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August 25, 2015

Social Media Spotlight: Three Important Ingredients to Grow Your Social Following

Filed under: Social Media Spotlight — Tags: , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:49 am

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Social media growth is a popular topic in our office and among our clients. How do you grow your channels? What are the best ways to do it? In my opinion, there are three easy (and affordable) ways to grow your social media following. I like to refer to them as the three “C’s” – Content, Consistency, and Community.

CONTENT: Research shows that you only have seven second window to make a strong first impression upon first meeting someone in-person. Why would our social channels be any different? Give people a reason to want to come back (and often!). You can do this by posting regularly to your channels…without going overboard! You don’t want to overwhelm someone’s feed with your photos and links! In addition, your content should be original and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

CONSISTENCY: Post consistently to your channels and make it a routine. Do you prefer to post on Instagram only twice a day? Only like to share a link or status update on Facebook on weekends? That’s fine! Fans/followers like to know what to expect – so manage their expectations by remaining consistent on your posting habits.

COMMUNITY: Develop an online community of engaged users. Find people’s feeds and content that speak to you, and engage with them – comment, like, re-share, etc.

– Jenn Lake, Vice President

August 23, 2015

Around Town LA: Hollywoodland

Filed under: Around Town — Tags: , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:43 am

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which perfectly describes the setting here in Hollywoodland in 1923. This charming town in the hills was built by Harry Chandler, Sidney H. Woodruff and General M. H. Shermanto. The convenient location made it accessible to all studios, but at the same time was removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. Running streams, deer and horses prancing around, beautiful oak trees and rolling hills-it was the perfect outlet for artists/musicians/actors to relax and hone in on their creativity. The L.A. Times announced this new development as “one of the most attractive residential sections of the City of Los Angeles”, envisioning it as a Mediterranean Riviera in the Hollywood Hills.

Beachwood Canyon, as it’s referred to now, is the epitome of the laidback California lifestyle. It’s relaxed and enchanting vibe is what has always attracted people to it, including celebrities like Charlie Chapman, Madonna, Humphrey Bogart, Keanu Reeves and Aldous Huxley. Not much has changed since 1923. The Beachwood cafe is a neighborhood staple, along with a flower and antique shop, dry cleaner and grocery store. The old Hollywood charm remains and continues to attract people from all over.

– Katie Foley

August 20, 2015

ZAP Style Notes: Hotter Than Hot Beauty Tips

Filed under: ZAP Style Notes — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 4:35 pm

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Summer is finally in full swing in Chicago, meaning the humidity is in full force and my makeup is melting off my face. Never fear, I’ve wasted all of my money on a plethora of beauty products and tested them out so you don’t have to!

My hair tends to get a little frizzy with the Chicago humidity and summer storms. I swear by John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum, Extra Strength Formula. Put it in your hair mixed with Moroccanoil while it’s still damp and you are golden. For touch ups, try Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Creme. A low, tight bun is also a great frizz mask!

ZB_8.20.15(3)Now for the face… There is nothing worse than commuting to and from the office in the dead of summer. Hot walks to the El + stifling train cars = no, me gusta. I recently starting using Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer, and it keeps me looking fresh all day long! Best yet, it has SPF 15 protection. Top it off with Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer and Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact with Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation and you are a golden goddess.

I also am a huge fan of Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara. It’s waterproof (which also means sweat proof), so even though you are crying from heat exhaustion, your makeup will look great!

Cheers to summer in Chi! Stay cool, my friends.

– Brigid Parr, Senior Publicist

August 6, 2015

Around Town: Brews and Views on the Seadog

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 11:35 am

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This summer, get ready to sample from local breweries while you cruise along the Chicago River and learn about the city’s architecture and history. Beer Flight cruises are available on select Thursdays and will continue through September.

You’ll be able to enjoy and sample four beers from featured breweries, while the Seadog’s docent keeps you entertained with an interesting narration during the cruise – making this the perfect ending to a long week. Sit back, unwind and enjoy yourself!

