Faith Popcorn: My Biggest Mistake
Founder, BrainReserve Inc., a marketing-consulting company based in New York City. She is the author of the best-selling books The Popcorn Report and Clicking.
After founding my company, BrainReserve, in 1974, I spent the next 16 years building a methodology for spotting trends and capitalizing on them. My three employees and I built up a bank of 6,000 experts ranging from rocket scientists and American Indian chiefs to microbiologists. We predicted a lot of things like the mainstreaming of alternative medicine and the decrease in salt usage and the rise of foreign foods and spices to take its place. We were doing fascinating work, but I didn't think it was important to make the company well known. That was my mistake.
When we were building the business in the 1980s, there were few companies doing what we did. I remember actually longing to have other people give us some healthy competition so that we could contrast ourselves with them. We needed to benchmark our work if the company was ever to realize its full potential.
In 1987, I participated in a businesswomen's tour of Israel. One of the other attendees was a well-known business-book editor who convinced me that I should write a book about my company, which had about 10 employees at the time. It took three years, but the reaction to The Popcorn Report was incredible. Overnight we became a global company. In the years that followed, we have been consultants to more Fortune 500 clients because of the book, and our company has become a brand. BrainReserve has grown 100% since 1974, and we now have 34 employees, up from 3.
--Written with Mike Hofman