Tactics: The operative

| Print |  Email
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

GROVE INSIGHT
www.groveinsight.com
FOUNDED: 1996, Portland
EMPLOYEES: 4
DIVISIONS: Green Insight, reports on trends in the sustainability market

LisaGrove
LISA GROVE, founder of Grove Insights.

It was in Washington, D.C., in the mid-1980s where Lisa Grove — today a political strategist and pollster but back then a fresh, idealistic Lewis & Clark graduate — learned a key commandment of the political game, and one that would later shape the success of her Portland-based political consulting firm. “It’s not issues; it’s politics,” she remembers being told after asking fellow pollsters what issues they were working on. “I realized that the issues are a vehicle to help get people elected. I was scoffing at that and then, of course, became part of it.”

Grove worked with two of the nation’s largest polling firms before returning to Oregon to found Grove Insights in 1996. In ensuing years, Grove says the company has racked up the highest win/loss ratio in the nation for initiatives it’s worked on: 58/8. Over the past 15 years the firm has also worked with probably every major Democratic name in the Pacific Northwest: Kulongoski, Gregoire, Wu, Hooley, DeFazio, Blumenauer, Wyden — the list stretches from the national level all the way down to Portland politics.  And as the list has grown, Grove has become what some Salem insiders say is one of the most powerful non-elected people in Oregon politics.

For many political strategists, the difference between personal politics and business is irrelevant. But for Grove, her personal ideals have inexorably shaped the work she does, and conversely shaped the success and limitations of her business. Travel back to the 1960s in Beaverton,  and you’ll find a young girl walking the streets with her education-activist mother knocking on doors and advocating for school bond measures. Travel forward in time and you find a consultancy firm that works exclusively with left-of-center candidates and issues. Which, obviously, eliminates half of its potential business.

It sounds antithetical to basic business practices, but it’s been a smart move. While Grove says it’s hard not think about the lost work, limiting the business scope has allowed Grove and her team to create what she sees as a boutique firm — a company that has a hands-on, often personal relationship with candidates. Other factors have helped push her firm forward: Following Sept. 11 and the last two presidential elections, politicians began seeing a disconnect between the major Washington, D.C.-based polling firms and what people were actually thinking in the rest of the country. Grove, with her inside-the-Beltway street cred but West Coast location, has been in a prime spot to capitalize.

No matter what the politics or the location, at the end of the day, Grove Insight has one major metric that defines its success: Election Day. What happens on that day determines everything else.

“It’s always about winning. People pay attention to the win/loss,” Grove says. “I think our success has had everything to do with winning.”

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


 

 

More Articles

A legislative preview — and celebration

News
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Old school: Paulsen's Pharmacy maintains old fashion ethos

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121914-pharmacy-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.


Read more...

Convention Wisdom

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.


Read more...

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS