Being named one of America’s Best PR Agencies in 2021 by Forbes will forever be a highlight of 2020 (at least something good came out of this year).
Being on the Forbes list has us feeling a bit nostalgic. While 2020 might go down as the worst year to ever be, there were some great stories that came out of it.
Here are our favorite stories of the past year. Buckle up. There were a lot. We weren’t named to that list due to our looks.
GRAAHI Vaccine Statement – COVID-19 Vaccine Trials
From the start, COVID-19 vaccine trials have neglected, discriminated and left people of color behind. In August, researchers called on sponsors of vaccine trials to run more inclusive and diverse studies following a 397-subject clinical trial in which only 11% of trial participants were Black, a completely insufficient number according to researchers and health care professionals. As a result, the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute (GRAAHI) issued a statement calling out these sponsors for their lack of diversity, and inclusivity. 8THIRTYFOUR was able to share this information with the media, and further seek justice and change as it relates to a population that has been disproportionately affected by the virus.
It is rewarding to have clients like GRAAHI who seek to make change within our communities. We are honored to have the opportunity to tell their stories.
While COVID-19 has affected many businesses, Gateway Pediatric Therapy, the premier center for ABA therapy, has been fortunate enough to expand its presence and meet the needs within the state by opening its first West Michigan location. To build their presence, share who they are and what they do, Gateway reached out to us. Working with Gateway has been nothing but wonderful. There is a need within the community, and we are grateful to share these resources with them.
Grand Rapids Pride Center
Much like with all events, COVID-19 was responsible for the Grand Rapids Pride Festival being canceled. However, that didn’t stop us from promoting the Grand Rapids Pride Center and encouraging the public to still support them financially as they continue to serve LGBTQ+ youth and adults.
As a brand that preaches inclusivity and equal opportunity, it is extremely important to us to help organizations and businesses that further those ideals within our community.
When hospitals and essential workers were in dire need of medical equipment to protect themselves and patients from COVID-19, Battle Creek-based STEWART Industries formed a medical division to fight PPE price gouging. By using their Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), they were able to reduce prices, control the quality of goods, and save customers from import taxes.
Working with clients who strive to make a difference during a time of need is why we love what we do.
Grand Rapids Chamber
In an effort to attract former Michiganders back to the state of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Chamber launched the Opportunity Awaits campaign to spread awareness and showcase what GR has to offer. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of community and wide-open spaces. Grand Rapids has the best of both worlds, providing big city amenities, a small community feel and room to grow.
In working with the Chamber on this national campaign, we are helping to further this message and get people back to their roots while building pride for those currently living here.
Inforum – Women’s Leadership Report
Detroit Free Press
Inforum releases their Michigan Women’s Leadership Report bi-annually, which highlights women at the highest levels of government and leadership in Michigan’s public companies. Last year’s report, a collaborative initiative between Inforum and the Mike Illitich School of Business at Wayne State University, pointed out how far we need to go to achieve gender equality.
Working with Inforum is always rewarding, whether it be promoting their Capstone Dinner, featuring amazing women like the first Female NFL official, Sarah Thomas, or highlighting Me Too movement founder, Tarana Burke.
Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors – A story of hope and perseverance
The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, a Grand Rapids-based national non-profit, engaged 8THIRTYFOUR to share survivor stories and garner national media. Our team was able to share the story of twin sisters, Michelle and Katherine, by securing a feature in People Magazine.
Michelle suffered severe burn trauma at a very young age, leaving her with scars that cover a majority of her body. Within the feature, Michelle opens up about what it’s like to look at your identical twin and know exactly what you would look like if not for the accident. Sharing such emotional stories like this one is why we love public relations. PR is about elevating voices and sharing stories that matter.
Women’s Resource Center – Wine Women and Chocolate
The Women’s Resource Center is a Grand Rapids-based non-profit focused on equipping women to achieve purpose, fulfillment, and financial stability through meaningful employment to achieve their full potential.
Our team helped host the org’s 13th annual Wine, Women and Chocolate event at the Cascade Hills Country Club. The event provides fundraising opportunities with proceeds going to support programs dedicated to empowering women to become economically self-sufficient. The Women’s Resource Center prides themselves on providing resources and guidance on employment, career development and personal growth. What can we say? They’re an amazing group doing meaningful work.
These are just some of the great stories and clients we’ve worked with over the past year. If you are looking to elevate your brand and garner local, state or national media coverage, reach out to us. We’re quite good at what we do.