Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New InTouch Credit Union TV Spots Let Members and Employees Tell the Story
Dallas, Texas, July 20, 2010-In a new round of: 30 TV spots developed to introduce the general public to InTouch Credit Union http://www.itcu.org, members and employees do the speaking.
The concept of letting members and employees tell their own personal stories involving the credit union was brought to the management team by the Culturelab agency who have been working with InTouch for the last 2 years to help recruit younger members.
CultureLab, http://www.culturelabcreative.com a Dallas based agency focused on insight, intelligence and engagement of next generation consumers presented the idea to ITCU’s management team that the most powerful advertising comes from referrals and word of mouth recommendations from satisfied customers.
Kevin Walker, managing partner of CultureLab, states, “In an era where consumers are so much more informed and empowered it is important to have strong and consistent brand narrative. With InTouch we have a great opportunity to start the narrative off right by letting the credit union members and employees set the tone and articulate what makes InTouch such a great credit union.”
“We have so many terrific member experience stories to share,” said Diane Gerstner, EVP of the Credit Union, “and we feel fortunate that our members are both passionate and loyal”.
The new TV spots feature 3 Credit Union members and one employee who tell their stories of positive interaction with InTouch Credit Union and interaction with Credit Union members. One of the featured members is Abi Ferrin, a Dallas based fashion designer, who benefited greatly from a line of credit InTouch Credit Union provided her.
Many companies are now looking for more emotional and authentic ways to connect with consumers. Instead of pushing out brand messages, they are allowing consumers to help define their brands by paying more attention to customer opinion and feedback. This is the approach taken to introduce ITCU and to define how ITCU is a “best in class” credit union when it comes to being attuned to their members’ needs.
The new spots will first be aired during the Dallas Cowboys preseason televised games. There will also be an online component to the campaign, with a heavy Facebook focus.
About In Touch Credit Union:
Headquartered in Plano, Texas, InTouch Credit Union serves more than 71,000 members in 21 locations throughout the United States. The organization holds assets totaling more than $870 million. Customer deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Association.
Media Contact: Kevin Walker, CultureLab, 972.835.2366
Monday, July 12, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Last month, I spoke at the Dallas Advertising League luncheon on the future of branding and specifically the future of multicultural/urban marketing. Here are the key points that I shared with the audience:
- Have A Brand Narrative: In the age of clutter, sub-segmentation, and proliferation of mediums your brand identity has to be consistent and strong. You also have to make it very very clear as to why consumers should care about you.
- The Science of Consumer Influence is Here: the methodologies for effective marketing are changing and becoming more scientific. Digital advertising and the results from social media outreach are easily measured. Analytics and rich data enable continual optimization of marketing offers and placement. Soon consumers will be broken down into genomes instead of segments much like what Pandora does for music lovers. The principles of behavioral targeting are continuously refining. Also the science of the influencer and virality will be studied even more as WOM and influencers can enhance the success of products and marketing campaigns. Just reference agencies like Mekanism and the embedded video here of Tom Phillip’s talking about Sociographics.
- Understand Cultural and Lifestyle Nuance-It is Never Cool To Market At The Expense of Other Racial Groups: Popeye’s and Metro PCS TV spots are two executions that are ALL WRONG (I tried to find the "Annie The Chicken Queen" spots but apparently the agency has removed them from youtube). These spots unapologetically revel in stereotypes. The new KIA hamster spots, however, are ALL RIGHT, the song choice of Black Sheep’s “The Choice is Yours” and the urban scenarios displayed show real insight and showcase understanding of cultural nuance. The KIA spots are also universal with the use of Hamsters as the subjects.4. There is a Decreasing Need for Ethnically Segmented Creative, MASS is MASS, However Targeted Engagement is Increasing in Importance: For the next generation consumer, ethnicity is not at the forefront of their identity, lifestyle is, so you are out of step if you are marketing to them based on ethnicity only. Furthermore mashup mindsets and cross culturalism make great universal creative ideas even more important in mass mediums like Broadcast TV. However to be effective and engage young urban consumers, research and targeted digital engagement are necessary.
