Founder profile


Elsie Maio is president of Maio and Company, Inc., and a corporate branding visionary whose SoulBrandingSM -- an innovative approach to merging corporate responsibility and branding -- anticipated current global trends.

The SoulBrandingSM framework is the result of five years of Maio and Company's proprietary research, as well as Ms. Maio's two decades counseling senior executives at Fortune 100 companies. Brands, she says, are synonymous with the corporation itself; they are how corporations reach both the rational expectations and the unconscious emotional desires of their stakeholders. Ms. Maio uses her SoulBrandingSM principles to advise corporate leaders on how they can use the power of their brands to satisfy the desire for higher corporate social values sought by customers, employees, suppliers and other groups.

A New York native, Elsie Maio was graduated from the City University of New York summa cum laude with honors in Classics. She began her career on Wall Street in equities research and was a senior editor at Institutional Investor before joining McKinsey & Company, the international management consultancy. Inspired by the potential for disciplined strategic communications to move business forward, she next was a senior partner at several world-class identity firms. In 1994, she founded Maio and Company to focus on helping clients achieve hard business results through the soft science of brand and identity management.

Today, corporate leaders around the world seek out Elsie Maio's counsel on strategic branding. Her work has helped clients to successfully list on the New York Stock Exchange; evaluate the elasticity of multibillion-dollar product brands; make a quantum leap into their most profitable niches; and anticipate the trend toward socially responsible corporate positioning.

Her opinions appear in The Wall Street Journal, Institutional Investor, BrandWeek, Brand Marketing and American Banker, as well as in leading European business publications such as Management Consultant and Magazine for Marketing, both published in The Netherlands. She also provides expert commentary on ethical marketing for National Public Radio's respected "Marketplace News." Her article, "Branding for the New Balanced Corporate Agenda," was featured in the April/May, 2002 issue of GreenMoney Journal.

She is a frequent, invited speaker at conferences and workshops in the United States and abroad, where her talks explore the increasing confluence of corporate positioning and higher social values. In the calendar year 2002 alone, she is addressing audiences in New York, Minneapolis, London, Milan and Rotterdam. These talks and events include:

  • "Ethical Branding: Design for Deep Value(s)," American Institute of Graphic Artists Conference, "Beyond Branding," Minneapolis

  • "It's Time to Birth Social Brands," Women, Business, Spirituality Conference, New York

  • "A New Management Discipline: Branding in the Stakeholder Economy," Corporate Sustainability Conference, Erasmus University, Rotterdam

  • "'Human Capital' Wants to be Treated Human: Branding as an HR Tool," lecture to the MBA class in human resources management, Bocconi University, Milan

  • "SoulBrandingSM: A Power Tool for Conscious Leadership," The Symposium on Leadership and Consciousness in Business, IMD Business School Alumni, London

  • "SoulBrandingSM: A Tool to Integrate Social Values in Business," Spirit in Business Conference, New York

Other venues for her speeches and presentations include the London Business School and the Canadian Institute in Toronto, as well as conferences of the American Bankers Association, The Conference Board, and Design Management Institute.

At present, Ms. Maio is writing a book on SoulBrandingSM, a practical guide to ethical corporate positioning.

She sits on the Advisory Board to The Sisters of Mercy, a grassroots non-profit serving the underadvantaged in The Americas, and advises other not-for-profit institutions working in the social arena. Her other board memberships include: Interim Board of Directors of the Socially Responsible Business Alliance of New York; Advisory Board of the Women, Business, Spirituality Conference; and the International Advisory Board for the W.I.N. Conference. She is a member of the Design Management Institute; Business for Social Responsibility, and The World Future Society. She is listed in the Millennium Edition of Who's Who of American Women®.

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