You’ll be able to make your reservations online here or call 888.636.7737

Chicago Beer Flight River Cruises

  • Available select Thursdays: 7/30 (featuring Motor Row Brewing), 8/13 (featuring Ale Syndicate Brewers), 8/27 (featuring Atlas Brewing Company) and 9/10 (featuring SweetWater Brewing Company)
  • Boarding at 8:00 p.m.
  • Departing from Navy Pier at 8:15 p.m. | Returning at 9:30 p.m.
  • Price: $36.95 per adult (must be 21+)

– Huong Spais, Assistant Publicist

All images provided by Seadog Chicago*

August 4, 2015

ZAP Style Notes: vineyard vines Comes to Chicago

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 10:24 am

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Have you heard the news? vineyard vines (www.vineyardvines.com), the preppy East Coast men’s, women’s and children’s luxury brand, has set up shop in the Gold Coast (932 N. Rush St) and the suburb of Oak Brook at Oak Brook Mall. Surrounded by some of Chicago’s most luxurious brands, the Chicago location will have unique city items like “I Whale Chicago” tees alongside the iconic and classic Shep Shirts.

Make way for fall and head into the closest vineyard vines store to check out the newest collection, including Back to School looks for everyone. Browse through campus favorites and seasonal staples to find your perfect fit. It’s never too early to do some shopping!

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– Katie Niemiec, Assistant Publicist

Photo credits for both images: vineyard vines

July 30, 2015

ZAP Style Notes: Festival Fashion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 9:13 pm

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With Lollapalooza right around the corner, it’s been a packed summer of music festivals in the city! While I’m sadly not attending Lolla this year, I still love all the boho chic festival looks. Here are my top five picks—so whether you are attending a festival this summer, or just jamming out on your own blocks from Grant Park, you can look the part. Enjoy!!

-Anna Schapiro

July 26, 2015

ZAP Bites: Eating My Way Through the West Loop

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 3:40 pm

Since starting my internship at Zapwater I quickly discovered my favorite lunch break activity: strolling the streets of the West Loop to find the best places to eat. I don’t know if I could call myself a “foodie” (can real foodies like Oreos as much as I do?), but I do like my food deep fried, plentiful and frequently consumed.

My favorite section in the West Loop so far is the block or two on Madison St. between N Racine and N Morgan. That’s where I found one of the best BBQ sandwiches and ice cream cone I’ve ever had.

I found Real Comfort American Kitchen by means of Google and Urbanspoon. Because I can’t hear the words “comfort food” and not be on board, I headed there first. Though I’ve been on a bit of a health kick lately, I threw all thoughts of kale and juice cleanses out the window and ordered the Sweet Heat BBQ Chicken Sandwich. What I really wanted in addition to this was one of their signature bowls of mac & cheese, but thoughts of an extra few minutes on the elliptical later made me settle for just the sandwich.

This sandwich was borderline euphoric, a comfort food experience unlike any other I’ve had before. While Yelp reviewers criticize the cheese sauce they generously dollop on top, it really was the best part. My only regret is not taking a picture of the sandwich before I devoured it.

Bonus points to Real Comfort for having an incredibly nice employee working the cashier who helped me decide what to get. I also met a cute family wearing Kansas City apparel who made me miss Missouri tremendously. (Never thought I would say that–this BBQ obviously evoked some strong emotions.)

Just two doors down I saw Cone, a gourmet ice cream shop I had passed by the day before. For a fleeting moment I internally struggled with whether or not I really needed ice cream, but quickly decided that the answer to that question is always a resounding “yes.”

I sampled the birthday cake flavor, which had the most sprinkles I have ever seen in ice cream. (This is my obligatory ice cream sample; I try this flavor everywhere I go in search for the best one. I take my ice cream very seriously and Cone is a strong contender for the top spot.)

Eventually I went with the most unique flavor they had: avocado lime. With its subtle avocado flavor and little bits of lime rind mixed throughout, this ice cream was utterly perfect. Though Cone is a little pricy, it was delicious and made for a great addition to my Instagram–which is really what life is all about these days, right?

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Next on my list: Wishbone. Southern shrimp and grits are calling my name.

-Lily Zacharias, Intern

July 23, 2015

Around Town: Take a Vacation in Your Own City, Chicago Edition

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Stay at a hotel
Indulge and treat yourself by staying at a luxurious hotel for your ‘vacation’. Who doesn’t enjoy wearing those fluffy robes and ordering late night room service? Check out a few of these cool hotels.

  • Virgin Hotel Chicago
  • This brand new hotel has re-imagined what a hotel should be, with unparalleled hospitality and quite possibly their best feature, eradication of minibar inflation.
  • Dana Hotel and Spa
  • A luxury boutique hotel and spa that serves your every need, the ultimate getaway!
  • AC Hotel
  • With an urban feel and European flair, this beautiful hotel is only steps from the Magnificent Mile!

