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Reach Your 2022 Goals With SGA At Your Side

Reach Your 2022 Goals With SGA At Your Side

Happy New Year! 2021 was full of its ups and downs, but here at SGA, we are looking forward to making the most of 2022.  This past year, we’ve continued to foster old partnerships as well as begun new ones. We’ve continued to grow our clients’ presences both online and
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Overcoming the Knowledge Curse

Overcoming the Knowledge Curse

In Margin Call, Jeremy Irons plays the CEO of an investment firm that’s about to go under because they have a problem so complex, most of the staff doesn’t understand it. At 2 a.m. Irons says, “Maybe you could tell me what is going on. And please, speak as you
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Using Emotional Connections With Audiences to Create a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

Using Emotional Connections With Audiences to Create a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

At the digital  California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) Virtual Conference, this fall, SGA debuted a poster for the San Bernardino County Stormwater Program’s annual Valentine Gram Canister campaign. 2020 was the second consecutive year of the Program’s campaign, where dog owner subscribers to the Program could send a free digital valentine
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Social Distancing & Behavior Change

Social Distancing & Behavior Change

6 feet, 3 Canadian geese, 2 meters or one alligator apart. With the sad news of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in LA County, the continued reminder to stay 6 feet apart is ever more important. As some normalcy slowly returns (well…in fits and starts!), getting new behaviors to
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The Power of Visuals Over Words

The Power of Visuals Over Words

If you read a statistic that 40% of the U.S. population are at risk of disease and premature death because of air pollution, most likely you would think, “Wow, that is a high number, I can’t imagine what someone must be going through who experiences that!” But if this same
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A Lesson from COVID-19 for Earth Day

A Lesson from COVID-19 for Earth Day

The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in arguably one of the largest mass behavior changes in human history. Its ripple effects have impacted every aspect of our daily lives. From reminding people that only toilet paper is flushable (#WipesClogPipes), to helping people get child support after losing a job, to
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Physically Apart but Together as a Community

Physically Apart but Together as a Community

The evolving COVID-19 pandemic presents unique difficulties for people everywhere- we are all living in unchartered territory and with unprecedented worry. While we all stand tall in the face of this challenge, this season has also been a visceral reminder of how interconnected we are. This concept is the very
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Spinning 3 Websites in 6 Months

Spinning 3 Websites in 6 Months

Good web design is like a spider web: what appears to be simple, functional, and delicate should also be intricate, elegant, and strong. And like an excited spider who’s just caught an unlucky fly, web design is one of those things that gets our team really fired up. It requires
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How to Avoid Being Mistaken for SPAM

How to Avoid Being Mistaken for SPAM

Now that I’ve got your mouth watering, I’m here to tell you something less savory: only about 85% of the emails you send in your newsletter campaign actually reach the inboxes you’ve sent them to. That means that a whopping 15% of all the emails you send get flagged as
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What’s Your Watershed Moment?

What’s Your Watershed Moment?

As SGA’s first and longest-standing clients, the Los Angeles Stormwater Program (LASW) has accomplished a lot in terms of educating the LA city residents about stormwater pollution prevention. Most recently, SGA helped LASW create a series of whiteboard videos to help residents discover their watershed moment. The series features six
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5 Effective Persuasion Techniques

5 Effective Persuasion Techniques

In a world of logic, persuasion would be a lost art. To state your case, you’d simply make an argument grounded in facts, trends, and case studies, and voilà, people would do the right thing. Litterbugs would learn that 80% of the trash floating around in our oceans starts on
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Sweet Santa Clara: What to do About a Sugary Problem?

Sweet Santa Clara: What to do About a Sugary Problem?

Current American diets and lifestyles leave our minds highly susceptible to hijacking. Ever heard of glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, dextrose, and starch? They’re all sugars, and adding them to common food products is a cheap way of making those products more “craveable.” The problem with hiding sugar in popular
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SGA to Speak at 22nd Annual Energy, Utility & Environment Conference (EUEC)

SGA to Speak at 22nd Annual Energy, Utility & Environment Conference (EUEC)

SGA founder and president, Stephen Groner, will speak at the 22nd Annual Energy, Utility & Environment Conference (EUEC) held February 25–27, 2019, at the San Diego Convention Center. Entitled, “From Data to Insights to Stories that Reach Your Audience,” his presentation will focus on getting technical information to stakeholders so
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How Can Social Media Contribute to a Sustainable Society?

How Can Social Media Contribute to a Sustainable Society?