5. The Creative Idea is Still What Matters Most at the Dawn of the Post-Digital Age: Ideas that are status update worthy, spreadable, and buzz generating are more important than the medium. Great copywriting matters even more. Look at the success of Weiden + Kennedy’s Old Spice commercials.
- Geo Targeted Apps Are Here to Stay and They Are a GREAT Traffic Driving Tool for Retail: Apps like Foursquare can benefit retailers who embrace all of the functionality of these apps. It can be a great promotional tool, engagement tool, and disseminator of real time information. Ultimately these apps can shepherd consumers to your establishment. For consumers, geo location apps like Gowalla and Foursquare are very powerful WOM tools. Followers pay attention to the influential person’s check ins.
- Consumers are your Brand Managers: We are now living in the era of the open brand. As we have become accustomed to open source code, we think it is our right to say what we like and don’t like when it comes to brands that we are passionate about. Consumers are just as important as Brand Managers, and have to be paid close attention to. Pepsi is a large brand that clearly gets this. I referenced this back in the Super Bowl ad review, that they showed they were in step with next gen consumers by creating the Pepsi Project.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Recently, I took a trip to New York to drum up business and soak in authentic urban culture. Most of my meetings were with Account Planners at large agencies who we have partnered with in the past. (Shout out to Carmen Baez and Alvaro Cifuentes of Omnicom DAS Global, Katy Alonzo of Anomaly, Dick DeLange of JWT, Ted Ellet of Draft FCB NY, and Andre Torres, Michael Coxen Loren Odom, and Adrian Younge of Waxpoetics magazine. Loren and Adrian are incredible musicians who are doin' it in the retro funk genre emerging from NY and LA.)
CultureLab is a forward-thinking Trends & Behavior Research, Marketing, and Creative
agency that utilizes the results of current and anticipatory lifestyle intelligence to help
brands and institutions better and more effectively market to their consumer. Our efforts
generally focus on youth and young adult (NextGen/ Millennial's) anthropology and social
media as it continues to evolve in the realm of technology. The name CultureLab reflects
our research based approach in understanding the NextGen consumer.
Simply put, we are strategists, digital comm planners, writers, filmmakers, researchers and
designers that take a look at what’s current, predict what’s to come and use that
information, unfiltered, to create and execute effective marketing and creative plans. Think
of us as a think tank slash marketing agency slash creative boutique.
Our Research leads to Strategy. Strategy to Engagement. Effective Engagement creates a
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
- 97% of teens spend two hours or more on social media sites
- 95% update their status at least once a day
- Don't really use Foursquare or Gowalla
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
There is a word being thrown around, “skurban” which speaks to the merging of “skater” with “urban”. The imagery of Mohawks, skateboarding, punk rock, and slam dancing is different from the gun toting thug imagery of hip hop in the past, Soulja Boy Tell’em and Pharrell Williams have been a big reason why. Consider it a new young urban energy with Soulja Boy Tell’em and Pharrell Williams as the crowned princes of this movement.
Soulja Boy Tell’em is not a one hit wonder, rather he is a savvy pied piper of Black Southern teens much like Miley Cyrus is to young teen girls. Much can be said for his impact on digital hustle, his controversial influence on the sound of southern hip hop, and his emphasis on fun. Love him or hate him he has had a noticeable impact.
One other thing to note is that this young energy urban movement has sprung from Atlanta.
Reverse migration of African Americans to the
Southern states has resulted in the south as being the epicenter for Black urban culture, particularly in music. Atlanta is ground zero. Wocka Flocka Flame’s O Let’s Do It and Roscoe Dash’s All The Way Turnt Up are two of the hottest songs on pop and urban music stations and both artists are Atlanta based.
My favorite of the two is Wocka Flocka Flame’s O Let’s Do It. I love the punk rock energy displayed in the video and the catchy chorus. Hope you enjoy!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
posted by Kevin Walker
Last week Chiqui Cartagena of Story Worldwide Marketing wrote a very nice piece in Advertising Age’s Big Tent about the ongoing lag between marketers’ cross cultural marketing efforts and the reality of changing demographics in the U.S.
The day her article was published I happened to watch MTV Hits channel and was struck by a couple of music videos that played. The videos were Three 6 Mafia with Tiesto, Flo Rida and Sean Kingston’s “Feel It”. This video has 8.2 million hits thus far
and Justin Bieber and Ludacris’ “Baby” with 28 million hits:
It occurred to me that some of these musical artists/hitmakers are savvier marketers than many of us who are MBA trained, and formally trained marketers. They have made a conscious decision to give the marketplace what it wants which is mashup approaches, the mixing and meshing of genres and to appeal across ethnic groups. Is there something to this? The proof is in the hits! This music blurs the lines but is ultimately appealing to the masses: is it Techno? Is it Pop? Is it Reggaeton? Is it Hip-Hop? So, if the lines of music are blurring, what are the implications for other sections of culture outside of music, particularly how it impacts consumer marketing.
I have been documenting this new crossover/mashup mindset that is emerging among both urban and suburban youth for quite sometime, check out these earlier posts: Crossover Dreams, and One Youth Nation Under A Groove. Now there is more evidence that this mashup/crosscultural aesthetic is mainstream and my question to marketers is how will you respond to be more relevant with the next generation of consumers?
To connect to Latino youth, do you think it is relevant to make Latino Heritage month celebrations cornerstones of your Hispanic youth outreach efforts? Based on research we have done, that may not be the most impactful way to go.
From what I have seen, the agency world is still practicing a rigid market segregation, and many of their Client’s marketing budgets reflect this. There is the General Market marketing budget, the Hispanic marketing budget, and sometimes, an African American and Asian marketing budget. The newly emerging “mashup mindset” that we are talking about poses an interesting challenge for marketers in the context of mashup mindsets.
As it relates to connecting to young people, perhaps there should be coherent youth strategies implemented, along with formally budgeting for these efforts. Also, because of the complexity of youth identity, the role of account planning and insights will dramatically increase in significance in crafting marketing strategies targeted to them.
The reality is that for many young people multiculturalism/crossculturalism is organic. If you are a young person who happens to live in Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, New York, the Bay Area, I guarantee there is keen awareness of other cultures amongst young people and the influence of their associates and friends from other cultures on their tastes, resulting in this “mashup” cultural mindset.
Currently, the way the agency world is structured this organic point of view is stifled by the homogeneity of agency staffs and corporate marketing staffs. There is definitely room for innovation and new effort put toward addressing increasing diversity, and the psychocgraphic and demographic shifts occuring with the next generation of consumers. I know I am beating a dead horse but there is so much potential being untapped. I would like to challenge us to begin the work to convince our clients and fellow agency cohorts to put new approaches into play and to take steps to reflect back to the marketplace the organic way in which young people relate to each other and the brands they love.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Part of our offering as a youth think tank/marketing consultancy is to study and harness the latest communication mediums to help our clients connect to their next gen constituents effectively. One of our most in demand offerings for Clients is what the industry has pegged as DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT. In terms of next generation marketing, digital engagement should now be considered an integral part of your marketing mix.
CultureLab views digital engagement as an ongoing manipulation of the virtual “toggle switch” between offline and online promotion/events + digital communications. Think of it simply as the leveraging of sales promotion, event engagement, social media content creation, and social media communication.
For the last 7 months our agency implemented and managed a digital engagement outreach initiative for EDS Credit Union (now InTouch Credit Union) called The Arrival Guide. Part of our strategy was to experiment with social media and to implement the process of digital engagement to build a stronger, more authentic connection to young adult members and potential members. Thus, we created thearrivalguide.com as our home base for digital engagement. Along with thearrivalguide.com microsite, we also created a Facebook page, and Twitter account all linked to thearrivalguide.com.
