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The Cultural Currents Institute: An Inspiring Journey in Growth Marketing and Beyond

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Name: Cultural Currents Institute
Location: Austin, Texas
Founded: 2022


Public relations (PR) firms sometimes miss the mark with their clients, assuming a press release with lots of downloads constitutes a “successful campaign.” What many clients really want, however, is to change prospects’ perception of their brand, which requires an entirely different strategy. Jack Carpenter founded the Cultural Currents Institute with the idea that by employing data-driven strategies and adopting its proprietary SPREAD framework, clients could reach their target audiences in fresh ways, creating a tangible positive brand.


To highlight his unique approach, Carpenter named his company the Cultural Currents Institute and bought the perfect matching domain: Under the umbrella of this name, he launched a research body that gave his company exposure to multiple media outlets, leading to fast SEO growth (over 25,000 site visitors in one week without spending a penny on ads) and landing clients that would typically be far out of reach for a startup PR firm. The company’s growing brand and Carpenter’s desire to become the world’s first non-partisan campaign consultancy are also paving the way to expand into political consulting.

The Cultural Currents Institute: An Inspiring Journey in Growth Marketing and Beyond

In the fast-paced world of marketing and PR, standing out is paramount. Founded in 2022, The Cultural Currents Institute (CCI) is a relatively young player in the industry. Still, its journey has already been marked by innovation, adaptability, and a unique approach that sets it apart from traditional PR firms. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with offices in Brooklyn, New York, and Washington, D.C., CCI is a multidisciplinary agency that rapidly made a name for itself in digital marketing, branding, culture, public opinion, and consumer behavior. With just 12 employees, this dynamic agency demonstrates that size is no barrier to success when you have a fresh perspective, a unique and memorable name, and a commitment to excellence.

What’s In a Name?

Challenging conventional PR norms is at the heart of CCI’s success story. Starting the company, Jack Carpenter, a seasoned PR veteran, labored over the name. “I had this concept in my mind that there are thought patterns and ideas that move through society, shaping how people move and behave,” he says. “If you can adequately understand how information spreads, you can adjust the narrative and change people’s perceptions.”

Combining these thoughts and concepts, Carpenter chose Cultural Currents Institute for his business name. He subsequently searched for a fitting domain name and found the perfect match:, available through one of Identity Digital’s registrar partners. This strategic domain name choice set CCI apart by claiming both sides of the dot. Identity Digital manages and operates nearly 300 new web addresses, offering companies like CCI many choices to choose the name that best defines their brand.

“ In one month, we saw our domain authority jump 31 points and site visitors tripled.” – Jack Carpenter, founder,

Massive Domain Authority Gains in Just One Month

“Our name and domain gave us immediate credibility with media outlets and search engines,” says Carpenter. “When information is coming from a PR firm, journalists can be skeptical. But with ‘institute’ in the name, the guard comes down a bit. Within a few months, our research was featured by several major outlets, such as The Guardian, The Verge, Newsweek, NBC, The Hill, and Axios.” The exposure led to increased backlinks to the website and a subsequent spike in domain authority, the search engine ranking score (0–100) that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). “In just one month, we saw our domain authority jump 31 points and site visitors tripled. We’re currently ranking between positions 2 and 5 on Google for most search terms relating to ‘political consulting firms.’” This success highlights how a strategic domain name choice can be a game-changer.

Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Applied Sociology

Carpenter draws inspiration from the legendary Edward Bernays, often called the “father of PR,” who in 1928 changed societal norms by associating women’s smoking with “torches of freedom.” While controversial, Lucky Strike’s Torches of Freedom campaign is among the earliest and most sophisticated multi-channel mass persuasion campaigns. Despite the moral implications of promoting smoking, the masterful combination of media relations, advertising, and influencer marketing showcases the power of marketing to influence the cultural currents of the day.

By studying examples like Bernays, CCI developed its proprietary SPREAD framework, which outlines the essential ingredients for a successful message:

Simple to remember and share

  1. Plausible to its intended audience
  2. Relatable to common lived experience
  3. Emotionally salient
  4. Actionable
  5. Duplicable with low effort and high fidelity

Aligning the Brand with the Audience’s Desires

CCI’s commitment to research is a key differentiator. Carpenter recognizes that an evidence-based approach can elevate campaigns and provide valuable insights. By focusing on SEO and building domain authority with a domain name as relevant and memorable as, CCI boosted its own visibility in the digital landscape, establishing itself as a trusted source.

Carpenter cites his success in securing high-profile clients, such as a popular vodka brand and a notable software integration company, as testaments to his company’s ability to align a brand with the desires and perceptions of their target audience. “We don’t aim to convert consumers to drinkers,” he says. “Instead, we tell the stories that resonate with those who already enjoy a product, fostering a sense of connection and brand loyalty.”

“ Our name and domain gave us immediate credibility with media outlets and search engines.” – Jack Carpenter, founder,

Room to Grow and Evolve

As CCI continues to grow, Carpenter envisions the company becoming a research body that tracks and shapes thought. By understanding prevailing cultural currents, CCI aims to influence them and drive change positively. Additionally, Carpenter is eyeing the world of political consulting to help principled candidates bridge partisan divides.

The Cultural Currents Institute’s journey is a testament to its commitment to excellence in a rapidly changing digital landscape. Choosing a relevant and memorable business and domain name outside the traditional dot com also has served the company well, allowing it to expand quickly into new markets and offer new services while remaining true to its roots of having the pulse on the latest cultural currents.

Access the PDF version of the case study here.

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