As Head of Growth of Unconquered, Lucy Glaser attends to her clients’ marketing needs.
Lucy Glaser “specializes in crafting and stewarding bespoke, strategic marketing solutions to grow her clients’ business.” This specialty informs her work at Unconquered, an independent creative agency.
Throughout her career, Lucy Glaser has worked at “large, traditional advertising shops” where she took care of brands like DISH, Citibank, Hefty-Reynolds, and Marriott.
She decided to join Unconquered in October 2019. At the agency, Lucy Glaser worked to realize its core value of working “with a sense of purpose beyond itself, using commerce and creative problem solving to make positive change in the world.”
At Unconquered, Lucy Glaser works on initiatives like “1% for the Plent membership, sharing stories of CMO & VPs that connect personal passions to brand values in agency podcast, ‘Conquer the Nose.’”
Lucy Glaser and Unconquered also work to champion “equity and inclusion as a founding partner of The Humanity Lab.”
According to Lucy Glaser, Unconquered stands out from the competition because of its “bold transparency and alignment to values.”
As an example, Lucy Glaser said that the company could have taken on a project that would help them. But they believed the project “encouraged fear mongering,” so they decided to decline “in favor of our values.”
Bold transparency and alignment to values. Lucy Glaser, Unconquered
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Lucy Glaser: Bold transparency and alignment to values. In the early days of the pandemic we, like most agencies, were impacted.
A project opportunity came in that we believed encouraged fear mongering — directly conflicting with our mission to (positively) change the world through commerce.
While we could’ve used the project at the time, we declined in favor of our values.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Lucy Glaser: Such a hard question and, transparently, an area I’m constantly working to improve myself.
I was recently advised to start each day by identifying the 1–3 things you absolutely need to — and can realistically — complete.
When the day ends and those boxes are checked, you’ll feel accomplished, productive, and have the clarity that if you didn’t get to absolutely everything, there’s always tomorrow’s list.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Lucy Glaser: My parents. They both had successful careers as small business owners, which is where the root of my entrepreneurial spirit comes in.
From as early as I can remember, they instilled a sense of importance behind making sure that your career is doing something you truly love and would be happy doing every day.
They also didn’t shield me from “the real world” and the idea that good things don’t necessarily come easy.
When I was around eight, I set up a lemonade stand with a neighborhood friend. At the end of the day, I proudly showed my dad my earnings.
He congratulated me, then educated me on the concept of the cost of doing business by having me pay back the cost of materials.
Maybe a bit early in life for this lesson, but it stuck and is now a running family joke.
Great companies are able to unite their functional reason for existence with a greater human need.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
Lucy Glaser: I believe most entities fall into a 80/20 ratio.
80% of companies are good — they service a need of the population, are able to articulate what their product or service is and identify some aspect(s) of it that makes it better than competitors.
I.e. “We bake fresh bread, and are the only one on the market that uses ____ ingredient”, or “We bake fresh bread, producing more loaves daily than any other breadmaker in the tri-county area.”
20% of companies are great — they not only service a need and can articulate it, but they are a true innovator in their industry &/or make a measurable, positive impact on society.
Great companies are able to unite their functional reason for existence (i.e. selling bread), with a greater human need (i.e. reducing hunger, sustainable operations, job opportunity creation).
Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?
Lucy Glaser: First & foremost I’d do research — on your customers and the general industry landscape.
As the world evolves, market & consumer behavior do as well. You need to get insight on what’s changing to be able to identify how you can adjust accordingly.
Getting data can be as simple as a DIY survey to your email list &/or pulling 3rd party trend reports.
Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
Lucy Glaser: Market evolution and consumer behavior are interdependent and drive one another.
When your industry has a downturn, you need to first assess root cause, and estimate how long this will be the case for.
If short term and you have the means, it’s key to invest in your long term customer relationships. This is where brand values come in.
Ask yourself: how can your brand authentically support & add value to your customers beyond the immediate sale?
If your market dip will have long term industry impact, assess how your consumers’ needs have changed, and the ways your brand/business can naturally evolve to serve them.
Look into competitors and industries tangential to yours that have made similar shifts as examples of ways to do this.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Lucy Glaser: Regardless of industry, running a successful business requires creativity. The obvious sense would be big picture brand and business vision.
But in reality there are day-to-day issues of creativity that often result in the big picture being neglected or knocked out of perspective.
These might be resource usage, solving for supply chain or operational challenges and prioritization of deadlines.
In order to successfully maneuver day-to-day issues of creativity vs big-picture brand vision leaders need to be intentional about dedicating time and brain space to nurturing their brand and vision.
Ask yourself: how can your brand authentically support & add value to your customers beyond the immediate sale?
Jerome Knyszewski: Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
- You need to actually speak with your consumer. While our increasingly tech-driven world has created many opportunities, it also can remove a layer of direct human-to-human business interaction.
Create and encourage means to get intel on what your customer is thinking, needing & feeling — both about your brand, but also spaces related to your brand. Leverage new tech to your advantage.
Post-purchase email surveys, social media communities and an open communication line for customers to reach you directly are all vehicles to collect this information.
- Personalization needs to go beyond the customer’s name. “Hi ______,” is a great start, but effective personalization tactics elevate beyond basic demographic information.
Brands that are able to anticipate their consumers needs and deliver against their personal interests make consumers feel independently valued and a reason to keep you top of mind.
- Provide value beyond your product/service. No one wants to be constantly sold to.
If a customer has just purchased, think about ways to positively reinforce this decision and to keep in contact.
This could be branded content that educates them on inventive ways to use their new product, events or experiences where they can engage with you and other customers or even giving them the opportunity to be featured on brand social pages.
Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Lucy Glaser: I think it’s less concern, and more mindfulness. There’s an inherent risk anytime a brand puts itself out in front of consumers, the difference is that social media is an always-on, almost living entity.
To be successful, brands need to be aware of this platform’s intimacy — they’re either entering, or being invited, into the same environment that consumers interact with their friends and family.
With this in mind, brands should have a clear, authentic reason for existence and brand behavior pattern to reference when any inevitable risk-inducing missteps or roadblocks arise.
Most mistakes are found in the delicate balance of empowering teams to do their best work and ensuring the work gets done. Lucy Glaser
Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Lucy Glaser: Most mistakes are found in the delicate balance of empowering teams to do their best work and ensuring the work gets done.
Micromanaging is a surefire way to ensure an unhealthy team culture, and ultimately a less successful work output.
Letting go control is difficult — and in some cases, not feasible.
This is where it’s key to have strong inter-team communication and transparent measures of what success looks like not only for the company, but each individual.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Lucy Glaser: It would be a movement to pay it forward by giving time.
I recently participated in a social media-driven book exchange — to participate, all you had to do was send one book and registration information.
By sending one book, I received 5+ in return.
This philosophy, the act of one person giving to another, can domino in impact, and most advancement starts with a network of resources.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Lucy Glaser: Keep in touch with Unconquered at our website or on Instagram, @weareunconquered.
To connect with me personally, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn!
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!