In his book, Fostering Sustainable Behavior, Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr claims that social media is most effective when it supplies an actionable and convenient solution to a large and abstract problem. It’s easier for us to imagine that using fewer paper towels (for example) will help prevent deforestation than it is
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Putting Our Money Where Our Hearts Are

Putting Our Money Where Our Hearts Are

Our purpose at SGA is to build better communities. The way we do this is by partnering with clients and only taking on projects that align with our core principles, inspire change, and ultimately helps make this world of ours a little better. Our clients know we are a triple
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How Do We Motivate Behavior Change?

How Do We Motivate Behavior Change?

In the late 1960s, Stanford University professor Walter Michel began his now classic “Marshmallow Experiments.” He offered four and five-year-olds a choice: they could either have one marshmallow now (he put it in front of them) or, if they waited 15 minutes, they could have a second. Not surprisingly, most
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Happy or Happenstance?

Happy or Happenstance?

In recent years, happiness has become an increasingly popular topic in the field of psychology.  But as many researchers have found, it’s a tricky topic to study. Happiness is easily misread, difficult to measure, and often created by counter-intuitive actions. One researcher at the University of California Riverside, Professor Sonja
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Sports and Essential Communication Lessons: What Football Taught Me About Marketing

Sports and Essential Communication Lessons: What Football Taught Me About Marketing

Walking through my neighborhood on a Sunday morning is no longer a time for quiet self-reflection. House after house, cheers of excitement and shouts of anger escape through insulated walls and double-paned glass. This can only mean one thing: it’s football season. The bright flat screens that peak through neighbor’s
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What Data has Taught Us About Improving Outreach

What Data has Taught Us About Improving Outreach

The growth of social media and online outreach over the past 3 years has been astronomical. With a projected 2.77 billion social media users worldwide by 2019, social media campaigns are booming. We live in a generation where we check our emails constantly, share our meals on Instagram, update our
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SGA After 20 Years: Where We Are Now

SGA After 20 Years: Where We Are Now

There’s an old saying: Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. SGA was started on the premise to do good, to make communities better, and to protect the environment. Pretty ambitious—right?  Through sheer determination and persistence, we have turned that
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You Wouldn’t Lie to Me, Would You?

You Wouldn’t Lie to Me, Would You?

Have you ever been caught in a lie? Felt a spotlight shine on one of those dirty little secrets you carry around? Bernie Madoff did, and so did I when I told my friend I liked their DIY dye job. They may be in different leagues, but they’re both lies.
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San Bernadino County Wins Outstanding Stormwater Project

San Bernadino County Wins Outstanding Stormwater Project

SGA is immensely proud to have worked on the re-branding components for the San Bernadino County, “Where Water Meets Community” outreach campaign. Identified by the California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) as an outstanding stormwater program, the campaign consisted of a complete brand overhaul to help engage and educate the community
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What Motivates You to Do the Right Thing?

What Motivates You to Do the Right Thing?

What motivates you? What makes you tick? And what, if anything, would influence a change in your behavior? Many of us assume that we have the answers, but the truth might not be so simple. While we may consciously think one way, there’s a chance that we subconsciously act in
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Tips & Tricks to Launching a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Tips & Tricks to Launching a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Lasting relationships. Trust. Loyalty. These are all elements that a successful email marketing campaign can help you build with your audience. Whether you realize it or not, email marketing is still one of the most used and effective marketing tactics out there according to Smart Insights, a learning platform for
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SGA: How it All Began

SGA: How it All Began

In celebration of SGA’s 20th Anniversary, SGA presents the first part of a three-part series, detailing the history  of SGA. “Stephen just landed a large project with the City of Los Angeles and he asked me to help with a project called Kids Ocean Day,” Samantha Concetti, human resources manager
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Recognizing the SHeroes in Our Lives

Recognizing the SHeroes in Our Lives

This month is International Women’s Month! To celebrate, we wanted to discuss powerful women that have worked to create a better environment or community. From environmental specialists to marketing experts to behavior change professionals to social outreach warriors, women have made a big impact in the world. Many of them
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6 Recycling Resolutions that Make a Big Impact

6 Recycling Resolutions that Make a Big Impact

New year, new you?! In case you haven’t noticed (we barely did), January is almost over and it’s about time for those New Year’s resolutions to either kick into gear or to be kicked to the curb. Either way, we’re not judging! We want to help provide solutions. If you’re
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SGA’s Year in Review

SGA’s Year in Review

  We created a short video to commemorate the environmental and community impact successes of 2017. We look forward to achieving greater things in 2018 and thank you for making 2017 successful!  
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Why Volunteering is Good for the Soul, Community, and World

