Greg Hoffman

Greg Hoffman

Nike's Former Chief Marketing Officer

Nike is the rare brand that uses its platform to take a stand on social issues through the lens of sport—and they’ve become innovators in this arena in part due to the creative leadership of Greg Hoffman. Rising from intern to Chief Marketing Officer to Vice President of Global Brand Innovation over the course of his decades-long career, Hoffman revolutionized the way Nike uses its marketing influence—revealing the hard truths of our society 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,” Hoffman says. He helped lead some of Nike’s best work—unforgettable social justice initiatives such as the Colin Kaepernick: Crazy Dreams campaign, the Equality campaign, and the Stand Up, Speak Up campaign, to name a few. For his boundary-pushing work and creative stewardship, Fast Company named Hoffman one of the ‘Most Creative People in Business,’ and he has also been recognized as one of Business Insider’s ‘50 Most Innovative CMO’s’ and included on AdAge’s annual Power Players list. Engaging, charismatic, and with remarkable self-possession, Hoffman shows us how we can build a culture of radical creativity within our organizations, as well as leverage our brand to drive positive change in the world.

Hoffman’s insights into emotive storytelling, in particular, are vital to today’s ever-shifting consumer landscape. Picture this: to truly understand Michael Jordan’s greatness, Hoffman and team wanted to put their consumers in Jordan’s shoes. So, they brought the game to them—they built an immersive LED basketball court with real defenders and digital screaming fans. When you stepped onto the court, suddenly you were tasting glory just like your heroes. Hoffman uses real-world case studies, spanning from these immersive experiences to innovation launches to brand and product campaigns, to inspire and delight audiences. His first book, Emotion by Design (Random House, 2022), expands on these stories to offer actionable principles drawn from one of the preeminent brand storytellers of our time. A combination of consumer insights and artistic daring, this eagerly anticipated book promises to be a “masterclass in creativity.”

Beyond the consumer-focused lens, Hoffman’s leadership at Nike helped address diversity and inclusion from within the company’s internal structures. He led the Black Employee Network for the Marketing and Design divisions of the brand, and served as a member of the Nike Foundation Board of Directors. Drawing from his personal and professional experiences as an African-American brand leader, Hoffman reveals the steps leaders can take to elevate and empower diversity within their own organizations.

Today, Hoffman is the founder and principle of Modern Arena, a brand advisory group for both startups and Fortune 500 brands. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and is a member of their Board of Trustees as well as chair of their innovation committee. Hoffman has served as a guest lecturer for the Andreesen Horowitz Talent & Opportunity Fund, Bain & Company consulting, the One Club for Creativity’s One School and as an Innovation Juror at the University of Portland.