Strong brands are not about being different… it’s about the difference you make.
— Excerpt from Be Your Own Brand
Our Core Team
Karl D. Speak
President and Founder
Insight. Wit. Attitude.
Professionally speaking. . . Karl D. Speak is a global expert known for his pragmatic and unconventional approach to using brand as a leadership platform for gaining customer loyalty and employee engagement. Karl’s innovative work on corporate brand strategy, personal brand and internal brand building has been implemented in companies in 23 countries. His best selling book, Be Your Own Brand, is translated into 12 languages and has sold over 80,000 copies. In January 2011 a revised and expanded version of Be Your Own Brand was released to leverage the global success of the first edition and the growing popularity of personal brand.
As an accomplished presenter, Karl speaks to many different types of audiences around the world. His energetic style and wide-reaching knowledge of brand make him a favorite speaker with corporate audiences of marketing, sales, and executive teams.
Through Brand Tool Box, Karl has implemented his contemporary approach to brand management and internal brand building with a wide range of corporate clients. Clients such as 3M, LeadingAge, American Express, AT&T, BASF, BMW, Cabela’s, Cargill, Consumers Energy, EDMC, FedEx, Honeywell, IBM, ING, Mosaic, Motorola, Securian, Skandia, Sony Corporation, St. Jude Medical, Syngenta, Target Corporation, The Scotts Company, The Wall Street Journal, Toro, and Walgreens have benefited from Karl’s consulting and internal brand building programs.
Karl also serves as an “expert witness” in legal cases involving matters relating to brand.
Karl holds a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Minnesota. Karl has taught in the MBA programs at University of Minnesota, Saint Thomas University, and has been guest lecturer at University of Westminster in London, Capella University, ESADE University in Madrid, among others.
Karl’s boardroom experience includes being a board member of Mesa Holdings, VocalEssence, MAP Consulting and serving as the chair of the board of The Design Management Institute.
Personally speaking. . . When not working you will find Karl on a golf course, making furniture, and wandering in the outdoors adding to his portfolio of outdoor photography.
Senior Research Leader
Facts keep people honest and decisions clear.
Professionally speaking. . .Mark is in a special class of senior, accomplished research professionals that finds the hidden nuggets in a pile of data and delivers the insights in a way that everyone can understand and have fun in the process. Mark’s portfolio of global market research experience spans the whole gamut of consumer and business-to-business categories. His expertise ranges from complex segmentation studies to customer satisfaction and brand assessment research.
Mark has led research studies for the following clients: 3M, Best Buy, Thomson Reuters, Anderson Windows, Marvin Windows, Bright House Networks, US Bank, Thrivent Financial, Select Comfort, Time Warner, Education Management Corporation and UnitedHealthcare to name a few.
His practical application comes from his experience as both a marketing research professional and a Brand/Business Unit Manager at 3M. His robust analytical approaches combined with practical knowledge provides a perfect combination for providing organizations with programs that can be integrated into the overall business decision process.
Mark holds a Masters Degree in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been a guest lecturer in the MBA programs at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota.
Personally speaking. . .Although Mark is just a few strokes past his prime as a scratch golfer, his passion for being on a golf course hasn’t waned. In addition to his dedication as a father to his two children, Mark spends considerable time doing work for his favorite charities. In between all that he finds time to follow the Wisconsin Badgers football team.
Director of Client Services, Consultant
Tenacity straight from the heart.
Professionally speaking. . . Kathryn’s passion for solving tough client challenges is a valuable asset to Brand Tool Box. As Director of Client Services, Kathryn coordinates each client project and makes sure Brand Tool Box meets its goals of providing a straightforward, pragmatic approach to brand management and internal brand building.
Kathryn has played an important role in developing our innovative programs and has amassed a wealth of experience related to the implementation of internal brand-building programs. Her enthusiasm and dedication to clients make her an integral part of the Brand Tool Box strategy development team.
Kathryn has worked with clients in a wide array of industries, including BASF, Bonestroo, Cargill, Consumers Energy, DARTS, GE Johnson Construction, Minnesota Humanities Center, AgStar Financial Services, National Church Residences, Pearson Achievement Solutions, Leading Age, Securian, SUPERVALU Pharmacies, and ThedaCare.
Personally speaking. . . Kathryn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in American History with a minor in African History from St. Olaf College. Outside of work, Kathryn enjoys working with and fostering homeless dogs for RAGOM, along with trying to keep up with her own two rescue dogs. She also uses her skills as an EMT volunteering throughout Minneapolis.
Senior Consultant, Master Trainer, and Executive Vice President
Steady Eddie, getting it done.
Professionally speaking. . . Beth blends her consulting and training experience with a successful career as a marketing manager to provide clients with insights for improving their brand management competencies, which strengthen their internal brand to build stronger relationships with customers.
She has played a lead role in developing the Brand Tool Box Internal Brand-Building Program training materials and programs. Prior to joining Brand Tool Box, Beth worked as a marketing manager for 3M’s category-leading Scotch™ Tape and Post-it® Note brands, where she was awarded 3M’s highest marketing professionalism award.
Beth’s personal brand promise, is evident to clients in her attention to detail, as well as in her straightforward, pragmatic, and even-keel approach. Clients can trust that she will provide practical, valuable experience and insights in the development of brand strategies and internal brand-building initiatives.
Beth’s marketing training experiences and insights have benefitted clients from a broad spectrum of industries and professional services, including 3M, Allied Solutions, American Express, BASF, Cargill, Deluxe Corporation, EDMC, Securian, SUPERVALU, and Target.
Personally speaking. . . When not working, Beth can be found in the kitchen indulging her love of cooking gourmet meals, spending time with her two dogs, and expressing her creativity designing and creating cards.
Thorough preparation, thoughtful action
Professionally speaking. . .Dave’s consulting insights come from his success as an executive in the retail industry. Dave’s role at retail leaders Target and Best Buy was to foster innovation in key merchandising and marketing systems to support the rapid growth of both world-class organizations.
Dave brings extensive experience in merchandising, marketing and business development to Brand Tool Box’s clients. His professional achievements include development of an innovative, company-wide grocery strategy at Target Stores and creating the guidelines for Best Buy’s local store marketing program. He also has broad experience in inventory management, domestic and foreign product sourcing and competitive strategy.
Dave has worked with Brand Tool Box on a variety of client projects. He has lent his expertise and experience on everything ranging from conducting executive interviews to helping craft innovative brand platforms and identity strategies.
Dave is also a certified trainer for Brand Tool Box Internal Brand Building training programs. Dave’s personal brand promise, “Thorough preparation, thoughtful action,” is a reflection of his commitment to Brand Tool Box’s work in personal brand and employee engagement.
Dave holds an MBA in Business Management from the University of St. Thomas and a BA in Economics from Coe College.
Personally speaking. . .Dave has a strong commitment to serving non-profit charities including several years as a volunteer with Twin Cities Rise, an anti-poverty organization focused on providing training and job skills to prepare people for living-wage employment. He was the 2009 Volunteer of the Year. In the warm weather months you will find Dave on a golf course ever improving his swing plane and taking strokes off his game.