Why Volunteering is Good for the Soul, Community, and World

Make it attractive, make it meaningful, and make it worthwhile. According to The Guardian, these are the main factors that motivate a person to volunteer. While the behavioral science behind volunteering isn’t comprehensive, there is some consensus on a few common threads: The experience needs to provide learning for the
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Say…Engagement! Let the Photos Do the Talking

Say…Engagement! Let the Photos Do the Talking

How many of you constantly take photos of your family members and pets, or an exquisitely prepared meal, or a stunning sunset? Many of us at here SGA admit to having taken more than one photo like this. As visual creatures, humans are drawn to photos more than words. That
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Read About One SGA Staff’s Approach to Zero Waste

Read About One SGA Staff’s Approach to Zero Waste

Remember the last time you said you were going to start a new diet, go to the gym, or eat healthier? (To be honest, we make those pledges at least once a week too!) While the intentions are great, for many of us, taking those first steps is hard to
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How Does SGA Love the Ocean? Let Us Count the Waves!

How Does SGA Love the Ocean? Let Us Count the Waves!

When it comes to promoting environmental awareness, it turns out, we are not oceans apart. On May 25th, SGA, in conjunction with LA City Sanitation, helped prepare and organize the 24th annual Kids Ocean Day Adopt-A-Beach Clean Up at Dockweiler State Beach. The theme for this year’s beach clean up
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3 Steps to Pedal Forward and Make Positive Change

3 Steps to Pedal Forward and Make Positive Change

May 19th is Bike to Work Day!  At SGA, we believe that bicycling is a great way to demonstrate behavior change. Remember when you were a kid and you first learned how to ride a bike?  At first, you were scared: Don’t let me fall!  Of course, you fell.  But
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Learn How Effective Messaging Can Shape Pro-Environmental Behaviors

Learn How Effective Messaging Can Shape Pro-Environmental Behaviors

What messaging do you think works better: “Help save the environment,” or “Join your fellow citizens in helping to save the environment?” If your answer was the second choice, then you’re in agreement with research that shows specific messages — the right specific messages — are much more likely than
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Learn How Renewable and Raw Materials Like Hemp Can Save the Earth

Learn How Renewable and Raw Materials Like Hemp Can Save the Earth

Let’s start by saying SGA hasn’t been watching a Cheech and Chong marathon and no, we don’t have the munchies.  With Earth Day just around the corner, we wanted to bring awareness to the many ways that hemp can help save the environment. Unfortunately, hemp gets lumped in with its
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Save on Taxes While Saving the Environment

Save on Taxes While Saving the Environment

We’re going to risk saying the one word that will probably cause you to stop reading: TAXES! Are you still with us? Great! It’s time to stop make taxes…taxing. Did you know going green can be good for the environment and for your tax situation? We know it’s hard to
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How Consuming and Wasting Less Means Living More

How Consuming and Wasting Less Means Living More

Take the opportunity of a fresh, new spring season to reaffirm your environmental goals. One way you can become an environmental hero is by reevaluating ways in which you can reduce waste in your everyday life. According to a study conducted by Duke University, the average person generates 4.3 pounds
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March Madness: Learn How to Work as a Team

March Madness: Learn How to Work as a Team

It happens every year.  Thousands of college basketball fans get wrapped up in the fervor and zeal of March Madness. Watching these athletes play is a true lesson in teamwork and communication. As Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” With all the attention
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Black History Month: 5 Environmental Leaders to Look Up To

Black History Month: 5 Environmental Leaders to Look Up To

In honor of Black History Month, SGA celebrates the achievements of five African American environmental leaders who have championed environmental issues for local and national communities. These heroes brought awareness to environmental issues by creating urban farms in empty lots, walking everywhere and giving up motorized transport, live broadcasting environmental
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Develop a Relationship You Can Work With

Develop a Relationship You Can Work With

Do you have a best friend at work? This question elicits pause, but it is also a question that reveals one of the foundational characteristics of a highly productive workgroup. According to Gallup research, there are 12 key factors that describe great workgroups. One of these relates to the quality
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On Listening and Meaningful Change: Angeline Lee

On Listening and Meaningful Change: Angeline Lee

(This is a part of a series of biographical pieces to introduce you to the SGA staff.) With a warm smile and infectious laughter that lights up the office, Angeline Lee (or Angie as she is known) has the innate ability to weave kindness with impact into her work. This
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SGA’s ‘Whistle While You Work’ Vol. 3

SGA’s ‘Whistle While You Work’ Vol. 3

Break out of your normal pattern of thinking. According to an article published by The New York Times, when the mind is wandering, music can bring you back into focus and “make a repetitive job feel more lively.” Enliven the post-Holiday lows, expand your mind and listen to SGA’s personally
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SGA’s 2016 in Review

SGA’s 2016 in Review

We created a short video to commemorate the environmental and social good successes of 2016. We leave this year knowing that when we work together for a common cause…there’s nothing we can’t achieve.  We look forward to achieving greater things in 2017 and thank you for making 2016 successful!
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7 Green Holiday Tips for Your Business

7 Green Holiday Tips for Your Business

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” -Rumi People may mistakenly believe that they have to make grand, life-altering changes to make a difference. This can lead to frustration and disappointment. SGA believes that true change begins
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#GivingTuesday: A Powerful Catalyst for Behavior Change

#GivingTuesday: A Powerful Catalyst for Behavior Change

The impact of giving on #GivingTuesday Every year for the last five years, brands, non-profits and people have come together in gratitude to raise money for different causes. Last year, #GivingTuesday raised over $116M from over 700,000 donors across the world! While the monetary results of #GivingTuesday are significant, it
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To Create Change, Seeing is Believing

To Create Change, Seeing is Believing

At SGA, the projects we pursue focus on behavioral changes and social marketing to improve local communities. Over the years, SGA has learned that one of the most effective tools to generate awareness and change is by producing short videos. According to emarketer, US adults now own more connected devices
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Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Many of our clients use email marketing to get their message out to prospects and customers. It’s a great tool. Email allows for segmentation so you are able to target your message to those who will most want to read it. In fact, 13 percent of all leads come from
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Use of Infographics in Content Marketing

Use of Infographics in Content Marketing

Every person takes in information and learns differently. Thus, you have to have different tactics to reach everyone in your audience. At SGA, we know that some people remember what they read rather than what they hear; others learn when they see things in writing. Then there’s the 65 percent
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SGA’s ‘Whistle While You Work’ Vol. 2

SGA’s ‘Whistle While You Work’ Vol. 2

With an entire Slack channel dedicated to exploring other music, SGA employees are verified audiophiles. Working in an office with people of varied backgrounds and an eclectic taste in music means a constant supply of fresh new music to listen to as we make the world a better place. When
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The Cause Marketing Approach to Life: Anya Liddiard

The Cause Marketing Approach to Life: Anya Liddiard

Meet Anya Liddiard, our primary Marketing Manager on LA Stormwater, whose life trajectory followed the question: What can I contribute to make the world a little better? A native Russian who holds advanced degrees in Economics and Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University, Anya later relocated to the West Coast,
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Appleseed: Social Marketing in the Developing World

Appleseed: Social Marketing in the Developing World

At SGA, all of our projects focus on using social marketing to change behavior and improve communities working hand-in-hand with our clients. That goal is the foundation of every decision we make in designing our programs and, in this case, even in the decisions staff make when they move on
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The 3 I’s of a Successful Facebook Page

The 3 I’s of a Successful Facebook Page

Facebook is the platform that gives your organization a voice and an identity in a community of more than a billion active users. Whether you’re a local agency striving to make positive behavior change with residents or a for-profit marketer selling an idea, Facebook provides a concrete space to communicate
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The Poop on Poop

The Poop on Poop

Dog waste isn’t a topic most people talk about on a daily basis, but this “business” should be discussed. Pet owners who don’t have their dog’s droppings top of mind likely aren’t aware of how harmful it is to our environment when the poop isn’t scooped. So, I’m out to
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Education Led to Passion to Motivate Others: Whitney Schmucker

Education Led to Passion to Motivate Others: Whitney Schmucker

(This biographical piece is part of our series to introduce you to the SGA staff.) After graduating from UC Berkeley, where I studied Marketing, I jumped into my dream job at Grey Advertising in San Francisco. I spent five years planning advertising campaigns for companies like: Adobe, Sandisk, BMW, and
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Good Marketing is a Like a Ramen Shop

Good Marketing is a Like a Ramen Shop

Every business is good at something. There are some businesses that try to be good at everything. However, sometimes it’s best to focus on what you know best and let others do what they do best. It can be a win-win for everyone. Let me explain. During a December trip
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Getting OC Gneighbors to Think Saving Water is Gnormal

