Insights/ Clients value consistency

Author: Charlotte Flach, C&IT Magazine 

How will you be marking your 20 year anniversary?/

We decided to do 20 for 20 which includes 20 events, some which will raise money for charity. We have a 5k challenge on Clapham Common, a bake-off, a beach clean and a rounders match, with all the money raised going to local or major charities.

A party will be happening at home for the Powwow team and wider Powwow family and we are having some client dinners to celebrate as well. Lots of people are helping us celebrate this milestone.

What is unique about your business style at Powwow?/

My background at a corporate management consultancy was crucial in teaching me how to listen and to be more consultative towards clients. I learned how to get under their skin to find out and work with them to fulfil their objectives. Working with consultants over 12 years has influenced the way we work today and our professional approach.

Powwow is unique because of the trust clients have in us. Most of them have been with us for many, many years. We have had to go out to tender sometimes of course but we generally win that client back.

I think it’s our loyalty- we have incredibly tight processes - as well as fantastic creative and innovative ideas and everyone knows what they are going to get with Powwow. Most of all, everyone loves working with our team because they are fun but also very good at their jobs.

What do you do better than others?/

Team and client retention which is crucial. The event world is notorious for people moving around a lot. It is important to clients to come back and deal with the same team members - they value that consistency. We don’t get complacent though - we are just as excited about the next event as one we have just done.

What do you attribute your high staff retention to?/

It’s all about great teamwork. We have people that have been here as long as 14 years. We have what we call the ‘Powwow way’ - every one of the team has this. I’d feel comfortable putting any of them in front of a CEO. They are all well-educated and work well together. It’s all about being a great team member.

All of the team are involved in our interview process, not just management. The process starts with a couple of the senior team and then if we like them, we bring we them back to meet the wider team and see how they feel about that person.

How do you nurture young talent and why is this important?/

We do an annual event where we employ quite a few students from universities to work with us on it. We nurture them and offer them a job at end of their degree if we like them.

Everyone can have a good idea, from the most junior team member upwards. We love seeing young people rise from event assistant to an event director. Natalie Quance (a current A-Lister) is a great example. She worked on an event as a student and we loved her, so we employed her and she’s been here ever since. We do regular appraisals and promote people when they deserve it.

What have been your career highlights?/

Getting to 20 years and managing to survive the recession with this amazing team around me. We kept tight control over the business and spend. We kept in touch with all our clients even if they weren’t doing events. We kept the whole team on too. We managed to weather the storm.

Also organising what was possibly one of the first ‘glamping’ events in Jordan at Petra 30 years ago, to only this year working on a spectacular NYE’s party on the Thames.

What has working overseas taught you?/

My experience has taught me to treat everyone with respect – no matter what culture or country you are in and that being warm and friendly makes life a lot easier and you get the best out of people. Everyone should look forward to coming to work. I never have that Sunday night feeling.