A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:


Title: Creative director

Age: 42

New creative director Jeff Berg is helping Minneapolis-based advertising agency Haberman compete for bigger clients and expand its creative offerings.

Berg said he and Jesse Ross, Haberman's creative and technology director, are working to map out the growing agency's "next big leap."

"Upping our creative firepower is the best way to describe it," Berg said. "We're going after bigger clients, which is exciting. We're up against some of the bigger agencies here in town and we're winning, which is exciting."

Berg said he identified with Haberman's mission — "to tell the stories of pioneers who are making a difference in the world" — both personally and professionally. "They figured out long ago that … you've got to look at a brand all the way from, honestly, the ground up," said Berg citing Haberman clients Organic Valley and Earthbound as examples.

That holistic view makes for better relationships with clients and more compelling work for their brands, Berg said. "With that collaboration and that spirit, we make brand messages that actually resonate with people," he said.

Berg joined Haberman after nine months as a group creative director at Target Corp., which followed a decade as a creative director at Minneapolis ad agency Olson. A graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Berg also worked at Nickelodeon and has written and illustrated a children's book, "Mrs. Claus & the Batty Christmas."

Q: What role is the creative department playing in Haberman's growth?

A: I like to describe it as making leaders out of everybody in the group. Because I believe at Haberman, the difference is we are a team. I keep calling us a village. It's everybody in the village contributing to turn us into a city at some point.

Q: How is your Target experience coming into play now?

A: Even nine months at Target helped me grasp what our clients go through internally to get creative through the rank and file on their end. Understanding how a big business works and how they partner with us, having that insight has made me so much better as a creative leader.

Q: What led you to do a children's book?

A: My daughter came to me, this must have been four years ago, on Christmas morning and said, "Hey, Dad, how do vampires get their presents if they're up all night?" I snuck away from the family for an hour and started writing the story. For the next year, weekends and evenings, I was drawing and putting this thing together.

Todd Nelson