Our strategies drive clients forward, creating work that matters by breaking boundaries, shaking up categories, and delivering impactful results.

Who are we?

A group that gets it done.

Thirty-six years ago, our two original partners decided to start an agency founded on innovation. That singular focus made sure we were always a step ahead of the ever-shifting communications landscape – and eventually led to our pursuit of becoming a certified B Corporation. Today, we’re a crack group of professionals, unified by our determination to create disruptive messaging and work that actually matters. And we move fast. Like, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, try-to-keep-up fast. We’re all about high-energy, good vibes, and happy clients.

Better work through chemistry.

Here’s the thing – we couldn’t be more different. Introverts, extroverts, talkers, parents, millennials, each with stories worthy of a Sundance screening. Yet we all come together with a shared passion for our craft and make it a priority to constantly improve our team chemistry. Naturally, we check all the fun boxes: potlucks, happy hours, vicious pinball rivalries – all of which goes a long way to producing great work. We love what we do, and who we do it with.

An agency that gives back.

We all have our passions, those areas where we choose to give back. From paid volunteer time off, to group activities that benefit our community, we believe it is our social responsibility to be about more than just our bottom line. And others have taken notice. For instance, Twin Cities Business named us a “Leader in Giving” for our philanthropic efforts. This kind of mission-driven approach may be a rarity in our industry, but it keeps us excited about what we do.

We don’t just
talk the talk.

Minnesota’s only internationally-certified B Corp ad agency.

At Russell Herder, we firmly believe that why and how you succeed is just as important as your bottom line. Every day, we make a difference for our clients as well as making an impact on the world we live in. We work parallel with more than 3,000 internationally-certified B Corporations – one of only 18 in Minnesota. In simplest terms, B Corps are to business what USDA Organic is to milk. For-profit companies such as Patagonia, Athleta, Method, Ben & Jerry’s – and Russell Herder – are certified by an official independent assessment organization to meet rigorous standards of performance, ethics, accountability and transparency. Last year, we were recognized on the ‘Best for the World’ list as being in the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corps globally.

We advance economic sustainability, the arts, and health and wellness. And we measure our impact – all of it. Does working with a firm that walks the walk really matter? Absolutely. It brings the best and brightest to our door. And it assures you’re partnering with an ethically-driven team. Work with us and everybody wins.

What we can
do for you.

Brand Planning / Research

With a sound strategy and clear, measurable plan, you can accomplish nearly anything. Through meticulous research and an intimate knowledge of your brand and audience, our expert strategists and brand planners uncover actionable insights and turn them into powerful differentiators.


As master storytellers, our creative group develops breakthrough ideas to engage audiences and build brand relationships. We develop authentic, meaningful messaging that matters through inspired thinking and collaboration to give your brand what it needs to cut through the clutter.

Content / Social Media

With competing messages and shortened attention spans, it takes compelling content just to join the conversation. Inspiring, informative, hilarious or heartbreaking – it needs to stir the soul. Or stir the pot. Digital. Video. Print. Social. Experiential. No matter the medium, we can bring your message to life.


It’s a digital world, filled with competing voices, where getting noticed means talking with your audience, not at them. From website development, search engine optimization, campaign management, trackable metrics and more, our team will ensure that every digital touchpoint strengthens brand relationships and reinforces credibility.

Public Relations

Your reputation is your greatest possession. When it’s strong, anything is possible. But that takes thoughtful planning. What are your end goals? Is there a crisis plan in place? Smart PR gives you an opportunity to communicate effectively with all of your stakeholders and prospects – and our seasoned PR team makes it easy.

Media Strategy

What is a good media strategist worth? Every penny. Today’s media mix is a perpetually changing blend of options and metrics, designed to address exacting needs and concerns. We cover the full spectrum of media strategy, from hard analytics to savvy negotiation and placement. All to make sure you’re engaging exactly who you want, on their terms – and yours.

Get to know us
even better.