Getting OC Gneighbors to Think Saving Water is Gnormal

Stormwater is such an abstract concept for people. But when we’re tasked with getting the public to understand pollution-conveying runoff and the need for water conservation during an ongoing drought, we needed something – or someone – to help in the effort. We needed a gnome. We looked for a mascot
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The Question is as Important as the Answer: Thomas Kim

The Question is as Important as the Answer: Thomas Kim

(This biographical piece is part of our series to introduce you to the SGA staff.) Psychology is fascinating. I dug deep into this during my time at UC Berkeley where I was part of a research team at Haas School of Business and the Department of Cognitive Science. My research
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SGA’s ‘Whistle While You Work’ Vol. 1

SGA’s ‘Whistle While You Work’ Vol. 1

Every week the Economist magazine (one of my favorite reads) puts together a music playlist to go along with their insightful, often cutting and highly influential articles about the world and economics (their most recent cover story on China’s President Xi Jinping, resulted in their website being blocked). Well, at
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My Road to SGA: Judy Seitelman

My Road to SGA: Judy Seitelman

(This is the first in a new series of biographical pieces to introduce you to the SGA staff.) For 28 years, I worked independently as a management consultant focusing on strategic planning, new program development, marketing – including events, policies and procedures, and specialty documentation. My clients were primarily in
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Tips Before Taking Out Your Greenway Lawn

Tips Before Taking Out Your Greenway Lawn

California residents know that having an environmentally friendly lawn is important during this ongoing drought. However, before you dig up the lawn and make changes, have a plan in place. I did, but I also learned a few lessons along way. Here, I offer some insight that might save you
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4 Simple Ideas to Improve Outreach

4 Simple Ideas to Improve Outreach

It’s difficult to imagine a time before randomized trials and data. But as an article in the December 12 issue of the Economist points out, before the 20th century, “The sick were wise to stay away from doctors. Medical treatments were often worthless and sometimes dangerous.” Then in the 1920s,
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2015: SGA’s Year in Review

2015: SGA’s Year in Review

Countdown of the top 11 things we did in 2015 11. Worked with LA Stormwater and Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education on the 22nd Kids Ocean Day. 10. Won a CASQA award for our work with Orange County Stormwater Program and Gnorman. 9. Exceeded goals for County of Santa Barbara’s pilot pet-waste
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A Surprising Obstacle to Recycling Paint

A Surprising Obstacle to Recycling Paint

The questions were simple: Do you know you can recycle paint? Do you do it? Why or why not? But when we asked Leo, a middle-aged man who had just finished painting his house, the answers were more complicated. Leo had heard he could recycle paint. He wasn’t doing it,
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What We’re Thankful For

What We’re Thankful For

At the SGA office in Long Beach, we like to focus on gratitude. And if we ever forget what gives our lives purpose and joy, there’s a 10 x 12 ft chalkboard wall to remind us. Gratitude for SGA’ers can be brought about by things small (a blueberry muffin from
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Naming our Data: Bringing Data to Life through Characterization

Naming our Data: Bringing Data to Life through Characterization

It often began with the question, “Have you heard about IPM?” You yourself may be wondering, What is IPM? For the past year, we worked under a CalRecycle grant to promote Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to the City of Thousand Oaks and the neighboring cities of Camarillo and Moorpark. We
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The Secret Weapon to Motivating Change

The Secret Weapon to Motivating Change

In a sunny Southern California subdivision just outside of San Diego in 2003, a bunch of graduate students slipped into a quiet neighborhood and started reading electric meters. They were looking for an almost invisible force that was getting people to use less energy in their homes. And while they
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SGA Wins 2015 CASQA Award

SGA Wins 2015 CASQA Award

Who would have thought that a garden gnome could have such a large impact in Orange County? Meet Gnorman: Most people would look at Gnorman and see just another gnome, but SGA saw more than that! We saw the face of Orange County’s Overwatering is Out campaign – a campaign
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The Growing Experience

The Growing Experience

What do two SGAers do when they have time on their hands? They start a nonprofit using community-based social marketing (CBSM). Say hello to Appleseed! Philip Kao, Adam Quinn and pediatrician Ruth Chiang Kao founded Appleseed, a nonprofit with SGA roots that aims to inspire the choices and actions that matter
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Not All Motivators are Created Equal [Guide]

Not All Motivators are Created Equal [Guide]

In the late 1960s, Stanford University professor Walter Michel began his now classic “Marshmallow Experiments.” He offered four and five year olds a choice: they could have one marshmallow now (he put it in front of them) or, if they could wait 15 minutes, he would give them a second
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Facebook 101 – How to Make Fans Flock to Your Page

