Empowering Creative Teams: Strategies for Ownership and Accountability

By Ainsley Lawrence

Creativity is at the core of all highly productive advertising teams. Your creative team is responsible for branding the business, engaging customers, and convincing stakeholders to back your company.

The innovative nature of this work means that fewer rules should be imposed on the folks that you ask to invent new ideas for your business. However, these creative teams still need clear guidance and should have performance-related goals in place to drive ownership and accountability.

You can create an accountable, creative culture within your marketing and advertising teams by embracing continuous learning and foregrounding effective communication. This will help folks understand your expectations and will ensure that your people are well-equipped to handle the rigorous demands of content creation, press release writing, and other forms of modern marketing.

Blending Creativity and Responsibility

Most people think of creativity and responsibility as antithetical ideas. This is why many modern artists choose to live non-conformist, free-spirited lifestyles. However, unless your team is responsible for creating avant-garde art, you’ll likely find that a few rules and regulations will boost productivity and produce better results.

In fact, many of your employees may even find it easier to be creative within constraints. This is an approach championed by TED Educator Brandon Rodriguez. Rodriguez explains that simply being told to “create anything” is rather too daunting for most people. Without rules or boundaries, the blank page or canvas suddenly seems that much more imposing.

Rodriguez goes on to explain that “creative constraints apply across professions” and that “constraints play a special role in invention and discovery.” These constraints essentially guide your creative team’s efforts and give you a clear foundation to build from. For example, if you’re creating public-facing content, you may give your team constraints like:

  • Staying within brand-guideline colors
  • Keeping videos under one minute in length
  • Requesting that content creators draw from a pre-established list of topics
  • Ensuring that all creative content is accessible

This same approach can apply to your product design, too. When redesigning an app or website, you need to be certain that your product is both engaging on a creative level and functional. This will lead to a better client experience and will help you put out products that drive revenue and boost your brand image.

Continuous Learning

Most creative people come from an artistic background like graphic design, creative writing, or theater. This means that their core skills are perfectly suited to creating the kind of content that appeals to customers and clients. However, you can’t expect innately creative people to suddenly become organized, accountable, and goal-driven. Instead, invest in continued learning opportunities after they join your firm to ensure that they are given the tools they need to succeed. Additional benefits of funding continuous learning opportunities include:

  • Increased appeal to talented employees during recruiting
  • Improved employee retention
  • Fill skill gaps among your existing teams
  • Encourages innovation
  • Helps your team stay up to date with industry trends
  • Increased productivity

Funding continuous learning improves employee buy-in at your firm, too. This is crucial if you manage a large creative team. Setting aside time for learning opportunities shows that you care about the progress of each employee.

For example, if your team struggles to produce well-edited images, you might invest in training workshops to familiarize your creative team with the Adobe Suite. Or, if your writers struggle to produce content within reasonable timelines, you may fund workshops to help writers become more productive while at work.

Taking these measures innately improves retention and creates a sense of loyalty amongst your team members. Continuous learning boosts ownership and incentivizes folks to become more accountable for their creative production.


Clear communication is the key to good management. Effective communication ensures that everyone is on board with your plans and helps folks raise questions when they do not understand the expectations you have of them. This can help you foster a culture of ownership and accountability within your creative team.

Effective communication can enhance employee well-being, too. This is particularly important for creative employees, who must feel comfortable and supported to produce the kind of content that you expect of them. By championing effective communication, you can boost the social well-being of your staff, increase professional development amongst your existing employees, and help folks discover more opportunities for innovation. Improving communication is easy; start by taking steps like:

  • Investing in a workflow management program to track and manage projects
  • Improving collaboration by utilizing cloud technology
  • Trialing a communication platform like Slack or Teams with instant messaging capabilities

When leveraged correctly, clear communication can increase your agility. Folks who make use of your communication channels will learn about trends quicker than their peers and will be empowered to take steps to respond to changes in the market. This can be transformative for your team and will encourage others to take ownership and accountability for your advertising plan.


Empowering your creative team with clear communication and continuous learning opportunities can enhance accountability and boost productivity at your firm. Even simple changes, like giving all employees access to emerging trend data, can put folks in a position to take ownership of their own work.