Chicago, Illinois (February 22, 2019) — Experienced marketing executive Gregory Butler joins MINIMAL, a global award-winning design firm founded by Scott Wilson, as operating partner. Butler will oversee MNML Ventures, the creative capital accelerator of MINIMAL.
Through MNML Ventures, the multi-discipline team forms strategic partnerships with early stage start-ups and established brands, infusing creative and financial capital and delivering a competitive edge. As operating partner, Butler is uniquely poised to serve as a catalyst for growth. He possesses a deep understanding of how to build brands that connect with consumers and believes strongly in the value of design.
“Winning brands are using design and experience as a competitive advantage. It is a critically important way for brands to connect with consumers and when done well, design becomes a brand asset rather than a marketing expense,” Butler said. “There is a tremendous opportunity today for both new brands to disrupt and also for existing brands to evolve with changing consumer needs. Design and experience have to be the cornerstone of successful growth strategies.”
Previously at MillerCoors, Butler led the iconic Miller Family of brands, a $2 billion portfolio, overseeing more than $225 million in annual spend and delivering 13 consecutive quarters of market share growth within the competitive American beer category.
A native of Canada, Butler studied at Queen’s University and later received his MBA from Harvard Business School. Butler has a diverse background leading brands within large consumer companies like Pfizer and Kraft, building health and wellness retail at Walgreens and advising both Fortune 500 and early-stage companies at Parthenon Consulting/EY. He has continually earned roles of increasing leadership and repeatedly pushed boundaries to disrupt the status quo. His innate understanding of consumers and his unique ability to make unexpected connections to drive innovation make him an ideal fit for MNML Ventures.
MINIMAL partners with like-minded entrepreneurs to create powerful brand experiences and deliver impressive ROI for its clients. To date, it has helped clients achieve over $1B in successful exits by intuitively combining design, business strategy and cutting-edge technology with the MNML Ventures accelerator.
Üllo, a recent graduate of MINIMAL and MNML Ventures’ brand incubation process, embodies the essence of MINIMAL’s creative and financial capital model. Partnering with a local chemist on wine purification intellectual property, MINIMAL concepted the Üllo name, brand identity, designed and engineered the product ecosystem, and built a successful crowd funding campaign. After its launch, Üllo earned multi-million-dollar revenue in the first-year, won international design awards, and secured retail partnerships with Bloomingdales, Williams-Sonoma, Goop, and Amazon. This combination of MNML Ventures’ creative capital formula and MINIMAL’s award-winning design talent gives partners like Üllo the confidence and foundation they need to amplify their potential within new category markets.
The inception of MNML Ventures was born from Scott Wilson and MINIMAL’s passion for helping large corporations embrace innovation and act like the challenger brands that are likely to disrupt them. As an example, MINIMAL’s long-term partnership with Microsoft across hardware categories (PC accessories, robotics, gaming and J Allard’s Alchemy Labs) resulted in integrated hardware and software experiences that seeded the transformation of the Microsoft’s design-centric culture. Notable initiatives include the Xbox 360+Kinect system, a gesture-based gaming and entertainment console that sold 8M units in the first 60 days after its release, and the Microsoft Courier, the mythological tablet device the shocked the tech industry and stole thunder from rumors of the iPad, inspiring the future Microsoft Surface platform. MINIMAL raised internal awareness at Microsoft about the importance of looking ahead, integrating brand, design and user experience to drive brand excitement, product sales and consumer loyalty. This evolution altered long-term organizational structure, enhanced brand perception, improved recruiting efforts, and helped Microsoft reestablish itself as a market leader.
Wilson’s prior post was at Nike as Global Creative and Innovation Director for Mark Parker’s Nike Xplore group. His mission was to seek out and define new opportunities, technologies and partnerships for the Nike Inc brands. This directly informed his approach to MINIMAL’s consulting and design venture model. By driving the innovation process from consumer insight to design and development to product launch via a cohesive, design-centric user experience, MINIMAL continues to prove that balancing branding, user experience, technology and creative business solutions maximizes ROI.
As Butler and the MNML Ventures team engage in future initiatives, their eye will be on disrupting industries and challenging category conventions through new product experiences. MINIMAL looks forward to Butler’s integral role of accelerating business performance by focusing on executive recruitment, managing capital allocations, and scaling sales in the years to come.