Gaia Group PR Blog
If We Can’t Brag About Our Clients, Whom Can We Brag About?
by Melissa Adams & Tori Montano
As a small, but mighty independent marketing communications firm, we have spent 2014 creating connections, conversations and community building for our awesome clients. This year, we’ve helped our clients (or business partners!) launch successful and high impact marketing strategies, internal communications, media relations and social media campaigns.
As the halfway point of the year came and went, we realized it was time for our partners to get the recognition they deserve. From there, the 22101 Small Agency Awards were born. We created these awards out of respect and admiration so that we are able to take a few minutes to brag about their amazing work.
This year, Gaia Group has “won” (well technically gave ourselves) five 22101 Small Agency Awards including “Best Media Relations Campaigns,” “Best Company Launch,” “Best use of Social Media,” and “Best Overall Small Agency of the Year,” thanks to stellar innovations and top-notch programs attributed to our clients. These will start us off and in typical Millennial style, everyone will receive an award this year!
While we patiently wait for the “awards” to be engraved and delivered to our office, <wink> we are thrilled to share some of our rock star clients accomplishments. Stay tuned for highlights!
by Tori Montano
It’s no surprise that over the past few years there have been significant changes in the healthcare industry. Whether it’s policy changes, increased patient awareness or new technologies, the industry began to shift in 2013 and hasn’t slowed down yet. As 2014 approached, thought leaders and publications tried to calculate where the industry would take us this year, and what trends would have the biggest impact.
Our favorite forecast came from InformationWeek, where Ken Terry, a freelance healthcare writer who specializes in health IT, predicted 9 digital health trends for 2014. His trends included, wearable monitors, smart sensors, telehealth, Google Glass v. Kinect, speech recognition, IBM Watson, M-Health apps, cloud-based EHRs, and HISPS.
As we head into the 4th quarter, we thought it would be interesting to check-in on these predictions. Out of the 9 trends, we focused on our three favorites, wearable monitors, telehealth and M-health Apps.
From the Nike Fuleband, to the Fitbit, to the Garmin FR70, and now – the long awaited iWatch, wearable monitors are the hottest ticket in town these days. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) consumer interest in purchasing a wearable monitor quadrupled from 3% in 2012 to 13% in 2013, so it’s no wonder that Terry thought these devices would continue to gather traction in 2014.Reportlinker.com defines wearable monitors as devices with sensors that detect and monitor changes in the body such as; smart watches, health monitors, fitness tracking devices, pedometers, etc.
While we’re still in the beginning of this trend, interest in these devices is increasing at a continuous rate and researchers estimate that this sector could be worth anywhere between 5 and 50 billion dollars by 2018. Though, critics of the devices agree that wearables need to bring value to users, be easy to use, and simply integrate with other devices in order to become an essential part of daily life.
We’ll have to check back with this trend at the end of the year to see what happens! Stay tuned.
The next predicted trend of 2014 is Telehealth, which was revolutionized by the Department of Veteran Affairs. In 2012, nearly half a million veterans received care remotely. Kerry foresaw that this trend would transfer over to the private sector in 2014.
Although there are some major obstacles to overcome like cross-state licensing, 2014 has shown that Terry was accurate about telehealth. Many have attributed the success to private insurers, the Affordable Care Act and employers. This June, the American Medical Association announced their policy “for ensuring the appropriate coverage of and payment for telemedicine,” a major step in the right direction for the industry. In addition to this, we have seen key players endorse the field such as large enterprises, the U.S. government and hospitals and doctors offices.
This is a trend we feel will continue to develop, saving patients time and money!
The last trend we checked in on is mobile health apps! Terry explained that this trend could only take off in 2014 if there was an easy way to distinguish the mobile health apps from all the other tens of thousands apps.
Well, mobile health and fitness’s big moment is finally here. According to Flurry, at the halfway point in the year and there has been a 62% increase in the usage of health and fitness apps since January 2014. This number can be compared to the 33% increase in usage of the mobile app industry in general.
We think that this is just the beginning for mobile health apps. These applications have the potential to make patients more active in managing their health and being more informed!
What do you think? What have been your favorite digital healthcare trends of the year?
When will “Going Green” become the ONLY option…
by Hannah M. Avery
Going green has taken the world by storm. Long gone are the days of Styrofoam coffee cups and plastic water bottles filling the trash can. Now thermoses made from recycled trash and reusable, eco-friendly coffee cups are a common household item as well as a fashion accessory in everyone’s hands.
We are all intrigued with the next big thing to hit whether that be solar, wind, or electric energy—the options seem to grow by the minute. In fact, a whopping 75 percent of American adults purchase green products, according to a recent study. Everyone wants to do their part to ensure that they are participating in the popular “go green” movement. Although it is great that people are fully on board with supporting energy efficiency, should this lifestyle be presented in a more organic, sensible way?
A recent blog post on GreenBiz.com, Why innovation isn’t always the answer in cleantech, poses a valid question to think about – is it more important for cleantech to be the hottest, newest innovation or is it more important for it to be seen as a realistic, mainstream preference?
Although the initial appeal of having ground breaking green technology lures consumers into participating in the action, it is a double edge sword. The point of creating eco-friendly products is not so that the consumer has a choice, but so the eco-friendly option becomes the norm that everyone accepts. Creating these efficient products should knock the other products right off the shelf. Although it’s wonderful to advertise LED light bulbs as a new, green technology, it is time they are the basic standard light bulb found in every home.
Here are 5 tips to help you become a savvy green shopper. Soon enough it won’t even occur to you that making simple switches is the “green” thing to do, but the right thing to do. More tips like these can be found on www.virginiaenergysense.org
- Replace your incandescent light bulbs with LED lights to use 75% less energy.
- Look for the “ENERGY Star” label when purchasing home appliances to ensure that they meet the guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Look for the “WaterSense” label when purchasing water-efficient fixtures and appliances to ensure that they are certified by the EPA, and are high performance appliances.
- Remember to avoid “greenwashing” – companies often package a product to make it seem organic, natural and eco-friendly but look for the green label so you are not just appealing to the packaging.
- Check out http://www.buygreen.com/ to verify that the products you buy are eco-friendly.
Innovation is a great thing —if someone invents a car that runs on grass clippings, by all means, make it the new must-have item. However, when it comes to everyday appliances and habits, we believe some things should just be automatic!
by Hannah M. Avery
I vividly remember the rainy day that I locked myself away in my college campus library, determined to find an internship for the summer. Although initially I was looking for any internship that would take me, I soon realized that “any internship” was not going to cut it.
I wasn’t interested in having an internship just to slap down on my resume and forget about once summer ended. I wanted to walk away with experience and passion for the public relations field. When I came across Gaia Group’s webpage and read through a previous intern’s blog post (ironic, huh?) I knew I had found a wonderful agency.
Although I am a Public Relations major at school, being engulfed into the profession proved to be totally different from studying the material in a textbook. I am so thankful that I found Gaia Group and was blessed with the opportunity to intern here for a short summer. I have learned so much more than I thought I could acquire from an internship – not only did I discover key aspects of the Public Relations and Marketing world, but I also learned the building blocks of a great business.
It only seems logical that now write a blog post to commemorate my time here at Gaia Group. I’ve compiled a list of lessons and tips learned along the journey of interning this summer.
Culture is everything
One of the main reasons I loved coming to work every day was because of the people who surrounded me. Not only was the Gaia team welcoming, funny and all around amazing, but they were also great role models for the type of person I want to be later on in my business career. Having genuine, admirable people surround you at the office definitely adds to a positive work experience
It’s important to be passionate about what you are doing
I saw firsthand the dedication and drive that went into each and every one of their clients. Every detail from research to pitches to press releases was handled with extreme care. I could tell that what they were doing at work meant a lot to them, and that they strived for the best for their clients.
It’s okay to ask questions
It sounds like something that an elementary school teacher would say, but it is all too true. Everyone is afraid to ask unnecessary questions. It’s because we are human. Who would have thought, right? While you don’t want to be that person always barging into your coworker’s office and asking questions that you could have easily figured out yourself, you definitely don’t want to do an assignment completely wrong when you could have just clarified a few points. I learned that balance while at Gaia Group, and I know this will benefit me in the future.