The names on the door.

As the name implies, our original founders, Carol Russell and Brian Herder still guide the day-to-day operation of the agency, driven by the belief that a strong business can be a force for good, benefiting its clients, employees and the world. Over the years, much has changed (and don’t even ask about their hairstyles). Looking ahead, technology will continue to open new doors, reinventing the ways we connect. For our entire team, that means opportunities to shake up categories, with tools and techniques that deliver vital results for clients.

Carol Russell
Partner, Chief Executive Officer

A founding partner of Russell Herder. Develops and guides growth strategies across the spectrum for brands in the healthcare, hospitality, building products and professional services industries, among others. Holds a master’s degree in Communications Management and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Executive Program, Carlson School of Management.

Specialized Expertise: Research and strategic planning, brand launch and revitalization, digital initiatives, public relations. Highly experienced in purpose-driven marketing – ideation, messaging, revenue optimization.

Representative Client Experience: State of Minnesota, Genmar Marine, Association of American Medical Colleges, OneOme, National Board of Medical Examiners, University of Minnesota, American Society of Interior Designers.

Brian Herder
Partner, Chief Creative Officer

Russell Herder’s other founding partner. Leads the creative team, developing nuanced, impactful work across virtually all client sectors. Under his guidance, the agency has received national and international recognition for creative excellence, with myriad accolades ranging from Hamburg’s World Media Festival to the 4As O’Toole Award.

Specialized Expertise: Development and execution of strategic, multi-platform campaigns. Successful co-creation partnerships within organizations and cultural communities to create authentic, uniquely resonant messaging.

Representative Client Experience: State of Minnesota, University of Minnesota, Taiyo International, Marvin Windows, Blandin Foundation, Association of American Medical Colleges, RoyOMartin, Anderson Engineering, Odyssey Resorts, TCF Bank, Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania.

Some of our friendly faces.

There’s a whole lot of amazing talent and personalities here. While we could proudly list every employee here, we figured the page would just get too long – and we imagine you’re a very, very busy person. So enjoy this snapshot of some of our team members that make this place go.

Patrick Thornton

Director, Public Relations

Robin Melville

Director of Brand Planning

Justin Grady


Daniel Joyce

Senior Art Director

Brandon Kasper

Digital Analyst

Kate Krug

Content Strategist

Sam Bohlken

Senior Art Director

Alix Hines

Associate Brand Planner


We know our stuff.
And we can prove it.

Start talking qualifications and people’s eyes glaze over. But we’re fully accredited by lots of impressive organizations, as well as being a proud member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. From earning a “Best for the World” from B-Lab to our Google certifications and other professional accreditations, we have the credentials to open doors.

Honoree for Best For the World in Governance in 2019


The icing on top.

We believe a great idea doesn’t care where it comes from. It’s why we’re proud to have collaborated on so many compelling and innovative projects with our valued clients. We’re also grateful for numerous industry awards and recognitions. Although we don’t enter many competitions – the love of what we do is enough to keep us satisfied – we’re always humbled to receive accolades. Here are a few:

American Advertising Awards (ADDYs)
All Media Contest
Aster Awards
Building Products Digest
Cardiovascular Advertising Awards
Digital Health Awards
e-Healthcare Leadership Awards
Healthcare Advertising Awards
Innovators in Health and Wellness Award
MHSCN Award of Excellence
National Health Information Awards
National Council on Problem Gaming Awards
Service Industry Advertising Awards
Telly Awards
Web Health Awards


Our office may or may not be in an old underwear factory.

Russell Herder is located within International Market Square, the cornerstone of the Minneapolis Creative Corridor. Built in 1905, IMS is the largest commercial and residential design marketplace in the Upper Midwest and a hub of creativity. Home to more than 170 unique businesses – and a ghost named Basil – the dynamic complex features agencies, showrooms, studios, shops, galleries and restaurants. Oh, and it definitely used to be an underwear factory.