Key Obama campaign advisers launch consultancy

WASHINGTON: Key Obama for America campaign advisers Stephanie Cutter, Jen O'Malley Dillon, and Teddy Goff have joined forces to launch a strategic consultancy called Precision.

WASHINGTON: Key Obama for America campaign advisers Stephanie Cutter, Jen O'Malley Dillon, and Teddy Goff have joined forces to launch a strategic consultancy called Precision.

Cutter, O'Malley Dillon, and Goff, who worked closely together on the winning 2012 presidential campaign and then-Sen. Barack Obama's 2008 effort, are partners in the firm. Other Obama campaign alumni are joining them at launch.

Cutter, who served as deputy campaign manager for Obama's reelection campaign, has 20 years of experience in public service and private-sector communications. Prior to the reelection campaign, she held several roles in the White House.

O'Malley Dillon served as deputy campaign manager for Obama's 2012 campaign, overseeing the largest grassroots operation in the history of presidential elections. She is credited with pioneering data analytics to target voters.

Goff was digital director for the 2012 campaign, overseeing Obama's digital strategy and managing the 250-person national team that implemented the campaign's social media, email, web, online advertising, online organizing, design, front-end, and product development, design, and video programs.

Precision will offer services including strategic planning, crisis management, digital strategy, data analytics, targeting, branding, communications, grassroots mobilizing, coalition building, and campaign management.

“We have years of experience, including our most recent experience of building and leading an unprecedented campaign, to understand, reach, and connect with more Americans than ever before, whether it's using data in the right way to reach people, making sure your message breaks through, or enhancing your brand,” said Cutter.

She added that plans for the firm have been in the works for the past month. “We had a great experience working with each other, and when we came out of the campaign, we found ourselves working on many of the same clients and projects and decided we were better and stronger coming together again as a team,” she said.

Other campaign alumni who have joined the firm include Jenni LeCompte, who served as the US Treasury Department's assistant secretary for public affairs, as counsel to Precision. Frank Benenati, who was national and regional spokesperson for the 2012 Obama re-election campaign, overseeing communications in ten states, is principle.

Julia Prieto, who led digital fundraising programs and oversaw more than 20 national initiatives for the 2012 campaign, will serve as principal. Lucy Silver, former press assistant for Obama for America in the Office of the First Lady and in the communications department of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee, is an associate at the firm.

Precision plans to leverage the partners' campaign experience for a range of clients. It has already lined up technology, media, consumer, and finance companies, as well as cause and advocacy groups as clients, but did not disclose any names.

“I don't think the marketplace fully realized the potential of online and social media in reaching very specific audiences and marketing your brand, product, or message,” said Cutter. “We have a broad array of experiences to offer on that.”

Goff said the partners learned from the campaign and their individual careers how to make organizations work better.

“We have a good track record of understanding how the different pieces - from message and strategy, down to targeting and digital - all work together,” he said.

O'Malley Dillon said Precision will produce targeted programs for clients, which was a hallmark of the Obama campaign, rather than a cookie-cutter approach.

“What we learned from the campaign is really being on the cutting edge of technology, digital, social media, and analytics was critical to being successful,” she said. “We were all part of 2008 race, but in 2012 we all had to build something totally new. It all moved so fast, and that's a lesson critical for any venture.”

The consultancy will be based in Washington DC and New York. 

Goff told PRWeek last month about his plans to start a digital strategy consultancy and that his presidential campaign days were over.

Cutter said it is impossible to predict if any Precision staffers will take part in the next presidential campaign in 2016.

“Some of us have politics out of our system, some of us don't. But for right now, we are building this business and having fun doing it,” she said.

It has been reported that CNN is in talks with Cutter and former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for roles on the relaunch of the political debate show Crossfire.

Cutter declined to comment on this. She said her work at Precision would not preclude her from future TV work.

The launch comes the same week the Obama for America 2012 team picked up a Webby award for “Break of the Year.”

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