Decision Marketing: Simon Lawrence returns in start up….

Simon Lawrence, the founder and former chief executive of Information Arts, is launching a new company, three years after completing the sell-off of the business to Harte Hanks.

Lawrence, who eventually stepped down in February 2011, has joined forces with digital media agency, Atelier Studios, for the data, insight and solutions start up Uncommon Knowledge. He has invested in Atelier to become equal co-owner and commercial director.

The new venture, founded in response to well-documented shifts within and convergences between the worlds of data, marketing and business strategy, will work with clients looking to employ a strictly data-first approach to their enterprise.

The move expands the scope of the offering to include creative and communications planning, which is informed entirely by the data and insight provided by Uncommon Knowledge.

Lawrence said: “For many years, data has been treated as a periphery by businesses that habitually retrofit insight to creative and strategy. In my experience, many long-standing data agencies and consultancies are still acquiescing this practice, resulting in an industry that doesn’t ever reap its true value.

“Our partnership with Atelier Studios will afford us a seamless proposition for our clients. I am confident that their digital and creative offering powered by the market intelligence of Uncommon Knowledge will result  in a valuable and compelling proposition for our clients.

Lawrence set up Information Arts in 1999, having worked at Emap Direct and TDS. Under his leadership the company expanded out of the UK, and now operates in Europe and the US for clients including Shell, Cisco, Vodafone & Xerox. It first started working with Harte Hanks in 2007, when the two companies signed an acquisition agreement which was completed in September 2010.

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