Join the Conversation


The Generation Z Palate.

Food in America is evolving rapidly, and Generation Z is growing up in the midst of the shift. The new landscape guides preferences and plays a tremendous role in day-to-day decision-making regarding food. Now more than ever, marketers need to be aware of these trends and changes, and adapt to meet the needs of the next big consumer.

Understanding this consumer’s food behaviors and patterns is essential for businesses, and in order to reach this unique demographic it’s important to strike a balance between sustainability, culture, health and convenience.


Environmental education has helped this group ask critical questions – from how their food is grown to how it is thrown away. Growing up learning about global warming and the importance of sustainable food practices, teens and tweens are drawn toward foods that are natural and organic, and practices that are humane and transparent. The smaller the impact on the earth, the better.

Foodie Culture

Thanks to food-focused television shows, social media and the rise of celebrity chefs, there is a growing appreciation for and enjoyment of food. Even the youngest members of Gen Z have adopted a love for cooking and are eager to try new cuisines and get messy in the kitchen. And if it includes exotic dishes with recipes and photos on Pinterest, even better!

Health and Nutrition

Teachers, parents and coaches have been a large influence in shaping nutritional choices for this next generation. This group is saying goodbye to additives and sugar and hello to high protein and healthy fat. Junk food hasn’t disappeared completely, however, with Gen Z still indulging in “unhealthy” options – it’s hard to say no all the time.


This group is always on the go and seeking convenient food options, but not necessarily at the expense of taste, healthfulness or wow factor. Gen Z is not confined by the traditional meal; instead you can find them snacking on granola bars or ordering something quick and to-go on their iPads.

The more we understand this consumer and their food habits, the more likely we are to better serve them in the future. To learn more about Generation Z or food trends, send us an email.

| Research

Digital Payments Go Mainstream.

Today it’s easier than ever to purchase something with a smartphone or computer – whether that is through Belly, Venmo, Apple Pay or PayPal. What was originally thought of as a niche convenience service is quickly becoming an expectation as consumers are carrying less cash, and checks and credit cards are becoming less relevant. In fact, one-third of Americans believe tap-and-pay payment will replace cash payments within the next five years, and 3 out of 10 Americans think tap-and-pay payment will replace debit cards and credit cards in the next five years.

Digital payment solutions may be just becoming mainstream, but they aren’t a new idea. They were first introduced in the mid-’90s but with little success. Recently they’ve gained more traction, and companies are pursuing their own digital wallet offerings. This fast-moving industry has led to significant amounts of research observing consumers to gain a deeper understanding of the mobile payment user and the mobile wallet experience. While this research has found that consumers are drawn to cashless payment systems for a multitude of reasons, three main themes stand out.

Convenient and Quick

Long lines and wait times consistently top the list of current consumer pain points for in-store checkout. Cashless payment, especially mobile payment, helps speed up those lines by eliminating the need to dig through wallets or purses. Many consumers use cashless payment to replace even small transactions previously paid for with cash. After all, scanning is much quicker than finding, swiping and signing at the register.

Track and Organize

Recording receipts and balancing budgets between different types of payment is time-consuming. Consumers are more likely to use payment options that make it easy to track and monitor spending with real-time records of expenses.

Store Rewards

Consumers want to be rewarded for purchases and for shopping with specific retailers, and they are signing up for programs that promise ways to save with coupons or loyalty benefits. Starbucks has had success with its loyalty program, giving consistent customers rewards for continually using their app. Members earn stars that are redeemable for in-store items, motivating customers to buy more and seek out Starbucks over other coffee shops in order to use their rewards.

The days of clipping coupons and balancing checkbooks are coming to a close, but there is still a long way to go. How will you stand out? Differentiation is essential in the digital payment landscape, so take your consumers’ needs and preferences into account. What works for one business might not work for another, so tailor offers to include these aspects, but also be unique to your brand and consumer.

| Research

What’s Trending in Health Care?

