Corporate Insight
Karla Lacey
Chief Marketing Officer | Guckenheimer Enterprises, Inc.

You have recently had some big changes with the recent purchase of your company, how will this change affect your marketing plans?
Guckenheimer’ s marketing does not change due to the ISS transaction. We are still all about engaging employees with great food that supports high performance today and long term health in the future. We will still be focused on the B&I market in the US that we have traditionally served. We are excited about the global resources and creativity that ISS brings to the market and we are eager to leverage those with our current and future customers.

Sustainability and environmental responsibility have long been prominent with Guckenheimer, what is the next “frontier” of sustainability for your company?
We are working now with a concept we call Guckenheimer’s Field to Fit. We see this as the evolution of typical farm to fork programs. The foundation of most of these programs is rooted in supply chain management. Ingredients are sourced locally from farmers, vendors and artisans that meet ownership criteria, mileage limitations from the kitchens, humane animal practices and environmental stewardship. We believe this is the price of admission in our industry today. Through Field to Fit, we seek to further the influence of farm to fork by taking beyond just how food is procured to how it is prepared and served. Where our food comes from is the first step, how it is prepared, served and consumed is equally important in supporting human health and sustained high performance.

With the advent of ever-changing social media platforms, how has your marketing approach evolved to meet this changing landscape?
We love the way that social media allows us to be touch with our customers and our employees instantly. We encourage our customers to pick up their phones and post a photo of a meal they loved or an employee that made their day. Like so many industries where our employees are not sitting in front of a desk and a computer, social media allows our teams to see what is going on at Guckenheimer in a quick way. We are constantly curating our social media content to ensure our audiences can find what they are interested in. We also use Social Media to engage our customers in contests and challenges have found this to be very successful, particularly with younger customers.

What do you think creates the greatest challenge for a marketing professional in our industry?
How to stay on top of all the information about marketing. There is so much data that marketer’s today have at their fingertips that we have to make choices about what to look at and how often.

Please share a good story about your early marketing career that still serves you well today.
I think we typically get promoted in the early years because we are good at managing details. Then we move to a role where we are supposed to supervise the people who manage the detail. It can be hard to let go. Fairly early in my career, I went to my first international assignment in Portugal. At the time I spoke about 3 words of Portuguese. My team spoke some English but almost none of the customers or the Sales team did. I had to let go of thinking I could control everything and let my team do what they were supposed to do. Learning to trust my team was a great lesson and one I try to remember today.