Facebook 101 – How to Make Fans Flock to Your Page

The ideal length of a Facebook post is (not even long enough for this sentence). That’s right – just 40 characters, less than a third of Twitter’s limit, is the optimal length of a Facebook post. Posts with 40 characters receive 86 percent more engagement than posts with more characters.
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SGA Stands Up for Zero Waste

SGA Stands Up for Zero Waste

The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council recently hosted their biggest and best Annual National Zero Waste Conference yet, and our very own Stephen Groner was the committee chair. Stephen kicked off the conference by welcoming the attendees (over 300!) to the event and introducing the first day’s keynote speaker, Los
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How We Turned Data to Narrative in Downtown Long Beach

How We Turned Data to Narrative in Downtown Long Beach

Did you know that between 1902 and 1969 the Pike in Downtown Long Beach was the most famous beachside entertainment area on the West Coast? So famous, in fact, that Midwesterners wanting to escape the brutal winters flocked to the warm seaside port city, helping to coin its moniker, “Iowa
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Public Education Isn’t About Education [Guide]

Public Education Isn’t About Education [Guide]

At first glance, public education seems pretty easy. You educate the public with all of the reasons they should or shouldn’t do something; the public embraces the logic you’ve so simply laid out and changes their behavior. Well done. Here’s the problem. Education does not equal behavior change. Increasing knowledge
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How to Reach Really Big Audiences

How to Reach Really Big Audiences

The two magic words in getting people to change their behavior are barriers and motivators. Whenever SGA starts a community-based social marketing campaign, we find out two things about our audience: what stands in their way of stopping a bad behavior and what would inspire them to adopt a good
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6 Things We Liked About 2014

6 Things We Liked About 2014

When you barter in behavior change, New Year’s Day is the best holiday of the year. So you can understand why we become a bit giddy in the final days of December. While we’re waiting to ring in 2015, here’s a short list of some of the best things that
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Happy Holidays from SGA!

Happy Holidays from SGA!

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text] OK, I’m biased. But from where I sit (SGA’s headquarters in Downtown Long Beach), the staff at SGA seems like a pretty talented bunch. We speak multiple languages. We have degrees in engineering, journalism, public policy, design, law, business and applied psychology. We know how to cook and
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The Measure of Impact

The Measure of Impact

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]All of the work that we do at SGA falls into sort of an interesting trap. Our core objective is to get out there and have an impact for our clients by developing great programs that really speak to residents throughout the State. At the same time, our clients need
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Protests and Progress: How Action Inspires Change

Protests and Progress: How Action Inspires Change

It’s impossible to tune into the news right now without hearing about the thousands of people across the country who are demonstrating. On so many levels, this is a good thing. By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the grand jury decisions—one in Missouri, the other in New York—not to indict
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Purging for Good

Purging for Good

Spring cleaning is months away but I found myself not being able to stop once I started purging my home of things I didn’t use or need. The best part of downsizing is not the oh-so-proud feeling of accomplishment when you clean out your closet — although I admit it’s
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Giving Thanks This Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks This Thanksgiving

We recently learned about Rebaldo and Silvia. From the onset, either one of them could pass for just about any other teenager living in LA. As we dug a little deeper into their heartfelt stories, however, it became clear that they had come a long way – a long way
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Why Free is the Enemy of Change

Why Free is the Enemy of Change

Everyone loves free stuff. We’re culturally wired toward getting something for nothing. And marketers know it. Order now and receive two free months! Free shipping! Buy one, get one FREE! The lure of free is a powerful and universal motivation to buy. At SGA, our marketing isn’t focused on selling
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A Different Kind of Holiday for Foster Children

A Different Kind of Holiday for Foster Children

For SGA’s volunteer event this quarter, I was honored to be part of the very first Korean American Service Day on Nov. 8 where SGA’s army of 10 helped to wrap gifts and write cards for foster kids’ holiday party organized by nonprofit Korean American Family Services. We wrapped gifts
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Here Comes the Rain Again

Here Comes the Rain Again

How ecstatic was I to hear the rain pouring on Friday night? Ok, I felt bad for those cute little kids in my neighborhood trick or treating on Halloween night wearing their best Elsa and superhero outfits. But it had been so long I don’t think I’ve ever rejoiced so
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Neuromarketing and the “Buy” Button

Neuromarketing and the “Buy” Button

What if there was a “buy button” in our brains? It’s every marketer’s dream. Just imagine if you could discover those hot buttons that will drive people to buy certain products or vote for a particular candidate. It’s not fantasy actually. There’s a science for that. Neuromarketing is a field
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Do We Get Happier With Age?

