Marc Johnson: 40 Under 40 2015

Director, digital strategy, APCO Worldwide

Marc Johnson: 40 Under 40 2015

Known by colleagues as a game changer with big ideas, Marc Johnson joined APCO Worldwide in 2008 when digital was a nascent, but growing focus for the industry and social was fast emerging as a crucial channel for corporate communications.

Johnson’s superb client management skills, combined with technical know-how, helped APCO and its clients navigate the new territory with authority. He took on the role of business development lead for APCO’s StudioOnline division, further driving integration of the agency’s digital and creative offerings. Ultimately, his efforts led to "new scopes of work and projects" and "millions of dollars in revenue," according to the firm.

His grasp of APCO’s full-value proposition and ability to educate and build trust led to multiyear engagements with Fortune 500 brands such as Ikea, Red Bull, and MasterCard.

Johnson worked hand in hand with the latter to launch its digital intelligence data center and in developing a communications strategy that delivered regular, relevant, and timely content on social media.

"Marc is a rare mix of business strategist, communications pro, and digital pioneer," says Andrew Bowins, former SVP, corporate reputation and engagement for MasterCard, who in June joined Samsung Electronics America to lead corporate comms. "His keen sense of how digital has impacted the art and science of PR made him invaluable to my team as we forged the new blueprint for communications at MasterCard."

With diplomacy another strength, Johnson trained a foreign government in digital, including hundreds of its employees, reshaping its PR, and establishing digital as a primary means of constituent communications.

He also grew a foreign prime minister’s Twitter following by 10,000% without any advertising and took his Facebook fans to 150,000 in just a few months. As Sprint sought to fight the merger between rivals AT&T and T-Mobile, Johnson managed a digital No Takeover team.

He built customized tools and infographics that articulated the message of a coalition of organizations against the merger. Through its website and social efforts, the team drove more than 76,000 comments to the FCC, more than 9,000 letters to Congress, and 70,000 Facebook supporters before the takeover ultimately collapsed.

- He established one of the first blog monitoring programs in the financial services industry for client Capital One

- Johnson is a regular contributor to industry panels and content channels, including Social Media Week, PRSA, and The Washington Diplomat  

- Johnson spends many hours as a volunteer in his native Washington with The Lifting As We Climb Foundation, a mentoring program for at-risk teens

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