Kat Cole, Focus Brands // Leading A $5 Billion Company, International Expansion + Brand Partnerships
👑 Who Is Kat Cole?
Kat is one of the most impressive business leaders in America. Fortune magazine, named her on their 40 under 40 list & her story is often cited as an example of the “American Dream”.
Growing up with an alcoholic father and a single mother living on a food budget of $10/week – she worked her way up from being a waitress at Hooters aged 17, to an exec at 26 & a president at 31.
Today, she’s the president of a parent company doing $4-5bil in sales in 60+ countries, across 6500+ locations. Their 7 brands including Cinnabon, Carvel & Jamba Juice.
In this conversation you’ll learn how she thinks about growth, adapting products to emerging trends, using brand partnerships to grow & the factors that go into expanding internationally.
🧠 Five Things You’ll Learn
Lessons In Leadership – how to establish credibility, even as a young leader, to lead a team through any situation
Emerging Trends + The Innovation Adoption Curve – how she thinks about adapting to emerging trends for brands like Cinnabon + Jamba. Finding a place on the innovation adoption curve while holding onto where you came from
Impact of Lockdown On Malls + Airports – how recent events have impacted their 6500+ locations in malls + airports, and where she sees opportunities
International Growth – the factors you should think through when expanding internationally, stories of mistakes made, and examples of situations she navigated in Argentina, Turkey + UAE
Brand Partnerships – controlling your brand when expanding with partners, and when to consider licensing vs franchising vs joint ventures
⏳ Time Stamps (YouTube)
00:00:00 Preview 00:02:04 Welcome 00:05:01 From Waitress to Vice President of Hooters 00:08:41 Invaluable Lessons In Leadership 00:14:18 “I’m Friendly, But Not Your Friend” 00:16:49 Blending Humility + Confidence 00:20:57 Scale + Revenue of Focus Brands 00:22:12 Case Study: Turning Around Cinnabon 00:29:23 Opportunity = When Your Company Says “No” 00:33:03 Approach To Testing New Products 00:35:10 Adapting to Trends: Jamba + Cinnabon Example 00:42:11 Jamba + The Innovation Adoption Curve 00:48:54 Mall Traffic In 2020 00:51:47 Prediction On Airport Traffic 00:53:22 Increased Search Demand For “Near Me” + “Delivery” 00:54:35 DTC vs Third-Party Delivery Services 00:57:25 International Growth: Hooters in Argentina 01:01:11 Importance of Cultural Context: Turkey Example 01:04:47 International Context – Asking the Right Questions 01:06:29 Factors To Consider When Expanding Internationally 01:12:08 Growing Through Licensing, Franchising + Joint Ventures 01:14:51 Brand Partnerships – Controlling Your Brand 01:17:34 Wrap-Up