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Why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Atlanta

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amazon hq2

Amazon sparked a national contest with 238 proposals filling in for the role of Amazon HQ2. Recently, the list narrowed down to 20 notable cities as potential candidates. On the list, Atlanta Georgia offered a deal that may be difficult to refuse. From offering financial incentives to free land, there is great potential in occupying Amazon. Although that is a fact, there is an even bigger advantage for Amazon to move to Atlanta.

Amazon gave a promise to bring in 50,000 lucrative jobs and $5 billion in additional investments to the new location of HQ2. The impact of the tech innovative company will be net positive for Atlanta, Georgia. This includes fame and national respect to the region. The offer is appealing to Atlanta, however the city has prior recognition as they hosted the 1996 Olympics. Instead, Amazon may be the one getting the respect if they move to Georgia.

Amazon HQ2

The Atlanta region is already attracting the tech company due to their professionalism. The city is business driven as copious Fortune 500 companies are within the Metro Atlanta area. This will foster Amazon’s wish for a stable and business-friendly environment. The community welcomes businesses in with their title for high degree of affordability and a healthy economy.

Amazon is in search for employment in software development and related fields. On the forefront of their talent search is Atlanta Georgia with the surrounding schools of Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College. The appeal does not end there, Kasim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta is offering incentives and development that would be worth more than $1 billion. Moreover, the whole state of Georgia seems to be in support of occupying HQ2. Georgia is also uniquely presenting a branding opportunity to Amazon, with the town Stonecrest offering to rename itself as Amazon, Georgia. The small town outside of Georgia finalized the deal by granting legal power in the town of Stonecrest to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo.

Amazon HQ2

Image From Fortune

‘Think of Atlanta as a blank canvas, and every company that moves here has the opportunity to paint whatever picture they want which then becomes part of a tapestry that’s now making Atlanta an exciting place to live’, spoke Lilian M Raji from The Lilian Raji Agency.

The tech company will announce the winning city later in 2018. Meanwhile, proposals are still being presented to Amazon by representatives. As governors continue to voice their opinions, communities are silenced out by the public. Small businesses and agencies within Atlanta are able share their professional insight to Amazon. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Atlanta:

How will Amazon HQ2 affect the economy of the city?

“Amazon HQ2 will provide huge economic benefits to the city and state it ends up in, just as the headquarters in Seattle has served as a huge driver of their economic growth.  

The benefits of Amazon opening HQ2 in Atlanta are projected to include:
50,000+ high paying jobs created
Generating 5 Billion in real estate investment
Increased funding for the educational system, including new schools
Improvements in transportation links and transportation infrastructure

Additionally, Amazon’s presence would also help generate a lot of new supporting businesses.  For Atlanta, this could help grow our business and tech community, which includes small businesses”. -Alex Membrillo of Cardinal Digital Marketing.

“Atlanta has an awesome tech scene.  Not only are we home to many tech-forward companies, but we offer a thriving environment for tech startups.  Atlanta metro is home to a number of technology incubators and accelerates helping propel these companies’ success including Atlanta Tech Village and Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) at Georgia Tech.   

Georgia can support the creation of new jobs, including for software development.  We have top talent graduating from schools’ including Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Emory, and Morehouse College.  According to HiringSolved, in 2016 Georgia Tech ranked 6th in the U.S. for most alumni working at Silicon Valley companies, and we’d love to keep that talent in Georgia”. -Alex Membrillo of Cardinal Digital Marketing.

How will the community welcome Amazon HQ2?

“Atlanta’s #PrimeUpATL campaign is showing that Amazon HQ2 is getting a lot of support from Atlantans.  People are excited to see the continued growth of our city in a variety of industries including film, automotive, and technology.  
If Amazon HQ2 chooses Atlanta, I think they’d see an overwhelming amount of support from the entire state”. -Alex Membrillo of Cardinal Digital Marketing.

‘Atlanta is finally growing in a very good way. The city experienced a boom of transplants after the 96 Olympics. Lately, it’s been experiencing a boom of new companies and headquarters’, spoke CEO Lilian M Raji of The Lilian Raji Agency. The community have been kindly welcoming in new businesses ever since the famous notice and will continue to do the same for Amazon. 

Amazon HQ2

Image From Georgia Department of Economic Development

Do you support the major’s proposal? Why, or why not?

“Georgia has offered an aggressive package to encourage bringing Amazon HQ2 to Atlanta.  
Our state’s Commissioner of Economic Development, Pat Wilson, has done an outstanding job of leading a unified effort, across the region, to attract Amazon. I completely support Atlanta’s bid for HQ2”. -Alex Membrillo of Cardinal Digital Marketing.

Besides financial incentives, what does your city offer?

“Atlanta offers a lot of things that make us a top contender for HQ2.  In addition to our top-tier high educational institutions and job talent, we have nationally ranked schools, a business-friendly, tech-driven culture, and low cost of living.

Atlanta is also a transportation hub for the southeast.  Three major Interstates cross through Atlanta, and we’re home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the largest international airport in the world.

Many Fortune 500 companies already call metro Atlanta home.  This includes The Home Depot, UPS, Coco-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Aflac, and Southern Company.  Mercedes-Benz USA recently opened their new North American headquarters in metro Atlanta, which followed Porsche opening a headquarters in Atlanta in 2015.  Georgia is also number 1 in feature film productions, with a film presence that is continuing to expand.

While we first made the international spotlight when we hosted the 1996 Olympics, our city is continuing to shine.  In 2019 we’ll host the Super Bowl, and we are currently being considered by FIFA to host the 2026 World Cup”. -Alex Membrillo of Cardinal Digital Marketing.

