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The Cat Herder: The Role and Function of the Agency Creative Director
Unformatted Document Text:  THE  CAT  HERDER     16   Despite some individual variation, numerous common threads emerged from the data. The following typology was developed in order to outline the key roles and functions of the agency creative director, each of which is described and supported in turn by what follows: • Motivator o Firestarter o Guru: mentor and guide • Creative Genius o Creative genius/craft expert • Brand Steward o Brand preservationist o Creative judge/critic • Champion of Creative Teams o Liaison to “the other” o Protector/insulator o Salesman • Culture Builder o Culture builder o Headhunter/talent finder o Future force Motivator A main component of creative leadership listed by most of the participants was the role of the creative director as creative motivator. Creative directors were expected to motivate, to inspire, and to get the best work out of creative talent. Two subcategories, firestarter and guru, fell under this component. Firestarter Leadership by inspiration was cited by nearly all the participants as one of the fundamental roles of the creative director. A creative director is expected to stir creative people to do great work, and that was unanimous among both the creative directors and creative staff interviewed. A copywriter at S1 described his CD thus: He’s chief motivating officer. He has a very big personality. He comes to us with a challenge: let’s explore this or that area. This is good, but it could be better.

Authors: Mallia, Karen., Windels, Kasey. and Broyles, Sheri.
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THE  CAT  HERDER  
 
16  
 
Despite some individual variation, numerous common threads emerged from the data. 
The following typology was developed in order to outline the key roles and functions of the 
agency creative director, each of which is described and supported in turn by what follows: 
•  Motivator 
o  Firestarter 
o  Guru: mentor and guide 
•  Creative Genius 
o  Creative genius/craft expert 
•  Brand Steward 
o  Brand preservationist 
o  Creative judge/critic 
•  Champion of Creative Teams 
o  Liaison to “the other” 
o  Protector/insulator 
o  Salesman 
•  Culture Builder 
o  Culture builder 
o  Headhunter/talent finder 
o  Future force 
 
Motivator 
 
A main component of creative leadership listed by most of the participants was the 
role of the creative director as creative motivator. Creative directors were expected to 
motivate, to inspire, and to get the best work out of creative talent. Two subcategories, 
firestarter and guru, fell under this component. 
Firestarter 
Leadership by inspiration was cited by nearly all the participants as one of the 
fundamental roles of the creative director. A creative director is expected to stir creative 
people to do great work, and that was unanimous among both the creative directors and 
creative staff interviewed. A copywriter at S1 described his CD thus: 
He’s chief motivating officer. He has a very big personality.  He comes to us with a 
challenge: let’s explore this or that area.  This is good, but it could be better.  


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