Do We Get Happier With Age?

What makes us happy? Is it lots of money and a big house? How about a cute puppy or a hug from a loved one? Perhaps it’s a combination of things, which varies for everyone. Even so, there is a common theme when it comes to how people perceive happiness
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Choice is Complicated

Choice is Complicated

When I go to a restaurant, I like to order a-la-carte. Unless it’s a killer package deal, I prefer to get the appetizer, main dish and dessert of my choice for a three-course meal. Unlike me, my mom and her friends like to get prix fixe meals where all the thinking
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How to Create a Successful Behavior Change Campaign

How to Create a Successful Behavior Change Campaign

Making social change requires having big ideas and lofty goals. It also requires having some very tangible results – a way to measure success and impact. Building long-term, lasting results means eliminating barriers and taking action. But how do we do that? These barriers may be plentiful, typically the larger
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Toast the Coast

Toast the Coast

If you’ve ever been to the pier in Malibu, Santa Monica or Venice, you’ve probably visited the Santa Monica Bay. SGA was honored to work with The Bay Foundation, a group dedicated to protecting the health of this very bay that is considered to be the part of the Pacific
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SGA’s Be the Street wins CASQA Award

SGA’s Be the Street wins CASQA Award

At SGA, we think all of our marketing campaigns are winners. Whether we’re penning quarterly newsletters or launching large-scale interactive public outreach initiatives, we go in with gusto. All of our projects use insight, innovation and iteration to make the biggest impact possible. But sometimes, one of our campaigns really
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Bringing Sexy Back to Data

Bringing Sexy Back to Data

Nate Silver has certainly given the mundane topic of data a spanking new makeover with his book, The Signal and The Noise. Silver, who correctly predicted the winner in 49 out of 50 states during the 2008 presidential elections, said he was able to make a dent in political forecasts
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Mo’ Data, Mo’ Problems

Mo’ Data, Mo’ Problems

Is more data always better? Do we have a natural tendency to make up patterns and trends where there aren’t any? Are computers never wrong? These are some of the questions posed by data nerd Nate Silver, author of our latest book club entry, The Signal and The Noise. In
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4 Effective Ways to Persuade People

4 Effective Ways to Persuade People

  In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need persuasion. You would simply point out a few facts and people would do the right thing. Litterbugs would learn that 80% of the trash floating around in our oceans starts on land, and just like that, they’d never toss another gum wrapper
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Three Myths of Happiness

Three Myths of Happiness

In recent years, happiness has become an increasingly popular topic in the field of psychology.  But as many researchers have found, it is a tricky topic to study. Happiness is easily misread, difficult to measure, and often created by counter-intuitive actions. One researcher at the University of California Riverside, Professor
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Networking is Not a Dirty Word

Networking is Not a Dirty Word

Networking is often viewed as a sleazy undertaking practiced by greasy individuals who are slick, scan the room while “talking” to you and are the epitome of superficial. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, true and effective networking can be highly satisfying and helpful to your work
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4 Reasons We Lie, Cheat and Steal

4 Reasons We Lie, Cheat and Steal

  Let’s cut to the chase. We all lie. It’s one of those dirty little secrets every human being carries around. Sure, there are different degrees of it. Bernie Madoff’s deception isn’t really in the same league as telling your girlfriend that you like her DIY dye job. But they’re
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Straight Outta Compton: A Case Study in Impact

Straight Outta Compton: A Case Study in Impact

If there is one thing that gets SGA up in the morning (aside of the double-shot soy latte), it’s impact. We like to make a difference. We put our passion for impact to the test one recent Saturday morning, when we met in the parking lot of Bunche Middle School
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3 Great Communication Lessons

3 Great Communication Lessons

Last weekend I was down on Belmont Shore eating lunch with my family, when, all of a sudden, throngs of people with baby blue and white stripped soccer jerseys started piling into the bar. Argentina was about to play and the fans were amassing. Not sure if you have caught
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Dude, Where’s My Bag?

Dude, Where’s My Bag?

