Quality communication requires creative thinking. Don’t buy off the shelf—create unique strategies and execute your plan using tactics that work.
Build your strategy based on clearly defined goals and research—not just a gut feeling. Find ways to measure your progress using data, then choose your tactics.
A successful communications strategy must look beyond just the next day’s stories and chart a long-term path to success.
Engage new audiences and expand your reach by identifying new platforms, fostering dialogue and breaking down internal silos to get your message out.
Define yourself. If you wait for someone else to define you, it’s over. Trust is built by getting ahead of bad news and explaining the situation on your own terms.
Know what makes reporters and opinion leaders tick. Build relationships based on their needs as well as yours, and look beyond the usual media suspects.
LaBolt co-founded The Incite Agency and currently manages the agency. He advises Fortune 500 companies, cutting edge brands and prominent causes on how to transform communications efforts to be more proactive and agile, defend organizations under siege and tackle significant consumer and policy initiatives. In 2015, LaBolt was named to PR Week's 40 Under 40 list of industry leaders who "get results, never settle and represent the future of communications."
For over a decade he served as a communications strategist on campaigns at the city, state, and national level, on Capitol Hill, and in the White House. According to POLITICO, he was tasked with handling "tough questions" about "the most sensitive topics" at the White House and was one of the best sources "for intelligence on what the media are thinking and which story lines reporters are likely to pursue."
His prior work includes serving as the national press secretary for President Obama’s reelection campaign, press secretary for then-Congressman Sherrod Brown’s campaign for Senate, communications director for Rahm Emanuel’s first campaign for Mayor and White House spokesman for the efforts to confirm Justices Sotomayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court.
He also serves as an adjunct instructor in crisis management at NYU's School of Professional Studies.
Gibbs co-founded The Incite Agency and is currently Executive Vice President, Global Chief Communications Officer at McDonald's Corporation. He has helped companies across a multitude of industries to create and implement communications strategies grounded in research and data and built for long-term success. A core member of the team that built the Obama brand from the ground up, beginning in 2004, when then-Senator Obama was a first-term legislator from Illinois, Gibbs previously served in several senior roles for President Obama, including White House Press Secretary—a role in which he developed communications strategies for the White House and served as the Obama administration’s primary voice on a wide range of complex issues. The New York Times called Gibbs the "president’s political compass".
As the digital landscape has dramatically changed over the last 10 years, Jones has been there every step of the way, developing and executing some of the most innovative digital strategies for the world’s largest brands. Both as Digital Director for Senator Bob Casey’s landslide defeat of Rick Santorum and as the first digital strategist for Obama’s historic 2008 presidential campaign, he has harnessed creative thinking and innovation to develop game-changing digital campaigns. Jones’ experience extends into the private sector through his work at the digital advertising agency, R/GA including client work with Nike, NikeID, Wal-Mart, Samsung, Tiffany, Unilever, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, & McCormick.
Jessica Floyd is a political and communications strategist with extensive experience. She has spent her career developing and executing effective communications, political, and legislative campaigns at both the state and national levels. Floyd managed Congressman Ron Barber's successful congressional campaign and later served as his District Director. She also served as Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' political director and managed government affairs in New York for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Most recently, she was part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Independent Expenditure, where she worked on numerous successful and creative advertising campaigns.
For over a decade, Robin Reck has developed public affairs and communications programs on domestic and international issues for corporations, associations and non-profit coalitions to help them achieve their public policy goals in the United States and abroad. With an emphasis on corporate social responsibility issues and reputation management, Robin has worked at both large and small public affairs and public relations agencies. She has designed global strategic and media relations programs for clients including the Save Darfur Coalition, Prince of Wales Charitable Trust, Travel Technology Association, the European Union, the Council for Biotechnology Information, Mars, Dow, Cargill and Coca-Cola.
Tim Skoczek has spent nearly a decade developing political communications strategy at the national level, with an emphasis on writing, project management, and media guidance. Skoczek began his career in the communications department of the 2008 Obama for America campaign, and from there he went on to work in the White House, where he developed and wrote content on policy initiatives such as the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. He then served as the principal aide and adviser to President Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, in advance of the 2012 Obama-Biden re-election campaign. In addition to briefing Axelrod for countless national news interviews, Skoczek provided speechwriting assistance for Axelrod’s domestic and international speaking appearances. He also helped manage the launch of Axelrod's Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, and directed the extensive editorial process for Axelrod's best-selling memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.
Vicki Ballagh manages research, media outreach and communications strategy for clients of all sizes across a variety of industries and issue areas. She brings an extensive background in digital media and journalism, having worked in national, local and student media. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia with high distinction in Politics and Media Studies. Ballagh has worked significantly in digital communications—helping organizations develop and implement successful online engagement strategies that get results.
Julia Alschuler helps clients tell their story in a changing media environment through daily management of communications and digital strategy. A life long New Yorker, she comes to Incite after working as Communications Director for Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman and Director of Digital Communications for Christine Quinn's campaign for mayor. At Dixon-Davis Media Group, Julia also helped to develop communications and media strategy for candidates and issue groups. Most recently, Julia managed Governor Cuomo's grassroots campaign to create the first Women's Equality Party in the country which was named most successful internet advertising campaign of 2014 by AAPAC's 2015 Pollie Awards.
For a Fortune 150 company based in the Midwest, Incite took a fledgling digital presence and brought it focus and direction—helping the client achieve measurable impact and results by defining messages, tactics and targets that fit together to meet the specific objectives we laid out for a successful social media campaign. Engaging individuals online to build a broad coalition, Incite synchronized online and offline outreach and ensured that all platforms were leveraged to meet the client's goals and break through on social and traditional media.
For a multinational retail corporation based in the Southwest, Incite worked to prepare a team of communicators for an impending crisis, ensuring that key documents and plans were in place to respond immediately and effectively and engage with the right sets of reporters when the bad news broke. Once the issue went public, we monitored the scope and impact of the crisis while providing strategic advice to help the client execute a set of proactive and pre-planned media tactics designed to drive the information flow and maintain their credibility.
For an international security consulting group, Incite managed all aspects of press relations for a major multi-city international event hosted by the client. In addition to structuring messaging materials, we leveraged our experience with the media and in the digital sphere, identifying and engaging with relevant outlets and reporters around the world—resulting in high profile, high quality national and international coverage of our client and their event. Our team was on-site at multiple locations to seamlessly coordinate interviews and day-of press logistics, managing the inevitable last minute changes—easing the burden on our client and allowing them to focus on the success of their event.
For a national advocacy organization based in the Mountain West, Incite conducted a communications audit that found significant efficiency problems in how our client described its own brand, often failing to correctly prioritize press outreach and messaging opportunities in a way leads to effective proactive or rapid response message penetration. Using the results of the audit, Incite advised the client on how to dismantle the current organization and rebuild so that every aspect of its communications were grounded in a well-defined message and strategy—resulting in a leaner, more agile structure built to play the long game.
Incite led a media training for an educational hub at the center of New York's emerging technology sector to prepare both its global founders and the heads of its offices worldwide. We worked to better define the brand of the business while methodically walking through how get its message out to a general market audience. Our media training focused on both style and substance—how to engage the audience with a compelling message while delivering it in a convincing way. We produced both a video and a guidebook for the company's leadership to use to refresh their skills in advance of interviews and public appearances.