The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Great brands don’t simply reach customers: they create real emotional bonds with them.

Nike's Former Chief Marketing Officer | Author of Emotion by Design

Greg Hoffman | Nike's Former Chief Marketing Officer | Author of Emotion by Design
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Lavin Exclusive Speaker

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. One of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in the business world, Greg has spoken at Netflix, Google, Facebook and more, 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. He has spoken at Netflix, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Slack, Lego, Target, Pandora, and many more.

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 encouraged marketers to stop asking how people will feel about their brands, and to “ask an additional question: how do we want people to feel about themselves, and their ability to achieve their aspirations and dreams when they engage with us?” Clearly Greg takes that message to heart, as he ignited the passion for our craft within all of us through one of the most compelling presentations we have ever witnessed at our events. Thank you Greg, and to the team at The Lavin Agency, for an experience our attendees will never forget.

Worldwide Partners

Speech Topics

Emotion By DesignCreative Leadership Lessons from a Life at Nike

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.

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Corporate Culture
Creativity as a Team SportHow to Support Radical Collaboration
The art of building powerful emotional bonds with your consumer starts from the inside out.

During his decades-long career at Nike, former CMO Greg Hoffman led a global brand team of over 2,000 employees in offices from Portland to Tokyo. As their leader, he personally demonstrated how to embrace curiosity and risk-taking, as well as created the internal systems to support it in his team. Used effectively, an organization’s operational side can empower creativity, he says.

In this talk, Greg unpacks insights about the best teams from the world of sport, sharing how their composition and playing style mirrors that of the most innovative organizations’ team management. “I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re alone when they’re trying to crack the creative code,” says Greg. If you think of any championship-level team, the only way to emerge from stagnation—be it in an epic sports game or creative output—is through teamwork. Audiences will come away from this talk with the courage to harness creativity and recognize their essential role in creating a culture of ideas.

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Never Play It Safe, Play to WinHow to Build a Team of Risk-Takers
“We’re in need of courage now more than ever,” says former Nike CMO Greg Hoffman. It’s no time to stay trapped within our comfort zone.
This talk is innovation brought to life. A practical methodology that feels both actionable and personal, Greg offers audiences the key to the kingdom of breakthroughs—how to embody innovation within the very structure of your organization, and unleash your team’s capacity for risk-taking.
If you don’t take risks, your brand’s potential will remain at a stand-still and you’ll never grow. But it isn’t just about getting a product to market: you need to build risk-taking into the DNA of your team. Greg shows how to incentivize your employees to take risks and think outside the box. When you get it right, innovation won’t just be a one-off experiment—it’ll be something you can repeat over and over again.
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Dare to Be RememberedBrand-Building Through the Art of Storytelling
When you have an emotional bond with your consumer, you’re able to transport your brand beyond the product and leave a powerful, lasting legacy. Nike is a prime example: the company has mastered the art of speaking directly to their consumer, and staying authentic to their own voice, despite countless brand and influencer partnerships.
In this creative, actionable presentation, former Nike CMO Greg Hoffman reveals how your brand can do the same. “Our goal was to close the gap between the elite and the everyday athlete,” says Greg, of his work at Nike. “In the stories that we told, we wanted to make sure that consumers could see themselves.” Because if they do, that’s when they’ll be motivated to reach their personal goals. It doesn’t just sound good—it works. Nike’s Olympic Unlimited campaign about everyday athletes was the most remembered ad of the 2016 Games.
With any brand, in any industry, there exists the same potential for direct consumer engagement. Through the power of emotive storytelling, supported by real-world case studies, Greg shows you how to build a brand persona that will stand the test of time.
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