Dog owners know that picking up after one’s dog is the right thing to do. The trick is to get them to actually do it. Fresh off the presses, we present the results of our program to reduce pet waste on behalf of the San Bernardino County Stormwater Program. Over
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The Secret to Creating Creativity

The Secret to Creating Creativity

Most of us ave a clear idea of where we fall on the creativity spectrum. On the long journey from papier mache to professional, we figure out if we’re more actuary than Matisse or closer to concert pianist than astrophysicist. While most of us accept our spot on the scale,
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Meet Adam, SGA’s Worm-Loving, Endurance-Training Master and New Biz Guru

Meet Adam, SGA’s Worm-Loving, Endurance-Training Master and New Biz Guru

New Biz Wizz, composting enthusiast, barefoot runner and curious thinker are just a couple of words that describe Adam Quinn, SGA’s newest team member. Adam joins us from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he studied Law and received his JD/MBA from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. However, he realized early on
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Death by PowerPoint

Death by PowerPoint

There are plenty of reasons to hate Microsoft. But in my mind, PowerPoint isn’t one of them. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is very easy to make a bad presentation in PowerPoint and yes, Microsoft has designed PowerPoint to facilitate that by defaulting to bullet points. So no, they
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The Psychology of Wine Tasting

The Psychology of Wine Tasting

At their annual conference in Princeton, New Jersey, the American Association of Wine Economists, reenacted a famous wine tasting from 1976. The study was comprised of a blind tasting of the best wines from France versus the relatively unknown but burgeoning wines from Napa Valley. The results back in ‘76,
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Is Being Optimistic Good for You?

Is Being Optimistic Good for You?

This is my third and last installment inspired by Daniel Kahneman’s excellent book, Thinking Fast and Slow and I’ve decided to tackle optimism. “Most of us view the world as more benign than it really is, our own attributes as more favorable than they truly are, and the goals we
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Reaching California’s Ethnic Communities

Reaching California’s Ethnic Communities

When we embarked on designing a campaign to promote paint recycling on behalf of PaintCare to Chinese-speaking populations in California, we wanted to make sure we based our campaign on data rather than long-held assumptions. What kind of messaging would resonate with this population? Did they know paint was even
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SGA’s Augmented Reality Holiday Cheer

SGA’s Augmented Reality Holiday Cheer

If you remember the scenes in the Harry Potter movies where images in their books came to life and characters started moving around as in real life, then you’ve experienced the early days of so-called augmented reality. We at SGA have a voracious appetite for all things new and cool
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Thinking Fast and Slow

Thinking Fast and Slow

Here’s a premise and a question: Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable? Linda is a bank teller Linda
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In Social Media Age Matters

In Social Media Age Matters

So is it any longer a surprise to say that my mom is as active on Facebook as my 15 year old son? While everyone knows that the teen and 20-somethings were the first to mark turf in Facebook and other social media platforms, it is now just as understood
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3 Keys to Successful Communication

3 Keys to Successful Communication

I started my career as an engineer. It was, ironically, a great foundation for the work I now do in the field of social marketing and communications. It gave me a great understanding of how to think through problems methodically regardless of the issue. Most of the work my firm
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A New and Improved Los Angeles Housing Department

A New and Improved Los Angeles Housing Department

How does one capture a bold new vision that seeks to revitalize and build communities across the vast City of Los Angeles? This is what SGA was recently tasked with. The former Los Angeles Housing Department asked us to create a new look that would reflect its integration with the
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How to Make a Killer Graduation Speech

How to Make a Killer Graduation Speech

Are you tired of sitting through tedious commencement speeches where the words are a blur until the speaker pronounces those two magic words, “in conclusion?” Have you agreed to give a commencement speech at your alma mater and wonder how you will inspire the recent batch of sparkly-eyed graduates? You
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Clinton, Yahoo and the Modern Family

Clinton, Yahoo and the Modern Family

This past January marked 20 years since Bill Clinton first took office as the first baby boomer president, and as one of his first actions he signed the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Act mandated that employers allow either or both of the new parents the ability to take
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Starting a Book Club in the Office

Starting a Book Club in the Office

Good food. A good book. And an engaging conversation. What more can you ask for (OK, well, maybe a little wine)? The 2013 edition of the SGA Book Club is now rolling, with a great line up of new books on slate. We just completed How Will You Measure Your
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Peace – the Story the News Missed

Peace – the Story the News Missed

I recently heard an enlightening lecture by Harvard Professor Steven Pinker, which got me thinking about the story of peace or lack thereof. Professor Pinker recently published the book “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.” In his lecture, he convincingly shows through historic trends how we
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The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up

The Levity Effect: Why it Pays to Lighten Up

When you’re listening to a speech at an industry conference, what do you remember most? The boring power point presentation that packs 200 words onto one slide or the story that made you LOL? Ok. That may not be rocket science but our latest Book Club entry, The Levity Effect
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