Any tips on how to transition from Strategy/Planning to Creative Director? Or is it better to be a Creative Strategist and work directly with artists/talent?

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Go back to school. Build a portfolio. Get an internship. Get hired as a junior. Spend 5-10 years proving you can create effective and smart creative for a range of clients. Then perhaps, you can be a CD.

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I made this exact move too. Write. Write. Write. Sell your work, even when it’s not asked for. Answer your own briefs. Do the work of a creative FIRST.

You need to earn your way to becoming a creative. Build a relationship to your CD where you can share work with them. You will need to work twice as hard and encounter twice as much failure as the existing creatives. But as soon as you sell one thing, it’ll open the doors to sell more. Also, don’t neglect your day job.

Don’t worry or even waste brain cells thinking about a CD role until you’ve unlocked the trustworthy creative badge.

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Op: How do I become a CD without proving myself?
Almost everyone: You can’t, you just have to do the work.
Op: You’re wrong. Probably just scared of having your job stolen by me.

Sounds like you already know better than everyone here, so not sure why you came asking. Good luck with that anyway though! 🙄

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So wait you’re telling me a bullshit hustler with no actual qualifications works for Vice? I never would have believed it...

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You can’t direct the creative properly until you’ve done the creative. My best creative directors were all veteran creatives who could jump in and whip a 60 deck together in a day if needed - because sometimes it’s very much so needed.

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OP, it sounds like you want the “prestige” that comes with the title. Not the work—as far as advertising goes. Granted, people throw around the term ‘Creative Director’ these days: celebrities, influencers, brand guys who don’t have generally crap taste. So, I’m sure you could find somewhere that would give you the title once you get high enough. Maybe that’s an option?

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OP, don’t listen to the scared creatives here who just want you to suffer like they did like frat brothers and pledges. You can get a CD job. The right job for you is out there. Might be in house, might be hybrid. Might take you a few lateral steps moving around to settle into what you want, but it’s not crazy. Creative leadership does not have to have comped decks and made banners for years to be good. The haters just want to believe their time is being well spent and they are on the righteous road to CD. Skip the line. Wish you luck.

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Helpful and confirming. Thanks!

Haha, strategists are so funny these days.

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Bang, got it all figured out! What are you waiting for, go get your CD job friend. ;)

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Even in the midst of OP’s ignorance & passive aggressiveness because they didn’t like the answer they were given, creatives on here are still wishing them the best of luck. Y’all are so kind.

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Become a copywriter first.

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OP, there is definitely a way to transition from strategy to creative. If you really want it, go for it. I know of three account people who’ve made the transition. One took a major step back and eventually caught back up. And, personally, strategy to creative feels like a closer jump because you’re closer to the work. You just have to be willing to take that step back. The same would be expected for a creative who wanted to do the same.

I wouldn’t assume I could go from ACD to Associate Planning Director just because I know how to identify and define a strategy. Because I understand there’s a lot more that goes into the day-to-day that I don’t see.

Also, if money is what you’re looking for, I feel like strategy would provide a more seamless transition into the consulting world. That’s where the business—and the money—is going.

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Gonna go out on a limb here and guess that a CD at Vice is a very different role than a CD at an agency.

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How does someone go from copywriter to Chief Strategy Officer?...asking for a friend.

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If I found out my CD just switched from strategy without working their way up, no book, no grind—I would be pissed.

Also as a CD, it’s about guiding and mentoring as well. How can you do that if you’ve never done the job fully? How can you manage a team of creatives if you’ve never worked as one?

Sorry, but people don’t respect you without the grind. it shows you understand what it took to really get here. Not just see the end result and think I can do that better. It’s being told no that sucks, you suck start over, I don’t get it, work with this dude who sucks or deal with the strategy guy who thinks they can Art direct.

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You're asking how you can transition from a department to a specific role when you should be asking how you can transition from one department to another.

Put together a portfolio of writing / spec campaigns then start reaching out to your network to see who may be willing to try you out as a copywriter. Better yet, let your current employer know you're interested in picking up more creative responsibility. Maybe they'll throw some smaller projects your way.

At any rate, with some hard work, networking, and portfolio building you could probably switch from strategy to creative but you wouldn't slot right into a director position. However, with your background, you'd have a leg up on other Juniors and likely rise up the ranks more quickly.

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@OP is the worst.

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Also, this seems like an ironic question for someone whose job is to plan strategies. The best practice strategy to becoming a creative is well laid out. It’s not being a strategist and then trying to claim you’re also a creative director—i’d describe that as a haphazard approach.

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You can open up an agency and call yourself a CD. Why stop there, become a CCO.

You can change your title to freelance CD and hope that one day you can get hired as a CD.

And the third option is: you need to grind your way up from the bottom in a creative department.

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Last year I was I was a jr media planner. Then I changed my mind and title and became a CCO. No experience necessary.

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You wanna switch departments, you gotta start at the bottom. That's how it works.

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Don’t feed the trolls.

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Lol, that copywriter just referred to another human as “the help”. Where do you work? A plantation?

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Of course if you were to listen the “advice” of all the CDs here of course you would not even try, what a fool they said...But, I I say go for it. Times are changing and blended skills are a good thing. Just know it may lead down a path you didn’t expect and you’ll certainly stumble. But wherever it takes you, you will have your sense of curiosity, courage and new insights in people and work that no one will be able to compete with. Keep pushing ahead. I’m right there with you.

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Who needs you the most and what is your niche of knowledge? Start ups? Companies that are project based or consultancies? Entertainment, gaming etc...you’re going to have to hustle and dig deep for this, and look beyond the obvious and traditional.

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Start with this.

https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/creative-director-tee

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Creative is a craft that needs to be learned. You need to work at it, fail at it (over and over and over) and succeed at it before you even think of becoming a credible CD. It’s years of hard work. So disrespectful to think you can slide across, not only from another discipline but also to a CD from another discipline. Crazy talk.

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Aren’t we all strategists? Isn’t that what google is for?

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OP there are plenty of creatives who think beyond words and pictures. I’ve even worked at agencies who had no strategists...guess who did the strategy too? Creatives! Guess who also has to think about business, ROI whatever other stuff. Creatives! But what’s the difference between you and me? I know how to actually execute a wide range of creative projects down to the dumb nitty gritty stuff. It’s not even clear what you want to do as a “CD” what type of work are you even interested in bringing to life? Do you even know what we do?

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Have you tried belittling your staff and stealing their ideas? I’ve seen a bunch of people make it to CD that way.

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