Emotion by Design … “Never play it safe, play to win … Game face for greatness … Dare to be remembered” … Creative leadership lessons from Greg Hoffman’s life at Nike

December 7, 2022

Greg Hoffman spent a career helping Nike shape and build its brand around the world.

For over 27 years, Greg held marketing, design, and innovation leadership roles at Nike, including time as the brand’s CMO. In his most recent role as Nike’s Vice President of Global Brand Innovation, he led teams tasked with envisioning the future of storytelling and consumer experiences for the brand.

He oversaw Nike’s brand communications and experiences as Nike was solidifying its position as one of the preeminent brand storytellers of the modern era and the leading innovator in digital and physical brand experiences. His role in the rise of marketing and design through that period was recognized in 2015 when Fast Company named him one of the Most Creative People in Business. He’s also been recognized for his transformative leadership in the industry through the Business Insider’s 50 Most Innovative CMO’s and AdAge’s Power Players annual lists.

For over two decades, he was a major strategic and creative influence for Nike at every major global sporting event, for the launches of Nike’s signature products and innovations, and for the building of the brands of its athletes.

Through his leadership, Nike drove themes of equality, sustainability, and empowerment through sport in some of its most significant brand communications. That work was, in part, driven by his role on the Advisory Board of the Nike Black Employee Network and as a member of the Nike Foundation Board of Directors.

Today as founder and principal of Modern Arena, Greg advises Fortune 1000 brands, startups, and nonprofits in creating brand strength, business growth, and social impact. He sits on the advisory boards of the brands’ Shred Adventures and AO-Air and is a board member for Summit Impact, the philanthropic arm of Summit Series.

In his new book Emotion by Design he shares what he’s learned to help you build your brand story. He are a few take outs:


We do not take risks simply because we want to try something new. We take risks because the world never stops turning and the consumer’s expectations never stop expanding.


How do you consistently deliver emotive Brand Innovation to your consumer? Greg shares the characteristics that great brand leaders have to drive innovation; empathy, curiosity, risk-taking, and collaboration. Learn from historic Nike Design examples and see what radical creative collaboration looks like up close.


Your logo may feel like just a visual signature in the beginning. Treat it like the most important part of your brand future, and it will carry the weight of your brand’s lifelong aspirations


Learn how to build a Brand Identity that cuts through the clutter, from stories of Greg’s experience leading Nike’s Brand Design division. Further leverage the disciplines of Graphic Design, Art Direction and UX Design to build a strong foundation for your brand to support the products and stories you bring to the world.


Strive to build a brand with stories that leave behind something that will connect with audiences long after you’ve left the scene.


Greg shares stories and learnings from his decade long experience leading Nike’s Advertising and Brand Storytelling. He shares lessons on how to build and express your Brand Personality in ways that are both memorable and relatable, through world-class Brand Communication.

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