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Chief Creative Officer (CCO)

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What Is a Chief Creative Officer? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

The chief creative officer, or CCO, is an executive-level role that leads the creative department and oversees the strategy and execution of creative activities, such as advertising campaigns and brand design initiatives. Here’s what to know about a chief creative officer’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.


What Is a Chief Creative Officer?

Chief creative officers oversee big-picture creative strategy for their company and lead the creative department. They often work on advertising campaigns, brand development and design projects. 


What Do Chief Creative Officers Do?

Chief creative officers shape the creative strategy of an organization. They manage and collaborate with other stakeholders, such as creative directors and art directors, to determine creative elements of a company’s brand. Projects overseen by chief creative officers may include logo development, television ad creation, website design and many others.

Chief Creative Officer Responsibilities

  • Manage the creative team, which often includes creative directors, art directors and designers.
  • Provide guidance to the creative team on executing goals, conduct performance reviews and hire new team members.  
  • Pitch and negotiate budget plans and creative initiatives.
  • Set the strategy for the creative department to align with business goals. 
  • Create and maintain the budget for the creative department. 

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Chief Creative Officer 

  • Coordinate the tasks and responsibilities of the creative team and check in with managers as necessary. 
  • Keep other senior leadership up to date on the progress of creative initiatives. 

Chief Creative Officer Within a Company

Chief creative officers are the head of the creative department and work closely with the CEO and other executive leadership to set goals. 

Importance of Chief Creative Officer 

Since the chief creative officer oversees all the initiatives undertaken by the creative department, they are essential to the success of a company’s brand image, advertising and design projects. 

Interview with Steve Babcock, VaynerMedia chief creative officer. | Video: VaynerMedia


What Skills Are Needed to Be a Chief Creative Officer?

Qualifications to Be a Chief Creative Officer

  • Ability to present creative ideas and project plans to both internal and external teams. 
  • Ability to maintain communication with several direct reports and other senior leadership. 
  • Deep knowledge of marketing, branding and design strategies and best practices. 
  • Familiarity with the tools and programs used by direct reports. 

Chief Creative Officer Prerequisites

  • Chief creative officers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in design, marketing or a related field. 
  • Although a master’s degree may not be required, CCOs could benefit from deepening their knowledge of marketing, design or business administration. 
  • CCOs often have at least 10 years of experience working in the creative field with three to five years of experience in a management position. 

Chief Creative Officer Hard Skills

  • Graphic design.
  • People management and leadership skills. 
  • Business management. 
  • Business acumen. 
  • Market research. 
  • Basic mathematical and budget planning skills. 

Chief Creative Officer Soft Skills

  • Creativity. 
  • Multitasking and time management skills. 
  • Organizational skills. 
  • Problem solving.
  • Communication and presentation skills. 
  • Negotiation skills. 
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How to Become a Chief Creative Officer

Chief Creative Officer Education and Experience

Chief creative officers have at least a bachelor’s degree in art and design, marketing or a related field. Some CCOs may choose to pursue a master’s degree to further refine their knowledge and experience. Most CCOs have 10 years of experience working on creative teams with several years of management experience. 

Chief Creative Officer Certificates and Courses

Chief Creative Officer Career Path

Chief creative officers usually have long careers before holding the CCO title, which is the highest one can have in the field. Some commonly held roles along the way are creative director, senior graphic designer or art director. 


Chief Creative Officer Salary and Job Outlook

Chief creative officers will experience steady job growth over the next several years. The job market for art directors, a related position, is expected to grow 4 percent by 2031. 

The full compensation package for a chief creative officer depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average chief creative officer’s salary.