New Security Industry Association (SIA) member Eclipse Media Group, founded in 2006 by principals Andrea Gural and Chelsie Woods, is a full-service public relations agency that delivers its clients integrated public relations programs combining content creation, social media and digital marketing. The company is headquartered in Portland, Maine, and has satellite locations and/or staff in Bogotá, Colombia, and Beijing, Chia.
SIA spoke with Andrea Gural about the company, the security industry and working with SIA.
SIA: How did you get into the security industry?
Andrea Gural: Prior to the founding of Eclipse Media Group, both Chelsie and I had started our careers as enterprising daily newspaper reporters in different states. We met while working at the same business-to-business publishing company and ended up leading the editorial staffs of industry newspapers Security Systems News and Security Director News. We founded Eclipse after being on the receiving end of PR material that was not really optimized for the way our publications operated and recognized how helpful it was when we were pitched something that was of real value to us. It was that realization that convinced us that the media in the security industry – as well as the overall burgeoning technology industry of those early years – needed specialized attention and carefully curated content.
SIA: What solutions/services does your business offer in the security industry? And what makes your offerings/company unique?
AG: Our depth of industry knowledge and publishing backgrounds have always helped us to better anticipate the editorial and content needs of the different industry media and match those needs to best suit our clients and their offerings. Having served as daily newspaper reporters for several years, and then in the industry press, we know what makes media tick. Those years in the trenches learning the industry dynamics, key local and global players and how some of the trends in the market have played out have been invaluable. We’ve certainly seen monumental change and progress since the start of our careers in this market nearly 20 years ago!
SIA: What’s something we might not know about your company – or something new you’re doing in security?
AG: Together, Chelsie and I have nearly 40 years of combined security industry knowledge, which puts us in a unique position. We fully understand the changing dynamics of this market and the evolution from analog to IP and video analytics to artificial intelligence. We recently joined the SIA Membership and Marketing Committee to work with industry leaders on identifying ways to further promote the industry, both internally to existing security professionals and externally to future professionals.
SIA: What do you think are the biggest opportunities in the security industry right now?
AG: I think that security has an incredible opportunity to prove its value to other industries. As more and more devices are networked together and collectively managed – for example, in a smart building environment – security is emerging as this incredible collector and aggregator of data on the movement and behavior of people, assets and buildings. This gives us a unique position to be a significant contributor or enabler or perhaps even a major platform within these larger, more complex building systems. Trying to find our place at the table will be an interesting journey.
SIA: What are the biggest challenges facing your company and/or others in the security industry?
AG: The way that people consume news and information has changed dramatically in a few short years. We live in an instant society where people expect information to be available within a matter of minutes. Because of this, we are seeing the proliferation of more online-based news outlets and more companies leveraging social media and blogs as an avenue for their sharing news. This, in turn, has changed how companies interact with their customers, with more businesses investing in internal direct marketing campaigns that they can directly manage, monitor and measure.
SIA: What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
AG: At our core, we’re still reporters, at least to the extent that we enjoy seeking out interesting stories about what makes people and companies and technology unique and then crafting content that conveys those attributes to the industry at large and beyond. Security itself has a fascinating story to tell with the interplay of so many different facets – people, policies and technology – and is continuing to rapidly evolve.
SIA: What does SIA offer that is most important to you/your company? And what do you most hope to get out of your membership with SIA?
AG: SIA offers us an opportunity to engage and network with many of the industry’s most influential players, along with many newcomers with whom we might not have the opportunity to network or interact without our membership. In addition to our work on SIA’s Membership and Marketing Committee, we attend several industry events – ISC West, ISC East and Securing New Ground, to name a few – and are serving on the Women in Security Forum.