These days everybody is looking to follow a tried and tested path to success. This often leads to people forming a template of what they need to do. Also, this is reflected in their approach to problems at their respective workplaces. Now, with the trends of yesterday fading away fast, many of the old ways need to be discarded. So, the question arises – How do we do that. One way to solve this problem is to hire or become a creative consultant. This is precisely what we are going to discuss in this piece.
What Is a Creative Consultant
Typically, a creative consultant is someone who is associated with design. However, he also needs to possess the necessary temperament to collaborate with cross-functional teams. He needs to put on different hats to come up with out-of-the-box solutions.
Moreover, the difference in a creative consultant’s approach must be reflected in how he works on pitching solutions to his clients. A creative consultant must also arm with the rationale to defend his point of view.
Ideally, he should also have an appetite for learning. He must be flexible in his thinking and should be familiar with various research methods. This will help him in identifying situations that need to be fixed.
A curious attitude and asking the right questions are also valuable traits of a creative consultant.
Preferred Qualifications for a Creative Consultant
Someone who is a creative consultant can hold a medley of qualifications. Here, we shall discuss some of the most sought-after qualifications in this line of work.
- A bachelor’s or a master's degree in marketing, communications, design, creative writing, or related disciplines
- A detailed portfolio highlighting the most recent and prominent projects
- Knowledge of tools and design software such as AutoCAD, Adobe Lightroom, Illustrator, and the like will come in handy
- Ability to use collaboration tools such as Asana, Trello, Monday to work seamlessly with teams and enhance productivity
- Problem-solving skills with a creative flair
- Ability to view any situation from diverse angles
- Flair to persuade clients
- Ability to juggle multiple clients and a variety of projects at the same time
- A technical and an analytical approach to situations
- Ability to pool knowledge from diverse domains and then connect the dots to develop unique solutions
- Ability to tell a story; build and articulate the core narrative compellingly
Responsibilities of a Creative Consultant
To be successful in his career, a creative consultant needs to work at the intersection of design, technology, and business. This is because just being good at the creative aspect of things can only take one so far.
It helps to have a grasp of the technical and business side of organizations as well. This will enable creative consultants to play a pivotal role in the growth of their client’s businesses. In this section, we shall take a deeper look at the responsibilities of a creative consultant.
Discussion with clients
Before starting to work on the project or a deliverable, the consultant needs to understand the scope. For this, he needs to meet with the client and get a sense of his requirements. This will assist him in developing the message as per the target audience.
Come up with a plan
Once the creative consultant has conducted in-depth discussions with the client, it is now time to draw up a plan of action. He must prepare a blueprint based on the requirements of the client. Also, he must be transparent about budget estimates, timelines, and possible challenges.
Now that the plan is ready, the creative consultant can finally go about turning it into reality.
Generally. a creative consultant works on design. It could be the design of a product or a pitch deck design. The job of the consultant is to ensure the effective delivery of the intended message.
To achieve this, he must use graphics and colors that act as subtle triggers and persuade people to take the desired action. Also, he must keep in mind the brand guidelines and the tone of voice while working on various marketing collaterals and other assets.
Other responsibilities of creative consultants
In addition to the responsibilities described above, a creative consultant also works on areas of design such as texture, iconography, space, color. An effective creator can use these elements to bring out the ideas of balance, harmony, and chaos.
Thus he can convey his ideas in a better manner. Also, he looks to generate new creative ideas, designs, concepts, and approaches. He is also responsible for working with other designers to ensure a consistent design experience.
His primary focus is translating the business, user, and technical requirements into a compelling format. Plus, a creative consultant must undertake the necessary research to understand the client’s pain points.
Moreover, he must proactively define the milestones and success metrics for the project after his discussions with the client.
How to Make a Career as a Creative Consultant
The idea to become a creative consultant and work with multiple clients as an advisor looks pretty alluring. And yes, it definitely is! However, launching oneself as an independent creative consultant is something that does not happen overnight.
Like everything else in life, it needs consistent steps in the right direction to become successful. In this section, we will take a look at the steps one needs to follow to make it big as a creative consultant.
He needs to create his niche
There are a number of writers, digital marketers, and designers out there. To get yourself noticed, you must bring something different to the table.
To do that, you need to gather your thoughts first – What is something you are really good at? How can you use your skills to make design, copywriting, or marketing stand out? You may be really good at B2C email marketing or blogging about sports or fashion. Maybe you are great with numbers and have a wacky sense of humor.
So, the basic idea is to figure out how to use your strengths in the best way possible.
Build an online presence
You have decided on the core offering of your business. Good! Now it is time to take the next step.
