Karen McSteen, Principal of brandMatters

Karen is a seasoned professional who founded brandMatters in 2003. She has deep experience in helping organizations identify and develop strategies to maximize emerging opportunities in the areas of brand management, strategic planning, corporate marketing, and executive leadership. She also applies brand thinking to help people create a personal brand because a well-defined personal brand can help advance careers.

Karen’s experience covers a broad base of industries including travel, education, hospitality, media, technology, associations and non-profit organizations.

She focuses on developing an organization-wide, brand-centered approach for her clients, a highly effective strategy she honed in her leadership roles as AOL’s Senior Vice President of Brand Strategy and Brand Vice President at Marriott International.

At AOL, Karen focused on increasing the relevancy of the brand to build member loyalty through segmentation, research-based programming strategies and targeted customer service initiatives. At Marriott International, she was responsible for positioning and ensuring the strength of the Marriott brand as the marketplace was changing, the brand was growing globally and new Marriott brand extensions were being created.

Karen’s experience as a senior brand executive has profoundly influenced her philosophy of consulting. She is a hands-on collaborative partner to every brandMatters client, and she believes that each engagement should be directly and inextricably linked to business goals.

In addition to her work at brandMatters, Karen is an Advisory Council Member for the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business Office of Executive Programs and a volunteer for Cross Cultural Solutions.

  • “Karen’s ability to digest, assess and intelligently organize huge amounts of information while strategically connecting the dots is truly impressive. She worked tirelessly and was equally committed to our success as our own executives.”

    Janet Traphagen

    Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing
    Creative Group Inc