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Amazon Launches “Handmade At Amazon”

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With handmade items trending in today’s society, it seems like everyone has had their fair share of DIY disasters. Sites like Pinterest have a variety of jewelry, style and decorating ideas that can be hard to resist, but when projects turn out looking nothing like the original, it’s probably best to leave it to the pros. For the past 10 years, Etsy has been the go-to site for these unique items, where creatives can open their own shop to take orders and sell products. Last week, online shopping mogul Amazon launched a new element to their online platform, Handmade At Amazon, which is in direct competition with Etsy.

In a recent SF Gate article, the challenges that will face Etsy because of Handmade At Amazon are contemplated.

Handmade At Amazon currently consists of 80,000 products from 5,000 artisans. In order to sell on the site, artisans, which are determined by having 20 or fewer people working for the shop, have to fill out a questionnaire and be approved by Amazon. Etsy currently has 22 million active users and 1.5 million active sellers and allows for specific products to be made with the help of approved manufacturers.

Amazon also announced that users who have Amazon Prime can utilize the free shipping on the site’s new element as well. This gives Amazon an edge over Etsy. When an Etsy shop owner sells one of their products, they either need to then charge their customer for shipping or pay for it out of their own pocket.

Though Amazon does not allow for outsourced manufacturing for Handmade At Amazon products, Etsy feels that this allows for their marketplace to grow. Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson says that they only allow these manufacturers to be those who align with their values. The site has grown so much, that in order for more growth at Etsy to happen, these outside sources may be necessary to continue at their current rapid rate of growth.

So how can Etsy hold its own against an e-commerce giant? If Etsy sticks to their values and continues to sell unique, well-made products, the company can keep their customer’s allegiance. Individuals who shop on the site value the customer service experience and relationship between buyers and sellers.

Competition is always a great way to see how a company can do under pressure. Since its launch 10 years ago, Etsy has been the leader when it comes to purchasing and selling handmade goods online. It will be interesting to see how and if they change their marketing tactics or business strategy to compete with Handmade At Amazon.

For more on Etsy or Handmade At Amazon, visit their sites, or read this article from SF Gate here: http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Amazon-challenges-Etsy-with-Amazon-Handmade-6557787.php

PR – Not Just For the Workweek

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It’s so easy to become completely consumed in the exciting and fast-paced world of public relations. However, after an eventful week, it’s finally Friday! Utilize these next two days to refresh and regroup from the everyday hustle and bustle by taking some time to get involved in PR activities outside of the office.

While you may be tempted to leave work at the office, incorporating PR inspired activities during your personal time will help you remember why you first decided to break into the industry. Whether you are a working professional or even a student, there are plenty of ways to become more involved in the PR community this weekend.

Here are three suggestions from PR Daily to get involved in PR activities this weekend:

1. Join a PR-Industry Organization

Being a PR professional is exciting because there are so many organizations you can join to help you relate with your peers.

A few favorites are the Public Relations Society of America, PR Council and Publicity Club of New England (locally the Publicity Club of Chicago).

Being part of these organizations—and working alongside those who run them—give PR pros opportunities to meet many local communications pros along the way. You can also learn new tips and tricks, which you can then share with colleagues.

2. Focus on Trade Shows

Spring and fall are typically the biggest trade-show seasons for PR executives.

In the trade show off-season, research events that would be useful from a knowledge-share perspective that your client isn’t attending. This will give you the opportunity to attend workshops and network without client demands.

3. Attend Networking Events

Major cities like Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco often host mixers and socials that bring together PR pros with common interest, such as technology or consumer products. These types of events are great for recruitment and new business prospecting.

Client responsibilities are the number one priority, but by making time for industry activities, you create opportunities to bring even more creative ideas to your client campaigns. Even for students, there is the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which has chapters at campus’ across the country.

Hopefully these idea have inspired you to try something new you can start next week fresh, rested and ready to take on new challenges!

