Group Strategy Director

Other San Francisco, California


The Group Strategy Director is the strategic thought leader and champion for applying creativity to every part of our clients’ businesses in San Francisco. Together with the Managing Director and the Chief Creative Officer,  this person will set the growth agenda and culture of the agency while running the day-to-day strategic needs of our largest clients and overseeing a team of cross-disciplinary thinkers, including brand strategy, comms planning and digital/social strategy.

As the lead strategist on multiple accounts and a thought leader for the agency and its clients, they have a deep understanding of both consumers and brands, and effectively use that knowledge to build deeper relationships and unlock new opportunities. They are a nimble strategic thinker that “knows enough to be dangerous” about all parts of the marketing mix, but specializes in partnering with creatives to create unexpected work that has an outsized impact in the market.  The Group Strategy Director is an expert in building brands that impact culture, drive business and create emotional resonance with consumers. This person will be in an office leadership position with the goal of restoring the icon of DDB overall, with a specific focus on San Francisco. There will also be opportunities to collaborate across offices on regional and global pitches/assignments.

In its simplest terms, this position is about proving that Creativity is the Most Powerful Force in Business.

Key Responsibilities: 


  • Has an ambition for the brands we lead, and a plan for how to get them there
  • Inspires original creative ideas among every team member (creative, account, clients, partner agencies)
  • Stays engaged in the crafting and selling of ideas, always finding ways to make the work better and more impactful
  • Evangelizes insights and POVs to trigger original creative ideas among every team member in every aspect of a brand’s behavior
  • Leverages client trust to help take business-appropriate risks and knows where any given assignment fits into overall strategy
  • Collaborates with Creative Department to ensure creative product is the highest quality, meets client objectives and leads the category
  • Uncovers opportunities to maximize current marketing plans, engage customers in new ways, and increase customer loyalty through integrated communications solutions
  • Encourages the exploration of innovative ideas, including non-traditional media options
  • Feels as comfortable writing headlines and commenting on directors treatments as they do crafting comms plans and running focus groups
  • Develops innovative consumer insight(s) for specific client’s brand issue


  • Makes the strategic choices necessary to give clear and single-minded direction for all of the brand’s actions
  • Works to keep simplicity and focus over time – always with an eye toward creative output (no stratetegy for strategy’s sake!)
  • Synthesizes large amounts of data into actionable insights
  • Always exploring new ways to understand how effective we are, from forming KPIs to working with clients on research and testing approaches
  • Able to translate client feedback into actionable creative guidance, in real time
  • Develops projects / white papers that improve the quality of the agency’s work and publishes these as appropriate

Knowledge & Skills

  • Strong understanding (how to use, strength and weakness, etc.) of tools that allow us to understand the effectiveness of our work. Cross-pollinates ideas from new sources including consumer understanding, wider trends and forecasts and internal DDB tools and resources
  • Shares best practices with internal and client teams as well as DDB Network via DDB Connect
  • Networks with internal experts and industry contacts to keep informed of trends and issues affecting the client’s business
  • Stays current on as much relevant research as necessary to keep clients’ brands and agency’s reputation ahead of competitors
  • Consults to clients on marketing sciences, and engages marketing scientists when necessary

Relationships / Communication

  • Develops excellent relationships with Client Marketing Director and other senior managers within the client organization
  • Is the senior strategist in the development, with the client, of long-range brand planning and annual communications plan
  • Brings the team together by creating shared thinking about our brands and our consumers
  • Provides a POV (verbal and written), which is so persuasive and inspiring, it, can convert a skeptic on the team to an advocate
  • Is the advocate for the single minded strategic idea with all partners
  • Delivers compelling presentations and facilitates internal and client meetings


  • Is equally passionate about “better results” as “better ideas”
  • Creates an environment for continuous learning to ever increase the effectiveness of our solutions across all media channels
  • Generates a high level of passion among the entire team
  • Displays empathy and decisiveness
  • Leads new business pitches and growth planning for the office
  • Keeps an eye out for good talent, knows what makes a strong DDB employee
  • Rewards and motivates people allowing them to step up and encouraging them to lead their own career development
  • Leads team to establish appropriate measures of success and criteria for judging performance
Supervises and coaches local and global (where applicable) strategic planning people. Oversees training. Is responsible for annual performance management and career development process

Position Requirements: 
  • 8+ years experience as strategist on global brands, preferable at creatively-driven agencies
  • Has the proven ability to create consensus and strategic direction from multiple opinions
  • Has proven examples of idea generation that created winning brand strategies. Is able to employ both imagination and rigor to take an idea from good to inspiring
  • Exhibits intense curiosity about human nature and the world we live in. Is observant, open-minded and receptive to new experiences from which he/she can learn
  • Has a reputation for being able to tap into the minds of others – learns about attitudes, opinion, interests and motivations from multiple audiences
  • Has consistently displayed an understanding of the methods and procedures commonly used in advertising and marketing research that have provided a foundation for drawing valid conclusions and implications from client studies.

DDB is an equal opportunity employer (EOE). We strongly support diversity in the workforce.