Event Career Guides: The creative director

Event Student Hub uncovers the multitude of jobs in the events industry so you don't have to. We speak to MCM Creative Group's Mark Nicholls about his role as creative director.

Nicholls has previously worked at Brandfuel, GPJ and Action Impact
Nicholls has previously worked at Brandfuel, GPJ and Action Impact

Name: Mark Nicholls

Role: Creative director

Company: MCM Creative Group

Starting salary? My first job as a junior designer paid £250 per week back in 1994.

What was your background before joining the company?

Up until joining MCM this year, I was creative director at BrandFuel for five years, where I managed a growing creative team producing small to large events, brand communications and an increasing amount of digital design work. It was here I led on campaigns for the likes of Android, Google and UEFA.

Before this I spent several years freelancing with design and event agencies including Action Impact and George P Johnson (GPJ). Early in my career I had a long stint both agency side and client-side with Toni & Guy and Tigi, managing all of their brand design communications globally.

How did you secure your job? How long was the interview process?

I was contacted by one of MCM’s senior managers, who I once worked with in a previous role at GPJ on projects for IBM, Gartner, Orange and Rolls-Royce.

I knew that MCM was investing in growth plans as well as securing new business, and after meeting with MCM’s founder and the managing director Nicky Milligan I was then introduced to the client services director for more in-depth discussions about the role and what attributes and expertise I could bring to the agency.

After two or three meetings and telephone conversations, we were in agreement and an offer was set in stone.

What is your remit at the business? What are you expected to manage?

Primarily my remit is to deliver creative solutions for marketing communications briefs with a focus on live events, experiential campaigns, film and digital across existing client projects and new business pitches. 

One of my first projects has been to provide valuable input into the refresh of the company’s marketing materials and branding, complete with new credentials and website. 

I’m also a member of the senior leadership team, directing the creative function and culture of the business and ensuring they are implemented in the company.

What are your working hours?

I usually get into the office at 9.30am and plan to finish at around 6pm. MCM prides itself on its quality work ethic and we ensure that home time is home time as much as possible.

From time to time, I leave later than usual due to getting presentations finalised for new business projects, but with a strong track record for success – a little extra desk time is well worth it.

Who do you work closely with?

I work closely with the senior leadership team, which comprises of our MD, client services director, operations director and creative services director.

I oversee the design team and work closely on most projects with our senior designer, along with the senior project managers and our film creative director. I also report into the MD and the chairman of the agency and have a close working relationship with them both.

What do you love about your job?

I love being part of developing opportunities for the agency with both new people joining, new projects in the pipeline and awards short-listings that are helping to place us firmly on the creative map in so many positive ways. 

This is all made possible by working with such an inspirational and experienced group of people and this is what makes my job always enjoyable.

What are the challenges of the job?

I think there are some good challenges to do with managing growth and providing capability to meet the increases without compromising creativity, quality and profitability.

While introducing and working with new people and our processes we need to be ever more consistent around the creative communications we provide for our variety of clients and projects.

More: MCM becomes marketing communications agency

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