Marcus Collins: Culture Is What Inspires People To Act


Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Dr. Marcus Collins, believes culture is the most powerful vehicle for influencing human behavior.

In his words, “if you want to get people to move, there’s no vehicle more powerful or influential than culture. Full stop. Culture is how we inspire people to act. Culture implies social forces – both subtle & over – that govern the beliefs and behaviors of every-day life.”

Suffice to say, many organizations, & their leaders, pay little attention to crafting & reinforcing their own workplace cultures – & unwittingly allow unproductive & even counter-productive behaviors & practices to take hold. Consequently, our discussion with Marcus is focused on how leaders can purposely re-invigorate & even reinvent their cultures to derive the greatest performance outcomes.

Marcus Collins is a rather impressive person.  Amazon named his new book, For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, & Who We Want to Be” one of the “Best Books of the Year So Far In 2023.

He was recently named to the Thinkers50 & Deloitte class of 2023 Radar List of 30 thinkers with the ideas most likely to shape the future. And before becoming a professor, he led social media marketing at the cutting-edge advertising agency, Translation, owned by Jay-Z & Beyonce. He later became the head of strategy at the Wieden+Kennedy agency in New York where he led the successful launch of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team & campaigns for Nike & Apple.

Marcus holds a doctorate in marketing from Temple University where he studied social contagion & meaning-making. He 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.

And, not surprisingly, one big theme of this episode is that we don’t persuade people through their intellect, we do it through their hearts.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.