Read PR Daily’s full article here: http://prdaily.com/Main/Articles/19460.aspx

In Honor of the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day, Companies Launch Impactful Campaigns Online

Earth Day 2015

This past Wednesday, April 22, the world celebrated its 45th Earth Day. Every year, communities come together to demonstrate their support of environmental protection by putting together events that help encourage public awareness. In addition to individual efforts, research from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) indicates that “over the past five years both U.S. consumer awareness and consumer attitudes toward sustainable or ‘green,’ brands have increased to an all-time high.”

Many companies and brands participated in Earth day this year by using social media accounts to showcase their “pride for the planet.” On a variety of social media platforms, companies inspired one another to launch campaigns focusing on their sustainability efforts reaffirming their commitments to the environment. A sense of community and public pride was evoked having companies across the globe provide tips for environmental protection to their networks.

Neutrogena was one brand that stood out among many others this year. For its annual Earth Month campaign, the brand choose to dramatically change how it targets its audiences by launching a digital-only campaign that promoting water conservation in addition to a new line of environmentally friendly makeup wipes with actress Kisten Bell as the brand’s spokeswoman. The efforts of this new campaign center around the #WipeforWater hashtag to inspire consumers to use Neutrogena’s wipes for seven days which would save about 35 gallons of water per person. Neutrogena will also be donating $1 (up to $50,000) to the Nature Conservatory for every person who pledges online to Neutrogena’s Earth Month cause.

Inspired by Neutrogena’s engaging campaign and creative thinking, how can we as consumers start holding ourselves at a higher standard and become actively conscious of our environmental responsibility in our daily lives?

Watch Kristen Bell explain Neutrogena’s campaign here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4ScVY-hZJ4&feature=youtu.be

Ultimaker Unveils Newest Innovations at the 3D Printshow in New York City

There’s a lot going on at Ultimaker with recent innovations that can all been seen in-person at the 3D Printshow that is currently happening in New York City. Ultimaker, a leading 3D printer manufacturer, will be showcasing its new community platform, unveiling its new Cura Software and showcasing its highly anticipated new printer models.

Ultimaker will be showcasing the following at the 3D Printshow:

New 3D Printshow Booth. Showcasing all the latest technologies and stories from Ultimaker’s world, the booth is a snapshot of what’s happening right now in 3D printing across design and medicine. It also reveals inspiring stories of how 3D printing is dramatically changing lives, such as making prosthetics available to all. As part of this engaging exhibit is an awe-inspiring life-sized 3D printed motorcycle, lovingly created by Jonathan Brand. This translucent wonder is a real treat for the eyes – who’s ever seen a complete 3D printed motorcycle.

Jonathan Brand 3D Printed Motorcycle-Ultimaker

A new community platform. On April 16th Ultimaker will be launching their brand new community platform – redesigned from the ground up, it’s effortlessly intuitive and fun to use. A completely new experience, it allows members to actively share new ideas with Ultimaker and the rest of the community, earn badges based on their interaction, post their latest prints for all to admire, offer technical and creative support to each other directly through message boards, and well, there’s much, much, more besides too.

The new Ultimaker Family models arrive. Two hotly anticipated new models, the Ultimaker 2 Go and the Ultimaker 2 Extended, will begin shipping in the last week of April and will also be making an appearance at the 3D Printshow. These two models complete the current lineup of the Ultimaker 2 range giving customers the option of a smaller more compact printer with the Ultimaker 2 Go, great for life on the move; an industry leading desktop printer with the Ultimaker 2; or the ability to print even larger models with the Ultimaker 2 Extended.

All new Cura. We’re announcing the launch of new Cura at the New York 3D Printshow, with the actual software launch date set at July 1st. Ultimaker has rebuilt Cura, their industry leading software, from the ground up to create an even more seamless integration between hardware, software and materials. It now features new pre-settings for materials and default profiles, a very handy undo button, support structure optimization plus many other new abilities.

With all of these developments, Ultimaker is proving that it is still committed to upholding its vision of making 3D printing an inclusive experience.

You can find Ultimaker at the New York 3D Printshow on floor 2, stand A4.

