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By Minda Smiley | Reporter

June 6, 2016 | 2 min read

The Drum recently caught up with Tena Clark, founder and chief creative officer of DMI Music & Media, to find out what she thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Aside from being dreamers and rainmakers, Clark said that great creatives need to be in touch with themselves as well as everything happening around them.

She also said that great creatives should be able to recognize the intent of the message that they are putting out into the world, meaning that they should always be thinking about the audience who will ultimately watch the TV spot or listen to the radio ad that has been created, and should consider what they want that experience to be like for them.

“As long as I feel that I am conveying the message of what that particular scene or person is, that’s what it takes to be a great creative,” she said. “It’s not a great creative if all I’m doing is reflecting and projecting my intention, because that’s not what it’s about.”

Clark is a Grammy Award-winning producer who has written and produced songs for artists including Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole and Patti LaBelle throughout her career. She founded DMI Music & Media nearly 20 years ago on the premise that music could “connect brands to customers and allow rising stars to be discovered.”

Since then, she has worked on musical strategies for brands including Build-A-Bear Workshop, Walgreens and Kohl’s. Clark has received a number of awards for her work, including the “Entrepreneurial Champion Award” from the Committee of 200.

Her full interview with The Drum can be viewed above. See what Rei Inamoto, founding partner at business invention studio Inamoto & Co, had to say when we asked him what it takes to be a great creative.

Creativity Media What Does It Take To Be a Great Creative?

Other episodes in the series

Episode 1

‘It’s about asking a lot of questions’: Deutsch’s Winston Binch on what it takes to be a great creative

The Drum recently caught up with Winston Binch, Deutsch North America’s chief digital officer, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Episode 2

‘Be a producer’: RPA’s Sarah Bates on what it takes to be a great creative

To Sarah Bates, creative director at RPA in Los Angeles, being weird is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s pretty normal and desirable — especially those “non sequitur adventures” that make a person interesting in a creative field.

Episode 3

‘Distill the brief’: The Mill’s Phil Crowe on what it takes to be a great creative

Are there bad briefs? That’s likely up for all kinds of debate but, to Phil Crowe, ECD of The Mill in Los Angeles, it’s less about the brief and more about the interpretation of the brief.

Episode 4

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Episode 5

Lola MullenLowe Madrid's Pancho Cassis on what it takes to be a great creative: 'It's not about ideas anymore'

The Drum caught up with Pancho Cassis, executive creative director and copywriter at Lola MullenLowe Madrid, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Episode 6

Colle+McVoy’s Laura Fegley: 'Being a great creative is all about endurance'

Laura Fegley, ECD at Colle+McVoy in Minneapolis, treads a path of undeniable success.

Episode 7

‘Mind numbing patience’: Kirk Kelley, HouseSpecial CCO on what makes a great creative

Browsing through the work of Portland’s HouseSpecial can become a walk through a creative candy shop — starting with (pun kind of intended) iconic creativity for M&M's, including the well-received Candyman spot featuring Aloe Blacc and Zedd.

Episode 8

"Great creatives need a partner": OKRP leaders on becoming a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

Episode 9

'Stick with your gut': Pereira & O'Dell's PJ Pereira on being a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

Episode 10

Hunger, passion, curiosity: MullenLowe Singapore’s Shengjin Ang on being a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

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