Lauren Perkins is a digital evangelist, brand marketer, motivational coach, and self-proclaimed tech-geek. She is passionate about helping individuals and companies unearth and implement solutions that will make a difference in their businesses and lives. Growing up a competitive athlete, turned trainer and coach, Lauren’s interest in inspiring both individuals and teams to work together towards a common goal, has never ceased.
Curious about a wide variety of topics, Lauren first started her career as a local news journalist. At The Boston Globe, she quickly learned the necessity of asking the hard questions, assessing the entire landscape and diving deep to understand the WHY behind each story. That philosophical approach has continued as her career path evolved into brand management, experiential marketing, and digital technology.
Lauren’s instinctive skills for brand marketing were cultivated by her early work at The Boston Globe, Nike and Crunch Fitness. Landing her first management position as the brand and concept shop manager at Nike on Boylston Street in Boston, she conquered the inner workings of a consumer brand retailer. Charged with optimizing the consumer experience, Lauren gained practical skills in acquiring and retaining customers, training and managing staff, inventory, and cash flow. Later, Lauren refined her experience-focused customer branding and marketing approach to build the Community Activities department at Crunch Fitness’s New York headquarters, the first cross-department and discipline initiative to drive community engagement and member acquisition.
An entrepreneur at heart and problem-solver by trade, Lauren opened digital brand and marketing agency Perks Consulting in 2008 with the goal of providing holistic, consumer-centric strategies. Perks’ works closely with every client to align brand with business, products with platforms and marketing with media – ensuring the target audience is being provided the right message, on the right platform, at the right time. Her approach and expertise has led to successful engagements with startups and consumer brands that include eDiets, Laura Mercier, 85Broads, Cookstr, and Pfizer.
As the business landscape continues to grow increasingly more complex, Lauren has found that companies are struggling to keep up. Incorporating an enthusiasm for digital technology, an innate ability to distill the complicated into the simple, and her early passion to coach, mentor and teach, Lauren has become a leading instructor at General Assembly, New York’s largest technology and entrepreneurship campus. Using her vast experience working with the tech startup community, consumer brands, and her comprehensive understanding of the broad business and marketing landscape, Lauren leads a series of classes that make digital relevant and actionable. Currently she can be found teaching classes on Community Management, User Acquisition, Digital Brand Strategy, and Brand-centric Business Strategy.
Lauren has authored several articles on similar topics as a regular contributor to Inc and a guest columnist for Forbes Woman, Business Insider, Young Entrepreneur, and Women 2.0. She can also be found supporting the tech startup and entrepreneurship community in New York as a mentor for ERA (Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator), WIM (Women Innovate Mobile) Accelerator and as the co-Director for YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council).
When she’s not shaking things up at Perks, Lauren can be found embracing her athletic spirit racing triathlons by summer and snowboarding the slopes in the winter.
Q: What words best describe you?
“Change Agent”, “Resourceful”, “Resilient”, “Tech-savvy”
Q: What do you love most about what you do?
For starters, there’s never a dull moment! I love that I get to work with so many smart individuals on initiatives that are focused on transforming and innovating a brand, company, and/or industry. I get to work with so many smart, passionate entrepreneurs and business executives to help them bring their vision to life. I’m constantly empowered to be a change agent. This combination is such a great fit for my natural strengths as a creative problem solver, driven producer and calm competitor. Life’s a marathon, peppered with some strong sprints. Game on!
Q: Early on in your career you worked as a journalist, how has that helped you in your marketing career?
There is a strong correlation between the art of telling a news-story, and the art of telling a brand-story. Getting hired into The Boston Globe’s in-house marketing agency as a promotions copywriter cemented my introduction to the world of brand integration and content creation. While I was at The Boston Globe, I was asked to contribute in many areas of the business—everything from section cover stories to client marketing campaigns. Later in life, I discovered that my fledging journalism career was what provided me with the skills to uncover the facts and package it in an editorial style. This has been a valuable asset for marketing campaigns, especially community management.
Q: Why were you drawn to digital?
I was always pulled to digital because it was challenging, ever changing, and I was of the age. Earlier in my career, when I was often the youngest in the room, I was the most fearless about trying new things. Incorporating digital media into programs I was running or finding a way to use the web to support initiatives I was leading seemed like such an easy and logical step. I was fascinated by the complex, multi-layered opportunities of adding digital to the business solutions I was creating. As the tools and technologies have evolved, they continue to play a crucial role in creating and facilitating consumer experiences.
Q: How did you get into teaching?
As my consultancy, Perks, has grown we see consulting and training as two sides of the same coin, or a different service delivery method. It was a very natural progression from consulting to teaching and training but there is a deeper back story. I started in sports at a young age and was always drawn to teaching and coaching roles, whether it was coaching the younger swimmers in my club or leading my high school track team. When I got to college I was torn between focusing on fitness, business, or something more creative. Driven to pursue all three of my passions, I got my personal training certification and then group exercise credentials while pursuing my business and journalism degree. I found that having the professional fitness outlet not only allowed me to be active but creative as well.
Q: Where did you find your entrepreneurial spirit?
Apparently the entrepreneurial spirit is in my DNA. While neither of my parents has pursued the startup realm, I have entrepreneurs on both sides of my family in my grandfather and great-grandfather. When I was younger, I was told I should build a company and I never thought I had it in me until I heard Steve Jobs, in his 2005 Stamford University speech, venerate “The ones who see things differently.” This statement couldn’t be truer for me and it in fact encapsulates my general outlook. It shines through the strongest when I begin the process of building a business, brand or product — to me it is very much like planting a seed and watching it grow. I draw a lot of inspiration from interaction with other forward-thinkers who see the world through a more creative lens. Like most entrepreneurs, I set my standards very high!
Q: What is the greatest reward in building and innovating businesses?
As a Founder and CEO, I find reward in growing the business of others, while growing my own business. Between my athletic background and Italian heritage, I’ve always been a collaborative people person. I treat my clients with the same personalized attention I would give to the growth my own company. What excites me about my job is being able to develop my client’s business from inception into fruition—a very rewarding process.
Q: If you were a movie, what would it be and why?
“A League of Their Own” – this movie perfectly sums up my mentality of “being able to play with the boys, while still being one of the girls”. Whether I was playing in the mud or kicking around a ball, I was always doing it with pigtails and a bow. I believe that you don’t have to ditch your stilettos or female demeanor to keep up with the boys!
Q: What makes you a good entrepreneur?
I strongly believe in resilience and temperament. I have a thick skin and have never been afraid to shake things up. My mom always said I could step into sh*t and come out smelling like roses. I’ve learned to embrace this, as what she’s meant over the years is that I’m not afraid to get into hot water and am always clever to find a solution when necessary.