Emotion By Design
Creative Leadership Lessons from a Life at Nike
If you want your brand to inspire loyalty and change the world, you need to create an emotional bond between consumers and your product. Greg Hoffman, former Chief Marketing Officer at Nike, knows how to make customers feel that they are “part of something important that made them better than they were before.” When you get it right, you won’t just have customers—you’ll gain fans. Greg is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in the business world, and his book Emotion by Design is a guide to how he led Nike’s most iconic modern campaigns and worked with athletes like LeBron James. He’ll show you that adding emotions to your brand’s story isn’t a mysterious process: it’s something you can design.
“Greg helps us see how a commitment to our creative practice can make any story better.”— Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing
Greg Hoffman is a world-class expert when it comes to creating brand experiences that are extremely memorable, incredibly innovative, and that create real connections with users and customers. Greg shows you how to build those connections by telling your brand’s story with authentic emotions. It takes a lot of creativity, so Greg has an important insight for every company: creativity is a team sport. As Nike’s CMO, he was responsible for 2500 people in Nike Marketing around the world. He knows that everyone on a team can make a creative contribution, and the right management strategy will bring out the best in unexpected places. Daydreamers might think differently than their team, but you don’t want to lose the power of their creative eccentricities—we need to capitalize on their potential and make it fit. Creativity is all around us, and great marketing is about tapping into it so that your organization can design something that touches customers.
Greg’s book Emotion by Design: Creative Leadership Lessons from a Life at Nike is a practical roadmap for any business looking to tell the authentic story of their brand, engage with culture’s most pressing topics, and unite employees in a post-pandemic world. Jonah Berger, the New York Times bestselling author of of Contagious, says the book “will help marketers and creatives connect with their audiences like never before.” Emotion by Design is filled with stories about the deeply creative and innovative process at Nike that led to Greg’s involvement with the company’s best work—unforgettable campaigns such as the “Colin Kaepernick: Crazy Dreams” project, the Stand Up, Speak Up campaign, and the Kobe System ads featuring Kobe Bryant.
As an integral part of the Advisory Board of the Nike Black Employee Network and a member of the Nike Foundation Board of Directors, Greg directed ongoing dialogues for racial equality, environmental sustainability, and empowerment in professional sports. He revolutionized the way Nike uses its marketing influence—embracing social and racial justice in a way that both inspires and empowers people to take action: “we’re in a moment in time that is both a cultural reckoning and a revolution.”
Business Insider called Greg one of today’s ‘Most Innovative CMOs’. Through his brand advisory group Modern Arena, Greg teaches Fortune 1000 brands, startups, and nonprofits how to create brand strength, business growth, and social impact. In one year alone, Greg was tapped for presentations at Netflix, Apple, Google, Meta, Amazon, and Twitter.
Greg earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and is now a member of their Board of Trustees and a chair of their innovation committee. Hoffman was included on AdAge’s Power Players list, and has served as a guest lecturer for the Andreesen Horowitz Talent & Opportunity Fund, the One Club for Creativity’s One School and as an Innovation Juror at the University of Portland.
“Greg was brilliant—inspiring, insightful—a true embodiment of the creative leadership traits he spoke to. We all learnt a lot from what he shared and appreciated how he made it relatable to our industry also. He made the takeaways feel actionable and really fired up our team. He was also so thoughtful in his responses to the Q&A section of the event. We appreciated his openness here.”Jones Knowles Ritchie Limited
In this compelling, surprising, and dynamic talk, Greg Hoffman—the former Chief Marketing Officer at Nike—shares lessons and stories on the power of creativity drawn from almost three decades of experience at one of the world’s biggest brands. A celebration of ingenuity and a call-to-arms for brand-builders to rediscover the human element in forming consumer bonds, Greg gives us an insider’s guide to unlocking inspiration within a brand and building stronger emotional connections with consumers.
You’ll learn Greg’s three favorite guiding principles: creativity is a team sport; you should dare to be remembered; and you want to leave a legacy, not just a memory. These principles were the driving engine behind Greg’s work at Nike, where he defined the company’s brand voice and identity through storytelling and experiences. Every story was distinct, yet the result was always the same: a strong emotional attachment between products and people—quite literally emotion by design.
With fascinating stories about Nike’s famous campaigns, this talk reveals the philosophy and rules behind how to create an empowering brand that resonates deeply with people: you do it by unlocking the creativity within your organization and unleashing it out into the world.