As Senior Vice President of Human Intelligence at Spark SMG, Scott Hess is used to people smiling at his title. “It’s my job to embody the collective knowledge of all living creatures,” he jokes. “Or something like that.” Joking aside, there are days when Scott almost seems to pull it off.
A newbie to the media agency world, Hess joined Spark by way of TRU, the pioneering youth research firm, where he served as VP of Insights for nearly a decade. While there, Hess earned recognition as one of the leading experts on American youth in general, and the Millennial generation in particular, working in service of more than a hundred well-known brands.
A veteran of more than 400 presentations, including a prestigious TED Talk (“Millennials: Who They Are and Why We Hate Them”), Hess has emerged as a signature talent in the research field, one whose unique distillation of cultural and consumer insights have inspired a diverse roster of companies, ranging from ESPN and MTV to Nintendo, American Eagle, and Verizon.
After watching his TED Talk, incoming Spark CEO Chris Boothe knew Scott was the man to lead the rising agency’s newly-created Human Intelligence function, spanning the traditional research and insights role and the evolving discipline of human experience planning. Energized by Boothe’s vision for a next-generation media agency and hungry for a challenge, Hess signed on.
Nearly a year later, it’s clear Boothe’s intuition was spot on. Hess has been a key member of the group that’s delivered a dozen wins for Spark and transformed the agency from a bit player to a leader. He also conceived Spark’s unique partnership with 1871, a shared workspace for early-stage tech startups that resides just a few floors above Spark in the Merchandise Mart. Through the deal, Spark stewards 1871 member companies while enjoying unique access to emerging technologies for its professionals and clients – a clear win/win that’s typical of how Hess approaches business.
“Scott not only helped me create the Spark brand,” sums up CEO Boothe, “he’s actually done a great job of living it. He’s a sign of what’s to come in the media business.”