Henson Consulting rebrands as H5

The moniker change reflects the agency's growth and pivot to integrated marketing.

Kathleen Henson
Kathleen Henson

CHICAGO: Henson Consulting has rebranded to H5, reflecting its growth and pivot to an integrated marketing agency.

"I wanted to make sure my agency and people were reflected in the name, because it wasn’t just about me anymore," said CEO Kathleen Henson, who founded the agency 17 years ago.

While the "H" in H5 is a nod to its namesake, Henson said it also represents the agency’s work-life balance, allowing staffers to enjoy the things that make them feel "human." She portrayed this as a selling point to people who have worked at big agencies, entangled in bureaucracy and rules.

"You shouldn’t have to apologize for going to your daughter’s play," she said. "You shouldn’t have to feel bad that your dog’s sick."

The "5" represents Henson’s five children and the agency’s core values: creativity, passion, integrity, hustle, and kindness, the last of which Henson places the most emphasis. The agency’s tagline is: "One of a kind."

"It’s the first and foremost value of our firm, and it sets us apart [from other agencies]," Henson said. "Some people think kindness is weakness and it isn’t. Being kind is a strong quality in anyone."

In a piece for NBC News last year, Henson wrote that she terminated a $1.3 million relationship because the day-to-day contact was being "abusive."

When asked to name the client, Henson said, "I’d love to say, but it wouldn’t kind for me to say."

Recent integrated programs H5 has executed include work for Storck, the maker of Werther’s Originals and Merci chocolate; the State of Illinois’ I-Cash; and the Dairy Farmers of America, which includes Borden Cheese, Keller’s Creamery, and Cache Valley Creamery.

H5 has also made a number of senior hires over the past couple years, including COO Kris Garvey Graves in 2016, media director Luis Agostini in August 2017, and senior director Jenny Kelly-Cogdal.

Henson founded the agency in 2001, working out of her basement "next to the sump pump" while seven months pregnant.

Over the past several years, Henson’s firm has made hires in digital and earned media, client and user experience, branding, and design. Today, it has almost 50 staffers and handles work beyond traditional PR, Henson added.

Before starting her own firm, Henson worked at Edelman as SVP and group head, overseeing the accounts for Kraft Foods and Korbel Champagne Cellars.

H5 wins Great Wolf Resorts Midwest account
Earlier this month, H5 started working on the Midwest account of Great Wolf Resorts. The family resort company is expanding and opening locations near Chicago, Illinois, and Atlanta, Georgia. H5 was tapped to support its growth in the Midwest by securing regional media placements.

Great Wolf Resorts has historically used a New York-based firm called Quinn Partners to handle PR and earned media work, according to Jason Lasecki, director of communications.

This new strategy, in which the function is divided into the west, east, and the Midwest, came about because the company wanted a more regional, grassroots’ focused approach, Lasecki said. The three regions represent a collective budget of more than $250,000.

The west will be handled by J Public Relations, the east by Allied Integrated Marketing.

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