Arnold Taps Cultural Strategist

Andrew Lynch’s varied academic and professional background gives him a broad range of experience to draw from in his post as cultural strategist at Arnold.

Lynch fills a new position inside the Boston agency’s planning unit and reports to Graceann Bennett, evp/director of brand planning.

As his first project, Lynch is undertaking a “mood and mind-set” study. The goal of the study is to determine the long-term impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their aftermath on the consumer psyche. As a result, the agency hopes to adjust advertising and marketing tactics accordingly.

The global study is e-mailed each week to a different group of 1,000 adults aged 18 and over. The survey asks questions about spending, finance and the general mind-set of consumers since the attacks. Results of the study are tracked through Greenfield Online, Wilton, Conn., a company with which Arnold has partnered for the project.

Lynch also conducts expert or “thought leader” interviews (with magazine editors, prominent educators, etc.) to determine cultural trends. He then writes up a weekly newsletter, which is used both in-house and to help educate clients.

“My goal is to help Arnold evolve its planning department in ways that strengthen its creative and ad-making capabilities,” said Lynch.

Lynch is part of the team helping Arnold pitch the $120 million BellSouth account. The shop is a finalist, along with The Richards Group, Grey and client roster shop Merkley Newman Harty & Partners.

Most agencies rely on planners to figure out consumer behavior, but the role of a cultural strategist goes beyond that and attempts to predict not only present trends but future ones as well.

Bennett—who has worked with Lynch in the past—praised his “talent for capturing the essence of ideas. I used him as a sounding board to gain an interesting and fresh perspective.”

Lynch has a Ph.D. in English and American literature from NYU.