ST. LOUIS — Axiom Strategies has transformed what was an internal mail division into an independent firm specializing in mail, phones and digital voter contact.
The new firm, COMMAND, is described by Jeff Roe, the owner of both companies, as “free standing.” However, the two companies will have opportunities to collaborate on campaigns, he added.
“We did probably a dozen direct mail pieces today for 2014 at COMMAND and nobody at Axiom had anything to do with it,” Roe said. “Similarly, today we worked on proposals to do general consulting services for other campaigns, and that’s what we do [at Axiom].”
Roe said clients have hired Axiom Strategies solely for mail services, which became “overwhelming” during the height of campaign season.
“What we were quickly learning was that we were just limiting ourselves to only serving Axiom clients,” Roe said. “In the last cycle, the hope was that by separating the two firms, we would stop cannibalizing each other’s assets.”
By separating the two, Roe said both grew by 40 percent.
Axiom, as a general consulting firm, couldn’t take on races and campaigns of any size, he added, because Axiom could only take on a certain amount of clients per cycle. COMMAND, however, has the ability to provide services for a wide range of campaigns of any size and budget.
“When you’re running for school board in Connecticut, that’s a really important race to you,” he said. “And even though you’re only going to spend $2,500 on direct mail, now you have the ability to hire a firm that will have the same imprint on your race as it does for the President of the United States’ race.”
What allows COMMAND to be unique is its team. Roe said employees are hired because of specialized skill sets, not because they are “utility players.”
Campaign experts consult candidates at Axiom. Graphic designers, social media gurus, advertising experts and many other creative and savvy media communicators are welcome on the COMMAND team.
“Now, we hire graphic designers who have master degrees in fine arts, and that’s what they do all day,” Roe said. “They don’t try to run a campaign in the evening. They’re not doing opposition research on the weekend. When they go into work every day and leave every day they’re producing direct mail, doing data work, working on digital, they’re doing phone scripts. They’re simply becoming professional at their job duty.”
COMMAND clients do not have to rely on multiple firms or those communication or media experts for voter contact needs, making COMMAND a one-stop shop. Because services are no longer outsourced, Roe said, this allows for fluid communication under one roof. He said a candidate’s theme can be communicated across all platforms — mail, phone and digital — effectively and efficiently, which is where he thinks this industry is headed. His hope is that COMMAND is at the forefront of that.
“Before, it was really like making a quilt and finding all of these pieces come together. Now, we’re making the bedspread all together,” Roe said. “It’s all one unified, complete engagement with a consistent message and narrative. That’s really new.”
The addition of digital voter contact, Roe said, is the aspect of COMMAND he is most excited for.
“We won’t have a post office, probably, in 20 years,” he said. “People are going online and making decisions for voting patterns based on their digital engagement. So, we’re now able to place advertising to engage in a new solution for voter contact like Hulu and Pandora and Netflix.”
With COMMAND being specialized and centered on direct voter contact, Roe said candidates will have a unique advantage in their campaigns.
“We’re driven by the fact that we’ll be giving candidates a better chance to win,” Roe said. “That’s really the goal at the end of the day. We will do well when we win campaigns.”
Brittany Ruess was a reporter for The Missouri Times and the SEMO Times, and a graduate of Webster University.