Main Nav

Archive | Community

Snapchat: Sharing Stories Between Strangers Around the World

SnapchatStories_Skift

Snapchat, an app that hosts 10 second long user pictures/videos and aggregates content into live stories with a 24-hour shelf life, has grown into a mobile-first visual-based company with 100 million daily active users, 65% of them uploading at least one snap a day.

Over the past few months, Snapchat has increased its viewer base by targeting users based on their location. Users get a look into other people’s daily lives ─ music festivals, sporting events and reactions to breaking news. Snapchat recently made it easier to view content when they launched a Tap to View feature where users only tap their screens to view snaps rather than holding down their screen to view.

As a way to diversify content and broaden their reach, Snapchat launched City Life in April 2015 as a feature that collects moments from various cities. In the span of 24-hours, moments are picked and strung together to show what everyday life is like in that city. Users that select their photos or videos to be included in their city’s story become part of geo-tagged content that Snapchat’s team chooses to display.

The City Life feature can inspire people to consider those cities as future travel destinations by promoting the city and various attractions in the area. To date, Snapchat has featured users’ snaps from over fifty cities in thirty countries including Brazil, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.

Snapchat’s travel features help the world see how users’ are communicating and living their lives. The 10 second moments connect users by allowing them to look into other’s lives and share in their unique experiences, if only briefly. As an outlet for displaying global experiences, Snapchat can be a tool for travel brands to effectively convey travelers to visit their cities, musical festivals and restaurants by wanting to share in locals’ experiences. Using Snapchat’s excessive outreach, users can easily connect to others and see how people like them around the world are living.

Humana Adds Healthier Options To Taste of Chicago

Humana2

What would a summer in Chicago be without outdoor music festivals, sporting events and the annual Taste of Chicago? The Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. Every summer since 1980, Grant Park along the city’s magnificent lakefront has been home to the world’s largest food festival.

With shifting dietary preferences and the rise in healthy eating, Humana Inc., a health and well-being company, launched Humana Healthier Choices to help festival goers find the healthiest options. This is the first year the program will take place to showcase a group of the healthiest options available at the festival.

All of the restaurants participating in the 2015 Taste of Chicago were invited to submit their menu items for consideration for the Humana Healthier Choices program. For an item to be considered, restaurants submitted nutritional details including calorie count, sodium content, saturated fat and the list of ingredients.

“By expanding Humana Healthier Choices to include vegetarian options and promoting gluten-free alternatives, we’re looking to help a greater population of Taste-goers pursue a healthy eating experience that inspires lifelong well-being,” said Charles Dow, Humana’s Regional President of Senior Products in the Great Lakes. “I encourage everyone to try these delicious, healthy foods and immerse themselves in Humana’s rewards program for a fun, active experience at the Taste of Chicago.”

Here are some of our favorite dishes that are less than 500 calories, 500 mg sodium and 4 g saturated fat. Make sure to check them out at the Taste, going on until July 12th!

  1. Watermelon Hibiscus Gazpacho – Farmer’s Fridge
    Farmer’s Fridge is a healthy kiosk concept that delivers delicious salads and snacks to customers through automated kiosks around the Chicagoland area. Known for their fresh hand-crafted salads, Farmer’s Fridge will debut a limited edition menu created exclusively for this year’s festival. The Watermelon Gazpacho is a bright, refreshing and subtly sweet dish that is finished off with a dollop of raw cashew cream for a savory contrast.
  2. Malnati Salad – Lou Malnati’s
    The oldest family name in Chicago pizza, Lou Malnati’s has a commitment to quality and using the finest and freshest ingredients. They are serving the Malnati Salad that includes romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, Volpi salami bits and gorgonzola cheese and Sweet Vinaigrette and romano cheese.
  3. Doner Kebab – DönerMen
    DönerMen is German Imbiss (street food) that showcases grilled meats and flavor combinations from around the world. DonerMen’s Doner Kebab is a traditional Turkish dish innovated into a fresh, healthy wrap. It’s filled with vertical spit-roasted chicken, cucumber yogurt tzatziki, spicy North African harrissa red pepper sauce, fresh greens, tomato/cucumber shirazi, wild Turkish pickle, thin sliced onion and rolled in hand made Yufka flat bread.

For more information about the Taste of Chicago please visit: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/taste_of_chicago.html

Giving Tuesday Kicked Off the Celebration of Generosity this Holiday Season

heartgivingdayredwhiteblue

The third annual Giving Tuesday, a movement that takes place after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, took place this past Tuesday on December 2, 2014. The day was designated to remind Americans that generosity of the holiday season should extend beyond friends and family and give back to the community. Last year, Giving Tuesday raised $19.2 million and had over 10,000 nonprofits worldwide participating in this global day dedicated to giving back.

