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Between Two Nodes: A Conversation with Marcus Collins
Culture is all-encompassing and inherently graphy. Culture is the program for our daily lives, constructed and negotiated based on our social connections, which are structured by our network ties. Where groups of people exchange ideas and information, those who we self-identify with – our people, our friends, our family, and our teammates.
Enter Marcus Collins, whose career as a cultural strategist began back in Detroit growing up as a Black kid who loved the Monkees as much as A Tribe Called Quest. As he navigated those experiences, he learned how to “observe cultural codes and develop an empathetic muscle.”
Years of training and work in these areas have only strengthened his underlying innate abilities into an actionable practice.
Today he translates culture for brands, and brands for culture, helping organizations – from Fortune 500 companies to startups and nonprofits – use this knowledge to create marketing campaigns that encourage collective action
Currently a professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, where he focuses on cultural contagion and meaning-making, Marcus has won awards for his advertising and launched notable campaigns like “Cliff Paul” for State Farm, the Made in America Music Festival for Budweiser, and “Hello Brooklyn” for the Brooklyn Nets.
Before jumping into the world of advertising, Marcus worked in music and tech as a startup co-founder (Muse Recordings), and then led iTunes + Nike sport music initiatives at Apple, before running digital strategy for Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé.
We can’t wait to chat with Marcus and dive deep into the key to our connections, how they are structured and governed by our cultural subscription.