Campaigns are known for incubating relationships, although many don’t last well beyond Election Day. In the case of President Obama’s staffers, though, the bonds formed on the trail and in the administration appear to be hardening with time.
Two high-profile, Obama-alum firms, Fenway Strategies and The Incite Agency, recently announced a partnership that keeps both shops independent while merging their offerings of speech writing and digital/crisis communications services.
Ben LaBolt, co-founder of The Incite Agency, joked about calling the jointed venture "Wrigley Strategies," but Tommy Vietor of Fenway said it will remain unnamed. “Both companies are going to keep their names, staff and offices,” he told C&E.
C&E: Speech writing has become something of a forgotten art in the consulting industry, does marrying it with digital/rapid response make it more relevant to today's campaigns?
Vietor: We’ve seen a tremendous demand over the last two years for higher quality writing, whether it involves speeches, digital content, or rapid response. Too many organizations rely on too much jargon that comes across as phony, cheesy, or unintelligible. We help organizations tell a story using language that’s simple, memorable, and authentic.
C&E: Why did the joint venture take so long to happen?
Vietor: I wouldn’t say that it took a long time as much as this was the right time. We both have managed to build successful businesses with unique and complimentary specialties. Putting our teams together like this allows us to scale up, offer more services, and take what we’ve built to the next level.
C&E: Do you think we're going to see more consolidation in the consulting industry in the coming years, especially among the Obama-alum firms?
Vietor: It’s hard to say. Our decision to form this partnership was really specific to our unique circumstances, but certainly it’s true that the Obama team was incredibly close and it’s always more fun to work with friends.
C&E: The partnership seems like getting the old gang back together, how closely with you three work together?
Vietor: We agree. Jon plays the piano and [I play the] guitar, but Ben is still deciding on his instrument. Coordinating the partnership and the subsequent announcement meant that we were talking several times a day and on email constantly. It’s already made work more fun and we hope it will continue.
C&E: Is the joint venture aimed at campaigns, issue groups or corporations?
Vietor: All of the above. Our experience on political campaigns put us on the front lines of how to reach and persuade people in a fractured and crowded media environment. Any organization can benefit from a fully integrated team and coordinated communications strategy.