Business & Lobbying

McBee Strategic rebrands as Signal Group

Lobbying and PR shop McBee Strategic Consulting is rebranding as Signal Group, it announced Thursday morning.

“What’s in a name?” a press release begins. “Turns out a lot.”

{mosads}“As McBee Strategic, we’ve evolved over the last fifteen years to become one of D.C.’s leading government relations and strategic communications shops,” the firm said in a release. “But our name and brand no longer convey our evolution. Our goal is to reach beyond the traditional businesses of advocacy, communications, and public affairs.”

The evolution has been nearly two years in the works, and Signal Group says the new name is part of a “multi-year strategic plan.”

The K Street firm has been going through changes following the departure of its founder, Steve McBee, in late 2014. Following the announcement, he reportedly began shopping for a buyer for the firm and several employees defected to competitors and Capitol Hill.

In a deal that closed right before Christmas that year, law firm Wiley Rein bought the firm, allowing McBee Strategic to keep its name as a wholly owned subsidiary.  

Through work from the legacy firm’s leadership — including Robert Chamberlin, Eric Bovim and Sam Whitehorn — the newly dubbed Signal Group has begun to regain its footing in the competitive Beltway marketplace for communications and advocacy services.

“Our goal at Signal is to reach beyond the traditional business of advocacy, communications, and public affairs,” said Peter Shields, an executive committee member at the firm and Wiley Rein managing partner, in a statement. “Today’s audiences aren’t difficult to reach, but sustaining their attention and commanding action is what we have built Signal to deliver.”

Its advocacy clients include American Airlines, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Publix Super Markets, National Alliance of Forest Owners, Ally Financial and Facebook, among others. 

McBee founded the D.C. firm in 2002 in the style of a Silicon Valley “disruptor” that coupled lobbying and consulting with digital marketing and PR. 

While the firm is starting over with a new name, it says it is sticking with its original ethos.

“Signal drives positive outcomes for our clients,” Bovim, a managing director, said in a statement. “We deploy strategies that break convention and create new possibilities. That is what Signal represents.”

In 2016, the firm has been working to increase its foreign and international lobbying by hiring Robert Marcus, a former special assistant for legislative affairs for President Obama, and added Kim Dorgan and Langston Emerson to strengthen its financial services and insurance lobbying capabilities.

The firm has bolstered its digital communications services by bringing on Garth Moore. Moore formerly worked as the senior digital director of North America for ONE, the anti-poverty organization founded by rocker Bono of U2. Its communications arm also hired former Politico reporter Lauren French.

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