Founder and Chief Executive Officer
A powerful innovator in brand marketing, Steve Stoute has made a career out of identifying and activating a new generation of consumers to help Fortune 500 companies thrive in the world of popular culture. Steve is the founder and CEO of the industry-leading brand development and marketing firm Translation whose client roster includes iconic brands such as McDonald’s Corporation, Anheuser-Busch InBev, State Farm, Target, Estée Lauder, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Lady Gaga. In 2013, Advertising Age recognized Steve as their Executive of the Year.
Much of Translation's work is based on Steve’s philosophy about the changing landscape of American culture and how people are all moving towards a shared cultural complexion. Building on this idea, Steve authored his acclaimed 2011 book, The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture that Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy, in which he teaches corporate America how to understand and reach today’s young adult market—what he describes as “The Tan Generation”—and stay true to their core brands without seeming inauthentic.
Steve has been the keynote or featured speaker at noted conferences including South by Southwest (SXSW), Fast Company Innovation Uncensored, AAF’s ADMERICA and the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Steve has been invited to share his views on culture and marketing as a guest on NBC’s The Today Show, Piers Morgan Tonight, ABC’s Nightline and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, as well as in publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Insider. In 2011, Huffington Post produced and aired an online video series titled “The Tanning Effect with Steve Stoute.”
In 2009, the American Advertising Federation inducted Steve into the Advertising Hall of Achievement, and in 2010 he was recognized as Innovator of the Year by ADCOLOR at their annual awards ceremony. Later that year, he appeared in HBO’s The Black List Project as a leading African-American figure and was featured in Target’s “Dare.Dream.Do.” campaign.
Prior to founding Translation, Steve spent ten years as a senior executive at several leading music labels. He was first President of Urban Music at Sony and later Executive Vice President of Interscope Geffen A&M Records. During his time at Interscope, Steve was honored with an American Music Award as producer for the movie soundtrack of Wild Wild West. He would later go on to executive produce the Academy Award-winning 8 Mile soundtrack.
Steve is also involved in a variety of civic causes. He served as the co-chairman of the New York City Fresh Air Fund in 2003, which helps minority children experience life outside the inner city. He also played a key role in the development of minority recruitment campaigns for both the FDNY and NYPD for which he received the 2004 Humanitarian Award. In 2008, he joined forces with Mary J. Blige to co-found the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now whose mission is to educate and empower women through scholarships, grants and career opportunities.