Associate Strategy Director - Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60618

Job Summary

Planning is the generation and application of human insights to inspire and improve creative and agency output. Strategic planning's foundation is built on market research and consumer insights. The work includes: knowledge generation, analysis, testing, cultural observation and specialized techniques (e.g., shopper marketing, segmentation, etc.), but focuses those insights towards the work of a creative agency. The output can be impact on creative-more grounded, human, engaging, connected work-or stand-alone strategic deliverables, e.g., targeting models, brand positioning, etc.These outputs parallel the two faces of a planner: the internal face as educator, ideator, briefer, and inspirer, and the external face (client directed) of strategic advisor, research partner, and brand consultant.

Acting as the voice of the consumer at Agency, the Associate Strategy Director acts as a strategic leader for assigned brands and teams. They are responsible for driving day-to-day engagement on behalf of the agency with clients. This person provides research, insight and strategic guidance to a variety of accounts, consumer profiles and industry verticals.


The Associate Strategy Director is responsible, in the area of Strategy, for:

  • Being a planning subject matter expert in the eyes of internal counterparts and clients.
  • Developing strategies that inspire innovative work, including brand strategies, journeys and comprehensive multichannel plans.
  • Serving as primary strategic thinker in annual planning process.
  • Facilitating ideation work sessions internally and with the client.
  • Proposing and fielding secondary, quant and qual research.
  • Participating and occasionally leading strategy development for new business opportunities.
  • Ensuring team continuously meets planning standard.
  • Looking for opportunities for subject matter experts (SMEs), agency and creative to add value and for clients to buy into our work.
  • Rallying teams and drive agenda, provide impactful direction and set team goals.
  • Forming and maintaining solid relationships with department and account leads.
  • Embodying the Agency culture.
  • Managing agency resources.
  • Guiding career development of direct reports.
  • Performing other duties as required or assigned that are reasonably within the scope of duties enumerated above.

Insight Generation:

  • Leveraging industry knowledge to provide key insights and strategic recommendations for positioning a client's business/products.
  • Having a passion for uncovering consumer, cultural, category and brand insights.
  • Leading consumer insight projects, e.g., shopper intercepts, excursions.
  • Representing the agency voice when partnering with external research team.
  • Developing and expressing insights and ideas in visual and impactful manner.

Strategic Direction:

  • See the big picture. Lead strategic initiatives for clients and new business.
  • Gain an intimate understanding of the client, their competitors and key industry trends. Provide constant thought leadership based on this knowledge.
  • Based on foundations of insight, formulate and distill a strategic direction for agency deliverables.
  • Collaborate with client(s) and internal teams to develop positioning and messaging strategies, as well as strategic and tactical marketing communications plans.
  • Add value on both, large integrated campaigns and smaller tactical projects.
  • Partner with and inspire other agency partners while representing the agency's thinking.
  • Competency and strategic direction must go beyond traditional marketing. Must be comfortable with digital, promotional, and retail strategy in addition to overall brand strategy.
  • Help define key performance indicators and measurement for programs.

Creative Inspiration:

  • Moving internal and external teams via leadership, confidence and demonstration of deep category and consumer knowledge.
  • Raising the bar for creative work through providing consumer perspective in all phases of marketing communications, working with account managers and creative staff.
  • Leading, with the account management team, the crafting of creative briefs.
  • Working closely with creative team throughout concept execution stages.
  • Crafting and leading inspirational briefing and brainstorming sessions with account and creative teams.
  • Following creative executions through to measurement stage and identifies improvements to process and work in the future.
  • Knowing a good idea when you see it and know how to nurture it.

That Little Something Extra:

  • Having a huge passion for what communication and creativity can achieve in the world.
  • Contributing to developing intellectual products for the agency.
  • Contributing to developing the internal reputation of the Strategy and Insights team.
  • Developing of a specialty (or three) is expected, e.g., technology at retail, moms, men, coupon ROI, etc.
  • Being a champion of OKRP culture-independent yet collaborative, entrepreneurial, driven, all with a fun attitude and joy in the process of making and doing great work.

Qualifications / Experience

  • Bachelor's required, preferably in a social / human-oriented field (e.g., Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, etc.) or communication / marketing (e.g., Integrated Marketing, Brand Planning, etc.). Master's degree or higher is desirable.

  • Minimum of 8 years of experience in planning, strategic planning and related communications experience; advertising agency experience is a huge plus.

Skills, Knowledge & Abilities

  • Proven ability to think creatively; evidence of success in developing digital multichannel strategies for brands and delivering them to market.
  • Strong digital and analytical capabilities a must.
  • Storytelling and persuasive presentation skills
  • Deep understanding of digital channels and knowledge of the various roles and contributions of other strategic disciplines such as CRM and social media
  • Digital "fluency" is expected, given the speed of changes in communication
  • Experience with multi-cultural marketing (primarily Hispanic or African-American) is a positive.
  • Able to thrive in an entrepreneurial culture where creativity and data are both highly valued.