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Chief Creative Officer (CCO)

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What does a Chief Creative Officer do?

The chief creative officer (CCO) leads the creative department and is responsible for overseeing the strategy and execution of all creative goals. This position coordinates with other executives and thought leaders to determine the visual elements of a company’s brand before communicating these needs to their team. Projects CCOs oversee include logo development, television ad creation, website design and many others.

How do you become a CCO?
Answer Part 1

A CCO position requires extensive higher education and many years of relevant work experience.

Answer Part 2

The CCO is the lead creative voice of an organization, so reaching this level in one’s career requires a veteran-level understanding and significant hands-on experience in the industry the company exists within. This career path most often begins with a bachelor’s in marketing, communications, graphic design, business, or a related field, with many CCO candidates also choosing to earn a master’s in fine arts degree to boost their qualifications. 

Along with a profound educational background, chief creative officer candidates must have spent several years in a relevant, senior-level position, such as senior art director or senior copywriter, and around five years in a managerial role, typically copy editor, art director or creative director, before being eligible for a CCO opening. Gaining enough relevant experience for a CCO position usually takes at least 10 years, providing creatives with enough time to build valuable relationships, develop strong skill sets and craft broad portfolios featuring strong work that can set them up for success.

What is the salary of a CCO?
Answer Part 1

As the head of a creative department, the CCO position is rewarded with an average base salary of $174,850.

Answer Part 2

CCOs are key executives in an organization, so the average base salary for this role is $174,850 in the United States. The average total compensation for a U.S.-based CCO rises to $207,064 when factoring an average of $32,214 in additional cash compensation into the equation. Built In collects salary data from responses submitted by anonymous U.S.-based CCOs, with salary figures updating in real-time.

What skills does a CCO need?
Answer Part 1

A CCO must possess an expert-level understanding of writing, design and brand principles with strong leadership abilities.

Answer Part 2

To excel in a CCO position, candidates must feel comfortable adapting design principles, strong writing and multiple forms of media to various formats, such as a website or a brand package, depending on the needs of the company or client. Doing so efficiently requires CCOs to guide teams in producing crisp, intuitive creative work that can communicate authentically with the ideal user. A customer-first mentality will enable CCOs to visualize products from the consumer’s perspective and factor customers’ needs into the final execution. 

Beyond simply assigning creative work to team members, successful CCOs are able to communicate brand intricacies and the scope of the project to other creatives in an articulate manner that draws a clear line between project requirements and elements of creative freedom. Additionally, chief creative officers must be able to provide feedback in a way that encourages team members to continue doing their best work while keeping the brand’s priorities front and center. These communication and leadership skills allow CCOs to translate ideas into concrete products while keeping their creative departments on schedule to meet production goals.



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