PRSA Welcomes Martin’s Cultural Impact Lab for April Program

PRSA Richmond welcomed Mariah Harris, cultural impact manager; and Fenton Crowther, senior cultural impact specialist, from The Martin Agency’s Cultural Impact Lab as guest speakers for our April 27 luncheon. Their presentation, “Fighting Invisibility and Building Buzz with Martin’s Cultural Impact Lab,” centered around learning how to identify and draft off key moments and conversations to set up brands to successfully ride the waves of ceaseless cultural churn.

Harris and Crowther used case studies from Buffalo Wild Wings, UPS, Axe and GEICO to show how to cut through and capture a consumer’s limited attention and go above and beyond traditional advertising to become part of culture.

The Cultural Impact Lab at Martin embeds earned-first thinking at the start of the creative process, fusing experts in Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media to take clients from feeds to fame. The team at Martin isn’t just looking to create momentary blips on the radar, but rather to engineer meaningful cadences throughout the year.

Harris and Crowther pointed out that they “don’t operate as a PR arm, but instead amplify the advertising work we do for our clients through PR, influencer programs, media amplifications and activations. We work closely with creative and strategy teams from the very beginning of an idea to make sure that ideas generate headlines and tap into current cultural conversations.”

Martin’s social team actively engages with key subcultures on social media and identifies rapid response opportunities that lean into bigger online conversations. They also supplement campaign driven work with traditional PR tactics and make sure clients are seen as thought leaders in their respective industries.


If you missed this program, some key takeaways include:

  • The old-school Rolodex has taken a hit. Relationships will always be important, but now more than ever, it’s about creating a compelling narrative to provide the right story at the right time.
  • Social is PR. PR is social. Social media informs the news cycle, so it’s important to show up where your audience is already looking. As newsrooms become increasingly understaffed, consumers and their mobile devices have become powerful tools that drive headlines.
  • It takes tension to get attention. Brands need to commit to creating culturally relevant, emotion-inducing, sensory-driving tactics that reach consumers through a variety of platforms.