On: July 26, 2021

Have you ever thought of bringing on a fractional creative director? It might be a wise consideration for your start-up while you are in the process of scaling up and need a solid foundation for your business to grow while catering to your customer’s needs.

What is a fractional creative director?

A creative director develops and oversees a brand’s visual communications strategy, including the brand identity and brand expressions applied to content marketing, website, social media, marketing collateral, etc. In addition, a creative director works with marketing and sales to bring the creative strategy, experience, and expertise to the table and oversees creative team members, including writers, graphic designers, and web developers.

A fractional creative director provides all of these services but works with you on a part-time, contract basis. When you work with a fractional creative director, you partner with an experienced professional who helps you progress towards your goals week by week. It is a flexible, sustainable, and affordable way to build your brand. A fractional creative director might work with you one to three days a week for six months or more, depending on your needs.

Why hire a fractional creative director?

A fractional creative director sets your business up for success. Once they understand the goals you have for your business, they can manage the process and help you move your business forward. A fractional creative director will:

Develop a strong brand strategy for your start-up before you go to market. A strong brand identity with robust brand standards provides a solid foundation for business growth. Your brand standards define your company’s purpose, vision, value, and position in the market. It helps you stand out from the crowd and guides your marketing initiatives. The stronger your brand is now, the easier it is to add new elements in the future. If your start-up doesn’t already have this going, a fractional CD can take you through the process so you won’t have to hire an outside resource.

Maintain and evolve the focus of your brand strategy as you grow. A solid and consistent brand builds credibility and inspires brand loyalty—the more people involved with your company, the greater the potential to dilute your brand. As different people take responsibility for your pitch decksocial media, email marketing, presentations, and other marketing and sales collateral, each uses a slightly modified font, photograph, or graphic element, interpreting your brand through their lens. To rein in these interpretations, a fractional CD can oversee what is being put out to the client and remind the internal teams of which guidelines to follow. Not sure where your branding is going? A fractional creative director can always conduct a brand analysis (also referred to as a brand audit or brand assessment) to get back your brand back on track. 

Save you money. Instead of hiring a large creative agency or staffing up with junior-level positions, a fractional creative director can work with your existing team to provide the strategy and implementation resources you need. Working with an agency will make sense in certain stages of growth, yet when your start-up is not quite there, contracting a fractional CD will enable you to have the same value and expertise without the agency cost. Often, start-ups hire junior-level staff to save money, which is wise to a degree, but it also comes with a lot of hand-holding, lack of skills, or experience to know what to do when challenges arise. In a fast-paced environment, this might not be ideal. A fractional CD knows what needs to happen and can help mentor the junior-level people to have the guidance and skills they need to grow. Over the long term, the investment you make with a fractional CD will show in the growth and learning of the junior teams. When things get overwhelming, the fractional CMO will be able to step in.

Support your fundraising, marketing, and sales initiatives. It is crucial to have a strong brand strategy during the start-up phase and accompanying visual communications targeted towards prospective investors and customers. A fractional creative director can work with your team to ensure that every communication, from social media to pitch decks to sales demonstrations, showcases your company’s solution and builds your reputation with your audience. A fractional CD can also be an added expert when talking with possible investors by being the voice of their visual communicationns and content marketing strategy.

Be a partner in growing your business. A fractional creative director is a strategic partner who can work with you regardless of whether you have a Chief Marketing Officer on staff. For example, if your company is in the process of hiring a CMO, it might make sense to bring on a fractional creative director now. That way, you can move your marketing initiatives forward while you take the time to make that vital hiring decision. And if you already have a CMO on staff, a fractional creative director can serve as a sounding board and oversee the executive level of visual communications strategy.

To build a sustainable business, you need a strong foundation.

As a start-up organization, you know how important it is to make an excellent first impression. Your company is just breaking into the market and is probably disrupting a few things along the way. To be taken seriously, especially by prospective investors and clients, you need a strong brand, a great idea, and a professional attitude to get the attention of investors. The most effective way to accomplish this goal is to hire a fractional creative director dedicated to your business’s success.

If you’d like to learn more about how a fractional creative director can help you scale your business, contact me today for a 30-minute consultation.

Jillfrances Gray About picture

About the Author: Jillfrances Gray

I am a creative director and designer with 20+ years of experience helping clients innovate and execute their marketing initiatives. Services include brand strategy, brand identity, website design, graphic design, social media marketing, and email marketing. I am obsessively detailed oriented and have a passion for solid, stunning aesthetics. Plus, I’ve been told I am a lot of fun to work with.

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I would love to talk about your next project!