Offered jointly by Yamamoto, the Carlson School of Management, and Twin Cities Business Magazine, Brand Matters is a speakers' series that provides tools and insights to help companies build their brands. Each 90-minute event features an expert with firsthand knowledge of branding and a question-and-answer session.

Past Presentations


MSP-Communications; Gary Johnson and Jayne Haugen Olson

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 

More and more brands are committing to content, so why aren’t they seeing better results? 

Consumer engagement isn’t a mystery. But being seen and heard is harder than it’s ever been. Brands need to know how to effectively navigate in our increasingly noisy, digital world. Gary Johnson, president of MSP Communications, one of the premier content marketing agencies in the nation, and Jayne Haugen Olson, Vice President/Content and the 2015 Content Director of the Year, join Brand Matters to provide solutions and tactics.


Brand Matters Soul Searching

US Bank; Jennifer Neuman

Thursday, May 5, 2016: Soul-searching as a strategy.

Jennifer Neuman, VP of Brand Strategy and Management for US Bank, talks about how the power of reflection gave a brand rediscovered purpose.



Brand Matters Truth Bomb

Yamamoto; Andy Thieman

Wednesday, March 30, 2016: #TruthBomb your brand. Or run the risk of never blowing up. 

Andy Thieman, Executive Creative Director at Yamamoto, will discuss how the best brand campaigns, social fiascos and charitable efforts hang their hat on a single truth and own it. He’ll also talk about the dangers of wandering too far from your truth, with personal stories from the trenches of JCPenney’s "reinvention of retail.” 


Full List of Past Speakers: 2000-2016

2000-2001 Brand Matters Season

Vickie Abrahamson and Mary Meehan, Principals, Iconoculture, Inc.
Jerry Storch, Vice Chairman, Target Corporation
Robert Stephens, Chief Inspector, The Geek Squad
Kevin Lane Keller, Professor, Amos Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

2001-2002 Brand Matters Season

Joseph Pine, Co-founder, Strategic Horizons LLP
Cynthia Gray, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Wells Fargo
Betsy Brown, Director of Marketing, Xcel Energy
Ken Powaga, Senior Vice President, Custom Research, Inc.

2002-2003 Brand Matters Season

Kent D. Seltman, Director of Marketing, Mayo Clinic
Stephen R. Bergerson, Advertising & Entertainment Law Group, Fredrikson & Byron
Lee Lynch, Co-founder, Carmichael Lynch
Chris Toal, Director of Marketing, Caribou Coffee


2003-2004 Brand Matters Season

James H. White, Vice President, International Multifoods
Patrick Hanlon, Principal, Thinktopia, Inc.
Janine Heffelfinger, Director, Brand Design, General Mills, Inc.
Diane Utzman-O’Neil, Vice President of Brand Management, and Noel Schenker, Senior Vice President of Marketing and New Business Development, Select Comfort


2004-2005 Brand Matters Season

Dave Norton, Ph.D., Vice President, Experience Strategy and Research, and Nathalie Wilson, Vice President, Account Strategy, Yamamoto Moss
Derek Scott, Marketing Manager,
Victory Motorcycles, Polaris Industries, Inc.
Barry Judge, Senior Vice President, Consumer
and Brand Marketing, Best Buy Co. Inc.
Matt Crum, Director, North Atlantic KLEENEX®
Brand Development, Kimberly-Clark Corporation


2005-2006 Brand Matters Season

Moira Cullen, Creative Development Strategist, Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Kim M. Sharan, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Ameriprise Financial
Michael D. Keller, Chief Brand Officer, American Dairy Queen
Akshay R. Rao, Chairman of the Department of Marketing & Logistics Management, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota


2006-2007 Brand Matters Season

Yvonne La Penotiere, President, Carlson Hotels Worldwide—The Americas
Joseph Pine, Co-founder, Strategic Horizons LLP
Ann Ness, Vice President, Brand, Cargill, Inc.


2007-2008 Brand Matters Season

Bruce Mau, Founder, Bruce Mau Design, Inc.
Scott W. Hardy, Executive Vice President, Product Group, Polaroid
Steve Moss, CMO, Imation


2008-2009 Brand Matters Season

Stan Gadek, President and CEO, Sun Country Airlines
John Gerzema, Author, The Brand Bubble
Mary Rapaport, Vice President of Marketing, Universal Hospital Services, Inc.


2009-2010 Brand Matters Season

Lee Aase, Manager of Syndication and Social Media, Mayo Clinic
Trish Adams, Senior Vice President, Merchandising, Target
Greta Moran, Manager of Brand Identity and Creative Services, Delta
Dan Stangler, Marketing Manager, General Mills, Inc.


2010-2011 Brand Matters Season

Faris Yakob, Chief Innovations Officer, MDC Partners
Marcia Miller, Vice President of Brand, Advertising and Interactive Marketing, UnitedHealthcare 
Mark Addicks, Chief Marketing Officer, General Mills, Inc.
Regan Hall Reinerth, Senior Marketing Manager, National Marrow Donor Program

2011-2012 Brand Matters Season

David Clark, Vice President, Häagen-Dazs International Strategic Business Unit
Heidi Thom, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications, Ecolab
Kevin Lane Keller, author and Professor, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College


2012-2013 Brand Matters Season

Dick Lynch, Chief Global Brand Officer, Popeyes
Jeff Jones, Chief Marketing Officer, Target
Ravi Bapna, Professor, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Abbey Klaassen, Editor, AdAge


2013-2014 Brand Matters Season

Krae Lausch, Senior Creative Director, Life Time Fitness
Carlos Torelli, Associate Professor, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Jim Weber, CEO, Brooks Running Company
Michael Keller, CEO, Pearson’s Candy Company


2014-2015 Brand Matters Season

Maureen Bausch, EVP of Business Development, Mall of America
Bridget Russo, Marketing Director, Shinola
Patrick Hanlon, CEO and Founder, Thinktopia
Chris Policinski, President and CEO, Land O’Lakes, Inc.


2015-2016 Brand Matters Season

Amanda Brinkman, Chief Brand and Communications Officer, Deluxe
Butch Burns, Coca-Cola, and Dave Fransen, Fast Horse
Andy Thieman, Executive Creative Director, Yamamoto
Jennifer Neuman, Vice President, Brand Management and Strategy, U.S. Bank


2016-2017 Brand Matters Season

Gary Johnson, president and Jayne Haugen Olson, Vice President, MSP-Communications