The N.E.T.S. framework™ is a bespoke approach I designed to address the key components of strategic marketing in a "connected" world. The framework leverages the dynamics of human behavior and the pervasiveness of contemporary technology to drive business results. The convergence of these two drivers empower marketers to take full advantage of the ever-evolving media landscape to create ideas, messages, products, and behaviors that propagate from person to person.

The N.E.T.S. framework™ breaks out as such:

  1. Networks: the dynamics of social media marketing
  2. Environments: the context of social media marketing
  3. Tools: the platforms of social media marketing
  4. Success: the metrics of social media marketing

I have used this approach to successfully launch brand activations for companies around the world (as seen here) and I teach the N.E.T.S. framework™ in executive education sessions, degree programs, and portfolio schools. You can find example syllabi below:

Social Engineering Pillars

The Social Engineering Pillars collectively provide an actionable framework that enables marketers to create communications, experiences, and content ideas with the increased likelihood of spreading from person to person. These pillars comprise of the most respected and profound social science research in behavioral economics, network theory, and social psychology. I created the framework to help agencies launch more "share-worthy" advertising and teach aspiring marketers. Most recently my framework was highlighted in the book Brain Surfing - The Top Marketing Strategy Minds In The World by Heather LeFevre:

"The thought leader, Marcus Collins, Executive Director of Social Engagement at Doner in Detroit, has also made it his business to counter such delusional beliefs. He defiantly speaks out for good social media management, which he labels social engineering. Instead of the more sinister usage of the phrase where someone hijacks your identity, he uses the term to define the building blocks a brand ought to adhere to when using social tools: “Give people a reason to tell a story, help them strengthen the relationships they already have, and create opportunities for people to connect with new people.” 



In today’s connected world, the allure of “going viral” continues to seduce marketers into investing significant time and resources toward the creation of content – videos, memes, tweets, posts, etc. – that spread. There is seemingly no shortage of brands, business owners, or storytellers who covet the opportunity to trend on Twitter, rack up 1 million+ views on Youtube, or garner thousands of Facebook "likes". Marketers then use these metrics of social-chatter as a proxy for success. The logic is arguable, I suppose. Virality leads to reach and reach implies potential business impact. While I don't dispute the potential benefits of “going viral,” there is something far greater and much more tangible to business outcomes that marketers should consider…that is, Cultural Contagion

My colleague and I analyzed some of the most salient happenings in culture in the US, between 1995 (pre-internet, as we know it today) and 2016 (amid the ascent of the social-web), to better understand the driving forces that have led to such reshaping of our contemporary cultural norms and subsequent behaviors. Upon our research, we discovered a set of conditions that were consistent across each example and gave rise to the notion that they could potentially be controlled and reproduced. In my practice as an advertiser, I set out to put this discover into the world and test its merit. To my delight, the results were consistent here as well. With this in mind, we took the 5 identified conditions, applied an alliteration, and labeled this discovery The Contagion Cookbook™

  • Content: objects designed to inspire action
  • Credence: transferable cultural authority and/or trust
  • Covers: the repeated expression of an idea through derivative works
  • Co-Incentives: the environmental dynamics that cannot be controlled but can be exploited
  • Concurrency: the apparent ubiquity of an idea

The Contagion Cookbook is a framework that satisfies the necessary conditions for creating cultural contagion. It looks at the way seemingly organic cultural norms can be fabricated by marketers, innovators, or anyone with a message to spread, and offers a framework for driving behavioral adoption on a mass scale. This is not about “going viral,” though the earned media is a welcomed side-effect. Instead, the Cookbook is singularly focused on permeating a population's consciousness and stimulating cultural wake. This, of course, provides massive value to a cohort of "new idea innovators” who want their ideas to spread and find a home within the contemporary cultural zeitgeist.