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We are a balanced brand agency.

LEVEL is more than an advertising, digital, and brand strategy agency based in Minneapolis. We are a Balanced Brand agency. Since 1986, we’ve been helping companies find balance, so they can get traction and gain momentum to keep moving forward.

We equip your business with everything it needs to inspire customer loyalty, increase revenue, and sustain profitable growth. LEVEL offers a full range of strategic planning, advertising, creative, digital, media, reputation management and PR services, along with proprietary tools, to help you achieve your goals—and become a Balanced Brand.


We’re motion. Moving backwards and forwards, side to side, up and down, inside and out, from one extreme to the other. Constantly searching for balance. Because we know that too much of one thing, or not enough of another, can disrupt the balance—that sweet spot where creativity and strategy combine to create ideas that move people.

We’re a combo of extremes including realists and idealists, leaders and followers, creatives and suits, scholars and students, liberals and conservatives, optimists and pessimists, vegetarians and carnivores, empiricists and theorists, neat freaks and mess makers, veterans and novices. Together we bring balance to every brand.

Our Capabilities

Brand Strategy

Fundamentally, your brand is a promise: the performance of your products and services is the fulfillment. We bring promise and performance into alignment.

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Creative

We create value for your brand by delivering solid strategy, well-executed. Broadcast. Print. Out-of-home and online advertising. Compelling. Credible. And relevant.

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Media

This is how we deliver strategy and execution into the world. So we put just as much thought into the way we connect with your audience as what we say to them.

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Digital

Today there are more and more digital avenues open. We help you navigate the avenues and choose the right ones to take you where you want to go.

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Our Leadership

John Foley

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John Foley

CEO, Principal Brand Strategist

John is driven by the desire to create meaningful relationships between business and stakeholders through marketing and communications. So driven that, in 2006, John wrote Balanced Brand: How to Balance the Stakeholder Forces that Can Make or Break Your Business, published by Jossey-Bass. John’s vision for relationship building and brand strategy forms the backbone of LEVEL and informs everything we do. John continues to be an active practitioner in the field.

John’s client experiences include: 3M Healthcare, AAA/CAA, Acura, American Express, Beckman Coulter, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Cargill, Ceridian, Coca-Cola USA, FICO (Fair Isaac), Hazelden, KPMG, North Memorial Health Care, Lawson Software, Medica, Medtronic, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Pearson Assessments, Tiffany & Co., US Bank, University of Minnesota.

Lois Dirksen

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Lois Dirksen

President, Principal Brand Strategist

Lois’ business career is built on developing high performance strategies in competitive sectors. Previously, Executive Vice President for one of the fastest growing publicly traded businesses in Minnesota. Lois also served as a Vice President, Marketing for a start-up publishing business, and Director of Direct Response for Securian. Lois works with our clients to develop strategic brand and marketing strategies that promote client growth in traditional, direct and emerging markets.

Lois’s client experiences include: Assurant, AT&T, Bank of America, Beckman Coulter, Blistex, CIDCO, Cingular, Countrywide, Discover Financial Services, Dunn & Bradstreet, Enova Energy, JC Penney, MBNA USA/Canada, Medica, North Memorial Health Care, New York Times, Providian, Prudential, Qwest, Reed-Elsevier, SBC, Target, Timken, TKDA, Verizon, Wells Fargo, Western Bank.

Kim Thelen

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Kim Thelen

Vice President, Strategic Planning/Client Service

Kim’s role at LEVEL has included working in all facets of healthcare from providers, medical assessment and medical device to payers and nonprofits. Over the years, Kim has been a guiding force for her clients as they seek to successfully communicate within the healthcare system.

Kim has a way with people. A proven communicator with solid strategic instincts, Kim ensures that the team understands what the client needs, before the client even knows that they need it. After more than 19 years at LEVEL, her commitment to our clients continues to produce brilliant results; Kim gets the strategy and the message right.

Kim’s healthcare clients include: Atrium Health Plan, Beckman Coulter, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, cMore Medical Solutions, March of Dimes, Medica, Minnesota Department of Health, Nation’s CareLink, Pearson Assessments, North Memorial Health Care, Sanofi Diagnostic Pasteur and Winona Clinic.

Gregg Byers

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Gregg Byers

Creative Director

Gregg’s years of experience as a creative at cutting edge agencies such as, Carmichael Lynch, BBDO, Bozell Jacobs, and HMS tell only part of his success story. Gregg digs deep to understand clients. He has the unique ability to tell their brand story in a variety of relevant consumer touchpoints and in a way that resonates with stakeholders.

Gregg’s client experiences include: Carnival Cruises, Target, Target Racing, Fairview Hospitals, St. Jude Research Hospital, North Memorial Health Care, Matthew Thornton Health Plan of New Hampshire, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN, Medica Health Care Plans, Chrysler, Discover Financial Services, Florida Lottery, Hormel, ITT Financial, Mattress Giant, Star Tribune, Red Barron Pizza. Gregg has also been the recipient of numerous prestigious advertising awards including, The Show, The One Show, a Lion at Cannes Film Festival and Best of Show for the MMC Awards in New York.

Laura Shiue

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Laura Shiue

Vice President, Strategic Marketing Media

Laura knows the media business inside and out; with over 25 years of media strategy and buying experience, including national media director positions with Best Buy she is a true expert. When it comes to value-added, Laura has built relationships that ensure that nobody gets more for their money than do our clients. Laura keeps an eye towards cutting edge media ideas, and balances the “next and best” with the “proven and reliable”.

Laura’s client experiences include: AgriBank/ Farm Credit Services, American Express Financial Advisors, American Express Life, Arthritis Foundation, Best Buy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Chronimed/MedGenesis, Coca-Cola USA, DCSI/ HighJump Software, FICO (Fair Isaac), First Bank Systems, Jostens Class Rings, Lawson Software, Leeann Chin, Lindquist & Vennum, March of Dimes, McDonald’s, Medica, North Memorial Health Care.

  • 3M
  • American Express
  • American Heart Association
  • AGIA
  • AQS
  • Beckman Coulter
  • Black Bear Casino
  • Bremer Bank
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota
  • Boldt
  • Caterpillar
  • Ceridian
  • Children's Cancer Research Fund
  • Coca Cola
  • Creative Health Care Management
  • Doherty
  • Dunwoody
  • Farm Credit Services of America
  • FICO
  • GMAC
  • Grand Casino
  • Hamline University
  • Healthsense
  • HighJump
  • The KNW Group
  • Lawson
  • Medica
  • Medtronic
  • MN Lottery
  • MN Zoo
  • Mystic Lake Casino
  • NYC Leadership Academy
  • North Memorial
  • Pearson
  • Pioneer Press
  • RBC Dain Rauscher
  • Riverbridge Partners
  • TKDA
  • TORO
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • U of M
  • US Bank
  • Urgent Care Partners
  • Western Bank

Our Values

We put the interests of our clients first.

We build trusting relationships through integrity and collaboration.

We use our talents and skills to give back to our community.