A quick glimpse at health care today shows a drastically different landscape than five years ago. Doctors and hospitals are changing the way they communicate, providers are finding innovative ways to reach consumers and patients are playing a bigger role in their physical and behavioral care – and most all of this can be done at the click of a button.

From ER visits to weight loss to choosing a medical device to selecting health insurance, consumers’ health journeys are top of mind for marketers. And developing products and services that excite and content that engages starts long before creative teams choose imagery and writers craft headlines. It begins with the consumer – diving deep into the everyday world of that audience at home, at work and within the health care system.

As health care transitions to a more consumer-driven atmosphere, how do we connect the dots? Getting past barriers like prioritization to privacy regulations may seem daunting, but it’s one that can be accomplished by drawing on deep understandings of how consumers – from Millennials to women to seniors to Hispanics – approach health care.

Explore the health trends of today. We’ve compiled them in one comprehensive report – from insurance, device, hospital and well-being to technology, demographics, access and education. Get in front of the latest learnings and see how they may impact your future strategy.

Interested? Click here to request the full report.

| Creative, Culture, Research


In an earlier post, we shared the principles of Design Thinking: deep customer empathy, creating many ideas and then narrowing them down, and rapid experimentation with customers. Big-picture thinking is essential, but how do you make this principle work day-to-day?

It starts at the beginning of the creative process. Brainstorming and those full-team sessions can often leave you feeling stuck if great ideas aren’t generated right out of the gate (we’ve all been there). At Delight: 2015, we tried some ideation exercises to help get the creative juices flowing and prevent creative clam-up. We’ve been impressed with the experience – and we think you will be too. Give the following tips a try, and discover how to take the pressure off the ideation process while making it fun and productive.

Collide ideas
Think unconventionally and combine unlike ideas. What happens when you take unrelated things and put them together? It can lead to new and exciting ideas … like dinner theaters, camera phones and pet yoga! Often the more bizarre it seems, the more original the idea. This grouping of two seemingly isolated ideas can be seen throughout every industry – think digital wallets and health concierge.

Be curious
Take interest in something or someone you don’t think can benefit you. You might be surprised about how a different mindset can unlock a whole new perspective.

Let go
Keep in mind that that nothing is too precious. Clear all expectations and let your mind wander. The more ideas, the better so let go of attachment to make room for new ideas.

Be fit and well
This is about attitude. Have confidence and competence in the face of uncertainty. Approach a challenge by saying, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it’s going to be great.”

Channeling delightful thinking can bring the excitement back to the creative process and inspire the development of truly unique ideas. We’ve seen some exciting results here at Fusion Hill. Give the tips a try – and tell us what you think on social media.

| Creative, Culture


They say you spend about 30% of your life at work. So why not make it fun? That’s been our motto since we’ve been in business, and we recently received some recognition for it.

This past month Fusion Hill was named to Minnesota Business magazine’s 2016 100 Best Companies to Work For. The award acknowledges companies whose environment, benefits and talent stand out among other workplaces in the state.

“To be recognized by our own staff is humbling and an unbelievable honor. [Kasey Hatzung and I] started Fusion Hill knowing that work is just one part of employees’ lives, and we’ve tried to foster an environment that’s collaborative and that not only supports but celebrates the individuality of every member on our team. Work/life balance, fun, giving back are all at the top of the list – and we’re so happy to see the respect for these attributes in every single employee that’s come through the doors,” said Kerry Sarnoski, research & strategy principal.

Thanks to our employees and clients for making us excited to come to the office each day. To see the full list of winners, visit Minnesota Business magazine.

| Culture


We’ve always known what a rock star she is, but now it’s official. Our very own Kasey Hatzung was named one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2016 Women in Business this past month.

Anyone who has met Kasey knows that she’s a woman who wears a lot of hats. Almost every hat in fact. At work she’s a designer, strategist, client consultant, sales and marketing lead, and overseer of operations. Outside of work, she’s a wife, mother, friend, volunteer and neighborhood networker.

