Member Spotlight: Holly Matson

Twenty years ago, MIMA was founded with the primary intention to showcase all the great work happening in digital marketing in Minnesota.

The main forum to do this has been our speaking events, including our signature Summit.

We have decided to launch our Member Spotlight. This will be a monthly interview with individuals behind some of the great work happening in our state.

For our first installment, MIMA had the opportunity to talk to former board member, Holly Matson Spaeth. Holly is the director of Corporate Branding and Initiatives at Polaris Inc. For this month’s interview, we spoke with her about the great work behind Polaris’ brand evolution efforts that were announced in July.

MIMA– I was reading that, for Polaris, this is the first rebranding effort in more than 30 years, tell us more about that.

Holly– We looked at this experience as an evolution of the overall Polaris brand. We are celebrating our 65th anniversary this year and, in that time, have grown from a snowmobile manufacturer to a global leader in powersports with more than 30 brands that are a part of the Polaris family. Our goal was to have our brand nod to who we have always been, but also reflect who we are today and who we aspire to be.

MIMA– What is at the heart of this new step forward in your brand?

Holly– At the heart of this effort is our new tagline: Think Outside. The idea behind Think Outside has always been at the core of what Polaris does, and now it’s inviting more people to embrace that mindset. It’s a rally cry, a call for each of us to experience the possibilities of work and play outside.

We also updated our corporate logo and emblem with a more contemporary look and feel, and changed our legal name from Polaris Industries Inc. to Polaris Inc.

MIMA– Why now?

Holly– With acquisitions like Boat Holdings and TAP and new offerings like Polaris Adventures, it felt like the perfect time to help people better understand who Polaris is, what we offer, what we stand for, and how we may fit into their lives.

MIMA– You see brands like Conoco trying to connect with new audiences, especially millennials, working around the idea of re discovering the outdoors. You basically have this new influx of brands that are not necessarily associated with exploring nature but who are looking to expand their audiences.

Holly– Being outside has been at the heart of what we do since we were founded in 1954 and remains so today. Spending time outside for work or play, to us, is not something that is for a certain type of person. It’s for everyone. We hope to continue to deliver products and services that delight our current customer, but also help more people find their place outside and, hopefully, with us.

MIMA– How much of your tagline, “Think Outside”, focuses on innovation?

Holly – We work to constantly innovate and elevate our products and experiences, and Think Outside encompasses that spirit of ingenuity. You see this in product innovation, like when we launched Slingshot and RZR to our new DYNAMIX 2.0 system, to unique services like our Ride Command system or Polaris Adventures. The work to push further is really never done.

MIMA– With any brand-related efforts, there is the communication to the consumer, obviously. But how you share the message internally is just as important.

Holly– We launched the work first to our employees, because it was important to us that they hear the news first. But even before the official launch, employees also played an essential role in our brand-building process. Every step of the way, they shared their inputs and insights that allowed us to build the updated brand from the inside out.  We held numerous interviews, focus groups, and workshops to hear and incorporate employee perspectives from all areas and all levels of the company. Many of the best learnings came from these sessions.

MIMA– For those of our members who are looking to gain experience from a leadership perspective, is there something that you did that set you up for success early on this journey?

Holly – Bringing people in early and often was crucial. It enables people to feel more connected to the work and the coming changes, but also just made the work better. It was also important to seek help from your experts.

MIMA– Who did Polaris partner with to create this new step in the brand’s evolution? Did you work with an agency?

Holly– We partnered with Padilla and their brand consultancy, joe smith. They couldn’t have been a better partner in this work. We became a true team regardless of the differing names on our business cards.

MIMA– We, as MIMA, like to think that we create opportunities for our members to further their careers, either by attending our events or becoming involved. What would you say about your involvement?

Holly– My involvement with MIMA started as a member. It gave me access to speakers and thought leaders. It also helped broaden my network, which was critical when I first started my career.

Being part of the board was a way to give back to an organization that had given me so much. I wanted to pay it forward to those that might be in the same position I was once in.

Jordan Grote