This year, 68 countries and over 15,000 nonprofits participated in Giving Tuesday, increasing donations by nearly 63% since last year. An estimated $45.68 million was donated to charities across the globe. Part of the success of spreading the word on Giving Tuesday was due to the help of social media. Charities, families, businesses, community centers and students around the world were encouraged to share their stories of how they celebrate generosity and give back to their communities with the hashtag #GivingTuesday, inspiring others to do the same. This Giving Tuesday alone, #GivingTuesday had 698,600 hashtag mentions and 32.7 million Twitter impressions.

Beyond Giving Tuesday, there are companies who provide an easy way for consumers to give back year-round. GIV Mobile, the first no-contract consumer conscious wireless service, was proud to participate on this day and every other day of the year by donating 8% of every customer’s monthly bill amount to up to three nonprofit charities of his or her choice. Some of these charities include Scholarship America, Kids In Need Foundation, The Conservation Fund, Alzheimer’s Association and many more.

Although Giving Tuesday has past, don’t forget there is still plenty of time to help out your favorite cause this year! J

Find out more information on Giving Tuesday on their website: http://www.givingtuesday.org/

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: PR Success

als

If you’ve been on the Internet sometime in the past month, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a video of a friend dumping a bucket of ice water over his or her head. Millions of people across the globe, including celebrities and political figures such as David Beckham, George W. Bush and Ben Affleck, have accepted the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” in support of the fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease. This simple idea has grown into an incredible campaign despite little public relations planning. Anyone can participate and the “challenge” aspect makes getting soaked with freezing cold water fun and social. According to the New York Times, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has resulted in over $40 million in donations to the ALS Association.

Despite the grand success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, skeptics still question the impact donations actually have on ALS research. While $40 million may not find a cure for this paralyzing disease, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has succeeded from a PR standpoint. A top PR executive could not have dreamed of raising such awareness in the span of a month. Awareness is fundamental in nonprofit work because it leads to action and donation.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has proven the power of social media in the modern world. If a viral trend is what it takes to remind the common citizen to donate to charity, then so be it. Hopefully, other charities will use the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as a model for future fundraising tactics and help the world recognize the importance of awareness and charitable giving.

Here are a few of our favorite ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos:

Bill Gates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS6ysDFTbLU

Foo Fighters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLZOjLv0_6k

John Krasinski & Emily Blunt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFx13CfJrBA

Pixar’s 7 Core Principles for Building a Creative Culture

While many skills are appreciated in the modern PR world, creativity is definitely an attribute that will distinguish good PR professionals from GREAT PR professionals. Whether it is thinking of creative pitch angles, media stunts, campaigns and more, building a creative culture is crucial for a PR firm’s work environment. Pixar’s President and Co-founder Ed Catmull knows the essential ingredients for creating a unique environment–after all, Pixar’s work has won 30 Academy Awards® and generated $8.3 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

“Based on philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention, these principles should be at the heart of any work environment that strives for originality, fosters problem solving, and pushes its employees to new heights.”

See below for Ed’s 7 core principles for building a creative culture or read the full article here: http://www.creativityincbook.com/7-core-principles/

1) Quality is the best business plan.

Quality is not a consequence of following some prescribed set of behaviors. It is a mindset you must have before you decide what you are setting out to do. You can say you are going to be a company that never settles, but saying it isn’t enough: You must live and breathe it.

Failure

2) Failure isn’t a necessary evil.

It’s a necessary consequence of doing something great. Uncouple fear and failure. Making mistakes should never strike fear into employees’ hearts. When it comes to creative endeavors, a goal of zero failure is worse than useless. It is counterproductive. The truth is, the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them.

3) People are more important than ideas.

People IdeasWhen hiring, give an applicant’s potential to grow more weight than her current skill level. What she will be capable of tomorrow is much more important than what she can do today. Why? Because if you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. But give a mediocre idea to a great team, they will either fix it or come up with something better. That’s why people matter.

4) Prepare for the unknown.

Unforeseen, random events happen. And when they do, don’t waste time playing the blame game. To think one can control or prevent problems or guard against randomness by making an example of someone is naïve and wrongheaded. Instead, empower employees at every level to own the problems and give them the freedom to fix them without asking permission.

5) Do not confuse the process with the goal.

Making the process easier, better, faster, and cheaper is something we should continually work on—but it is NOT the goal. Making something great is the goal.

6) Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.

Communication structures should never mirror organizational structure. A chain of command is essential, but making sure that everything happens in the “right” order and through the “proper” channels is not efficient.

7) Give good notes.

