Tactics: The operative

| Print |  Email
Archives - October 2008
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

Corner Office: Pam Edstrom

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.


Read more...

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

See How They Run

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

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

Three problems with Obama's immigration order

News
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR112614-immigration-thumb

By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


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