In our summer poll, we asked members about creative leadership and where your team falls within the organizational structure of your firm. While 35% of respondents said they have one person calling the creative shots, much like a Chief Creative Officer, only 4% said their top creative carried a Chief title. And the majority, at 52%, said that no creative leader at their firm sat at the executive level.

In-house teams are infamous for doling out titles to creatives in management roles that veer wildly from industry norms, like “specialist” or “supervisor” to avoid “chief” or “director.” While more and more companies have recognized the need to bring creative inside, not all firms know quite what to do with them once they’ve got them.

Creative Services is sometimes lumped together with other service groups in the firm, like technology or facilities. Oftentimes, the creative team is embedded within specific product groups. Other firms structure creative as part of marketing, leaving the Chief Marketing Officer, who may or may not have an understanding of design in charge. The majority of our respondents noted that their creative lead plays more than a managerial role, rolling up his or her sleeves to get work done.

According to our poll, the most common titles for the creative in charge were Creative Director, or Creative Manager.  A whopping 73% said their company would never have a Chief Creative Officer, highlighting the long road ahead in-house teams have in making design thinking an integral part of the firm.


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