As the largest private early childhood education (ECE) provider in the US, Knowledge Universe-US plays a critical role in preparing our youngest children for school and a lifelong love of learning. We are passionate about our ability to positively impact the lives of children and families every day and, in turn, contribute to the vitality of the local communities we serve.
Unlike most businesses, we interact with our youngest cutomers for hours each day and see their parents at least twice a day, making the heart of what we do about the people we hire. Specifically, we build meaningul and emotional connections with families to ensure we celebrate the learning needs of each child. Being an employee of KU means you care deeply about making a positive difference in the lives of children and families through the power of education.
Our business lines operate under three key brands: KinderCare Learning Centers, CCLC, and Champions. We offer early childhood education and care through approximately 1,700 community-based centers and employer parternships; and primary and middle school supplemental educational solutions including before- and after-school academic enrichment programs and summer camps through more than 400 sites nationwide. Together, we employ over 30,000 education professionals and have the capacity to impact more than 200,000 children daily.
Our vision is to make a difference in the lives of children and families through the power of education. We believe we will accomplish our goal through a customized learning curriculum for our children, as well as, providing our employees, families and their children with a highly engaging environment filled with meaningful moments with every interaction.
Knowledge Universe-US is in the mid-stages of a turnaround. The newly formed Executive Team is keenly focused on creating great family experiences and childhood education with a reinvigorated emphasis on accreditation. To achieve these goals, concerted efforts are being made to enhance employee engagement, return operating authority to the individual centers, and streamline operating policies and procedures. In short the Company recognizes it cannot improve the experience of its students and their families without improving the workplace experience of its employees.
We are looking for employees that emotionally connect with the mission of the company and are resilient to the pressures of a turnaround situation. The Executive Team has defined a comprehensive and focuesd three year plan to ensure meaningul traction is made on key business goals. The company is already seeing positive signs of employee engagment and business performance in 2013 and Q1 2014. Recognizing turnarounds take time, Knowledge Universe is commited to staying focused on building a culture with leaders who can naturally emliminate unproductive distractions, and inspire teams to stay focused to do what’s right for families and to prepare children for school with a lifelong love of learning.
Scope and Responsibilities:
The Vice President, Brand Strategy and Creative Services will be responsible for identifying, developing and executing the overall KinderCare, CCLC, and Championsbrand strategies and be the lead brand steward of these Brands. This includes leading both the short and long-term vision for the brands, including strategy, conviction, purpose and brand positioning. The VP works with and through his/her peers to integrate key brand tenets across all touch points, segments and channels so as to build awareness, provide competitive advantage and grow profitable business results. The Vice President is directly responsible for integrated branding, brand image/position, brand identity and architecture, private or co-brand architecture (for CCLC), and managing the in-house and outsourced design strategy, creative development and execution for the franchise.
This is a key leadership role within the Marketing organization and will interact will senior level associates across the organization. He/She will lead the strategic branding initiatives of the company and spearhead the Go-To-Marketing Planning process, campaign concept development, creative design and execution, advertising, B2B Sales support and Education materials/consumables refresh designs.
The VP, Brand Strategy and Creative Services will be responsible for creating strong family preference for the KinderCare, CCLC and Champion’s brands through the development of outstanding brand messaging and the deliver of meaningful brand experiences. She/He will lead the brand development efforts of external and interal agencies.
- Develop national brands that are respected as an industry leaders in their categories, aligning the Knowledge Universe organization around successful brand marketing strategies through education, influence and strong business partnerships.
- Working with both internal and external partners to create and leverage brand essence, positioning, purpose, and differentiated value propositions throughout the organization for competitive advantage.
- Develop and maintain key relationships with the leaders of the business units and responding to their targeted requests, conducting analysis on specific issues, and creating the necessary creative support to drive strategic intitiatves.
- Responsible for the management of brand strategy, brand identity and architecture, advertising creative, media planning and buying, integrated campaigns, packaging of curriculum and education consumables, and Sales support.
- Manage the growth of brand awareness, equity, and the consistency of brand identity, ensuring that all marketing activities are aligned with brand strategy.
- Lead the development of a detailed marketing processes that outline how marketing interacts internally and with the rest of the organization collaborating with other team leaders and stakeholders within and outside the group to ensure strategic marketing imperatives are achieved.
- Develop a team of branding and design professionals, galvanize the organization against a new brand strategies, inspire and mentor a team of 30 internal and external individuals, to accept and implement a common shared vision and to create a top-notch creative services team.
- Creates and manages the processes to link brand strategy to marketing communications activities.
- Coordinates with marketing team and broader organization to ensure integration and support of marketing calendar initiatives.
- Oversees development and execution of innovative integrated promotional campaigns that cross segments, brands, and channels.
- Key liaison with agency management personnel, providing the strategic direction and lead to outside agencies responsible for general market advertising, promotions and creative concept development.
- Creates and manages annual brand and creative budgets, ensuring all activities are executed on time and on budget.
- Be a thought leader about potential strategies for the future direction of the company including idea generation and execution around potential mergers, acquisitions, new channels and entry into new programs.
- Develop a Go-to-Market planning process and promotional calendar to ensure marketing campaigns drive incremental inquiries and scheduled tours.<
- Ability to translate research findings and customer insights to incorporate into the development of the brand strategies.
- Lead campaign and promotional ideation sessions and develop creative campaign themes.
The successful candidate will be a creative, highly motivated, decisive thought leader with excellent managerial skills and future potential. He/She will have a proven track record of achieving results on both an individual and team level, directly measured by sales / traffic and by the development of a Branding and creative design organization.
- Strategic Orientation and Thought Leadership: As indicated by a track record of successful strategy development and implementation. A demonstrated ability to think strategically and act as a thought partner with senior management.
- Results Orientation: As demonstrated by an ability to make things happen and drive the implementation of strategic plans into execution. This includes a rigorous methodology to measure own results and the results of the rest of the organization. An ability to clearly identify and select alternatives based on an evaluation of costs, risks and benchmarking is a critical element of this competency.
- Team Leadership: A proven ability to build effective groups including attracting an developing highly motivated and successful subordinates who have gone on to build records of success. The person must be able to motivate staff and create a high performance ethic among the group. Additionally, the person should have a track record of building teams across functions and business lines to create ideas to positively influence.
- Influencing and Collaboration: As evidenced by the ability to positively influence management and staff to act in the best interest of the Company’s customers with an outlook that is larger than one individual group.
- Customer Orientation: As evidenced by the ability to present research findings and customer insights into organizational learning and brand “acts” in a manner that clearly shows how to meet consumer needs, drive strong business results, and develop long-term customer relationships.
- Responsive: As demonstrated in the ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions while remaining grounded in brand principles.
- Style Flexibility: As evidenced by the ability to adapt to personal style in the areas of management, communication, and delivery as needed for different situations and client executives.
- 10 – 15 years management experience in brand marketing, retail and/or advertising in a competitive retail or multi-unit service business.
- 5 or more years working in an advertising agency preferred.
- Proven track record of successfully building or re-positioning leading consumer and/or B2B brands.
- Experience in branding, design, communications and PR.
- Proven history in developing successful marketing campaigns, broadcast, digital, out-of home and local grass-roots events.
- Proven track record as a change agent and team player.
- Passion for driving business improvements and growth.
- Proven ability to build and inspire a high performance team and creating a highly engaged team.
- Exceptional leadership and interpersonal skills with the ability to manage and develop employees for future growth opportunities.
- Strong presentational skills required.