18 Reflections on 2013 the Way Only 834 Can
Where to start? Why 18? Because…why not 18?! The year in review: 834 style.
- New digs. We expanded into a new space on the west side of Grand Rapids in the old GR Furniture Campus building. The space fits 834’s culture – it is quirky, full of character and constantly changing. We might be planning a roof deck for summer 2014. Don’t tell our landlord.
- New peeps. We added new staffers to the 834 team. We affectionately refer to them as “unicorns”. They are exceptional at creativity, writing, and making coffee – important traits you must possess if you want to join the team. They are also hard to catch, so you have to act quickly, when they are gone, they’re gone.
- Earned Media. This was a banner year for public relations for our clients. Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, the UK’s Daily Mail, Crain’s Detroit and more. Media pitching is something we take very seriously and it showed with thousands of media hits landed for our clients from radio, to local TV, and even some international attention. We work hard to build relationships that matter in the media from which our clients benefit.
- Social Media. 2013 was a year of training, more training, set-up, management, strategy, research and more for our clients. We are thrilled to see so many companies embracing social media and networking to expand their brand presence. Kudos to you. We love it!
- Over 150 cupcakes eaten… we are pretty sure per employee. We stopped counting. It is both a blessing and a curse we have an amazing bakery as a client.
- Your Biz Your Town entered it’s 3rd year of existence. The 4th Friday of every month we share the studio with the famous Shelley Irwin of WGVU on her morning show. We focus on nonprofits, small businesses and giving back…oh and all things Grand Rapids. 4th Friday of every month. Tune in.
- Websites, websites and more websites. This was definitely the year of the website. It seemed everyone we talked to was overhauling their site to integrate social media and blogging. We love the idea of ever-changing and fresh content creation. It’s part of the reason we get out of bed in the morning…well that, and coffee.
- Blogging. Not counting the 834 blog, we managed over 15 clients blogging strategies. This included writing, optimizing and sharing. That is a lot of writing… and now you understand the wine. Our intern associates even came up with the idea to create an environmentally friendly blog that they maintain all on their own. Don’t count out those Millennials folks, they care.
- The Kit Kat addiction. Somewhere along the way in 2013…we realized the 834 team has a serious addiction to Kit Kats….it had clearly gotten out of control with bags being hidden in desks, file cabinets and the owl candy jar. In 2014 we are hoping to turn this around…maybe Skittles? Tootsie Pops? Oh, the possibilities are endless.
- We got to support our alma mater, Grand Valley State University, with the design and development of the School of Communications annual report. What an honor to work with Dr. Tim Penning on the creation of an informative, creative and fun piece (we have several copies, come on in and check it out).
- We launched our quarterly happy hours, inviting our friends, colleagues and clients to enjoy networking in our space. Save-the-date for the next happy hour on February 6th. We provide the locale, drinks, cupcakes, and fun.
- Telly, an alumna of Central Michigan University, joined our team in September. Since then she has earned media placement in the Grand Rapids Business Journal and Thought Catalog, earned two of our clients recognition for community awards, and devoured more candy on a weekly basis than most people do in a year.
- Our furry friends were once again a focus with the sponsoring of Bailey’s Doggie Dash put on by the Kent County Parks Foundation, as well as our founder Kim stepping in as a co-chair of Paws, Claws & Corks for the Humane Society of West Michigan.
- Recognition is always nice, especially when it comes from your peers. This year both Adrienne and Kim were recognized by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce as Young Athena finalists. Our work on Lights in the Night Grand Rapids was recognized by the West Michigan Public Relations Society of America with two awards including Best in Show, and our very own Adrienne Wallace walked away with “New” PR Practitioner of the Year.
- Our fearless leader, Kim Bode, participated in Up Next! A leadership program that gives an in depth look at Mercy Health, its core service programs such as the Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center and the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neuroscience Center, and an insider’s view of how the organization fulfills its mission of improving the health in our community.
- Who in Grand Rapids doesn’t love health care? We were given the opportunity to expand our presence in the health care industry with the addition of several health focused clients. This makes Kim exceptionally happy due to her background with the West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative.
- The client base at 834, tripled from the year prior…hence the hiring of “unicorns”. We can’t begin to express our gratitude to the community in which we live and work. Grand Rapids, you truly are one-of-a-kind.
- Paying it forward. Mentorship, hosting interns each semester, teaching the next gen PR pros, advising Grand PR the student run PR firm at GVSU, and advising the GVPRSSA chapter keeps 834 busy and focused on the future of PR.
We can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for us. As for our New Year’s resolution, we hope to keep it simple by kicking ass and taking names, preferably with a cupcake in one hand and a glass of vino in the other. How will you conquer 2014?
Pictures say it best! Here’s a bit of what happened at 834 in 2013.