Letter from the President
Happy 2023! We recently held our second annual Goldie Awards, and the team is still sporting that sheen from some well-deserved recognition. Each week, we take time to nominate and honor our colleagues for their Gold Standard-worthy accomplishments, and those stack up to become major recognition at our annual Goldies. Congrats go out this year to our big winners: Carmen Erdie (14k Goldie), Haley Drinkwater (18k Goldie), and Amber Pasquarelli (24k Goldie).
Staff Promotions and Strategic Growth
Speaking of recognition, we have recently been working on strategic repositioning within our team to add leadership and structure our client strategy team to better support the changing landscape of marketing, with a heavy emphasis on digital strategy as well as how we can refresh our look at brand management across both traditional and digital mediums. I’m very excited to announce promotions within our team, including Allison Diep to Brand Strategy Manager and Amber Pasquarelli to Visual Designer. Allison has led our team on multiple key strategic brand developments and will be leading a team of Brand Strategists as we scale our efforts toward a more scientific approach to brand value measurement across channels. Amber has spearheaded multiple corporate projects to add a fresh dimension of video and copy to our work and will be a key partner and handshake in our refreshed view of brand management. In addition to these promotions, I’m very excited about the return of Kristy (Bright) Johnson to the Catalyst team to the role of Director of Brand Strategy to help oversee the growth of this initiative as well as our CX program. We are also currently in search of a Director of Digital Strategy as a counterpart to Kristy’s role, and we look forward to sharing more about our evolving digital approach to keep our clients on the absolute bleeding edge of this space. When we say strategic marketing is one of the Gold Standards we live by, we mean it, and I’m very excited to be ushering in a fresh wave of strategic strength to support our clients and re-energize our team.
Everywhere you look this year, it seems like, as a society, we find ourselves in a season of change. Even as I write, a recent winter storm in the Austin area brought ice that thickened to nearly three-fourths of an inch. Decades-old and young trees alike lost branches. The landscape around our homes and city was altered. Now, when we emerge from our homes in the light of the sun, Mother Nature has changed our views. Change is something that people tend to either eschew or find invigorating, and I’ve learned over the years that to resist this inevitable force is typically futile. It’s best to read the room and move quickly into it. I’ve come to embrace it on minor levels as an opportunity to update routines, fine-tune unchanging values, or even fully revolutionize what we have come to take for granted. “Kill your darlings,” as William Faulkner says, in reference to the elements of a story that we love but aren’t guiding the narrative to its proper destination.
Introducing Seasons — The Season of “Re-Generation”
In recognition of the “moment” we’re in (and arguably have been in for a few years now) — and in celebration of the permanency of change — we’re introducing something we’ve held in reserve on the top shelf of our creative arsenal to release at just the right time, a concept we’re calling Seasons.
We’re naming this Season “Re-Generation”. It is a name that evokes rebirth after a change and offers a sense of fresh hope. It places focus on the future, what it will take to arrive at intended designs and goals, and, by the name itself, what that regeneration might mean for different demographic generations who are living during this Season. Regeneration is a cycle found in nature, from the turning of the leaves to the regrowth of cells. On a more relational level, it is a process that takes place in healthy, committed relationships. The word can encompass so much more, and we invite you to add your color to it.
In this issue of Catalogue, in her Voicing Values piece, our Creative Director, Lauren Goodman, talks about the ongoing state of learning she has found herself in during the decade since graduating from college. We also introduce our inaugural Color of the Season, “The Future is Green,” in this issue. These two articles somewhat capture the essence of this limited-time filter we’re holding up to serve as a conceptual creative lens through which we’ll look at our work.
In general, we hope the concept of Seasons will provide our clients with a quick way to understand the essence of a moment in time, and that as we identify new Seasons they can serve as a base of strategy for your own work. Life is always moving, learning is always happening, and Seasons will work like snapshots of how we see the trends, talking points, and touchpoints of the broader culture weaving into our work — and client deliverables — in innovative and attention-grabbing ways that resonate with audiences. A creative centerpiece, you can think of Seasons as something we’re just leaving on the proverbial table between us as we collaborate and commune around the work we do together in our partnerships. Maybe we use it, maybe other projects don’t engage it, but we believe the concept of Seasons will offer us a mutual language for discourse toward reaching target audiences and building brand recognition and affinity in fresh and appealing ways that reach your business goals.
Christy McFerren, President
Mastering the Art of Learning
By Lauren Goodman, Creative Director
I graduated from the University of Florida almost a decade ago, and ever since that day, I’ve been learning. Don’t get me wrong; there were things I was taught in college that I probably wouldn’t have had the motivation to figure out otherwise (looking at you, Microsoft Excel). But now, with my diploma collecting dust somewhere, I often find myself trying to balance my formal education with the fast-paced evolution of my everyday work. As a result, I’m constantly being reminded that the learning is never truly over.
