NASHVILLE, TN – Effective immediately, Nashville-based Access Brand Strategies, a leading brand strategy and consumer engagement agency, will now be known as New Heartland Group. For more than twelve years, the agency has helped some of the nation’s leading brands connect with the 60% of U.S. consumers who reside in the New Heartland – a massive and influential cultural segment that is largely misunderstood and underserved by many advertisers. Now, armed with new proprietary research into New Heartland consumers, New Heartland Group has solidified its position as the premiere agency for national brands who want to engage this crucial buying segment.

Identified by Founder Paul Jankowski in his first book, How to Speak American: Building Brands in the New Heartland, the New Heartland is comprised of the Southwest, Midwest and parts of the Southeast. It claims 13 of the top 20 U.S. cities, ranked by population, and more than half of the U.S. buying population. This group is very brand loyal, and yet until now, has been largely ignored. Defined by several criteria including census data, geography, and cultural idiosyncrasies, this group is bound together by its strong values: faith (not religion), community and family – all of which influence buying behavior.
With clients such as Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Lipton and Mountain Dew, Jankowski’s agency demonstrates that the key to engaging the New Heartland consumer is to deliver a message that it is relevant to their unique cultural nuances. Just one example of the agency’s success is Pizza Hut’s barbeque pizza campaign, where they connected the brand with country music superstar Blake Shelton. Blake’s engaging personality and universal likability aligned seamlessly with Pizza Hut’s new line of barbeque pizzas, including “Blake’s Smokehouse.”
Recently, the agency partnered with Prince Market Research to conduct the first-ever consumer study about New Heartland vs. Non-New Heartland consumers. The research will be released in full on September 16, but several significant findings include the role of faith/core values in purchasing decisions, the perceived relevance of the consumer by advertisers, and the impact of lifestyle channels such as music, food, sports, outdoors, and digital/social in brand discovery.   

Jankowski examines this study in detail and provides a roadmap to engage this population in his upcoming book, SPEAK AMERICAN TOO: Your Guide to Building Powerful Brands in the New Heartland (New Heartland Group Publishing Company; hardcover; September 16, 2014).


Founded in 2002, New Heartland Group is the industry leader in helping brands connect with the 60% of U.S. consumers living in the New Heartland—a powerful cultural segment that is connected by a shared set of core values which guide key purchasing decisions. New Heartland Group offers a full portfolio of services focusing on research and insights, brand strategy, content creation, digital marketing, and branded entertainment. Clients include Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Lipton, Mountain Dew, B.B. King’s Blues Clubs, and Stages West, one of the nation’s largest western wear retailers.

Learn more at 


Paul Jankowski is Founder and Chief Strategist at New Heartland Group (formerly Access Brand Strategies). He is the author of “How to Speak American: Building Brands in the New Heartland” and the upcoming book, “Speak American Too: Your Guide to Building Powerful Brands in the New Heartland.”    

He previously served as Chief Marketing Officer for Elvis Presley Enterprises and oversaw all aspects of global brand development.

Jankowski has held senior marketing positions with SFX Entertainment (Live Nation) where he worked with clients such as Volkswagen, Ford Motor Co., Warner-Lambert, Reebok and MCI. He has also created promotions for: Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Evander Holyfield, Nelly, Reba, Vince Gill, Elton John, Tom Petty, B.B. King, Mary J. Blige and Meatloaf, among others.

In addition, Jankowski was the Director of Entertainment Relations/Worldwide for Gibson Guitar Corp. and served as regional pop promotion manager for MCA Records and SBK Records.

He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and started his career as a college rep for CBS Records.

He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife of 25 years and four children.     


For more information or to schedule an interview with Paul Jankowski, please contact Margaret Kingsbury at 512-904-9255 or

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