WASHINGTON: Bully Pulpit Interactive has acquired strategic communications firm The Incite Agency.
The two agencies have been in talks since March. There will be no staff changes resulting from the acquisition, except Incite founding partner Ben LaBolt will take on the role of partner at Bully Pulpit. The agencies will operate under the Bully Pulpit Interactive name.
"A lot of M&A in communications is because clients are asking for more integrated services," said Andrew Bleeker, Bully Pulpit president. "The larger agencies that are driving most of these deals are typically trying to add digital. This is different in that it's getting to the same place with integrated communications, but it is truly based in digital and data."
Bully Pulpit’s work focuses more on advertising, building campaigns, and analytics, while Incite specializes in communications, branding, and crisis. Both agencies have a particular focus on digital and social.
The deal expands the remit of both agencies. LaBolt said Incite staff will continue to focus more on communications work, but is now able to expand its offering with Bully Pulpit.
"From my experience and work with Bully Pulpit in both President Barack Obama’s campaigns and knowing their reputation, there’s really no better complement to the work that we do," LaBolt said. "It really allows us to take strategic communications to the next level. Now, we’ll be able to execute across multiple channels."
LaBolt and Bleeker have worked in the same sphere for a number of years, both notably having worked on President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Incite’s staff of about 12 will join Bully Pulpit’s team of 90. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
LaBolt and Robert Gibbs founded Incite in 2013 in Washington, D.C. Bully Pulpit was founded in 2009 and has offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago.
Last summer, Gibbs departed The Incite Agency for a role as EVP, global chief communications officer at McDonald's. Shortly after Gibbs left, Incite struck a formal partnership with Fenway Strategies, founded by former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau and spokesman Tommy Vietor.
LaBolt was named as one of PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 honorees in 2015.