Young Guns: Marketing That Doesn't Feel Manufactured

Singer George Clinton said it best: “If you fake the funk, your nose will grow.”

Marketing expert Coltrane Curtis seems to follow this motto--saying the traditional way of marketing brands by buying big-name talent with no real connection to the company can come across as fake.

“When the contract ends, that’s when the real relationship begins,” said Curtis, the founder and CEO of NYC-based marketing agency Team Epiphany, who has a talent for memorable one liners, even in casual conversation.

“People aren’t looking for something that is phony,”

- Coltrane Curtis, Team Epiphany

Curtis was describing how his new-approach startup markets its clients without making things feel contrived and manufactured.

“People aren’t looking for something that is phony,” he said.

Started in 2004, Team Epiphany has grown into an estimated $5 million company with 20 employees. Social media, which is a big component of its client strategy, has been crucial to his enterprise.

“Without it, we would not be here,” said Curtis, who isn't shy about pointing out that he saw the power of this medium early on.

But, he explained, connecting through Twitter and Facebook and other digital communication mediums is not as simple as saying "use social media."

“We have to create something to say in social media. We have to think about what stories we are going to create for these brands because sometimes their stories aren’t cutting it.”


Six Shooter Q&A with Coltrane Curtis

1. What is your favorite quote and why?

"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." Steve Jobs

This is my favorite quote because it representative of my upbringing as well as the environment that I want to create at Team Epiphany. Yes, it's easy to retread things that work from client to client. That's not what we do. We delivery the proper solution for the clients needs whether its easy or not.

2. What’s harder: Living up to your own expectations or living up to those others have for you

Living up to my own expectations. I am my worst and hardest critic.

3. Why will Team Epiphany succeed?

We have to succeed, we have no other option. Failure is not on our radar.

4. Why will you succeed?

I do what I love; my passion is marketing, pr, and brand-building! My love for my craft allows me to run circles around industry competitors.

5. How is Team Epiphany different than other marketing firms?

We are a hand-selected group of talented entrepreneurs that creates trends. We engineer cool. Most other marketing agencies amplify what we have helped to create.

6. Who is your biggest source of inspiration?

My wife, my son, my mom and dad, close friends and global travel.

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