Truly candid feedback is the only way to ensure excellence. When giving notes, be sure to include:
Give good notes

A good note is specific. A good note does not make demands. Most of all, a good note inspires.

Promoting A Socially Conscious Brand

Lately, consumers have been drawn toward brands that make a good impact on society, whether through charitable causes or brand alignment with non-profit associations.  Cause marketing goes beyond traditional marketing by creating the necessity to convince the audience that it is a socially responsible contributor to society. This type of publicity, however, works more seamlessly for some brands than for others. It is important to consider the audience and product before considering promoting a partnership with a non-profit or other charitable cause.

A recent PRweb article by Stacey Miller highlights the trend for brands to want to appear socially conscious as a tactic to gain visibility and promote the brand’s image; however it cannot be a universally applied tactic. Here is key advice about how to move forward with a cause marketing campaign:

1) Authenticity is key. 

You must select a cause that supports your brand’s core values. Avon’s “Breast Cancer Crusade” echoes the company’s values, which encompasses the well-being of women. The cause aligns with the company’s mission and connects with Avon’s customers.

KFC’s “Buckets for a Cure” cause marketing campaign did not coordinate with the fast-food chain’s values and ended up being detrimental to brand image. Consumers felt the campaign was a sales gimmick rather than a true concern for women’s health.

2) Integration is an everyday effort. 

The needs of your nonprofit partner should be fully integrated into all marketing endeavors. It’s no longer enough to just sign a check. The success of the “(RED)” campaign and its fight against AIDS is in part due to how big-name organizations such as Coca-Cola, Apple and Starbucks seamlessly merged the foundation’s visions and goals with their own.

3) Are you talking to me? 

As with any PR or marketing initiative, you must understand your target demographic. The audience for your cause marketing campaign may be more narrow or broad than your traditional customer demographic, so it’s important to do the research and get to know them.

Cause marketing has to be carefully articulated to appeal to the desired demographic and product image. Without the right insight, a socially conscious campaign can actually hurt the image and integrity of a brand.

Enter to Win a $100 AmEx Gift Card from Farmer’s Fridge, a New Healthy Vending Machine Concept Taking Chicago by Storm

AMEX-FarmersFridge

Farmer’s Fridge, a new healthy vending machine concept, invites all healthy eaters of Chicago to participate in their contest for a chance to win a $100 AmEx gift card! To participate, contestants are asked to submit a photo of themselves in front of either of the two Farmer’s Fridge kiosks (SEE PHOTO BELOW) located at Garvey Food Court (201 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL) or Lake Forest Tollway Oasis (13783 W Tollway Oasis Srv Rd. Lake Forest, IL) with the hashtag #FarmersFridge on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The image for each location with the most likes by January 31st will win!

New “ThanksSharing” Initiative from MealSharing.com Ensures No One Eats Alone This Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving coming up this Thursday, MealSharing.com, a website that connects travelers and locals over home cooked meals, has created “ThanksSharing” for people who can’t be with their families this Thanksgiving.

Perfect for anyone who can’t make it home for the Holiday, MealSharing.com is connecting these people with a host who need a place to enjoy a home cooked meal this Thursday.

How it works:

To find a meal, guests can log on the website, review a host’s meal profile and request a meal. If the host accepts, the two parties may then message back and until the meal is set. Hosts can accommodate one or many guests per meal. Afterwards, users and hosts review their experience.

Meal Sharing plans to make ThanksSharing an annual tradition with hopes that no one will eat alone on the popular American holiday. To join the MealSharing.com community and host a ThanksSharing meal, please visit http://www.mealsharing.com/thanksgiving.

The 17th Annual Chicago Half Marathon & Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5k is Here!

Paramount Public Relations is gearing up for the 17th Annual Chicago Half Marathon & Hyundai Hope on Wheels 5K this Sunday, September 8, 2013!

Runners participating in both the half-marathon and 5K will enjoy a beautiful course along scenic Lake Shore Drive with great views of the Chicago skyline, starting and finishing in Jackson Park. The post-race party in Jackson Park will feature free Michelob ULTRA beer (ID required), free pizza courtesy of Team World Vision and live music.

This week Paramount PR had the chance to meet two participants, Molly Melin and Ben Keaty, and hear their personal stories on why they are running this year. This will be Molly’s second half-marathon since being diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a slow developing and incurable blood cancer. Nine-year-old Ben Keaty is running the 5K in honor of his late best friend and neighbor Carter Kettner, who died from pediatric brain cancer.

Hear more about their stories here:

Registration is still available at the Health & Fitness Expo at Navy Pier today and tomorrow. If you have are already signed up, head to the Health & Fitness Expo for race gear, games, giveaways, goodie bags and much more!

PPR wishes all runners the best of luck! See you at the finish line 🙂