A photo from LateBoots.com's coverage of after-hours spot Avenue in NYC.
The latest Census information, pop culture, and everyday observation serve as reminders about the myriad ways that the U.S. is diverse. In today’s guest post, Coltrane Curtis, founder, owner, and creative director of Team Epiphany, a New York-based firm with clients like EA Games and Timberland, suggests that there’s still another way to look at multiculturalism and diversity.
In today’s guest post, Curtis discusses how consumers are identifying themselves, and who’s influencing these groups. Feel free to continue the conversation in the comments and @PRNewser on Twitter.
The conversation focused on his decision to participate in Advertising Week (an issue for the PR industry that PRNewser discussed), prospects for the his six-year-old firm and other newer firms as the economy continues to make attempts at recovery, and the issue of diversity. One piece of advice from Curtis – don’t judge a book by its cover.
The long and short of the discussion was that the new customer engagement model is social media. There was mention at the beginning of specifically targeting millennials, but that quickly went away and the discussion turned into a broader Q&A about how to successfully use the Web to engage with audiences. Read more
Coltrane Curtis has had an interesting career. From MTV VJ to editor-at-large at Complex magazine to Rockport shoe company spokesperson to Marc Ecko SVP of Marketing, he’s now set his focus on growing Epiphany, his marketing agency that partnered with global PR agency Porter Novelli in October.
The agency, which counts PepsiCo, Diageo and Warner Bros. among its clients, was events based at first, but has since morphed into a full service agency.
The partnership with Porter Novelli seems pretty simple. As PRNewser previously reported, PN gives Epiphany scale as well a access to monitoring tools such as Radian6 and Crimson Hexagon, while Epiphany brings access to clients such as PepsiCo and Diageo. Also, Curtis brings access to “taste-makers” that brands are dying to partner up with.
Given his background in fashion and entertainment, Curtis said the market for spokespeople or celebrity endorsements has completely changed. It used to be a “blind check to show up and do some pictures,” but increasingly brands are asking the talent to get involved with online programming and social media. In addition, Epiphany’s contracts come from all different parts of a brand’s marketing department, since “there is no distinctive influencer department,” he said.
Remember hearing about how PepsiCo is dumping their Super Bowl advertising in favor of social marketing? Epiphany is working on that campaign, called Pepsi Refresh, where they are seeking ideas from people around the country and plan to deliver $20 million in grants to good causes throughout the year. Unfortunately, it seems some tech issues are plaguing that project, TechCrunch reports.
Back to the Porter Novelli partnership. So far it appears to be paying dividends for both agencies. Curtis said he was present at the pitch which led to PN winning the Yahoo! consumer PR account, along with Voce Communications. Epiphany will be handling some of that business, including Yahoo’s destination site for women, Shine.
Porter Novelli announced a strategic alliance with “influencer marketing and public relations agency” Epiphany today. The 15-person agency moved into PN’s New York offices on Halloween, and the two agencies are already pitching business together, PRNewser has learned.
“We met at the end of July at BlogHer,” Lisa Rosenberg, partner, managing director and head of Porter Novelli’s Brand Marketing Practice told PRNewser. “We actually met over some shared business with PepsiCo and decided we wanted to get to know each other better. We fell in love and said, ‘we have to do something together.’ What we bring to clients is complimentary,” she said.
What does Epiphany bring to the table? “Our biggest client is PepsiCo but about 60% of what we do is in the spirits industry,” said Coltrane Curtis, founding partner and creative director, Epiphany. He also said the agency would “bring our Diageo relationship here to Porter.”
Porter Novelli gives Epiphany scale as well a access to monitoring tools such as Radian6. Both said the new business pipeline has been heating up. “We are evaluating every lead. We have already started collaborating on work for a number of clients including Procter & Gamble, Timberland and PepsiCo,” said Rosenberg.
“There is brainstorming going on and then there is a lot of new business going on,” said Curtis. He said he really watched how the “x’s and o’s line up” and that with Porter Novelli, “they fit.” “They allow us to be us, allow us to be cool” he said.