The Twin Cities market is pretty much obsessed with the Minnesota Vikings. Of course, if you’re a fan of Minnesota sports, this is something you’re already likely aware of. While many people may like and enjoy the Twins, Timberwolves, Wild, Lynx, and other local sports teams, the Twin Cities are basically obsessed with Vikings football. Even when the pads and helmets have been stored away, the Vikings are a leading topic of conversation on sports talk radio and on social media.
The Vikings know the importance of helping businesses in the area that support them to capitalize on this popularity, and they have taken several initiatives to do that. Perhaps the greatest among these is the annual Minnesota Vikings Business Summit. The team held its sixth such conference back in May of this year, having started the practice in 2017.
One of the primary purposes of this summit is to help sports and marketing professionals from local and national companies learn how to leverage their sponsorships to increase sales. At this year’s summit, there was a solid mix of executives from national and local companies sharing strategies with those in attendance. For example, there were representatives from both Sleep Number — a company that has helped the Vikings reach out to the community in a few different ways — as well as Molson Coors. Those are a couple of big-time companies, but those folks were also rubbing shoulders with Kayleen Alexson, the Director of Brand Experience for Caribou Coffee, and Michael E. Jordan, the founder and CEO of the UNRL company, whose hoodies you’ve probably seen around U.S. Bank Stadium on game days.
This mix of big and small businesses shows us that the entrepreneurial spirit really has no limits. Every big company started out as a small company, and the people in charge of all of them needed to be willing to learn from lots of people on their path to success.
While these business titans were learning different marketing secrets and strategies from each other, there’s also quite a bit to be said about having the proper mindset. To emphasize that, the Vikings brought in the one and only Jay Glazer. While most people know Glazer from his spots on the FOX NFL pregame show, he’s also become a leading advocate for mental health. He wrote an outstanding book on the subject called Unbreakable: How I Turned My Anxiety and Depression Into Motivation and You Can, Too and he spoke to those in attendance about how to create an “Unbreakable” mindset.
It’s great that the Vikings brought someone with Glazer’s perspective in to give this sort of a talk because being a small business owner is something that can be incredibly taxing — and not just in the financial sense. There are plenty of ups and downs to be had when trying to get a small business off the ground, and developing the sort of mindset that will allow you to weather those things is just as important as any financial plan any small business owner can formulate.
The event concluded with the Vikings’ new leadership regime, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell, giving some insights into the new era of Vikings football. Because, after all, if the Vikings are going to be good partners to these local businesses, it helps that they’re solid on the field as well as giving assistance off of it.
Personally, I love the fact that the Vikings organization gives an opportunity to all of these business owners, large and small, to benefit from the knowledge of not only those that are a part of the organization but those in the community that have already experienced that success and want to help others. The team has done six business summits so far, and it appears that this is a practice that is going to continue well into the future.