How To Grow Companies with Growth Guru Kristin Luck

March 30, 2022

(highlights from Episode #3 of the Gutsiest Brands podcast)

In our latest Gutsiest Brands podcast, famed entrepreneur Kristin Luck and GutCheck Chief Revenue Officer Jess Gaedeke talked female empowerment, the importance of having a global mindset, and how to procure silverware from Denny’s! If Kristin were to describe her job to a child, she’d say, “I grow companies.” But a few minutes with her will tell you it’s so much more than that. 

Kristin Luck is the current president of ESOMAR, a global member organization for market, social, and opinion researchers. She is also the founder and managing partner of ScaleHouse, a management consulting firm dedicated to growing, defending, and perpetuating enterprise value for firms in the market research and marketing technology vertical. She has started, scaled, and sold three successful firms in this industry, and she currently serves on the board of directors for several industry leading firms. Not to mention, she has her very own Wikipedia page (#lifegoals). 

Takeaway #1 Think Globally

Kristin says the most pivotal part of her career “allowed me to meet researchers from all over the world. It’s an incredible resource. [Without that] I wouldn’t have the career that I have today, which is a pretty global one.” Not only does Kristin believe in working globally, she also believes much can be gained by studying global markets. “There’s an incredible amount that you can learn from how people are doing work in emerging markets or how they’re doing work in conflict markets or what new technologies are coming out [in] some of these other high growth areas of the world.” 

Takeaway #2 Disrupt Markets through Empathy 

When asked which brand shows major empathy, Kristin brings up Humm Kombucha. Before Humm, kombucha was a fancy $11 drink you would buy at Natural Grocers or Whole Foods. When Humm came on the scene they were “trying to unseat some of the big players and the way that they were trying to unseat them was by going mainstream.” Humm wanted to take a “hippy-dippy” experience and turn it into a healthy alternative for soda drinkers. Kristin explains, “the truth of the matter is we weren’t trying to speak to the people who buy GT’s. We were trying to speak to the people that buy Coca-Cola and Pepsi and Monster energy drink.” Through empathy, Humm was able to craft an informational marketing campaign that spoke to this new audience and broke through. 

Takeaway #3 Be Your Own Evangelist

“It’s important,” Kristin asserts. “I don’t think that all founders and CEOs want to be the evangelist for their brand. Personality-wise, it’s not a fit for them. I always tell people, figure out how you can evangelize the brand in your own way.” For Kristin, this means traveling, public speaking, and meeting people to promote herself and her favorite companies. But be careful. “You have to figure out what your strengths are and really play to those.” If you aren’t someone who likes the spotlight, Kristin says, “pick a business partner or hire somebody internally who is that person, who can really serve as the face of the company. You don’t have to have that, but it makes marketing so much easier and a lot less expensive.” 

Takeaway #4 – The Need for Diversification in the Investment Community  

“If you look at the advertising world, I think less than three percent of creative directors are women, and yet women make eighty-five percent of all purchase decisions. So that’s an issue.” From breaking barriers with a new bra design to disrupting the porn industry to creating jumpsuits with pockets (yes, pockets!), women are making waves in every industry. “But then female founders have also traditionally been underfunded and still are. I think we need more women in leadership positions, more women in startups, and more women particularly on the money side of the business and private equity, investment banking, and venture capital.” 

Kristin‘s Best Advice?

“I think the more that you can, the more that you should gravitate toward the things that you’re really excited and passionate about.” Kristin points us toward the intersection of what we’re good at and what we’re impassioned for, saying that makes it “more likely you are going to have success at an adventure or a job or anything that you’re doing. That’s what I really try to focus on.”

Keep Learning 

Catch Kristin’s full interview to hear more of her firsthand experiences building and cultivating gutsy brands – and learn her family’s deepest, darkest secret

Interested in learning about how we can help you become a Gutsy Brand or interested in being a future guest on our podcast? Reach out and let us know. 

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