Strategists use their power of curiosity about people, culture, and brands to drive strategy for advertising and brand communications.
Representing the voice of the consumer, strategists use research to understand people: what matters to them, what motivates their decisions, and what drives the cultures around them. The insights discovered along the way illuminate the best way forward and inspire their creative partners in developing powerful creative ideas.
If you want to be a Strategist or Account Planner at ad agencies, in-house creative studios for brands, consultancies, content studios, or tech startups, the Strategy concentration is for you.
You might be a Strategist:
If this sounds like you:
You often find yourself falling through interesting rabbit holes on the Internet
You like to use both sides of your brain—creative and analytical—to solve problems
You have good intuition about the people around you and why they behave like they do; you are interested in people in general—be it psychology, sociology, history, or even why some songs have become popular while others haven’t
You love having deep conversations with people about anything, and people feel comfortable opening up to you
You’re always looking for a better way to do things—from the best spot to wait for the subway to the non-obvious, but ideal parking area at the airport
If a day in the life of a strategist sounds fun:
Conducting primary research (qualitative and quantitative), secondary/syndicated research; category and competitive reviews
Developing brand positioning, brand strategy, comms plans, creative briefs, user personas, as well as platform, product, and service design strategy
Understanding the culture of, and how people are using, new media and tech platforms, and how brands can participate
Building and connecting campaigns into ecosystems across media and tech platforms
Being the best partners in the building—working with traditional creatives, account and brand managers, and experience designers
The Ask: Get Gen Z to see Upwork as a place for real opportunities
The Insight: Gen Z draws a thin line between their work and their passion
The Opportunity: Show Gen Z that Upwork doesn’t have the gatekeepers of the corporate world. With Upwork, you build your career, your way.
Strategy: Your Career, Unscripted
Campaign Idea: Free Your Work
Strategy at the Brandcenter
Studying Strategy at the Brandcenter prepares you to hit the ground running as a Strategist or Account Planner at ad agencies, in-house creative studios for brands, consultancies, content studios, or tech startups.
At the Brandcenter, you will not only perfect your craft in Strategy, but you will also work collaboratively with your classmates across concentrations.
Here’s what you’ll do on all-concentration team projects as a Strategist, as well as what your teammates will do:
What each concentration does on all-concentration team projects
Focus on consumers + culture
Lead research efforts (develop a research plan, conduct field research, and analyze results)
Turn research data into insights; develop strategic direction and work with creative partners to create concepts/work inspired by strategic direction
CREATIVE BRAND MANAGERS
Focus on a client’s business, category, and competitors
Lead internal, cross-functional teams
Ensure creative work meets business objectives; evaluate ROI when possible
ART DIRECTORS + COPYWRITERS
Using business insights from creative brand managers and consumer/cultural insights from strategists, develop creative ideas to solve business challenges, engage consumers, and bring brands to life
While copywriters generally focus on writing and art directors generally focus on visual design, most CW/AD teams collaborate on all creative aspects
Develop and design digital products and/or physical experiences where brands and people interact
Focus on the user experience for the product or experience they’re designing
Provide guidance and ideas regarding new/emerging technologies
Here’s what your sixty weeks at the Brandcenter will look like:
Defying the norm for the category, Arm & Hammer’s scratch-and-sniff will smell like nothing.2022: Abby Fine (Strategy), Molly Barnett (Account Management), Corey Hambly (Copywriting), Zey Masunu (Art Direction), Ryan Shih (Experience Design)
Background: The deodorant category, focusing mostly on scent and performance, has two main messages: “Smell like a man, man.” and “Don’t sweat it, handle it.” These messages don’t resonate with everyone—particularly the people who don’t believe that your deodorant/scent has anything to do with what kind of man you are; it just needs to work and keep you from smelling like BO. Arm & Hammer (and its secret weapon, baking soda) is known for and has a proven track record of neutralizing smell.
Strategy: The next worst thing to smelling like BO is to smell like a try-hard. The best smell is not smelling at all.