Lynn Power: Co-Founder, The HMS Beagle

After almost 30 years in the advertising world, Lynn Power launched a brand consultancy in June 2018 called The HMS Beagle focused on helping brands navigate the journey to survival (not a given these days!). She has been fortunate to work on amazing brands throughout her career including Hershey, Clinique, Campari, Kohler, American Express, J&J, T. Rowe Price and loads of others. Her passion is empowering talent and helping organizations embrace change.

How did you get into the industry?

I completely fell into the business (like many in advertising!). I was applying to the FBI and NSA and there was a hiring freeze at the time, so I met a recruiter who sent me on an interview for a receptionist/admin with a small, independent ad agency in Chicago.  I can type really well.  They hired me on the spot and I never looked back.

Any emerging industry trends?

The media and marketing industry is going through a seismic disruption.   Media is massively fragmented.  Clients want more for less.  Business models are changing left and right.  Agencies are being disintermediated by digital media platforms, consultants, and frenemies.  Agencies struggle to demonstrate their value day in and day out while marketers struggle to deliver growth (or attribute their growth to their marketing communications).  Creativity is still the most effective way to stand apart and truly reach people, but how it’s done is no longer a static solution – it’s more of a constantly moving target.  

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Within chaos comes opportunity.  The advertising industry has the ability to reinvent itself.  Such as, bring business strategy (back) to the process.  Leverage data in a holistic way.   Understand and guide the end to end consumer journey. Test new compensation (risk/reward) models.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?

I decided to start a brand consultancy a few months ago with Joseph Jaffe (a 4 time author and “disruptor”).  Our consultancy is based on the insight that every brand is in the survival business these days, and the success factors go way beyond a compelling ad idea.  Our goal would be that the business will become increasingly sought after by C-suite clients and our case studies will be increasingly diversified.

What's next for the Business in the near future?

We are ramping up now.  We are working with a start-up in Palo Alto called Currnt, which has been fantastic.  They have built a knowledge creation platform which is super relevant in today’s world of biased and outdated information.  We are also working with the innovation group within a global CPG manufacturer as well as launching a haircare line.  We see an opportunity in and are pursuing taking equity positions with our clients – it shows we have skin in the game but also influences the types of businesses we desire and pursue.  

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?

We have developed strong partnerships with like-minded companies that makes it very easy to create turnkey solutions.  One of those companies is Hudson Cutler, an impressive, modern PR firm who we are working with on a number of projects.  Having the right team – not just in capabilities but in people you can trust (and like) makes all the difference.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

When I was with JWT, our then CEO, Gustavo Martinez, was hit with a very public lawsuit.  It turned into a global PR disaster lasting two years. This forced us out of growth mode and into crisis management.  I learned a lot about the legal system and reputation management.  But I also learned that sometimes things are beyond your control, and having a team who will help each other when these things happen makes all the difference.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

When we are all in with a client, we are all in.  We are transparent, collaborative and sometimes maybe a little too honest and forthright.  But it’s in the spirit of doing what’s right for the business, and our clients appreciate this integrity and commitment.

How do you motivate others?

I am a big believer in optimism.  I really have a hard time with negative people.  And I also believe in leading by example – being a player/coach, not just a coach.  And of course, communication and managing expectations is key. 

Career advice to those in your industry?

Sometimes the most unassuming assignments can be gold.  Everything is a learning opportunity if you have the right mindset, and I’ve most often enjoyed working on the brands no one has heard of rather than the iconic ones.  So, don’t get caught up in the “optics” of the business.  Find the opportunities, or make them.

As the leader of a business, how do you ensure you have adequate corporate governance?

My business is small!  It’s just me and my partner right now (of course, we bring in other people with capabilities as we need them).  So, it’s really about trust and honesty.  And also having advisors we can turn to.