When Brunet-García started looking for an executive vice president of engagement strategies to lead public relations and social media, the agency found the perfect fit right in its own backyard of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Kimberley Collins has been senior vice president and executive director at Golin, where she provided strategic communications counsel to a wide variety of clients.
She has worked extensively on anti-tobacco campaigns for numerous states, and she led Golin’s work with the Florida Lottery.
“What I admire about Brunet-García is the agency’s undying commitment to quality and beautiful, smart work products, the instinct to always do right by its partners and clients, and of course, the agency’s sweet spot for public health and positive social impact,” Collins said.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in communications from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, Collins worked as an assignment editor for Florida’s News Channel before taking a position as senior account executive with The Nixon Group, a boutique public relations agency focused on social and behavior change, which was acquired by Golin in 2002.
“Kim has long been a friend of the agency,” said Diane Brunet-García, partner and vice president of the agency. “We’ve grown to respect Kim, her knowledge, her approach, her relationships, her passion, and her sense of humor.”
During her first week with Brunet-García, we asked her a few questions about her background and her future.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Narragansett, Rhode Island, which is a small seaside New England town. Our neighborhood was made up of mostly families with kids around the same age, so we spent summers building forts and exploring outside from sun up to when the streetlights came on. I played basketball in high school and spent summers sailboat racing with my dad on Narragansett Bay.
What brought you to Florida?
After high school, I took a leap of faith and chose to come down to St. Augustine to attend Flagler College—sight unseen. I arrived and fell in love with the First Coast, and well, here I am!
What are your new responsibilities at Brunet-García?
As executive vice president of engagement strategies, I will be leading the agency’s public relations and social team in developing and executing consumer outreach efforts across all new and existing accounts. I will also be part of Brunet-García’s management team, contributing to overall agency objectives and growth strategies, and ensuring client satisfaction.
What is your experience in these fields?
I come to Brunet-García following 18 years at Golin, which is an international integrated communications agency where I provided strategic communications counsel to a wide variety of clients. The majority of my career has been focused on social marketing and public health, having launched the renowned truth® campaign in 1999 and then working on more than a dozen state-level tobacco control campaigns, including most recently the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign. I also led the agency’s work with the Florida Lottery, where we rebranded the iconic logo in time for its 25th anniversary.
How has your background prepared you for this position?
I have been fortunate to work with clients across the private sector, for nonprofits, and for state and federal agencies. That cross-section of marketing communications experiences has provided the ideal foundation for this next phase in my career with Brunet-García. One constant in my career at Golin was a focus on public health and navigating government infrastructures while delivering outstanding client service and innovative communications strategies. My background is ideally aligned with Brunet-García’s commitment to meaningful change and making a positive social impact.
What are some of the projects that have most excited you?
Having been part of the tobacco control movement for the past 18-plus years is incredibly rewarding. When we started educating and empowering young people to stand up to Big Tobacco, 34.8 percent of high school students in the U.S. smoked cigarettes. In 2016, only 8 percent of high school students are smokers. There were still smoking sections in most restaurants, and 24 percent of American adults smoked. I am honored to have had a meaningful role in that dramatic tide change in the social norms of tobacco use and drastic reduction in prevalence which has undoubtedly saved countless lives and made our nation safer for our children.
Outside of public health, a most memorable and personally rewarding project was leading Golin’s work with TEAM ABN AMRO in the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06. Marrying my personal passion for sailboat racing with a complex and challenging media relations program implementation was a thrilling challenge that I will never forget. The opportunity to travel to several countries and secure national media attention for the team was priceless.
What drew you to Brunet-García?
Brunet-García’s diverse client roster, focus on social impact, and progressive culture all contributed to my decision to join the agency. I am also looking forward to establishing professional roots here in the Jacksonville market. My family has lived in cities across Florida, and Jacksonville is home. The agency’s established presence and commitment to the First Coast community was definitely an attraction.
What excites you most about the new position at Brunet-García?
Everything about this opportunity is exciting to me. I am looking forward to collaborating with the team here in Jacksonville and across the network. I am inspired by the amazing, impactful, and award-winning work of the agency’s creative team. I am eager to bring the clients’ stories to life among consumers and partners. I am thrilled by the challenge of growing Brunet-García’s public relations, social media, and strategic communications capabilities and team.
How has the industry changed since you first started?
How has the industry NOT changed!? When I first started, we were faxing news releases to assignment desks, and today a phone call and even email is old school. Media, consumers, businesses … we’re all inundated with messages from all angles, and it’s nearly impossible to separate truth from fiction or to know who you can trust. That makes success in our industry that much harder, and it makes creating impactful and relevant content designed to reach our audiences using innovative channels that much more imperative.
What trends do you see in advertising and public relations?
I see a continuing trend toward relevant content being “king.” It is more important than ever for brands to be transparent and honest, and to deliver their message via targeted channels. When it comes to social marketing and behavior change, we must continue to think 360 in reaching people across paid, earned, and owned channels. You can’t be sure exactly when the consumer is in the perfect mindset to make change, so it is imperative to cast the net wide and increase the chances of inspiring action. I also think that while big data and social targeting are absolutely essential in engaging your audiences, we need to sometimes go back to the basics and find people in real life—at events, conferences, meetings, and even the local newspaper when the message and audience make sense. At the core of all of those strategies, though, is ensuring the right message is tailored for your campaign’s objectives.
What are some of your passions outside of work?
I began sailing competitively when I was six years old, and racing remains my favorite hobby. I have an eight-year-old daughter, and providing her with a diverse set of experiences and keeping her safe, happy, and healthy are my top priorities. Our family loves to travel, and we have visited Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Peru, Switzerland, and most recently Denmark and Sweden.