Event Innovators 2015: Lisa Chu, Coltrane Curtis & Sky Gellatly

The managing partners of Team Epiphany execute effective experiential and influencer marketing programs geared toward social-media-savvy millennials.

By Michele Laufik July 1, 2015, 4:55 AM EDT

Photos: Courtesy of Team Epiphany

With a knack for executing effective experiential and influencer marketing programs, Team Epiphany, led by founding partner Coltrane Curtis and managing partners Sky Gellatly and Lisa Chu, has turned the concept of “tell your friends” into a fine-tuned, data-driven process. Being able to target the right demographic, particularly millennial consumers, and activate communities for top-name clients, including Hennessy and Cadillac, has set the brand solutions agency apart from others.

“Our agency succeeds because we hire employees who are actual cultural participants—not just fans, or worse yet, posers. … Our agency’s goal is to protect, enliven, empower, and elevate the creative culture of our generation and to align these diverse, enigmatic subcultures with brands that care,” Gellatly says.

Not only does the agency understand the current, ever-evolving social-media-savvy consumer, but it also knows how to use platforms, such as Instagram, to the client’s advantage.

“By listening to and asking consumers what they like, we are better equipped to serve them exactly what they’re literally asking for.”

For example, the agency handed over the keys for the new Cadillac ELR to some highly influential Instagrammers, who documented their joyrides. The images were then displayed at a gallery event during the New York Auto Show in April 2014 as part of the car’s debut. The promotion resulted in two actual sales at the expo.

In addition to their value for marketing, social sites are a treasure trove of consumer insight and ideas for the company. “From one-to-one consumer conversations to calls-to-action, Team Epiphany leverages the social media feeds of clients to engineer real-time and on-trend strategies for winning consumers,” Gellatly says. “By listening to and asking consumers what they like, we are better equipped to serve them exactly what they’re literally asking for. The result: campaigns with greater consumer engagement whose results feed directly back into our insights engine to serve the consumer our client’s next campaign from a more informed and refined perspective.”

Liquor brand Disaronno hired the team to produce a fictitious runway show in New York in November for the debut of its Versace-printed bottle—an idea sparked by insider knowledge of the audience. “Our strategy team knew that Disaronno’s target consumer was looking for behind-the-scenes access to coveted fashion shows in New York, London, Paris, and Milan,” Chu says. “But that access cannot be bought; it is all about who you know.” At the event, guests got a glimpse of the backstage prep and watched a presentation of vintage Versace apparel and accessories.

“Clients are no longer looking for cookie-cutter, generic branded events; they are looking for unique experiences that are strategically aligned with their brand’s positioning and goals,” explains Curtis, who founded the New York-based agency more than 10 years ago.

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