Because of digital engagement, we have also been able to dramatically increase traffic to thearrivalguide.com. When our thearrivalguide.com sweepstakes launched on February 1st 2010, traffic increased on the site by 900%
Here are a few notable results from our effort
• The number of members under 35 have increased by almost 20% since the launch of thearrivalguide.com in August of 2009
• Google Analytics showed that after implementation of The Arrival Guide sweepstakes traffic to thearrivalguide.com increased by over 900%
• Branch managers of the Credit Union also reported increased traffic in branches from younger members due to thearrivalguide.com promotions
• Engagement has to be a two way interaction, one way (marketer to consumer) does not work for younger consumers
• Giving is marketing, you must consistently provide something of value to the consumer first before you can sell.
• The use of video embedded on the microsite helped with SEO and promoted viral embedding
• Twitter and Facebook were our most effective tools for broadcasting our promotions and broadcasting special offers
• Facebook and Flickr provide opportunities to reinforce the “fun” aspects of our marketing effort, younger consumers love sharing pictures.
• Content curation and continuous refreshing of content are key to maintaining interest in your social media properties-this is a time intensive process
• The use of social media alone should never substitute for an intergrated marketing effort-we used tv ads to help drive traffic to thearrivalguide.com
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
We are mocking Kanye West's infamous hijacking of Taylor Swift's MTV VMA moment but, my oh my, how we could have used Kanye creatively in one of those spots last night!
Watching the 2010 Superbowl ads validated why a firm like CultureLab has such a bright future. The ad industry demonstrated that they are struggling with relevancy, and diversity of voice. We also think a large number of ads were really off in terms of tonality. CultureLab was able to share this POV post game on the Marcus Graham Project's blog talk radio show.
Here is a quick synopsis of CultureLab's thoughts on this years' Superbowl ad parade:
* Our favorite spot was the "Parisian Love" Google ad: great demonstration of functionality, clever storytelling, and the spot delivered in adding some much needed humanity to Google.
* Our runner up 1- Kia: finally a spot with real energy, a fun concept, cool Kid Robot inspired toys, upbeat music, and to us, it made a mini van type of vehicle (the Sorento) cool!
* Runner Up 2: Dante's Inferno Videogame. We wish we were the team who sold in using Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" as the music to accompany this ad.
* Runner Up 3: Doritos, The Slap: this was a tad problematic in the premise, the overprotective man/child of a single black mom, but it was kind of funny. I am wondering though if some African Americans cringed a little at the premise as common as it it in real life.
* #FAIL on a glaring lack of diversity specifically, Hispanics and Asians, and over reliance on Black entertainers and athletes for diversity. Double #FAIL on Charles Barkley rapping/rhyming and plugging Taco Bell. Draft FCB, we can do better!
Where is Carlos Mencia when you need him! LOL!
* Beer, this category needs our help.........specifically Anheuser Busch....why do we keep reverting back to frat boy humor? CultureLab can help you evolve your message and make beer a more "inclusive" product. The humor didn't do it for us and you guys even fumbled the Clydesdales! Making fun of Auto Tune is so 2006 and 2007.
* We felt sad for the ad industry by the third quarter of the game. Yes, this was the largest audience ever but what was revealed in a large number of spots is that our industry is in a downward spiral: low production budgets, lack of creativity, and most of all a demonstrated tone deafness (can you say The WHO!?)
*The biggest winner of the Superbowl ad contest for us was Pepsi, who decided NOT to advertise this year during the big game. Their move was brilliant in that the Refresh Project showed real insight as to what is relevant for the core Pepsi consumer. It also is a very smart deployment of money compared to many advertisers who chose to spend big for the slot but put in place low quality work.
Nice move Pepsi and we think next year, there will be even more companies making decisions like Pepsi did when it comes to advertising during the Superbowl game.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Musicianship, individualistic style, and just overall coolness were missing last night. In our opinion, we might add! The other questionable development with the Grammy's was the awarding of many of the Black and Hispanic music categories in the non-televised portion of the show. Vapid is the word that best describes what we witnessed. Anyway, enough of our rant.
