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50 Most Admired Companies of The Year 2017

Sparking company growth and success through innovation and sound marketing strategy: The Luminations Group

thesiliconreview lisa barnett kent ceo the luminations group 17Marketing plays a vital role in the survival of any small business. To reach its full potential, good marketing is very much needed. It is always easy to think that marketing is all about placing ads. However, marketing is broader than just advertising. Marketing involves all the possible ways in which one communicates with consumers or customers. It is about presenting a consistent message and influencing perceptions. No matter how wonderful the service or product might be, there are many small businesses that fail because their founders or owners don’t have expertise in marketing. These businesses need something out of the box to survive in the industry.

There was a time, back in 2002, when local Central New Jersey small businesses and retailers were failing at a fast rate. They needed marketing ideas, creativity, strategy and plans but could not afford this support. Lisa Kent saw the need and founded The Luminations Group to provide big company-level support for small, local businesses. The original plan was to help just a few, on a pro bono basis. Fast forward 15 years and Luminations is a thriving marketing innovation and strategy firm that just made the INC 500/5000 fastest growing company rankings again.

The Luminations Group is a strategic consulting firm that delivers marketing services, today, to both small and large businesses. The company conducts many big iconic branding and innovation projects but always holds at least 25% of its time for start-ups, entrepreneurs and local businesses. Lisa’s experience in a series of progressively expanding marketing and management roles help her to support clients of all sizes. Lisa began her career at Procter and Gamble and later joined Johnson & Johnson (J&J) as a marketer. She moved from J&J to become an entrepreneur, leading the first nationwide online grocer, Netgrocer.com, through a rocky period and ultimately orchestrating a sale to the Wakefern/ShopRite chain. 

Outperforming competitors in the industry

Lisa believes the key to success for Luminations is her team of incredibly talented and strategic marketers. She is grateful and delighted to work with them every day. She says she is able to woo them by offering challenging business opportunities in a flexible work environment. All of Luminations consultants and innovators work part-time. One of the core services of The Luminations Group, Luminations FleXforce®, provides additional support for clients in marketing, sales, and even general management. They cover parenting leaves, peak workloads, new product launches, or any open role where a candidate may not yet have been identified. The organization guarantees a full week’s worth of results in just 25 hours per week. Luminations is incredibly efficient and resourceful, allowing FleXforce® team members to deliver strong results while maintaining a real life outside of work, or at least some semblance of balance. Luminations is able to access incredible talent, almost overnight, all over the country and the globe. Clients get a seamless interaction with strategic thinking and fast onboarding and Luminations team members benefit by being placed in intriguing roles across exciting categories and businesses. Luminations has increasingly worked with software and technology companies and they see this as an important growth area in the coming years as well. Recently, Johnson & Johnson awarded the company a James Burke Award for its work with them on the Aveeno® Megabrand strategy. 

The Luminations Group lists some of the world’s most beloved brands and companies as clients, including: Nestle, Panasonic, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Merck, Church & Dwight, Mars, Amazon, and even Wicked-the Musical.

Throughout the years, Luminations has faced its share of challenges. From a major economic downturn in 2008 to a changing culture around consulting in recent years. They continue to pivot and navigate toward new routes of success. In 2008, as funding left the corporate sector, Lisa worked to develop government contracts and business. In the past three years, the team has added a full range of digital and integrated marketing services to meet the changing needs of its clients. Lisa learned to plan for the worst case scenario but she always anticipates the best outcome, always. She is a leader who recognizes the importance of planning for any eventuality but being shamelessly optimistic about the future and for her team.

More than just a marketing company

Leadership is as important in Luminations’ nonprofit and volunteer ventures as it is in running a company. Lisa strives to provide the opportunity for all of her team members to give back to their own communities with the support of the company. She encourages all Luminations consultants to participate in the company’s “Charity of Choice” program. Through this program, each member may select one pro bono project per year and all team members assist with it. The company funds all costs involved in the projects and it completes at least one charitable initiative per quarter, often more. 

Every year The Luminations Group hosts a large networking and client appreciation event. Before the party, Lisa hosts a dinner exclusively for students from the Lehigh University Marketing Club, the NYU Masters of Integrated Marketing programs, and college-aged children of team members and clients. At the dinner, experienced marketing panelists offer career advice and answer a wide range of questions from the students. Students are then encouraged to join the larger networking event, often filled with over 200 marketers and managers, and to proactively seek internships and experiences. The Luminations Group was founded in part to support and empower women and, as a result, has developed strong supportive ties to two nonprofit organizations that help women and families who are victims of domestic violence: WomanSpace/Homefront of Trenton, New Jersey and Safe+Sound of Hillsborough, New Jersey.

The personality behind The Luminations Group

Lisa Kent is the President and CEO of The Luminations Group, LLC. Lisa is an experienced CEO with a proven track record in driving growth through innovation in both entrepreneurial and big company environments. She is a classically trained consumer packaged goods marketer with 25 years of experience. Lisa teaches integrated marketing communications as an adjunct professor at both Lehigh University and NYU. She is a prolific writer with an innovation and marketing blog on forbes.com and her second book, Inspiring Innovation, due out in December of this year.  Her first book, Millennium Marketing, is available on Amazon and at Millennium-Marketing.com. Lisa obtained her B.A from Yale University and her M.B.A. from The JL Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She gives back by volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in Montgomery, New Jersey and is proud of her three wonderful children.

"I love what I do—working with diverse groups of people, sparking innovation, and teaching."

 

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