‘Complacency is the enemy of creativity’: Greg Hoffman kicks off Mumbrella360

“Complacency is the enemy of creativity,” Global brand leader Greg Hoffman kicked off Mumbrella360 on Wednesday morning, reflecting on three decades of success as CMO of the global sportswear giant Nike.

Hoffman delved into the various sources of inspiration that have fuelled Nike’s success over the years in a packed room of industry trailblazers.

Highlighting the significance of curiosity in marketing, Hoffman likened it to “rocket fuel”. He stressed the importance of looking beyond a specific industry for inspiration, drawing parallels between Nike’s iconic campaigns and influences ranging from art to space technology and even greeting cards.

Reflecting on his collaboration with Kobe Bryant, Hoffman shared how the legendary late NBA superstar’s insatiable curiosity left an unforgettable mark on Nike’s creative process.

“I had the good fortune to work around a lot of curious individuals who were infectious with their passion. One was Kobe,” Hoffman said.  

“When he wasn’t chasing after five NBA championships, he was seeking inspiration from people, individuals, spaces, within the world of entertainment, the animal kingdom, science, technology, you name it.”

He also explained how Nike Air drew inspiration from elements of aerospace technology.

“You can argue that Nike Air is the most revolutionary innovation that the brand brought to the world of sports – it changed running cushioning forever,” he said.

“But that particular concept and technology would have never happened if they weren’t open to listening to a NASA engineer who  was working on astronaut helmets, of all things.”

Hoffman listed five important qualities for marketers: visionary, courageous, memorable, curious, and collaborative. These qualities, he said, are indispensable for navigating the dynamic landscape of modern marketing and achieving enduring success.

“So many of the concepts that we brought into the world, that the brand I work for, were not on a business plan. They were not even briefed. There was room to share ideas about the future on that,” he added. 

After 27 years at Nike, Hoffman filled a number of roles, working his way up from design intern to chief marketing officer.

During his lucrative career, Hoffman revolutionised Nike’s image as a brand, having worked on a myriad of campaigns for elite athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Jordan, as well as major sporting events like the 2012 London Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.

Today, as founder and principal of Modern Arena, Hoffman advises Fortune 1000 brands, startups, and nonprofits in creating brand strength, business growth, and social impact.

Mumbrella360 takes place over three days (21-23 May) at Doltone House, Jones Bay Wharf. Get your tickets here.

To watch this session recording and more from Mumbrella360, head to Mumbrella Pro.


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