Essence | Creative Director

Advertising & Creative Services Tokyo , Japan


Position at Essence

Essence, part of GroupM, is a global data and measurement-driven media agency whose mission is to make brands more valuable to the world. Clients include Google, Flipkart, NBCUniversal, L'Oréal and the Financial Times. The agency is more than 2,000 people strong, manages $4.5B in annualized media spend, and deploys campaigns in 121 markets via 22 offices in APAC, EMEA and the Americas.

 Visit for more information and follow us on Twitter at @essenceglobal.

About the role

This role is a part of the Experience group at Essence. You will be responsible for driving strategic thinking and deliverables related to how creative and media play together. You understand comms strategy and feel comfortable talking all things media but your bread and butter is creative strategy specifically.

You’re operating as the main point of contact and audience champion for creative strategy for our clients and colleagues, under the leadership of the Head of Experience, all while doing research, formulating insights, brainstorming new ideas, and reviewing data with serious rigour. You will work closely with our creative studio, as well as our partnerships team, to propose and secure creative projects with highly innovative clients.

Some of the things we’d like you to do:

Insight Generation

You will be the audience advocate in the agency. You’ll be exploring audiences, their habits, behaviours and attitudes on a daily basis (using various sources and data types) gathering the information and data to then turn it all into compelling insights. You know and respect the difference between a data point and an insight. You’ll always build your strategy based on real insights rather than opinion-only. You’ll be confident in leading the strategy on priority campaigns independently.

Creative Brief writing - for digital creative

You will spend most of your time with the Creative teams at Essence, guiding them through creative development, objectively and with enthusiasm. Your job will be to inform their creative output and inspire them. You will articulate your creative strategy into concise briefs and run interactive briefing sessions that naturally get the creative juices flowing.

Leadership - cultivating culture of creativity

You’ll be the sounding board for our creatives and content specialists - making sure the ideas are responding to your brief and are built with our audiences in mind. You’ll push the team to think differently and you’ll cultivate the culture of curiosity and creativity. You’ll be crafting the story around the ideas to bring, present and defend to the client. You’ll become a trusted resource and partner to clients, especially their innovation leads, not afraid to have the tough conversations when necessary.


On top of all of that, you will push us. We like to puzzle over new data sets, new signals from social platforms, new ways to design creative assets, new testing structures, and new ad products for our clients. You will become a partner to our data strategy team, and our tech partners outside of the agency. It’s all new, unknown and just waiting for us to figure it out. In this role, you’ll get to guide how the innovation agenda looks like. 

A bit about yourself:

You're a born strategist looking to pivot into a more innovation-led role. With a solid base in unpacking the audience, you can analyse human behaviour and attitudes, observing culture to craft powerful and original insights from data, research and trends. Persuasive about the role of data and technology to fuel creative and the ability to present insights everywhere from boardrooms to bars.

You can articulate insights-led creative strategy to inform digital creative (our work leans into innovative formats, new tech solutions rather than reversioning assets so any experience in new tech is a bonus). You easily turn cultural truths and insights into creative implications.

You write beautifully clear and concise Creative Briefs and you feel energised when you run briefing sessions and idea generation workshops.

In a nutshell, you’ll have:

  • 6+ years experience
  • Prior experience in a planning / strategy department in a creative agency or a research consultancy
  • More creative than analytical, yet strong in both
  • Prior experience working on a global account
  • Strong understanding of Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn etc and how we can use those tools for insights and partnership executions
  • Vision for where Creative Strategy and our industry is going
  • Knowledge of Japan and/or India as a market a plus

You should enjoy working at the edge of what is known in our industry and fuelled by trying to figure it out. Ideally you’re passionate about your career, and are still a good time if we’re stuck at an airport for a few hours.

We emphasise behaviours. If you like to point and direct, we are not a good fit. We value emotional intelligence, curiosity, collaboration above all else. For this role, we also need a tenacious and persuasive person that can motivate others.