Here are a few artist that CultureLab would like to acknowledge for holding up the light of creativity and excellence in music:
This West Coast hip hop production duo get props for getting Kool Keith and Tom Waits on the same track, awesome video too!
We are pumped for the queen of soulful creativity, Ms. Erykah Badu. If this track is any indication, New Amerykah Part 2 will be the hotness. Unique vocalization, unique sound and even L'il Wayne spits a few good verses.
Lupe Fiasco should have been on that Grammy stage last night doing this song!
Monday, January 25, 2010
One of the projections we made was that "Out of Brokenness: New Ideas and New Industry" . This article published on January 9th, 2010, supports our point of view.
Frustration at the status quo"
Last Tuesday, late Senator Ted Kennedy's seat was won by a Republican, Scott Brown, who ran as a populist or "man of the people" and won. Massachusetts is an overwhelmingly Democratic state, almost 3 to 1, Democrat to Republican. Analysis of voters however showed that their choice for Brown was driven by their dissatisfaction with what was taking place in Washington.
"Couponing, and Thrift/Discount Shopping are here to stay"
The economy has not really recovered and most likely will not recover with unemployment levels remaining high. This article also published in the NY Times on January 8, 2010 takes a look at the impact of the economy and the ongoing need for discounting and specials at restaurants to keep customers coming in, particularly young people.
Monday, January 4, 2010
CultureLab monitored social media chatter during the last quarter of 2009 to get a grasp on evolving trends. We also conducted in-market explorations in Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York. Finally, our Trend Summit in December was a success and helped us glean even more about the trends expected to make an impact in 2010! From lifestyle, technology, media and fashion to music, politics, consumerism and street culture, we explored it all. We're pleased to bring you CultureLab's Top Ten list of the areas we believe will be noteworthy and notable among the "New" general market -- the young adult, hyper-fragmented, tech savvy, diverse and cross-cultural group of consumers. Enjoy!
CultureLab Trends Summit Link
What to Look For in 2010
1.Proliferation of Netbooks and Cloud computing
The Year of Mobile Computing and the Cloud:
The continuing enhancement and availability of cloud computing will negate the need for storage and applications housed on your pc. Netbooks offer a price point and functionality that is appealing.
2.The Return of Rage and Dissatisfaction in Music, and Politics:
Frustration at the status quo.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for teens stands at 26.7% (December 2009) College Students are also graduating with little to no job prospects. As this situation continues, there will be growing discontentment among these groups. We think it will surface in the areas of politics (2010 midterm elections) and in music and online social movement. Recently in the UK, we saw evidence of this. Take a look at this CNN video:
3. Couponing, and Thrift/Discount Shopping are here to stay
Money continues to be tight for many young adults due to high unemployment and high levels of underemployment. Young people do use coupons, and the research shows that it is not a fad. Also, Black Friday of 2009 ushered in a new era of people using social media to find the best deals. Promotional codes, online coupons and Twitter will be a necessity for retailers who want to get people to spend.
According to the PMA Coupon Council, coupons are more influential in purchase decisions to 18-24 year olds in four out of the eight retail categories measured than the general population, including:
* Electronics (37 percent vs. 23 percent)
* Apparel/Clothing (31 percent vs. 24 percent)
* Car/Truck (11 percent vs. 8 percent)
* Telecom Services (9 percent vs. 7 percent)
* 54 percent of 18-24 year olds were influenced to purchase a grocery product
(food/cleaning/beauty) because of a coupon.
* 46 percent of 18-24 year olds were influenced to eat at a particular restaurant
because of a coupon.
* 37 percent of 18-24 year olds were influenced to purchase a particular
electronics product as a result of a coupon. (PMA Coupon Council)
4. Out of Brokenness, New Ideas and New Industry
Throughout the course of our research in the last four months of 2009, we were struck by how many times we heard from young people that in their view things were "broken". They have witnessed a near collapse of the world economy, increasing unemployment, bankruptcies of established companies, etc. Brokenness however, is perceived as opportunity. They have the energy to bring forth new business models and new industries. We expect 2010 will be the advent of many innovative and green oriented industries.
