Indie Agency Phenomenon Becomes Human Standard; Tara Mellett Named President
Tara Mellett
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Independent strategy and creative agency Phenomenon, based in L.A., has become Human Standard under the aegis of former chief brand officer Tara Mellett who’s been promoted to its president.

The new name and leadership reflect Human Standard’s commitment to bringing human insights, inspirational creative and design services to clients. Its purpose is to help big brands transform and new brands to form in a competitive and changing business landscape that has agencies and clients evolving in real-time.  

Human Standard has adopted a fully remote workplace (with employees now working from both the East and West Coasts as well as Europe and South America), acknowledging the agency’s high levels of collaboration and productivity through the pandemic, although many of their people are still based in the established market of Los Angeles. 

“The world has certainly changed since we were founded 16 years ago, and we’ve also been on a transformational journey,” said Mellett. “We looked back and saw an experienced, established team that exists to do great work, trusted client partners and a skillset that crosses a range of human talents and experiences. It felt right to affirm all of these important elements and present ourselves to the world as Human Standard.” 

The agency, with roots are in strategy, branding and design, has evolved to offer a full suite of services that include advertising, content, growth marketing, product and design ideation and customer experience. Human Standard’s team is known for creating high-impact work for clients including DC Entertainment, The Nature Conservancy, American Express and Stash Tea, as well as for initiatives like Hawaii’s “Movers and Shakas” campaign--a program encouraging mainlanders to relocate to the state and work remotely during the pandemic.

“It is a thrill to see the agency enter its next stage as Human Standard with Tara leading the team,” said Ranvir Gujral, managing partner at Sleeping Bear Capital, an investor in the agency. “During this time of accelerating digital transformation, clients are, more than ever, seeking the right partners to peer ahead and secure the way forward with consumers, markets and the culture at large.” 

As part of the transition to Human Standard, Phenomenon’s Detroit-based, growth-marketing arm is being rebranded as Posthuman, reflecting its connection to Human Standard but asserting its data-and-digital focus. It will continue to be led by its founder, Shane Bliemaster, now president of Posthuman. 

Mellett, who prior to joining Phenomenon in 2014 worked at TBWA\Chiat\Day, is focused on creating more opportunities for the people under her leadership.

“We have a great team and are bringing in people with different backgrounds, and different perspectives and I want the focus to emphasize training and growing,” said Mellett, who is a founding member of the female executive development organization, Chief. “In two or three years, I want everyone here to look back and think, ’I’m where I am in my career because my agency invested in me, they cared about me as a person.’ That’s the kind of culture I want to grow.”

Joining Mellett on the leadership team are existing Phenomenon executives Gabe Miller, head of creative; Rudee Bagsby, head of people and culture; and Martin Heaton and Michael Allen, co-heads of strategy.


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