Marketing — like most of the world today — evolves rapidly. In fact, I would confidently say that change is probably the only consistent thing about the industry we work in. There’s always a new social platform to master, a new skill to be learned, or a new generation of consumers to understand. Heck, it feels like every other time I open Photoshop, I have to relearn where all the buttons are! It can be scary, stressful, and exciting, all at the same time, primarily due to the unspoken pressure to be ahead of the curve with these trends and technologies. But in my opinion, staying ahead isn’t just about how quickly you react to a fad. It’s about an ongoing attitude of adaptability, a sense of awareness to what’s happening around you, and a culture that encourages facing these challenges head on.
Intelligence is one of our five core values at Catalyst. We believe learning is a lifelong endeavor, and I truly believe that’s infused into every project and department. In the past year alone, our interactive team took on the task of understanding and implementing web accessibility standards, our account team prioritized certification on different digital ad platforms, our operations team initiated a deep dive into processes and systems to find efficiencies company-wide, and our creative team discovered new design trends that pushed the boundaries of what our work can do.
When a campaign we were developing called for a basic understanding of cryptocurrency, Christy McFerren (our president) took us to breakfast and explained blockchain and bitcoin for an hour until we understood it well enough to build out copy and collateral. Moments such as this reinforce that, for us, learning is part of everyday life — not just a check on a to-do list.
I believe that to be better marketers (and creatives, developers, account managers, and salespeople), we must continue to learn and grow. It’s not falling behind the curve that causes an agency to fail; it’s the unwillingness to grow and change. The future of marketing is moving fast — don’t let it leave you (and your diploma) in the dust.
A Deeper Dive
Since taking over social media content creation in February 2021 for Campus Advantage, a national industry leader in the student housing sector, their metrics are soaring across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- 10,000 followers on LinkedIn
- 699,419 impressions
- 52,873 engagements
- 27,952 post link clicks
Catalyst Color of the Season
The Future is Green
The end of the year is a time full of anticipation for interior designers, marketers, creatives, and brands alike. On the heels of trend predictions and fresh ideas for the upcoming year, many wait with bated breath for the release of the Color of the Year from top-rated paint companies and, of course, Pantone. Though these color selections can be highly debated (and somewhat polarizing), they’ve consistently been proven to set the tone for trends in fashion, graphic design, merchandise, and more.
The 2023 Colors of the Year spanned a wide range of shades — from off-white to a bright raspberry red. Perhaps the most notable color was Pantone’s Viva Magenta, described on the announcement page as “brave and fearless, and a pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.” On the heels of Pantone’s 2022 selection Veri Peri, Viva Magenta carries the same energy and future-focused feel (including nods to the Metaverse) into 2023.
At Catalyst, we’ve begun making trend research a key part of our marketing strategy and, as a result, are unveiling our introductory Color of the Season. Enter The Future Is Green — a deep green/teal shade inspired by nature, growth, and well-being. Much like the excitement built by Pantone each year, the color green is full of hope and anticipation (think of phrases such as “the grass is greener” or “greener pastures”). This deep green shade is in the same jewel-toned family as Viva Magenta but is approachable enough to be woven into real-life spaces and tangible elements. Biophilic design, for example, was a huge push in 2021 that encouraged companies to infuse their workspaces with greenery and light.
Shades of green have been increasing in popularity since 2020, including brighter shades such as Lime Nouveau and Neo Mint. The digital undertones of Gen Z green are now surpassing the iconic Millennial Pink due to its fresh look and gender-neutral feel.
As Allure says, “Gen Z green isn’t the green of BP, or Hulu, or Excel. It runs a much shorter spectrum, from Emerald City spires to Caribbean tide pools.” Helen Steed, a creative director who works on consumer brands, told Allure, “I know it sounds cheesy, but it feels fresh and alive. And it’s natural. But the trends today are these hyped-up versions of what you would find in nature.”
Stay tuned to see our Color of the Season in action in the coming months! If you’d like to use this shade for yourself, we’ve included the color codes below:
PANTONE: 3302 C
Good Mood Media™
Don’t miss the latest episodes of Good Mood Media™ and the Lone Star Podcast — two shows recorded right here in Austin, Texas, under our new media brand, Good Mood Media™. Sparked by our Gold Standard values, both productions offer a unique and optimistic outlook on real estate marketing, agency culture, and really, just life in general. Click below to learn more and start streaming today!
Good Mood Marketing™ Podcast
The Lone Star Podcast
Get to Know Our Podcast Hosts
With the launch of Catalyst’s two podcasts last year, we thought it would be fun to introduce our hosts to the world with a rapid-fire Q&A session! Read on to learn more about our crew filling the airwaves with marketing and reputation gold.
Where are you from?
Christy McFerren, President, Good Mood Marketing Podcast: Yeehaw! Good ole west Texas — San Angelo to be exact. Mohair capital of the world and a whole lotta nothing else. They gave me good values and a true handshake, and I skedaddled after that much was done.
Thomas Demiranda, Vice President of Business Development, Good Mood Marketing Podcast: I grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. My family is from Brazil, so that’s like a third home!
Katie Degutis, Vice President of Operations, Good Mood Marketing Podcast: I am proudly born and raised in Austin. I’ve never lived anywhere else but love to travel and come back to Austin as a home base.
Mark Renkens, CX Manager, The Lone Star Podcast: I come from a small town in Florida, Palm Bay. It’s close to the beach, the Kennedy Space Center, and Orlando, but far away enough to be a boring friggin’ place.