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Activities
Be a true tourist in your own city by going to some of Chicago’s staples, and then venture into some that you would have never thought to explore.

  • First stop, check out Gilt City Chicago to see all the great deals they have on activities. You’d be surprised on how much you can save on fun activities, like jet skis rentals and Cirque du Soleil shows!
  • Explore Block Thirty Seven.Do the shopping that you never have time for, then grab a quick bite before heading to Millennium Park.
  • Go to the Bean and snap a few selfies.
  • Let’s go to the beach! Grab your favorite vineyard vines swimsuit and have an amazing time relaxing on North Avenue Beach.
  • Crack open an Old Style beer at a Chicago Cubs game
  • Book a day cruise with Entertainment Cruises to go out on Lake Michigan to enjoy a warm summer day with a few cocktails. Or even reserve a spot on a dinner cruise to enjoy a magical evening looking over Chicago’s twinkling skyline.

Grab a Great Steak Dinner
Spoil yourself by grabbing a delicious steak dinner, we recommend making a reservation at either one of these two amazing restaurants

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– Kaitlyn Wallace

Photo credit (in the order that they appear):

  1. www.DiscoverAmerica.com
  2. Virgin Hotels, dana hotel and spa, AC Hotels Chicago Downtown
  3. www.ChicagoArchitecture.org
July 21, 2015

Client Happenings: Turn Up the AC! New Lifestyle Hotel Opens in Chicago

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 7:16 pm

ZB_7.21.15There’s a new trend in the hotel industry…Known as “lifestyle brands” these new hotels are hoping to appeal to the “lifestyle” of a new generation of travelers. Of course, each hotel is unique in their own way, but they all seem to have certain common characteristics: all hotels offer high-tech features, reasonable rates, locally inspired amenities and grab-and-go options for the “on-the-go” traveler.

We recently started working with one such hotel: AC Hotel Chicago. In case you’re not familiar with the brand, AC Hotel by Marriott is a design-led hotel, inspired by the fashion houses of Milan that blends European style and simple lines to create a comfortable atmosphere for guests.

The AC Hotel Chicago Downtown opened in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood this past May. Originating in Spain from renowned hotelier Antonio Catalan, the hotel celebrates the beauty of classic modern design with its European soul and Spanish roots. The result is elegant yet unpretentious style, innovative beverage & food programming and locally inspired experiences for both guests and locals.

One thing that sets the hotel apart from the rest is the innovative beverage and food program. For a fun twist on the traditional hotel bar, the AC Lounge includes craft beers (Revolution, anyone?), on-tap wines, hand-crafted cocktails and a selection of small ‘tapas-style’ plates served by city-savvy bartenders. Acting as both a mixologist and concierge, these beverage experts (dubbed “Barcierges,” get it?) connect AC guests to the pulse of Chicago with their insider tips and recommendations on the local area.

The Chicago location is AC Hotels’ first location in Illinois and second property in the Midwest. With a growing portfolio of more than 50 hotels expected to open in the next few years, we will certainly be seeing a lot more from this hotel chain in the near future!

– Morgan Bellock, Group Director

Photo credit: AC Hotels Chicago Downtown

 

July 17, 2015

PR Buzz: To Luxembourg

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Zapwater Communications @ 6:23 pm

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Earlier this month, I traveled to Luxembourg for Travel Lifestyle Network’s (TLN) annual meeting.

Zapwater is proud to be a member of TLN, which now has 21 members representing 25 countries. Created in 2008, TLN is an international network of independent, like-minded marketing communications agencies, serving a wide variety of clients, including travel, hospitality, destination, lifestyle and consumer.

Clients benefit from TLN’s local expertise, know-how and international presence. Each agency in TLN is a market leader in its region owning a far-reaching range of knowledge both in industry sectors and tactical skills.

By bringing together leading professionals in their respective market, TLN combines the advantages of global reach with those of local market knowledge.

At TLN’s annual meeting, members from across the globe, met to make important steps to accommodate future growth. And boy are we excited for the future.

Interested to find out more about Travel Lifestyle Network, visit our website: www.travellifestylenetwork.com

– David Zapata, President

P.S. that beautiful building in the background is the castle of Vianden.

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