For more information about Ultimaker please visit: https://ultimaker.com/

Fans Can Now Experience the 2015 NBA Playoffs from the Suite Life

2015 NBA PlayoffsThere are only eight days left in the regular NBA season, and basketball fans are gearing up to cheer on their favorite team in the upcoming playoffs. Every year, the Eastern and Western Conference teams compete against each other with hopes to secure the league’s winning title. This year’s teams have yet to be finalized, but the prospective teams to participate are shaping this year’s tournament to be intense and exciting. Although the season is coming to an end, fans can still attend an NBA playoff game alongside fellow supporters to celebrate their team’s talents and past year’s achievements.

Beginning April 18, SuiteHop, an online marketplace where fans can easily book luxury suites, will have suites available for basketball fans to watch games during the NBA playoffs. By purchasing private luxury suites through SuiteHop, fans are provided with amenities such as top visibility, free parking, in-suite catering, private bathrooms and more. SuiteHop’s streamlined platform allows users to directly book entire suites or individuals seats in suites with real-time availability and pricing. SuiteHop has suites available across the country at top events ranging from MLB, NBA and NFL games to concerts from leading musicians that are easy to search and buy online.

Basketball fans love the drama that comes with every game and to help heighten this year’s NBA playoff anticipation, SB Nation has highlighted some of the past year’s most memorable NBA moments that help shape the face of today’s NBA league such as when the Nets scored six points in 15.3 seconds. Which teams and players will be this year’s post-season heroes?

For more information about SuiteHop please visit their website at: www.suitehop.com.

Watch the top 7 crazy NBA moments clips from SB Nation here: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/4/10/8377431/nba-playoffs-standings-game-winners-highlights

Meerkat: SXSW’s Breakout Video-Streaming App

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From March 13 – 22, the South by Southwest Conferences & Festivals, commonly referred to as SXSW, hosted its annual festival in celebration of unique music, independent films and emerging technologies. Often over-shadowed by its musical showcases, SXSW is a breeding-ground for new media presentations where the most innovative and creative industry leaders come to showcase new products with the festival’s numerous audience members, many of whom are tech enthusiasts and early adaptors in addition to music and film aficionados.

While performances by popular artists such as Stromae, Best Coast and Miley Cyrus were highly anticipated, according to an article by Time, it was Meerkat, a new iOS livestreaming video app that “stole the show away.”

Recently launched on February 27 by a local startup tech company from San Francisco, Meerkat connects users on Twitter to broadcast themselves through video capabilities. Meerkat facilitates conversation between audiences in a simplistic manner. This new technological avenue is creating an enormous opportunity that brands should take advantage of in order to help promote business and create buzz. Meerkat is an example of the “massive shift in the way people will consume news, sports or entertainment.”

The app lets users “like” follower videos, see how many people are viewing their posts and send comments that show up on-screen in real-time connecting to both Twitter and Meerkat accounts. Another feature of this app includes viewing other users to see which individuals have a high-level of watch frequencies and schedule embargoed streams to notify followers at a later time.

Many attendees at the SXSW festival used Meerkat to livestream their daily activities and location to keep their social groups constantly updated on their experience. Celebrity endorsers, such as Jimmy Fallon, are also using this app to connect with fans.

With Twitter’s recent acquisition of Periscope, Meerkat advocates will have to wait and see how it will differentiate itself from competition. Will Meerkat reach out to other social graphs to maintain popularity with users?

To read the full article, click here: http://time.com/3742746/meerkat

Will Social Media Predict This Year’s March Madness?

NCAA 2015 March Madness

The month of March is an indicator that spring is right around the corner and with it, the frenzy of March Madness. Each year, college basketball fans spend copious amounts of time reviewing team statistics in hopes of accurately selecting and predicting a winning bracket. According to a recent article published by CNBC, social media users’ bracket should have the best picks:

    “This is what the data folks at Prime Visibility are suggesting. According to their research, the company has accurately predicted 74 percent of games in the last two years, based on the public’s positive comments toward each team. It’s a better performance than simply picking the favorites according to gamblers—who win 71 percent of the time. Prime Visibility is a full-service digital marketing agency with experience in various channels including social media. The results for its March Madness bracket came by combing through Twitter and Facebook, looking for positive mentions throughout the entire college basketball season for each team. The company has analyzed 4.25 million positive mentions—ignoring neutral or negative ones, such as ‘Kentucky is playing a game today.’”