How did you hear about Catalyst?
Christy: Top secret. Just kidding — a friend worked here, which is how so many of us got here. It’s a culture built on relationships from the start.
Thomas: I knew three people that worked at Catalyst that I had previously worked with. Small town!
Katie: One of my closest friends, Terrence, worked at Catalyst and recommended me for a copywriting position!
Mark: Can thank Google for that! I moved to Austin in 2018 on a whim and was looking to switch up my industry focus. Catalyst presented that opportunity, and I’ve been here for 4.5 years. Whoa!
Best part about your job?
Christy: Hands down, the people.
Thomas: Working together with this team and succeeding while doing it.
Katie: No two days are ever the same.
Mark: I’m really into problem-solving, primarily because every time a situation is born, it is likely out of a lack of communication or a misunderstanding along the way. Getting to dig back to the root of something, propose solutions, and see how all parties benefit is truly inspiring to me. Finding where the peace was left behind, ya know?
Why should people tune into the podcasts?
Christy: The question is “why shouldn’t you?” We’re all good vibes, talking about what’s new in marketing, what’s right in agency life, and how so many good people are doing good things in our space. We aren’t selling you anything, and we promise to give you a good mood in exchange for your time.
Thomas: It’s a diverse podcast with its dynamic and topics. We have an array of different guests, and the conversation is down to earth.
Katie: Who wouldn’t want to be in a good mood? We like to talk about serious topics that impact most everyone in the agency space or real estate marketing, but keep a positive outlook and mindset!
Mark: It has a stellar musical intro! Honestly though, the guests. Everyone has brought their A game to this podcast thus far, and we’re only growing this year. There’s only so much I can say, and making space for these experts is a true gem. That’s why.
Dream topic to cover in the podcasts or dream guest to interview?
Christy: Well, any topic is fair game, and I’ve never been one to get stars in my eyes, but being able to interview some of the industry leaders that are coming up soon has me in a pretty good mood.
Thomas: Mark Cuban would be the grail of podcast guests.
Katie: Hmm, I love talking about campaigns and relating them to things we also see outside of real estate. We’re consuming so much marketing content on a daily basis that we don’t even realize it half the time!
Mark: Ooohhh, I’d love to have the CEO of Yelp on the podcast, Jeremy Stoppelman. His business gets SO much flack for the sandbox they’ve created with Yelp, to the point of pure wonder of everyone who utilizes the platform for their business. What is their Yelp Sort about? Why do some reviews get recommended and others do not? So many questions!
If your life had a soundtrack, name one song that would be on it.
Christy: “Easy Like Sunday Morning” by the Commodores because I really, really like it chill even when life’s hard, or “Fly Me to the Moon” because who doesn’t love a transcendent love song sung by Ol’ Blue Eyes.
Thomas: “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan.
Katie: “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen and “Yeah” by Usher. Both put me in such an immediate good mood.
Mark: As someone who proudly professes his love for Moana, I would say not just a song, but that whole soundtrack has more often than not been how I start my work week. I call them Moana Mondays.
What do you like to do for fun?
Christy: Come sail away, come sail away, sail away with me…
Thomas: Play soccer, read a good book, eat at a great restaurant, and collect watches.
Katie: I love to travel. I have upcoming trips to Hawaii, Paris, and London. I’m hoping to squeeze Banff in this year, too!
Mark: I’m in a band here in Austin called BigTime that I really love. But if I’m being honest with myself, I am in a movie theater at least twice a week, so it’s definitely that.
Moments of Success
Quarterly Team Nominations
Good Mood Marketing™ comes from the Gold Standard
“This week, I sat in on the training with a client for their new website, and it was the first time I saw what the back-end looked like. Daniel really outdid himself with this site! I was so impressed with the strategic thought and creative setup that went into each of the website elements. The client was very happy with the results, and it is clear that the user experience for updating the site will be easy for her whenever she needs to make edits.”
“Lydia has jumped into managing Catalyst as a client, and it’s just what we’ve needed for a long time! It’s easy to push our own work back in favor of client work and deadlines, but with some more dedicated management, we’re on our way to giving ourselves the same amazing attention. Watch out for 2023…”
“Shout-out to Kristy Johnson for stepping into a tough week for us, and taking her former place of strength that we enjoy. The relationship has always been thriving, and it’s great to have it in-house again. It’s so good to have you back, and thank you for jumping right in and helping us push through the transitions, all the while bringing new business connections and opportunity for us. Cannot wait to see you shine in this new role.”
Giving Gold Forward
Finding Purpose in Our Work
The Catalyst team kicked off the new year by giving back in a unique way. We connected with one of our senior living partners and wrote letters to 20 residents at one of their retirement communities in Central Florida. It was truly a rewarding and honoring experience for every member of the team (and we all are secretly hoping to gain a new pen pal)!
Want to connect with Catalyst?
InterFace Student Housing – April 3-5, 2023
Austin Bisnow Multifamily – April 26, 2023
AIM Conference – May 7-10, 2023
NAA Apartmentalize – June 7-9, 2023