Senior Strategic Planner

San Francisco, California, United States Full-time

Who We Are
We are Mekanism.  

Mekanism is an award-winning, independent, full-service advertising agency made up of creative entrepreneurs. With offices in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Seattle, we are collaborative business partners with some of the world’s best brands including Ben & Jerry’s, HBO, MillerCoors, Peloton, Facebook, Charles Schwab, CocaCola and Alaska Airlines. Our creative approach to brand building is best described as “The Soul & Science of Storytelling” - communicating a brand’s purpose with ideas informed by data and rooted in human truths.

What is a Mekanista you ask? Being a Mekanista requires a rare combination of being a weird, fearless and wonderful person who enjoys birthday cakes, well behaved dogs,  and shared sensibility of family, respect and not taking ourselves too seriously.

Mekanism has been named to Ad Age’s “Agency A List” and twice to their “Best Places to Work”. We have also been listed on Creativity’s “The Creative 50” and have been recognized by Effie as one of the “Most Effective Independent Agencies”. We have been profiled by The New York Times, Fast Company and ABC’s Nightline.



Mekanism’s Strategic Planning Department is made up of creative-minded brand leaders who understand people as much as we understand business. We are part anthropologist, part business thinker, part planner, part new business insights creator and part trend watcher. It is our job to connect the dots between human behavior, creative development and business strategy.

The Senior Strategic Planner must be collaborative, but must also be an independent thinker, coupling facts and data with intuition and strong human and business instincts. This position is built to grow and support both the Creative and Brand Management teams by uncovering information, distilling insights and synthesizing them to create inspiration for our creative teams and business partners. Our goal in the Strategic Planning department is to be the starting point for groundbreaking creative work and to become the go-to resource for our clients regarding deep, analytical business thinking and strong perspectives on their industry, consumer, marketing and business strategies.  

The Senior Strategic Planner is responsible for managing multiple internal, new business and client projects and is expected to effectively collaborate with Mekanism’s Creative, Brand Management, and Integrated Media teams.  The Senior Strategic Planner will run be able to lead and projects independently, as well as in conjunction with Brand Management department leaders, and play a critical support role on New Business pitches.

Key Areas of Responsibility

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Creative Brief Development
    • Partner with Brand Management to transform client briefs into strong creative briefs for our creative leads, taking research, information and insights and distilling them down into a singular strategic idea for creative teams to operate from.
  • Research and Insights
    • Primary Research: concept, write discussion guides and facilitate focus groups, on-the-street interviews, surveys, customer segmentation studies, etc. as necessary; manage 3rd party vendors for the above.
    • Secondary Research: Be resourceful. Find unique, unexpected insights and stories about our clients, our consumers and the way the world is changing around them.
    • Keep up to speed with innovations and interesting movements in the advertising, tech and media spaces, identifying opportunities for learning and sharing with our clients and prospects. This includes developing a deep understanding of the media habits of today’s youth (12-18) and Millennial consumers (18-29).
    • Synthesize the above into simple, actionable, inspirational strategies that our creative team “push off” of and our clients can clearly understand.  
  • Insights and Strategic Planning Leadership; Communications Planning
    • Develop proactive brand and communication strategy to evolve client thinking on matters such as brand positioning & purpose, and alignment on business & campaign goals.
    • Be confident presenting to c-suite executives
    • Participate and consult in all consumer research and brand/social/sales analytics conversations, ensuring our work is always aligned with the metrics of our clients.
    • Be the go-to resource for Mekanism Strategic Planning and Director level clients with regards to industry, category and brand thinking.
    • For select clients, the Senior Planner should be able to independently lead (with some oversight from the Communications Planning Director) all high-level, long-term brand strategy and evolution, medium-term communications and campaign planning and shorter-term engagement strategies to accomplish communication objectives.
  • Help Grow Strategic Planning Offering
    • Proactively work with Brand Management to analyze our client’s businesses and needs and recommend revenue-driving opportunities for strategic projects; develop proposals (with Client Strategy) for the work, including processes, tools, deliverables and timeframes.
    • Run research and strategy projects for clients including (but not limited to): competitive analysis, Brand DNA creation, positioning pyramids, brand tone of voice/ verbal identity and Brand Book creation.
  • Help Develop Strategic Planning Department
    • Help grow the Strategic Planning department at Mekanism.  Identify and communicate ways to improve the team, the department and its processes; be a champion for great work and the processes necessary to achieve that work.
  • Help Make Amazing Creative
    • Stay involved in and help guide creative ideation and concepting throughout the process, ensuring that we produce breakthrough work that drives our clients businesses forward.
    • Contribute to the Overall Company Growth Strategy
      • Help grow the Mekanism’s client arsenal by working on new business development, and assisting in pitching new business opportunities.


  • Develop industry analyses and thinking across innovative platforms, agency models and client needs to keep Mekanism on the leading edge of the agency world.


  • You must be confident, articulate and have excellent instincts with regard to human behavior, business strategy and general marketing theory. And you should be able to do this quickly and independently (you will have some support, but your accounts are your babies).
  • Bachelors degree or equivalent experience in a related field required.
  • You should have a passion for creativity, culture, understanding how people think/interact, brands, and problem solving.
  • You should have, but not be constricted by, a process for building brands and finding insights.
  • You must have excellent instincts both broadly across industries and deeply within any given capability or function.
  • You should always be able to articulate a confident point of view on any industry, brand, consumer segment or communication platform.
  • You should have 5-8 years of relevant advertising/marketing experience. Graduate degree in communications, advertising, brand planning or business a plus.
  • Ideally, you would have experience single handedly and independently leading accounts or projects, including successfully presenting to senior clients and C-level execs.
  • You should have research experience.
  • If you have experience in the travel or financial services category, that would be a plus.

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