Anirban Roy Choudhury

What skill sets must a CD possess today?

In today's advertising and media landscape, what skill-sets must a creative director possess more than ever? A quick look at what a few seniors said.

Every now and then, we ask creative experts in the advertising world what young creative directors can do to... basically rock it! We bring you the views of three such creative veterans. We asked them: In today's advertising and media landscape, what skill-sets must a creative director possess more than ever? We also asked them to reflect on the way in which the creative talent coming into the advertising industry has changed in the recent past. Lastly, what kind of backgrounds do most creative folks come from these days? They answered one or more of these three questions and we came away with an interesting set of opinions on the subject.

KV Sridhar, founder of HyperCollective

What skill sets must a CD possess today?

KV Sridhar

The best creative minds are not joining traditional advertising anymore, but are they making creative content? Yes, they are. They are getting into technology, they are becoming young entrepreneurs. Earlier, people from design school would come and join advertising now they are joining startups or technology companies. Traditional advertising agencies believe that television advertising is the only form of advertising that exists and everything else is nonsense. Therefore, traditional advertising agencies are no longer attracting the best talent.

All the traditional advertising agencies are under bottom line pressure and have eliminated all senior management. Every month there is an article saying some senior guy has quit the organisation and, in some cases, they are asked to leave. The agencies are doing that as an act of cost-cutting and are now happy working with junior people. Now, when you work with junior people, who will guide the newcomers? So today you have a copywriter and chief creative director who are almost the same age, so how can you mentor them?

There are two things which are very important to be successful in the communication industry; one - you need to understand your clients' business, the business part of it. Second, you need to understand people. So if you understand businesses and you understand people, you will be able to connect the business to the people. Doing this you will be able to make a difference to somebody's life and business. A creative director today must possess an open mindset. If your mindset is open, you will be able to adapt to any evolution. Today, one must know how to tell a story across multiple channels and to do that, you need an open mindset. If you block yourself to one particular channel, you won't succeed on others and become irrelevant.

Manish Bhatt, founder, Scarecrow-M&C Saatchi

What skill sets must a CD possess today?

Manish Bhatt

The creative minds today, are fragmented and confused. There is not much knowledge or guidance given by the professionals in the industry. You don't expect the teachers to do that; this is something the professionals in the industry need to take into their own hands. We need to guide them and then attract them.

Grooming has decreased over the years; once Mudra started MICA, Contract Advertising had its training programs and the investment in basic training, after academics, has decreased. At Scarecrow, we have our workshops, we also have a one-month induction process for the ones we hire from art schools and other colleges and I personally look after that.

The essential characteristic that a creative director must possess today is patience. Advertising is an extremely hardworking profession; if you have patience and you can couple that with talent, hard work and commitment, you will rock.

Narayan Devanathan, group executive and strategy officer, Dentsu Brand Agencies, South Asia

What skill sets must a CD possess today?

Narayan Devanathan

Recently, I had the opportunity to be in an interviewing panel at XIC and one girl and one guy stood out from the crowd, for me. I had made the mistake of conducting the test in English and the guy came to me and asked me if he could answer in Hindi; I said it's my mistake I should have given you the option myself. I told him he could and he just flew through the questions; he was so talented. I realised we are missing out on such talent because we are too English-centric.

I am not too sure if we are investing enough, as seniors, in both attracting and nurturing the talent. Today, there are so many opportunities available and that is why the best creative minds are not joining advertising agencies anymore. They can make more money outside and the ones who are ready to sacrifice money for creative opportunities; advertising is not creating enough of that either.

To ignore the past is what I think is the most important skillset one must master. It is not about an ad, a banner or any other form; it is about a creative solution and one needs to get that thought in.

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