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The 5 Roles Digital Creative Agencies Need To Succeed

Updated: May 26, 2022

You’d be hard-pressed to find a digital creative agency operating at top performance with only a handful of key players. There are many critical roles that keep creative agencies competitive and successful in the current creative landscape. Today, we’re highlighting the five roles, some often overlooked, that no creative agency can, or should, live without.

Naturally, creative agencies evolve over time and their expertise becomes more niche. Some agencies evolve to become the go-to source for animation while others become sought after for their keen insight into building a brand’s identity. There are even CBD branding companies that started out on a completely different trajectory not realizing they would end up catering specifically to the world of weed. Regardless of specialized services, there are five roles every digital creative agency needs to hire, needs to know how to hire for and needs to nourish over time.

Creative Director

You’re shocked, right? This one is pretty much a no-brainer. Creative Directors are visionaries and have an innate ability to see the big picture of client needs and products sold. In many ways, quality control also falls under the umbrella of their daily tasks — a creative director holds the map in their hands, they don’t drive the car. In fact, a seasoned Creative Director has the ability and experience to give great direction and guide her team without having to act as a so-called “helicopter parent''. They pass the baton trusting that the team they manage and care for have the training, support and assets required to make a client’s dream reality.

General Responsibilities

  • Spearhead client campaigns including brand development and all encompassing creative content

  • Direct deliverables and deadlines of creative departments

  • Set project deliverables and YoY goals

  • Seek out and train leads and managers

  • Oversee creative budget (content, photography and in some cases social media)

  • Evaluate trends and creative marketing techniques

  • Facilitate creative sessions

What To Look For When Hiring A Creative Director

  • Proficiency in creative tools (Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop)

  • Team Management experience with referrals to back it up

  • Strong visual and oratory skills

  • A sincere interest in creativity with a portfolio to back it up

  • A sincere interest in detail (sometimes on the verge of OCD)

  • Collaborative team leading skills

  • The ability to budget!

Logo Designer

Yes, logo design can fall under the responsibilities of a Graphic Designer, but logo design is no doubt a specialized field. Depending on client needs and deadlines, sometimes it can make sense to hire someone specifically for logo design. A logo-specific designer is an asset in more ways than one and there’s a definite distinction between graphic design, web design, print design, UI design and you guessed it … logo design. A proficient and seasoned logo designer understands the commercial and marketing value of logos and the steps for designing an unforgettable logo.

What Should A Logo Do?

  • Foster brand loyalty

  • Make a strong first impression

  • Attract attention from your target audience

  • Separate you from your competition

  • Act as a versatile tool

  • Make sense … for the love of all things holy

The importance of having the right logo and the proper person for the logo design is paramount. So while a Graphic Designer is often capable of the task, never underestimate the power of hiring a season logo designer if you’re building out your digital creative agency roster.

Reliable Freelancers

More than anything else, reliable freelancers allow teams, large and small, to bring in specialized skill sets outside of a digital creative agency’s core capabilities. By the time a person decides to go out on their own as a freelance creative, they often have years of experience working at in-house creative agencies. As more people opt to work remotely, it also means that the pool of professionals to choose from is getting deeper and more diverse. The number of freelancers working in the U.S. in 2020 was 64.8 million and that’s jumped to 70.4 million in 2022. Projections for 2028 reveal that number is expected to exceed 90 million.

If you’re just starting out as a digital creative agency, opting to hire freelancers can save your team time, offer more flexibility, bring in expert knowledge and save money. It’s also a great way to determine whether or not an individual is going to be a good company fit before making the decision to bring them on full time.

Top Freelance Positions For Digital Creative Agencies

  • SEO Specialist

  • Social Media Manager

  • Photographer

  • Content Marketing Manager

  • Email Marketing Expert

  • PR Specialist

  • Videographer

  • Always have backup designers in case the workload requires it

  • Writers! Writers! Writers!

  • Blogger

PR Specialist

Even if you aren’t currently offering PR as a service, a PR Specialist can get your digital creative agency to the next level. Outside of what’s considered classic PR responsibilities, a PR Specialist can bring other coveted and necessary communication skills to your agency. Some of the most overlooked skills that a person with PR experience brings to the table include:

  • Pitch ideas/content to partnering outlets

  • Build relationships with key media contacts

  • Measure campaign impact and report out key metrics

  • Draft case studies, white papers and press releases

  • A keen sense of brand strategy

  • Scheduling and logistics acumen

What To Look For When Hiring A PR Specialist

  • Impeccable references

  • A portfolio of how their communication skills led to ROI

  • Keen understanding of social media

  • A sincere desire for creative work

  • Writing ability

Data Nerd

A data-savvy hire can come in many forms and in 2022 hiring someone with data skills shouldn’t be overlooked. There’s no doubt that data helps digital creative agencies achieve better results for their clients.

Providing clients with measurable ROI is vital to retaining long-term clients. Having a data nerd at the center of campaign performance and optimization could yield immediate results and allow for agency growth quickly.

4 Ways Data Can Make Your Digital Creative Agency Stand Out

  1. Data assists in reaching the right audience, at the right time and in the right location.

  2. Data is a window into your agency’s success and allows clients insight into exactly what it is they’re paying you for!

  3. Data can help you determine the best place for your clients’ media campaigns.

  4. You need someone who can digest data … otherwise you may end up spending money on efforts that never went anywhere.

Are you a digital creative agency, looking to start one or considering applying for a creative position? We’d love to hear about your experience! Any positions that your agency can’t live without?

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