Brand Planning Director

St. Louis, MO / Chicago, IL
Planning – Planning Director /
Full-time /
We are seeking a Planning Director to lead clients in major brand, marketing, and communication initiatives and projects. These high-profile challenges require skills in defining problems, extracting relevant findings from multiple sources, developing audience insights, and creating platforms that lead to transformational ideas that achieve client business objectives. 

The individual in this role will have a deep understanding of all these areas but excel in unifying and translating each into clear, rational and thoughtful solutions. As a result, this individual will engage many internal and external groups to consistently align strategic and tactical outputs to an audience-driven insight and single main idea. 

Our planning team is the starting point for discovering ideas that change behavior and drive success for our clients’ brands. If you are driven by a good challenge and see opportunities others often miss, this role might be for you. If you have the unique balance of a creative approach, a process-oriented mind, and the ability to lead varying personalities and disciplines, this role and HLK are definitely for you. The role is a hybrid role located in Chicago or St. Louis and the candidate will be required to be in the office 2-3 days per week.


    • Deeply understand target audience behavior using research to assist in the development of transformational and actionable insights, which includes, but is not limited to, qualitative and quantitative research, experience mapping, personas, ethnographies, leveraging secondary information sources, and assisting in the formulation of research objectives and extraction of key findings 
    • Guide brands through the implementation of the HLK brand process, which includes, but is not limited to, discovery, insight development, brand positioning, narrative, platform, architecture, identity and messaging. Develop and apply brand strategy to guide broader teams in developing campaign/platform ideas, creative and content executions, and media/channel strategy based off that foundation. Lead current clients in their annual planning process, translating planning output into strategies to be executed in one, three and five-year planning cycles 
    • Lead and moderate executive sessions, employing the use of client diagnostic planning tools. 
    • Create written output reports complete with recommended alternative courses of action and next steps
    • Partner with Account Directors on major clients to serve as the senior consultants and in support of major projects and initiatives 
    • Assist executive leadership in the development and presentation of new business responses
    • Ability to lead and mentor a team of brand planners, conduct meaningful performance reviews, and run internal training and developmental sessions
    • Ability to lead and mentor a team of brand planners, conduct meaningful performance reviews and run internal training and developmental sessions


    • A curious mind, a hunger to solve problems and a desire learn new things 
    • Exceptional leadership, communication and group facilitation skills 
    • Confidence to challenge conventional thinking, following research and insights that lead to potentially unorthodox recommendations 
    • Creative problem-solving approaches and techniques 
    • Versatile and flexible with the ability to work on disparate projects and challenges


    • Seven to 10 years in a planning or strategic role 
    • Brand positioning, platform and message development 
    • Executive brand, ideation and exploratory session moderation 
    • Audience research, report writing and insight development 
    • Root cause analysis and issue diagnostic methods and tools 
    • Strategic POVs that anchor new business pitches 
    • Managing and mentoring planners
HLK is a creative and technology agency focused on understanding and changing audience behavior through deeply integrated brand experiences. We bring clarity of context and creative resolution capable of changing behavior and shaping belief in brands. Active clients include Ameren, Bayer, Envu, Marriott, MasterBrand, and Winchester.  

There are many benefits to working at HLK, including the following:
A flexible work environment
A casual and creative atmosphere
Unlimited time off
Paid sabbatical
Parental leave
Medical insurance
Dental insurance
Vision insurance
401(k) plan with a company match

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.