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Marcus Collins

Top Booked Marketing Speaker

Topic Categories:

Fee Range: 20000-39999
  • Head of Strategy at Wieden+Kennedy
  • U Michigan Business Professor
  • AdweekColumnist
  • AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement Inductee
  • 2022 Cannes Lions Jury Member
  • 2023 Thinkers50 Radar Class and expert on Cultural Contagion

*Fee ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice. For an exact quote, please contact your Speaker Exchange Agency representative.

Dr. Marcus Collins is an award-winning marketer and cultural translator with one foot in the world of practice—serving as the Chief Strategy Officer at Wieden+Kennedy New York—and one foot in the world of academia—as a marketing professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. He has spent his career translating culture for brands and translating brands for culture, becoming the architect of some of the best-known advertising campaigns of our time. Marcus has championed strategies for blue chip brands such as McDonald’s, Apple, Google, State Farm, Target, Peloton, and Budweiser, and even ran digital strategy for Beyonce. His honors include being an AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement Inductee, 2022 Cannes Lions Jury Member, a member of the 2023 Thinkers50 Radar Class and one of the favorite professors of the University of Michigan MBA class of 2022. He is also the recipient of Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40 award and Crain’s Business’ 40 Under 40 award. His much-anticipated book, “For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be”, examines the influence of culture on consumption and unpacks how everyone from marketers to activists can leverage culture to get people to take action. Throughout the book, he relies on literature, case studies, his work with brands, and academic data to illustrate the “whys” and the “hows” so that readers will be empowered to successfully apply these learnings in their own pursuits. It will be released in May, 2023.

More About Marcus Collins

Marcus Collins has spent his career studying the underlying drivers that motivate people to take action—to buy, to watch, to click, to vote, to subscribe, etc.—helping organizations from Fortune 500 companies to startups and nonprofits use this knowledge to create marketing campaigns that catalyze collective action. His strategies and creative contributions have led to the launch and success of Google’s “Real Tone” technology, Budweiser’s “Made in America” film festival, the Brooklyn Nets, and State Farm’s “Cliff Paul” campaign.

Before joining Wieden+Kennedy, Marcus served as the Chief Consumer Connections Officer at Doner Advertising and led Social Engagement at Steve Stoute’s advertising agency, Translation.

Prior to his advertising tenure, Marcus began his career in music and tech with a startup he co-founded before working on iTunes + Nike sports music initiatives. He holds a doctorate in marketing from Temple University, where he studied cultural contagion and meaning-making. Marcus received an MBA with an emphasis on strategic brand marketing from the University of Michigan, where he also earned his undergraduate degree in Material Science Engineering. He has spoken for Fortune 100 audiences such as Google, United Healthcare, Toyota, Verizon and Fannie Mae.


Since its modern conception, marketing and advertising have relied on creativity as a catalyst for commerce. Marketers use copy and images to evoke desired behaviors from a target populous in hopes that it will impact the brand’s bottom line. While the convergence of the two—creativity and commerce—is considered the hallmark of “good marketing communications” (sought after by ad agencies and ambitious brand managers alike), there is an unspoken factor that frames its relevance and significance. That factor is “culture” and this talk ventures to explore the unwritten rules about culture and why its simultaneous salience and nebulousness should be the backbone of how we approach marketing in today’s hyper-connected world.


In today’s competitive business landscape, it’s more important than ever to put the customer at the center of all business decisions. While this truth might be widely held, our ability to build organizations that are readily capable of implementing a customer centric approach is not as accessible as we might desire. This talk uncovers a perspective for customer centricity and provides actionable strategies for adopting this approach within your organization.

Key takeaways:

  • Understand the benefits of a customer-centric approach, including increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, and how it can drive business growth and success
  • Discover strategies for creating a customer-centric culture within your organization and building a customer-centric team
  • Learn how to applies these strategies to your organization right away

Each and every day, all of us try to influence others— to get them to believe, join, buy, embrace a vision, and most of all, to move and take action. In both our personal and professional lives, no matter what we do, we are all marketers. And all of us can learn from top marketer Dr. Marcus Collins about how culture is the most powerful vehicle for influencing beliefs and behaviors.

In this inspiring talk, Marcus shares stories from his own life and career as a top marketer, from spearheading digital strategy for Beyonce to the success of Google’s “Real Tone” technology to the launch of the Brooklyn Nets and a successful collaboration between iTunes and Nike. Combining thought-provoking examples drawn from contemporary culture with a deep perspective based on a century’s worth of data, he shares the tools for catalyzing collective change and inspiring action.

Whether you’re a manager trying to motivate a team, a company trying to improve culture, or a sales executive making a pitch, Marcus draws from his much-anticipated new book, For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be (to be released in May, 2023) to challenge old thinking and give you the essential tools to succeed in a hyper-connected, light speed world.


Historically, “brand” was a legal mark that said, “this belongs to me.” Over time, it became a trust mark, assuring quality standards. Next, marketers decided that it wasn’t enough for consumers to simply buy their stuff. The era of “brand love” evolved, marked by evocative brand stories that fortified consumer love. Today, the most powerful and forward-thinking marketers focus on culture. Why? Because culture governs how we behave in the world. The strongest brands have become identity marks that align with our beliefs and values. They have become brandmarks for “tribes” of people who share the same cultural identity and mindsets. “My friends use iPhones or Pixels.” “My friends are Democrats or Republicans.” Future brands (starting now) will study and understand the cultural characteristics of certain tribes—their beliefs, artifacts, behavior and language—and weave their brand into the connective tissue of tribal culture. Renowned brand and cultural strategist Marcus Collins examines the most significant shift in marketing over the last 50 years and how a knowledge of tribes and culture will become even more critical to successfully marketing in the Metaverse.


Today, there is no shortage of brands, business owners or storytellers who covet the opportunity to have their ideas trend on Twitter, rack up one million+ views on YouTube, or garner thousands of Facebook likes. But are the metrics of social chatter only a proxy for genuine and long term success? Does “going viral” really lead to reach, or most importantly, drive people to take action?

In this invaluable session, Marcus Collins reframes the benefits of “going viral” and explores how creating Cultural Contagion is a far more powerful way to generate social currency, tell your story, evoke emotion, build trust, activate networks, and to ultimately drive action, connection and commerce. Mixing behavior science and branding, he tells the back stories of brands and analyzes the most culturally contagious phenomena of our time. He also shares the four “Cs” of his “Contagion Cookbook,” the perfect recipes for anyone who wants to go beyond viral and achieve a higher level of connection, engagement and action.


We have more data than ever before, yet we still don’t understand our customers, patients, employees, investors…you name it. The list is infinite and universal with one important conclusion: Data isn’t enough. How can we gain genuine insights and intimacy that allow us to authentically connect with any stakeholder?

In this eye-opening talk, master brand and cultural strategist Marcus Collins draws from field anthropology, ethnography and his decades of research to help marketers understand who their “target” really is. Only by transcending demographics and identifying people according to their belief and values-based “tribes” and “collectives” can we know who they really are. And only by understanding how they translate information through the lens of culture, can we communicate, connect and drive them to action. Sharing case studies and intriguing examples, Marcus shows how adding culture to the equation will give your marketing and communications the competitive edge over data and analytics alone.

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