Phenomenon Rebrands as Human Standard

By Kyle O'Brien 

Los Angeles-based strategy and creative agency Phenomenon has changed its name and its focus. The new agency will be called Human Standard, which it stated was done to reflect the “passion, talent and commitment of its people and their ingenuity and spirit to solve, create and achieve on behalf of clients.”

To help lead the change, chief brand officer Tara Mellett was named president of Human Standard.

“We believe that our new name captures the spirit of who we are—and reflects Human Standard’s commitment to bringing human insights, inspirational creative and design services to clients,” Mellett told Adweek. “Its purpose is to help big brands transform and new brands to form in a hotly competitive and changing business landscape, that has agencies and clients evolving in real time.”


Tara Mellett takes the role of president at the newly named Human Standard.

Mellett added that the experienced team at the agency works with trusted client partners and a skillset that “crosses a range of human talents and experiences. The world has certainly changed since we were founded 16 years ago, and we’ve also been on a transformational journey. We felt a new name and identity was needed to better reflect who we now are.”

Human Standard is a fully remote workplace, with employees now working from both the East and West Coasts as well as in Europe and South America, acknowledging the agency’s high levels of collaboration through the pandemic—though many are still based in the established market of Los Angeles.

The agency’s roots are in strategy, branding and design, but it has evolved over the last 16 years to offer a full suite of services that include advertising, content, growth marketing, product and design ideation and customer experience.

Human Standard’s team has created 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.

“For the last 16 years, our agency has had the opportunity to collaborate with incredible client partners across various sectors—keeping our teams inspired to push the boundaries of strategy and creativity. While we have a new name and identity, we will continue, as we have always done, to build brands that have meaning and purpose through a human lens—and now our name accurately reflects that,” said Mellett.

“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, which invested in the agency along with Berggruen Holdings in 2019. “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.”

Mellett said that leading the newly renamed agency will be done with empathy as a starting point.

“At the end of the day, this is a relationship business, not just between a client and agency but first and foremost internally with each other. Fostering those relationships, focusing on the team and building a culture where we put our people first. A culture of understanding and one that focuses on ensuring that each employee feels they have room to grow their careers, where they are challenged and believe in the impact our work creates for our clients,” she said.

Mellett is also a founding member of the female executive development organization, Chief. 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, both co-heads of strategy.