that was typically the limit of their involvement – no creatives were involved in decision-making, and their views were never sought. More recently, that has changed; creativity is creeping into all areas of business, and yet there still aren’t very many Creative Directors around. And that’s a shame because the CD role can bring a wide range of benefits to a business.

What does a Creative Director do?

Unlike the Chief Financial Officer or Technology Director, the CD does not have a single area of focus inside a business. Instead, their role is to bring creativity to wherever it is needed. So, they might, for example, work with the HR director to reduce employee churn by shaping more engaging training and working practices, bringing innovation to communication systems, or building a better company culture. While the Finance Director may ask the CD to find creative approaches to cost-cutting or sales growth. The CD uses collaborative approaches to both fulfil their remit and to help other directors find new ways to meet theirs.

What can Creative Directors do for a business?

Creativity used to be shoehorned into the marketing department. And there’s no denying that it’s needed more than ever there, with the growth of social media. But creativity can—and should—be used throughout a business, and the CD can bring a whole range of advantages to a company.

With a CD on the Board, a business can better develop and stick to a creative vision. And this can help with so many different things. From maintaining a single voice and identity across all public platforms to shaping company culture and creating an ethos that team members can genuinely buy into and identify with. This, in turn, can help improve the employee experience and various HR functions, which can then impact customer service levels.

Customer service obviously influences the customer experience (CX). CX was the buzz term of last year, and every brand jumped on board. Unfortunately, they all jumped in with the same standards, forgetting that no one stands out if all businesses have identical CX parameters. A CD can help to ensure that CX isn’t just met but that it has something extra to it. Something that reflects the brand while appealing to the customer on another level. And this can have a knock-on effect on brand differentiation and marketing.

In short, a good CD can influence all areas of a business, changing the way it works and is viewed by employees, the public, and potentially investors. They can impact productivity, customer and employee loyalty, operational performance, and the brand’s financial health, which is a lot of value from a single role.

Creative Directors have been slow to be embraced by business because creativity has historically been undervalued – no one dreams of having an artist for a daughter when her future could be much more stable as a doctor or a lawyer. But creativity is finally coming into its own. It is being valued and bringing value. The CD’s role is to bring that value into all the different parts of a business.  And the companies that don’t see this and don’t act on it risk being left behind in a highly competitive arena.

David O’Hearns, founder and MD at Dawn, a creative agency on a mission to rid the world of bad design and poor communication.

David O’Hearns has worked within the creative industry for over 25 years. Starting as a graphic designer following his graduation from Newcastle University, Dave went on to start up his first creative agency in 2006. Following multiple successes with the likes of Bentley Motors, Adidas and Swiis Foster Care, he founded his second agency, Dawn Creative, in 2014. Since then, David and his team have created TV adverts, advertising campaigns, full brand identities, and more, for some of the world’s most prestigious brands.

Dawn Creative specialises in brand, digital and motion. Working closely with businesses and marketing teams, Dawn Creative develops and manages brand identities to make sure they stay true to themselves and attract the right audience.

David O'Hearns

David O'Hearns

Downtown in Business