David Neuman, Director of Social Media Services for Prime Visibility states that, “while social media mentions aren’t 100 percent accurate in predicting outcomes of a game, it can certainly provide insight into which team is more likely to win, as it factors in all of the positive things a team has done throughout the year.”

After Thursday night’s upset with Iowa State and Baylor losses, perhaps before next year’s season, you might want to think about looking through your social media feeds before finalizing your bracket. To add insult to injury, Prime Visibility has correctly predicted 13 out 16 games so far this season, and are currently ahead of 98.7 brackets at ESPN. Last year, they were perfect in their Final Four prediction including a seed eight and nine team, which is historical rare for the Final Four.

Time will only tell who will be this year’s winner leaving us to wonder, is the public voice a better predictor than the experts?

Here is Prime Visibility’s full 2015 bracket:

Prime Visibility Full 2015 March Madness Bracket

Read more of the article here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102519662

Schmacon, Beef’s Answer to Bacon, Will Launch A Kickstarter Campaign on March 9, 2015

Schmacon Logo

Schmacon™, smoked and cured glazed beef slices, is launching a Kickstarter campaign March 9, 2015. Schmacon is a smoked and cured, uniquely seasoned and sweet, crispy beef product that serves as an alternative to pork bacon. The purpose of this Kickstarter campaign is not only to spread brand awareness but also to celebrate the company’s initiation into retail locations later this year.

Schmacon is a new, all-beef bacon alternative that is made from whole muscle beef. It is seasoned with a proprietary spice blend and cure recipe inspired by its Inventor Howard Bender’s deli roots. Schmacon is lower in fat, calories and sodium than traditional pork bacon. What started as just an idea over breakfast, took Howard on a three year journey to perfect the recipe and technique and to produce the new bacon alternative. It’s only fitting that Schmacon’s home is Chicago, where meat-lovers come to enjoy hotdogs, sausages and beef.

Funds from Schmacon’s Kickstarter will be used for an informative, imaginative and eye-catching packaging design to get Schmacon ready for retail sale. By donating to the Kickstarter campaign fans can receive rewards such as retail packages, sandwich parties or even a five-course Schmacon gourmet meal for four prepared by Schmacon Inventor and CIA Chef Howard Bender. Fans who sign on to support Schmacon from the beginning will receive additional early bird rewards and bonus specials.

Until now, Schmacon has been enjoyed at bacon and beef festivals and select restaurants here in Chicago. Even though Schmacon has not yet been sold in stores, the brand has gained over 11,600 fans on Facebook who are anticipating its launch in retail locations.

For more information, please visit Schmacon’s website, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

Happy Holidays from Paramount Public Relations, Inc.

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Paramount Public Relations, Inc. would like to wish you and your families a happy holiday and a wonderful New Year. It has been a very memorable year, and we would like to share the top 10 newsworthy events of 2014:

  1. Ice Bucket Challenge: In what quickly became a viral internet sensation, countless people took on the Ice Bucket Challenge which raised over $100 million for ALS. People dumped freezing cold buckets of water on top of their heads before sharing the hilarious videos on social media – but not before nominating someone else to take on the challenge.
  2. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Disappears: Malaysia Airline flight 370 vanished Saturday, March 8 with 239 people on board traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The largest search in aviation history slowly spread from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean but as weeks stretched to months and the numerous reports of floating debris led nowhere. Baffled aviation experts have admitted the MH370’s final resting-place could take years to discover, leaving the missing passengers families to wait without answers.
  3. Polar Vortex: As we head into another winter, it is hard to forget about this January’s negative temperatures which started 2014 with some of the coldest weather across the country since the 1970’s.
  4. All About That Bass: Meghan Trainor stole hearts across America this June with her debut single “All About That Bass” which promotes health body image. The song was nominated for a People’s Choice Award, a MTV Europe Music Award and two Grammy Awards.
  5. Tight Rope Walk Across Chicago: Nik Wallenda, a seasoned daredevil tightrope walker, did the unthinkable this Fall – he walked between two Chicago skyscrapers on a tight rope. The first 454 ft long walk was at an incline and Wallenda completed his second 94 ft walk blindfolded.
  6. #BreakTheInternet: After marrying Kanye West and coming out with her own video game, Kim Kardashian managed to shock the world again this year with scandalous photos for the winter cover of Paper Magazine. The photos sparked countless internet spoofs across Facebook and other social media channels.
  7. The Death of Robin Williams: Comedy will never be the same after Robin Williams, stand-up comedian and well-known TV and film star, died at age 63 from an apparent suicide.
  8. Leaked Celebrity Photos: After a hacker stole thousands of private photos off of Apple’s iCloud of female celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Victoria Justice, the security of iCloud storage was heavily scrutinized.
  9. Ebola: What started with just a few cases in Guinea became the deadliest outbreak of Ebola on record. The virus spread throughout West Africa claiming more than 5,000 lives and in September, the first case of the disease in the United States was diagnosed at Texas Presbyterian Hospital.
  10. The United States and Cuba Mend Relations: The United States and Cuba took the first step in mending diplomatic relations on December 17 after Cuba released two Americans who had been imprisoned for years.

Paramount Public Relation’s Client Highlights of 2014

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It has been a busy year here at PPR, our clients have been doing some exciting things. From launching a new care booking site to partnering with the Marriott Hotels, here are a few highlights from 2014:

  1. Chicago Travelers Eat Well: Farmer’s Fridge, a new vending kiosk concept that dispenses gourmet salads and snacks made fresh daily with over 15 locations in the Chicagoland area, added a new location at the Chicago Marriot O’Hare hotel. Chicago Marriott O’Hare reached out to Farmer’s Fridge this year to be a part of their Travel Brilliantly campaign, offering Marriott travelers healthy on-the-go meal options made with local, fresh ingredients.
  2. Big Success in a Short Time: SuiteHop, the online marketplace for fans to book full suites as well as individual seats in suites across the country, announced the completeion of $1 million in equity funding this year. SuiteHop creates access to luxury suites with amenities to concerts and sports games around the country by allowing fans to purchase extra tickets to suites that would have otherwise gone unused. Even though SuiteHop was only launched this year, they recently announced they have over $5 million of inventory for booking luxury suites at more than 550 events nationwide.
  3. Celebrity “It” Drink at the Emmys: HYDRIVE Energy Water jetted to Los Angeles to hang out with some of their favorite TV stars for a little pre-Emmy fun this August. Emmy red carpet host Ross Mathews and actors from Emmy-nominated shows such as Veep actor Matt Walsh, Michael Gill from House of Cards, Game of Thrones actress Sibel Kekilli, RJ Mitte from Breaking Bad and more enjoyed a low-calorie and refreshing boost from HYDRIVE Energy Water before the event.
  4. Give Back to Charity While Talking on a Cell Phone: GIV Mobile continues to appeal to customers nationwide with their new all-time low $20 Unlimited talk and text plan with 150g of data. This consumer conscious no-contract service plan donates 8% of each customer’s monthly plan amount to up to three charities of the customer’s choice.
  5. A Unique Thanksgiving: This year, MealSharing.com, a website that connects travelers and locals over home cooked meals, connected over 1,000 on Thanksgiving through their ThanksSharing initiative. Whether a person was traveling, alone for the holiday or simply wanted a different experience—ThanksSharing helped connect people over home cooked meals for the special occasion.
  6. Company LaunchCareBooker.com, the only FREE “Open Table” of family and pet care services, launched this year.  CareBooker.com’s streamlined platform allows users to directly book interviews, single or repeated appointments and communicate with providers through real-time availability—plus online payment is available, eliminating any in-person transactions.
  7. Grand Opening Event: Our team had a blast attending Granite City’s Grand Opening Event this October in Naperville, IL. The polished casual Modern American restaurant features a wide variety of dishes prepared from made-from-scratch recipes as well as an on-site microbrewery. The new Naperville location is the 31st restaurant that celebrates gourmet food and drink in a family-friendly atmosphere.