When I first started interning at Gaia Group, I was not too familiar with digital or clean technology, but now I am coming away with a lot more knowledge and passion for a topic that was unfamiliar to me just a few months ago. You can love your job all you want but if you aren’t interested in the research behind the scenes, then you probably aren’t going to stay on top of the news, and sadly won’t be very much help. It takes a little bit of time to get used to the lingo, it will benefit you in the long run.
Organization is key
Make sure you keep your email inbox clean and answer emails as you get them. Gaia Group kindly provided me with my very own red initialed notebook that I wrote down everything I needed to remember for the day (and also so I could cross it off my to-do list. Come on, it’s the best part!)
Although I sadly have to make my way back to school, I am excited to go into my classes with the knowledge I have gained this summer. Thank you Gaia Group for giving me such a wonderful first experience in the industry!
by Lindsay Buchanan, Associate
Sadly, my time as a Gaia Group employee has come to a close. With law school on the horizon, it’s time for me to bid the firm “adieu.” However, I’ll always cherish these lessons that I learned from the Gaia gals. If you are seeking a job or even an internship position, perhaps some of the advice below will be helpful in providing guidance on agency life!
Never underestimate your own power.
During my fifth week at work, I was asked to run point on event support for a large-scale two-day client event. Suddenly, I was at the helm of communications for a 200-person summit. Although, I’m a self-starter, I was initially terrified to be “in charge.” That fear quickly dissipated when I realized that–thanks to my managers at Gaia Group– I was completely informed and capable of completing the tasks at hand. At Gaia Group, the leadership doesn’t believe in keeping other members of the organization in the dark: they believe in managing up and fostering a completely team-oriented environment. From Day One, I was included on emails, calls, event planning meetings, and updated on all pertinent information. I met with client contacts, worked closely on marketing materials, and acquired a considerable knowledge of all of the power players, jargon, and hot topics in our client’s industry. I realized that I had all the tools that I needed to succeed. More than that, knowing that my managers had enough faith in me to allow me to take the lead made all the difference.
Work for your network, and it will work for you.
One of my wisest professors always said, “Networking shouldn’t be about what you can get or use from others; it should be about how you can help each other grow.” Our fearless leader, Gaia Group president Laura Taylor, is the living example of that principle. Her success lies in the fact that others trust her, respect her, and appreciate her because she gives of herself, completely. That goodness radiates throughout the entire team. She can often be found setting aside twenty minutes to talk to a burgeoning businesswoman, doing pro bono work for causes and people she believes in, or treating her employees to lunch to make sure they know they’re important. She does so much for so many people, and in return, her network rewards her with words of thanks and referrals. From observing her and the other Gaia Group employees, I’ve learned that the key to growing happiness in your career comes from the selfless deeds you do for others.
I know. Let me explain. In order to specialize and be the best in your industry, you’ve got to think small: know everything about your industry (backward and forward), be precise, comb through every tiny detail, segment your research, and apply it to your client’s specific organization. Thinking small is imperative, but the real challenge is applying small, specific thoughts to big issues to create big wins for the client. This is where Gaia Group excels. Collectively, the professionals at Gaia Group are experts in the areas of cleantech PR, technology, public affairs, social media, editing, and media relations. They’ve thought “small” enough to become experts in a number of industries in order to make giant impacts for their clients.
All ideas are good ideas.
One of the main reasons that I felt like a true member of the Gaia Group team from early on in my employment was that I was treated as if my experiences and thoughts were completely essential to the organization. I think that’s the beauty of Gaia Group: every team member brings something different (and equally important) to the table. Every idea I ever had was treated with validity and complete respect. In my previous experiences interning at several different organizations, I was rarely ever asked for my opinion on client work. Now, at a PR firm with incredibly talented, seasoned PR vets, I (a first-year associate) was asked for my input almost every single day! Using a more collaborative team strategy allows Gaia Group to pull from a wealth of amazing ideas and produce exemplary results for their clients.
What I will miss most is the camaraderie I share with my fellow team members. There really isn’t a rotten egg in the whole crew. The warmth and dedication that lives in each member of the team is infectious. It touches everyone they work with– just ask any of their clients! I’ll definitely be back to the new McLean office to visit!