Heidi Krupp on building Krupp Kommunications and harnessing a brand’s unique power
Describe your business in a few words?
For over 25 years, Krupp Kommunications has been discovering a person or brand’s unique power, creating a strategic platform, then tell the world its story with media integrations, influencer marketing and incredible placements.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I was introduced to someone who told me that I had the right mindset to go for it on my own. Fortunately, I believed her and didn’t look at limitations. I just did it.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was a communications major at Ohio University and very interested in the world of media. I started off as an executive assistant for a soft drink company, then went to be the right marketing arm of a leading vitamin manufacturer and distributor that connected brands to supplements. After passing my Series 7, I took a detour to Wall Street, and then landed my dream job in the publicity department with Barbara Walters at ABC News 20/20. I really thought being a producer was going to be my career track until Barbara told me to read a script for her new tv special, “12 Most Interesting People”. She wanted my opinion and to give her a PR plan. That plan gave me my first PR credit and I knew immediately PR was for me.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I really didn’t know what an entrepreneur was. It wasn’t something I was thinking to be or do. I’m very fortunate that I have had many mentors who gave me the confidence and direction to become one. Because of them, I’m now always mentoring and connecting people.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I didn’t have one! I sold my car, came up with a name and a logo. Fortunately, I had someone believe in me and send me clients. My results and ability to get those impossible placements and make people and brands household names became widespread in the industry. Even to this day, 99% of my clients come through referral.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I came up with a big global positioning for a doctor who had a project and wrote a book that most people didn’t believe in, but I did. My grand plan and strategy completely elevated the doctor to become a worldwide well-known expert and thought leader and his brand developed into products and franchises. It became larger than the client anticipated and with that, they ran with my big ideas and fired me.
Here I had built this now massive brand thinking my longevity would be with it. I had believed and focused so much on the client and the possibilities that I didn’t protect myself. And looking back, I kind of gave it away.
I learned that when you see a vision and an opportunity, keep your position and see it through—you have to make sure the brand is ready to go global. In addition to media relations and strategy planning, I’m now a venture catalyst and invest equity and time so I can partner with brands and leaders and build their businesses with them.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
As a business owner, you are always looking at ways you can do better, grow faster, be stronger. We sometimes forget to step back and acknowledge our accomplishments. The longevity of my agency makes me extremely proud. We’ve had the staying power of over a quarter of a century. And Krupp Kommunications is stronger than ever. I’m also incredibly proud of my team. They make me look good every day.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
What are your superpowers? What were your biggest mistakes and challenges you faced? Where do you see yourself in five years? These questions help me figure out if and where they fit in the big picture with our company.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
I don’t know of one person or business in the industry that hasn’t been impacted as PR has taken a hard hit. Krupp Kommunications has been incredibly fortunate this past year as our staff has remained safe and healthy and we’ve experienced significant growth. While others have been furloughing and losing clients, we were gaining clients and hiring staff and for that we are incredibly grateful.
When so many companies were trying to get out of their office leases, ironically, ours, housed in a co-working office space, closed permanently. We immediately pivoted to a virtual culture which allowed us to seek talent outside of our New York offices. We now have amazing team members from all over the country who give us new perspectives in different markets. I’m currently based out of Maui!
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
You will start to see more of us. I’ve been the shoemaker with no shoes, never stopping to reflect how fortunate I have been to have had access to these great leaders and some of the best brands in the world. I’ve had a global reset and focusing with intention around our own brand.
Krupp Kommunications will be more at the forefront, sharing increased content and helping shed insight on what I have learned from those we have the privilege of working with throughout the years. I want to share lessons with others as they begin to embark upon their own business or communication in various things. Currently, I’m incubating a concept to build a mentoring platform.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
When you do what you love and you love what you do and you’re passionate about it, anything is possible. Even in times when you’re stuck. I found resilience and strength I didn’t even know I had. When there is a crisis I rise. One of the biggest lessons is that you don’t have to be in an office or even in NYC to do what you do. You can certainly turn your passions into a profit and unleash your potential from anywhere in the world.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Your answer I said “yes” to everything and I’ve learned to be selective as I have grown. I don’t need to be all things to all people. I’ve gotten very clear what to say yes to and what to say no to, and it’s ok to say no.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I have learned to stay quiet. Listen more. I have mentored. I started to take better care of myself both physically and mentally. If I could not take care of me, I couldn’t take care of anyone else like my family and son who’s doing remote school, my team, my parents who are aging and far away. I finally put myself on the top of the list of self-care. I found a coach and great mentors; I check in with my childhood friends and colleagues. I am making the time.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely and my team would agree. Now more than ever, it doesn’t matter what time you check in and out. It is not 9 to 5 anymore. Just get the work done. Mental health days are important for both you and your staff as is checking in with your team. No matter how hectic and fast paced our days are, you have to sometimes step back and grab some me time. I do believe in it. More than ever. Life throws you curveballs. There is no one size fits formula for work life balance, but you need to encourage your team and yourself that it’s important.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m very sensitive, I take things personally and I make things personal. Even though I don’t take no for an answer, I still get disappointed, but I get back up into the fight and don’t let anyone know. I just need to get it done.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Be organized and scheduled. Get good sleep. Take a break and get a good walk!
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means mentoring, supporting and connecting other like minded women so we can share stories and show pathways for success. We are community builders, always looking for talent and catalysts for change. I’m proud to be a part of it.