She’s the whole package. And we’re lucky to have her as a boss and mentor. To view the other winners, visit MSP Business Journals.

| Culture

Amy Behrens Named 32 Under 32 Winner.

We believe our team is a key element of what makes Fusion Hill unique. So it’s with great excitement that we announce Amy Behrens, our director of research and strategy, has been named one of AdFed MN’s 32 Under 32 for 2016.

It’s often said that a good mentor teaches and a great leader inspires. As director of research and strategy, Amy drives strategic initiatives not only for her clients but also for her team. She’s a standout individual and a strong representative of Fusion Hill, and we’re thrilled that her innate leadership, warmth and wisdom were recognized and honored by her peers.

32 Under 32 showcases Minnesota’s next generation of advertising, marketing, and PR leaders who are moving the dial in the creative industry and showing leadership early in their career. More than 100 people were nominated this year, and the 32 chosen were honored at an event hosted by AdFed and Ad 2.

To view the other winners and nominees, visit 32 Under 32.

| Culture

Equality in the creative community.

It’s no secret that men make up the majority of executive teams in the United States. There’s also a discrepancy between men and women leaders in the creative community. And while it can be an awkward and uncomfortable topic to discuss, it’s an important one.

We recently attended Mpls MadWomen’s “The Man Event” to gain actionable insight into this issue, and specifically, learn what men can do to support women. The event featured an all-male panel to discuss everything from parenthood to equal pay to work-life balance to “culture fit”– all with the intent of creating an open dialogue to support cross-gender collaboration and form a deeper understanding of it.

Here are some of the takeaways from the discussion:

We tend to get comfortable in our situation, so it’s important to look around – We all have unconscious biases. It’s easy to get comfortable in your setting and not notice underlying gender disparities. It is important to take a step back and acknowledge prejudices. It’s okay to ask difficult questions and learn from the people around you.

We need people to advance the culture, not just fit the culture – “Culture fit” is a term used in the creative community in reference to hiring people who match a company’s culture. However, this concept often leads to hiring similar candidates and not advancing diversity. There is beauty in people’s differences, and more agencies should be adapting to the candidates, not the other way around.

Don’t ever apologize for being a good parent – People have commitments outside of work that interfere with physically being at the office. This is just part of life. A great leadership team will get creative in finding ways to provide flexibility and will prioritize a work-life balance.

Get beyond “the pipeline problem” – It can be an easy out for men in leadership to blame the lack of women in executive positions on a smaller talent pool, but it’s not necessarily true, and it’s certainly not a solution. Sometimes it takes working a little harder to find diverse candidates; sometimes it takes doing a better job of investing in the growth and success of women in junior roles; and sometimes it requires taking a hard look at what internal factors might be making your workplace a less attractive option to female candidates.

These are steps we all must take as individuals and agencies, and we’re proud to be a part of a community that’s committed to changing the creative landscape. A big thanks to the panelists for opening up about their experiences, the audience for asking tough questions and the organization, Mpls MadWomen, for hosting the great event.

| Creative

We Can Do Anything (on our bikes).

From planting trees at our neighborhood park to enjoying afternoons out on the patio – we’re fans of all things outdoors. But one activity stands out from the rest. Biking. With National Employee Health & Fitness Month in full swing and Bike to Work Day upon us, we thought we’d share how this great activity has become a part of our company culture.

The bike brigade, as we call them, organizes group rides to work, weekend trips to Hudson and everything in between. They’re always up for a ride, no matter when, who, where or why. When it comes to this fun sport, they do it all.

We all know, and love, that biking to work has environmental and health benefits, but it also enhances creativity. ‘Active bodies, active minds,’ as we say. It can be easy to get locked into routine and forget to exercise your imaginative side. At Fusion Hill, our brigade will tell you this is not the case. Many of our researchers and creative team members credit their morning ride with being able to use their imagination and create best-in-class work.

