During Social Media Week, Digimind had the chance to catch up with some notable influencers and industry leaders. In this series, we chat one on one with digital media’s best and brightest—this time with Marcus Collins of Doner.

If Marcus Collins’ name sounds familiar, it could be because we previously covered the presentation he gave on the second day of Social Media Week, entitled More Than Words. As the Head of Social Engagement for Doner, an advertising agency based in Michigan, Collins led a session so fascinating we had to catch up with him to expound on a few of his points.

During his presentation, Collins explained through a simple illustration that why a brand exists should influence what they do and how they do it—in that order, with “why” being at the core, “what” being the second layer, and “how” being the outer layer.

To make this point a bit clearer, he referenced Nike as an example.

“Nike believes every human body is an athlete, so as a brand, they exist to help you realize your most athletic self. They use words like ‘Just Do It’ as that provocation. They make it real with things like Nike Run Club, because people are more inclined to work out with other people.”

After the session, we ask Collins what he considers Doner’s “why.”

“We believe that the core function of marketing is behavioral adoption. When I meet with clients for a pitch, I say everybody who came before us that just pitched you, they’re selling you faberge eggs…unless your business is about getting people to look at beautiful things, who cares about faberge eggs? Your job as a brand is to get people to adopt a behavior. And we take on that responsibility.”

Seamlessly following the illustration he included in his presentation, Collins moves on to the ways in which that responsibility—Doner’s “why”—informs their “what.”

“We put things in the world—messages, ideas, content—that drive a behavioral outcome.”

Speaking to his agency’s “how,” the marketer continues “we do that through television, print, out-of-home, radio, GIFs, and everything in between.”

When asked what role social media plays in that “how,” Collins responds “first, let’s unpack social media. Social, by definition, means people…social media is people media. Instead of reading something on a branded website or advertisement, you heard it from someone you trusted.”

“So the idea of social media marketing,” he continues, “is getting people to share on behalf of the brand. The thing about social media with regards to a brand’s conviction is we share things that are representative of our identity.”

Keeping with that train of thought, Collins notes “when I share something with someone like me, which we normally do, when they respond in the same way that I responded when I first saw it, it’s a confirmation that we’re friends.”

Through this layered practice of pinpointing a client’s why, what, and how—while using social media as a vehicle—Marcus Collins and Doner have been able to negotiate transferences of trust that not only connect audiences to each other, but back to the brand itself.

As Collins puts it, it’s imperative this practice be followed, because it’s important customers walk away thinking “that brand get’s me.”

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