5. Geolocation apps for the Mobile Phone will Explode
The popularity of applications like Foursquare in cities like New York and Los Angeles will gain more traction in other urban centers and become more mainstream. This will be the year of functional geolocation apps for mobile.
6. Pop Electro Disco supplants Hip Hop as the global beat
2009 may go down as the year of Hip-Hop's official marginalization. Hip-Hop is not dead it is just not the popular music focal point it once was in the previous decade. Look for more auto tune vox/electro beat/disco to be the dominant genre in 2010- much like it was in 2009. Lady Gaga, and her like minded compadre's will more than likely continue to move people to their beat.
Pop Electro Link 1
Pop Electro Link 2
7. Tried and True Will Be Best
Money-the lack of it-will be the 800 pound gorilla in 2010, people will be extra judicious with spending. Based on our research, people will gravitate to the tried and true. New products that don't address value and immediate and pressing needs will have a hard time gaining traction. Consumers are expected to stick with the classics and what they know. Take note of the Classic Americana fashion trend developing. We also predict that Vans sneakers will be the hot brand of 2010. Vans are classic, inexpensive and are offered in many colors and styles.
8. Technology Will Not Keep Us Together
Katy Alonzo, a social media researcher for Publicis, presented at our Trend Summit. Far from bringing us together Alonzo believes social media is ripping us apart. She spends much time monitoring online chatter, and she spoke ominously about some of the growing hateful chatter as it relates to politics and hate towards people of different ideaologies, class, or ethnicities. Just as in the offline world, people in the online world are comfortable with those who share their values, class, and identity. They tend not to reach out to others who may be different. Look for points of view to harden, and more strife and division to surface.
9. The Young and the Sharp
As times remain challenged and serious, people are going to dress up more in 2010. The era of sloppiness in dress and casual Fridays is so '00's. Young people are rediscovering "dressing up" and it is driven by a new pragmatic sense that to make progress, get a job, and be taken seriously you have to look the part. As one of our speakers at the Trend Summit, Michael Hastings-Black, mentioned, it is the "grown ass man" syndrome that is inspiring people to dress up more. Here is an example of this in the context of menswear:
Young and Sharp Link
10. The General Market Will Be Re-Defined
We predict that the 2010 Census is going to shake things up a bit on the demographic front. Marketers will be confronted with how to approach marketing to the fast growing second and third generation Hispanics born in the U.S. Also, the numbers of bi-racial young people will continue to grow and make an impact. It is our view, that these dynamics will force agencies and companies to redefine what the general market means. In the agency world, the traditional Hispanic agency will find its relevancy challenged as general market agencies will grab more budget at the expense of shops focused solely on ethnicity. Some may argue to the contrary but we support the view that as marketing budgets are challenged efficiencies in advertising will be sought.
General Market Link
Friday, January 1, 2010
It’s a new year, and a new era for CultureLab. All I can say is whew! We survived ’09. As many of my peers in the marketing services and advertising industry know, 2009 was a brutal year, but like someone who finishes a marathon we have a HUGE since of self-actualization and achievement.
Despite the tough economic environment CultureLab managed to survive and enhance our service offerings for Clients. We have been at it for four years now, and we realize that we are well on our way to creating a successful track record of doing great work for our Clients, as well as being at the forefront of using consumer research and lifestyle intelligence to build effective marketing outreach.
So what is CultureLab and what do we do?
My answer is, we are a Southwest U.S. based communications agency that focuses on the use of consumer research and lifestyle intelligence to connect brands and institutions to the “NEW” general market.
The “NEW” general market is a market that is more tech savvy, more diverse and more fragmented than in the past. Our niche is helping companies that are a bit challenged in connecting to consumers in this new marketing environment.
There are four key parts that make up the whole of CultureLab:
To see examples of our work and our specific services, check out our website at http://www.culturelabcreative.com
We are wishing all of our friends, followers, and clients a very prosperous and successful 2010! God bless!