As the CEO and founder of The Power Group, Amy Power has worked with brands such as Frito-Lay, Which Wich, Pepsi-Cola, Vacation in a Bottle, and many more. She has worked as a publicist for more than 20 years working in industries such as sports marketing, commercial real estate, telecommunications, medical and dental, and nonprofits, to name a few.
How are you coping amid the COVID-19 crisis?
Like anyone else, I have my good and bad days. For years I have been practicing a daily “5 Things to Be Grateful For,” and that helps me keep all of this in perspective. I am also encouraging my team to think about what it will be like to look back on this one year from now. I ask myself, “How do I want to be seen a year from now?” I want our clients to remember the partnership and support that helped them move their business forward. I want to be proud of how I handled each situation. I want my team to be proud of me, as well as each other.
Did your business continuity plan work, or were there surprises?
Yes, it worked! I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly we adapted. We have always been progressive with respect to work-from-home privileges, technology, and tools, but I believe it worked because the team has worked so hard to create strong processes, and as a result, we have structure and accountability, which allows us to adapt quicker than most companies. The trust is there.
What are the short-term ramifications for your specific industry?
Short-term, my industry is so focused on its clients that I think we are not focused on ourselves. At some point, we will need to plan for the new 2020 and beyond since none of us are in the decade that we initially imagined. Fortunately, for agencies like The Power Group that are known for managing crises, we are going to be top of mind with brands that want the added assurance of having that expertise at the table.
Have you found silver linings in these difficult times?
Professionally speaking, we are attracting new types of companies as clients. In the last two months, we signed a counseling group, two beauty brands, and several others that are experiencing a surge in business. Personally, like many working moms and families, our life ran at such a fast pace: soccer practice, school, band, plus the daily challenges of running my own company. Quarantining has allowed us to be more present with each other, and it reminds me of what is really important. I know my dog has found a silver lining in all of this. He is by my side 24/7.
How are you maintaining your company culture?
As the expression goes, when your core values are clear, the choices are easy. Our company is always focused on doing the right thing, winning together, and creating happiness and fun. Creating happiness and fun is especially top of mind right now. We have a weekly Zoom call with all of our staff for an hour and a half, where we identify issues as a team and solve them in that moment. We have played trivia and Pictionary online together and celebrated some quarantine birthdays on our Instagram. Lately, I have been asking my team questions like, “What was your childhood breakfast cereal?” or “What was your childhood nickname?” The responses are hilarious, and while it may seem silly, these micro-moments allow us to sit back and smile and have a small reprieve from the daily conversations around COVID-19.
What have you learned that may change your policies or strategies for the future?
Our strategy has always focused on being more to our clients. In times like these, that strategy is tested, and it is one that I will not abandon. It is the reason we have the 20+ years of success and reputation we have earned. Additionally, leading my company through the dot-com bubble showed me that having a diverse portfolio of clients was a good strategy back then and even more so now.
What will things look like for your company and industry in another six months?
As we reopen our city and surrounding suburbs, it is really important for companies to be extremely thoughtful and clear in their communication to employees and customers. PR and crisis management firms are going to be one of the most sought-after resources. The public is reasonable, but they expect your company or organization to be clear, fair, and truthful. In the fall, I expect The Power Group and the communications industry to be busier than ever as we help clients launch, relaunch, and navigate mid-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 environments.
Do you have advice for other business leaders?
I believe entrepreneurs, and just leaders in general, sometimes feel they shouldn’t or can’t ask for help – as if it is a weakness. My advice is to find a peer group of other leaders where you can be supported and where you can support others. I have leaned heavily on my peer group within the Dallas chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization. They helped me swiftly navigate the PPP. I would also encourage leaders to leverage LinkedIn or any other social media platform. I am connecting and talking with people that were my clients years ago and with new people as well. It is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen your network.
Is there anything else we should know?
I always like to remind my clients as well as my team that in every crisis, there is an opportunity. I am using this time to create a new service for our nonprofit clients.