So, the next time you’re in a rut, you want some exercise or you just want a fun way to get outside, bike on over to Northeast and say hello.

| Culture

Shifting the Focus from Idea Generation to Idea Execution.

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” – Thomas Edison

This concept — putting ideas into action — is the driving force behind the 99U Conference, which two of our designers recently attended in New York City. 99U features some of the top authors, designers, creators and business owners all over the world from companies like Buzzfeed, Basecamp, The New York Times and Project Greenlight, to name a few. The speakers, along with master classes and studio visits to the likes of Shake Shack, MoMA, and Shinola, foster a learning culture and an environment for people to share insights on how to shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution.

The speakers and topics were diverse, but they all shared common threads on this basic question: How do you bring ideas to life?

  • Know thyself. Know what you do and why, know what you need (is it help?), and know how you lead and how you participate (the good and the bad).
  • Don’t let failure get personal. Rise above the obstacles.
  • Sweat the small stuff. Design is in the details, so make it the best you can.
  • Find yourself some peace. A creative mind is a calm mind and better able to create more successful solutions.
  • Trials and blessings are the same thing. See them as such and you’ll never be stuck for long.
  • Begin with the end in mind. Think about what you want people to say about your impact or the impact of your brand, and then devise a step-by-step plan to get there.
  • Invite yourself to the table. Create opportunities without permission; the table needs your voice.
  • Fall madly out of love with something you’re doing. Be creative with your process and your projects will benefit.

It is not enough to have a great idea. To give it wings, you must grow, plan, advocate, defend and share it.

Above quotes by: Effie Brown, Ryan Carson, Jason Fried, Ryan Holiday, Maria Konnikova, Tristan Walker, Jeff Sheldon and Kristy Tillman

| Creative, Culture

Locally Inspired, Nationally Noticed.

Fulton, Summit, Surly, Fair State. The Twin Cities is among the leaders in the independent craft brewing trend, and its popularity locally inspired us to explore its effect nationally. The craft movement taps into consumer desires for unique, innovative experiences when they dine, and it has exploded into a wider variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options such as craft liquor and even craft soda.

Inspired by local pride, we decided to dig deeper and discovered that craft beer is only the tip of the iceberg in national beverage trends.

Similar to general trends in the food industry overall, consumers have become much more health conscious in their selection of beverages. This has led to a marked decline in consumption of soda, milk, juice and other highly processed or sugary drinks. And a variety of healthier options, such as non-dairy, plant-based “milks,” premium juices and bottled water, have risen to fill the gap.

Convenience and functionality are also key in consumers’ beverage choices. The popular desire to grab-and-go has led to a frenzy of ready-to-drink novelty beverages such as energy drinks, tea and coffee. If you incorporate a stop at Starbucks or Caribou into your morning ritual, you are part of the trend.

So how do beverage companies reach consumers during this new craze, and how do they make their product the “drink of choice”? For starters, they make it healthy, make it unique and make it easy for consumers to integrate into their busy lives. To learn more about how these trends impact categories inside and outside beverages, read the full report.

Email info@fusionhill.com.

| Culture, Research

Giving Back.

At Fusion Hill, we believe that philanthropy is most effective when it is motivated by personal passion. And our principals have crafted a unique approach to giving back based on this perspective. In addition to company-based volunteer efforts, each of us has four hours set aside every month to dig in where we’re most invested. It’s a corporate commitment that totals over 1,300 hours each year and impacts 20+ organizations.

Together, we’ve done pro bono work to help families, children and aspiring creatives. Individually we’ve used company time for everything from public radio to the humane society. And we aren’t stopping anytime soon.

Let’s join together this month and give back to our community: at home and throughout the world. See how we’re helping out on our Facebook page.

| Culture

Get In Touch

1414 Marshall Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
612 638 5000


If you share our passion for integrated problem solving and developing remarkable creative solutions, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our careers page to view openings.


WBE1802360 WOSB181678

Fusion Hill

Privacy Policy


Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social media: