fuelculture Media, what is it? How does it work?
The fuelculture Media Agency was born of an intuitive and organic inclination towards both modern media and automotive passion. We, in practice, are a full service media agency dedicated to the automotive aftermarket and specializing in creating and distributing content for mass public consumption. Our progression through the industry has led us to creating and executing many entities and fuelculture serves somewhat, as the zip tie that binds it all together. Wrecked Magazine, Sponsor Spotter, Slide America, The Street Driven Tour and more have all been created to serve both our industry and our clients.
What's the best part about developing this type of business?
The freedom to create. We are free to keep our fingers to the pulse of the consumer which has allowed us to consistently produce creative marketing initiatives for our clients that truly integrate their brands into the communities they want to sell in to. We get to play the bridge of two worlds and for us, it is a rewarding challenge.
When/how did you decide to merge your experience with your passion for the aftermarket?
The day I decided to quit my restaurant job in college and start a “career.” We decided to shoot a documentary film about grassroots drifting in the US and everything after that was created from what we learned and experienced along the road. This industry has provided me the only professional home I have ever known and with fuelculture, we are constantly pushing the limits to strengthen and drive this industry forward.
What roles do social media and content marketing play in the aftermarket?
I think a broad answer is that this depends on who you target. But for us, the role of social and content based marketing is of paramount importance. We as industry producers, must access the next generation of consumers through a different medium where those consumers are most often found; through a screen. As this new breed of digital consumer evolves, so does their ability to understand when they are being targeted. Making it up to us to produce brand integrated content that is entertaining, educational, and experiential and that, at least narrows the selection tree during a buying decision. The content is the cargo, social media is the big rig delivering it.
What is your opinion on the youth market - are young people still interested in cars? How do companies connect with them?
The youth market is something that every industry on this planet is fighting for because they’re all accessible through some medium or another. Because of this access, there are so many different messages competing for the same attention span. Because of this wealth of choice, the youth market is quick to boredom and easily distracted. The good news is that this market is obsessive when they find what excites them. This is where we, as an industry, as a hobby, and as a passion are provided an advantage. The “thing” that ignited the passion in all of us is not broken in today’s youth. On any street, the sound of a roaring engine still turns heads. Anyone who looks at a well built and modified, crafted vehicle, would much prefer to own it over its stock counterpart. The exhilaration from acceleration is something that runs into the very genetics of who we are as human beings. The difference between today’s youth and yesterday’s, comes in its proximity and frequency to these adrenaline inducing events.
How do companies connect with this youth?
I think we’re asking the wrong question. As our market ages out at the top, how do we develop and expand the next generation of enthusiast? How do we get them to understand and share the passion that burns in us? My answer is that we bring it to them with events, we increase the proximity and frequency with which the youth experiences our gear driven fire, the events that sparked our own passions. I helped start an event series last year called the Street Driven Tour, born specifically of this cause. We put on display the wide range in taste and vision for show cars, we explode down dragways, we get people sideways in drift cars, and let people feel the excitement of door to door road course racing. We aim to show and more importantly, let people feel, all that our industry has to offer with the belief that something will resonate. In that resonation we will create a new consumer and only then can we ask how to connect?
How did you make so many connections?
I credit a lot of our success and connections to the opportunities SEMA has provided me through its various functions and Trade Shows. The great thing about this industry and something that sets it apart from a lot of other industries is that we all, as individuals, have more in common with each other than just our industry. For most of us, we were able to turn our pastime, our hobby, and our passion into our career and that goes a long way in letting us connect and identify with one another. What allows us all to make our living also unites us in common interest.
After building your own business, what advice would you give someone chasing a new idea?
I would advise someone to never let a gifted skillset be a substitute for hard work; it's the blend of the two that will make you successful.