It cracks me up whenever I hear a creative director referred to as “the Creative”. It makes it sound like creative directors belong to a different species. We wouldn’t refer to “the Supply” or “the Accounting”. But “the Creative” is often referred to in this strange third person (as parodied in this clever video from an agency: “Creatives grow better in the Southwest.”)
I think there is a skewed sense of creativity in most business environments. When creativity is needed, we go off-site for an isolated brainstorm. Or, we pull in special people at outside agencies. It is treated as something Other. There is not enough emphasis on everyday business creativity.
When creativity is outsourced, we lose detail in translation and creative decisions become detached from business decisions. The client/creative director dynamic is often strained and awkward. Many creative briefs are bland and uninspiring. And many creative directors don’t really understand the dynamics facing the client’s business.
The resulting work is often a peace treaty – an unhappy compromise between a creative director trying to breathe life into an uninspiring creative brief and a client trying to reign in the creative director’s wild ideas.
I’m a big fan of in-sourcing as much creativity as possible. When creative directors have a consistent seat at the business table, they add creative insight throughout the business, not just when a creative piece of work is required. Plus, any creative output becomes tightly linked to the business issues.
The best benefit of “ordering in” is that creativity is contagious. It reinforces that creativity is part of the everyday. Not something you find elsewhere by traveling “in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the creatives are”.