Meet Steve

Introduction

Steven Michael Fies - Owner of S.MICHAEL Creative Branding

Steven Michael Fies is an artist, thinker, and creative entrepreneur at heart. He started building websites at age thirteen after buying his first books on HTML and JavaScript, then launched his first business that same year as a computer/tech consultant.

Fifteen years later (2015) Steve “rebooted” that business as S.MICHAEL Creative Branding, offering an expanded scope of services with branding at the center. Over the years since, Steve has helped dozens of clients with their branding and technology needs.

In his free time, Steve enjoys playing the guitar, chess, exercise, home projects, lake and ocean watersports, working on his car, traveling, being with friends and family, and spending time with his wife and two dogs.

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

 
Some highlights from Steve’s life and career
  • Steve graduated from UC San Diego in 2008 with a B.S. in Management Science w/honors and distinction. He set the curve in his marketing class and worked as an Economics TA under several professors. He also studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and loves to talk about it!
  • Steve became the #4 bestselling author in Business & Money nationwide on Amazon.com in February 2016, outselling Donald Trump and countless others for a brief moment in time.
  • NASA invited Steve to cover an ATLAS V rocket launch as part of their social media team in April 2017. (Here’s a photo of Steve with Jason Townsend, NASA’s director of social media! And another fun shout-out from UCONN.)
  • In early 2020, Steve was invited to be an instructor for General Assembly, where he periodically speaks and holds local, national, and international workshops on branding and technology.
  • Steve is an avid musician. He’s played the guitar for over twenty years, played in several bands, built a recording studio in San Diego, co-produced an album, and became a press affiliate of the NAMM organization through a music blog he operated for many years. Steve also taught guitar during college, finding most of his students by running Facebook ads back when FB was still “colleges only.” (The good ‘ole days!)
  • Before starting his business, Steve worked as a project manager in the branded merchandise industry where he directed the eCommerce division of the company. He’s now a licensed ASI distributor through S.MICHAEL Creative Branding, where he continues to supply branded merchandise and apparel to his clients. He also builds custom “swag webstores” for select clients, complete with fully automated 3rd-party inventory management and international fulfillment programs.

Philosophy & Approach

This is currently Steve’s sixth year running S.MICHAEL Creative Branding, which has grown every year since inception. More than anything else, Steve wants to help fellow business owners succeed. A small business owner himself, Steve has worked hard to build a reputation for solid communication, expert consultation, and high-quality work. His work style is friendly, collaborative, and driven by curiosity; his philosophy stems from the belief that your greatest creation happens when you combine art and science.

Steve enjoys working with fellow business owners and marketing professionals who are also friendly, collaborative, and curious – and who have some ambition to steadily grow their business. Steve occasionally consults new business owners, but most of his clients are established businesses and entrepreneurs with clear branding, marketing, and technology goals.

In addition to developing a wide range of creative and technical skills over the years, Steve has invested significant time developing his “soft skills” – things like leadership, interpersonal communication, emotional intelligence, and project management. Steve has obtained professional certifications in many of these areas from TTI Success Insights, and periodically works with an executive coach to ensure he stays on track.

Why make the effort to develop “soft skills” as a branding, marketing, and tech guy? In a nutshell, Steve has discovered these qualities matter just as much, and sometimes more, than raw technical ability. While you can generally assume most vendors in a given field will have basic technical competence, not all are equal with respect to communication, scheduling, project management, or reliability – and these factors often determine if a project is successful, and whether the business relationship matures in a positive way.

Always making sure to integrate his creative, technical, and soft skills into every project, Steve has worked with dozens of clients over the years – ranging from individual entrepreneurs, to small businesses with 2-50 employees, to even larger companies with over 1,000 people – to create and deploy effective branding, marketing, and related operational strategies.

Steve has worked with authors and TED speakers, professional consultants, law firms and accountants, clinical research companies, 3PL logistics firms, international tool giants, online influencers, professional sports players, countless local businesses, non-profits, and more. His portfolio spans the entire spectrum from brick-and-mortar to ecommerce.

No matter how large or small your project, if your business needs help with branding, marketing, and/or technology – Steve’s door is always open to start the conversation.