Forbes names 8THIRTYFOUR as top 200 PR firm in US

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Kim Bode Courtesy 8THIRTYFOUR

Grand Rapids-based 8THIRTYFOUR was the only Michigan agency named among 200 top public relations leaders on Forbes’ inaugural list of America’s Best public relations firms.

The list was based on a survey conducted by data company Statista, which surveyed more than 12,700 experts and 20,500 customers, nominating 5,000 agencies.

According to Forbes, participants were asked to indicate how likely they were to nominate a particular agency on a scale of 0 (very unlikely) to 10 (very likely.) The firms with the highest number of recommendations were organized by Statista into star ratings: five stars for the first half of awarded companies and four stars for the second half. A total of 200 PR firms made the final ranking.

“As PR professionals, our job is to avoid the spotlight while pushing our clients into it,” said Kim Bode, owner and founder of 8THIRTYFOUR. “We certainly don’t seek out recognition, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love it. The champagne is still flowing.”

8THIRTYFOUR, an integrated communications agency, was founded in 2005. It has continually grown its state and national client base that operate in a variety of industries, including health care, manufacturing, consumer goods, nonprofits and logistics, among others.

In the past three years, 8THIRTYFOUR has grown 30% each year, including 2020. That growth, according to the agency, is fostered by its focus on retainer and project-based work.

“The agency model is just that — made for an agency,” Bode said. “The model doesn’t benefit the client. In fact, it fosters distrust and creates communication issues. We focus on deliverables, not the hours invested to achieve those goals. Our PR process is incredibly time intensive and thorough. That’s why we’re on this list — it works. We want our clients focused on results, not billable hours.”

8THIRTYFOUR recently hired a marketing specialist to assist with PR and strategy work for its clients.

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