- Horizon Media's Why Group, which analyzes the intersection of culture, people and brands, has created a Human Intelligence Team, per a press release emailed to Marketing Dive.
- Brand strategist and social scientist Steve Grant will serve as senior vice president of the team, which will create new models and tools for clients that integrate insights gleaned from behavioral economics. Grant joins Horizon from Animal Spirits, his own consultancy, and previously worked at consulting firm Plan A, Prudential and several agencies.
- The Human Intelligence Team will integrate findings with Horizon's .blu marketing data platform to help clients reach consumers and improve business outcomes. Determining what drives consumer behaviors and using that information can help drive brand marketing, per the release.
Horizon Media's formation of the Human Intelligence Team within its Why Group could help the media agency better tailor its recommendations for clients by enriching its data-driven offerings with the insights of behavioral economics. These additional insights can help inform brands' marketing, communications, creative and media strategies, per the release.
"Steve's career has been all about the science of why and how people make decisions," said Sheri Roder, executive vice president and chief of Why at Horizon Media.
With the Human Intelligence Team, Horizon hopes to develop programming and modes of communication that influence consumer behavior before it happens, as it seeks to help brands reach new consumers, identify new sources of data and improve outcomes, per the release.
Consumer behavior continues to be a focus for marketers even as ambiguity remains around how such behavior will be measured and tracked in the future as the data privacy landscape continues to tighten. Google last week pushed its phase out of third-party cookies to 2023 — instead of by the start of 2022 — giving brands and their agency partners a longer timeline for developing and deploying new identifiers and tracking solutions.
Horizon Media was the third-ranked U.S. media agency by billings in 2020, per COMvergence data cited by MediaPost. It was the only independent shop in the top five, alongside Omnicom's OMD, Publicis Media's Spark Foundry, Dentsu's Carat and GroupM's Mindshare. By adding a human intelligence practice, Horizon could better compete with competitors at agency holding groups that can offer integrated services from across their portfolios.
The agency has recently notched some account wins, becoming agency of record for The Hershey Company, which cited Horizon's media and omnichannel capabilities, along with its "partner-first" approach, as helping it best meet the needs of a rapidly changing media industry. IPG's UM had won Hershey's global media planning and buying business in 2013, per Ad Age.