It would help if you worked on building an impressive online presence. You do not have to be an expert coder to create a website. There are plenty of accessible DIY platforms such as Squarespace and Wix. Go ahead and offer your services through handles on social media channels like LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok.
You must bear in mind a few key points while working on your website.
- Your portfolio is the ultimate opportunity to put your best foot forward. Get the samples of your best work. Also, remember to add any pro-bono consulting stints.
- Decide on the structure of your website. What is the best way to list your projects: by skill, technology, or industry.
- Work on an outline of your website. This part should contain the position of different menus and sections. Also, you can finalize an exciting theme for your website.
- The information on the website should capture the attention of casual visitors also. Plus, end-users should quickly locate the services they are looking for.
Spread the word
Your website is ready. Now it is time to talk about it. Post about your website on social media. Mention it to your friends, family, acquaintances, everyone. Basically, you have to market yourself and your skills. Also, running ads on Instagram and Facebook is highly cost-effective to build brand awareness and land potential clients.
By now, you have decided what you will work on, made your website, and hopefully landed a client. It is time to get your hands dirty. But before you get started working on the project, it is ideal to set up some processes and workflows.
You can make use of the various collaboration tools available such as Trello, Basecamp, Wrike, Asana, and so on. Explore tools that are made for small businesses to help you with collaboration, invoicing, and other admin tasks.
Promote your work
It is not enough just to deliver great work for your clients. You have to talk about it. Also, you have to get your clients to talk about it.
Share it on your website and social media channels. Let the whole world know that they can reach out to you for their requirements. Share amongst peers, colleagues, and friends in relevant industries and fields. Furthermore, you can create profiles and upload your portfolios on freelance websites such as TopTal, Fiverr, and Upwork.
What to Look For When Hiring a Creative Consultant
It is not easy to find the right creative consultant who possesses the desired skills. In this section, we will determine the qualities to look at while hiring a creative consultant.
An updated portfolio
This is an absolute must-have for anybody who calls himself a creative consultant. Merely experience is not enough to land somebody a desired gig. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
So, it is imperative to scrutinize the portfolio of a creative consultant your organization is looking to bring on board. Any portfolio should have the following characteristics:
- It should be well organized
- Should highlight key skills
- Must focus on significant projects that were undertaken
- Emphasize tangible outcomes that helped the business
- Showcase achievements, awards won, certifications, and other recognition
A haphazard portfolio indicates a lack of seriousness and professionalism on the creative consultant’s part. Not only that, but it may also display a lack of experience and is most likely to be rejected.
Brimming with curiosity
The best people for the post of a creative consultant are those who have an innate curiosity about how different things work. This is an ideal trait as they are more likely to experiment with innovative methods and processes.
And if they are experienced candidates, they will have an idea of the industry's best and most widespread practices. Also, this is an advantage as they can quickly implement them in your organization or improve existing processes if need be.
A T-shaped approach
This means that the consultant should have complete expertise in one area while possessing a broad knowledge of other areas as well. This quality will help a creative consultant understand the entire process. He can collaborate with different teams more quickly as he knows the work involved in marketing or presenting a pitch to a potential client.
When it comes to marketing today, brands cannot stick to one medium alone as it would be severely restrictive. The person you bring on the team needs to be comfortable adapting and executing campaigns on traditional and new-age media.
An ability to tweak campaigns
The creative consultant must have the skill to repurpose existing collaterals for newer campaigns or revisions. Also, he must be able to modify and optimize the campaigns so that they deliver the best possible results.
Saying no to requests with valid reasons
The creative consultant will face challenging situations where the marketing managers from different teams in the organization might approach him to create a video by the end of the day or launch a social media campaign in the next two days when hardly any assets are ready.
At this moment, it is okay for the consultant to politely turn down their request and explain why he can’t do something. This is a beneficial habit. It saves everyone’s time, effort, energy, and money.
If you want to find more consultant roles, check our list of guides to becoming or hiring consultants:
- Marketing Consultant
- Sales Consultant
- Business Strategy Consultant
- Image Consultant
- ECommerce Consultant
- Creative Consultant
- Environmental Consultant
The position of a creative consultant is witnessing high demand these days. Companies are looking for talented individuals who can take up challenges most of the time and are socially, technologically, and culturally savvy. And this trend seems most likely to continue. If you are looking to become a creative consultant, there are a lot of opportunities out there!
Someone who can use all the tools and skills at his disposal to help create a unique value proposition for his clients can take a company’s marketing and business to the next level.
All this with a penchant for working in a high-pressure but fun environment is what you as a company should encourage in order to attract such talents.