 

‘Atlanta also has the busiest airport in the world, making executive travel here much easier.  And while I have a lot of issues with Delta, Delta has proven to be the best domestic airline amongst the major players and it’s based in Atlanta!’ from CEO Lilian M Raji  of The Lilian Raji Agency

Amazon HQ2

Image by Hartsfield-Jackson via ABC.

What is in your city that isn’t found anywhere else?

“Atlanta is an extremely unique place to live and work.  We have a diverse population, including many transplants.  As a southern city, we’re known for our friendly hospitality.  Here we still wave to friends and strangers alike as they pass by.  We also offer an extremely great place to live, which is important to businesses as employees must like where they live if you want to retain talent.  People can find an area that fits their personality, such as the hipster vibe in Little Five Points, the small-town feel of Decatur, or the suburban areas in Alpharetta.  If you want high-end luxury shopping or top notch dining, head to Buckhead.

Our residents are warm, just like the sunshine.  Nicknamed, a “City in a Forest”, you can spend the days in the lush, green outdoors or out on the town.  Atlanta has also revitalized areas for urban redevelopment. The Atlanta BeltLine, which has gained national attention, is comprised of 22 miles of unused railroad tracks circling the core of Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods.  Other popular trail systems include Big Creek Greenway, which spans 20 miles, and The Silver Comet Trail, which runs 61.5 miles, ending on the Georgia/Alabama state line. All these projects have enhanced our connectively and communities.  

To echo Migos’ sentiments, Amazonians can go from “Raindrop to Droptops” if Amazon chooses Atlanta”. -Alex Membrillo of Cardinal Digital Marketing.

‘Atlanta has SPACE.  There is so much land available in the Atlanta area that a new company can design exactly the type of headquarter they want to build.  As much as I love New York, New York can’t offer this’, says CEO Lilian M Raji of The Lilian Raji Agency.

If you are an agency from Atlanta, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmag.com/attention-marketing-pr-agencies-atlanta/

*Sponsored by Penji

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Depop: Etsy’s $1.6B Ticket to Access Gen Z’s Market

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Depop is the home to progressive and diverse finds when it comes to fashion. However, is that why Etsy bought it for a dazzling price of $1.625 billion? Perhaps it’s one of the reasons, but that’s not the end of the story. It all comes down to the target market.

Depop and Gen Z

If you’re wondering what Depop is and why on earth it’s worth more than $1.6 billion, then you’re not alone. To give you a quick overview, Depop is a startup eCommerce marketplace for fashion. It’s a place where people can buy, sell and discover unique items. Let’s say if Instagram and eBay had a baby, it’s probably similar to Depop. 

Depop makes it its mission to provide a “community-powered” fashion ecosystem to its consumers. It’s a brand that is kind to people and much kinder to the planet. Aside from being an online eCommerce site, it has become a community. It managed to evolve into having a community that’s creative, diverse, inclusive, and progressive.  

The fashion eCommerce has over 26 million registered users hailing from 147 countries. It’s a marketplace where 90% of active users are under the age of 26. So yes, the majority are Gen Z’s. The most popular categories found on the website are vintage, one-of-a-kind clothes, Y2K, and streetwear.

Etsy, for $1.6 billion, gambled on the booming market for second-hand goods. Not only that, it gained access to Depop’s young and fashion-conscious audience. This scenario is an excellent example of how much brands are willing to pay to enter the Gen Z market. 

Why is Gen Z’s Market important?

Currently, Millennials and Gen Z’s dominate the rank if we’re talking about online consumers. Although Millennials now sit at the throne as the most extensive consumer base, change is inevitable. As Gen Z’s grows old, they will slowly surpass millennials as the largest consumer base. By 2026, it’s expected that Gen Z will entirely surpass millennials. 

Aside from its huge market base, Gen Z’s are considered ethnically diverse consumers. Also, they’re the most educated generation which explains why they always doubt brands. Gen Z values authenticity, transparency, and being unique. It’s the generation where they’ll research everything about your business before purchasing. 

It makes sense why $1.6 billion is spent to acquire an active marketplace with existing Gen Z users. Let’s take it as a shortcut to access the soon-to-be primary consumers of the world quickly. Aside from their extreme distrust of unknown brands, Gen Z’s are known to value brands that show authenticity.  

So now, it’s obvious why brands go through extreme lengths to secure their market base for the long run. 

Depop’s Business Worth

So far, it’s clear why Etsy bought Depop, especially if we emphasize the percentage of Gen Z users on the website. But it’s not enough to measure the scale of Depop’s business worth. 

Here are two key factors that can show at what level Depop’s is worth: 

  • Gross Platform Spend, 2020’s Revenue

In 2020, Depop earned $650 million and $70 million, respectively, each increasing over 100% year-over-year.  

  • Gross Platform Spend Trend, Historical

From 2017 to 2020, Depop’s gross market sales grew at an 80% annual growth rate. 

From the 2020s 70 million revenue, Depop is valued at 23.2 times compared to the previous year’s top line. It’s notable how Etsy sees Depop as a high-growth “SaaS business” instead of a consumer marketplace. 

Depop and Etsy

The majority of younger shoppers have been maneuvering the shift of resale on a broader note. Besides, according to GlobalData PL, 40% of shoppers under 24-years old have been buying second-hand fashion. This study explains why Depop, where they can resell unique items, is popular with Gen Z’s. 

Meanwhile, Etsy is widely known as a marketplace for handmade goods where you can buy vintage items. According to CEO Josh Silverman, the transaction is a way to deepen their connection with the younger generation. The company had $1.8 billion in cash, investments, equivalents, and balance sheet. It also had an undrawn $200 million revolving credit facility last March. 

Although Etsy has acquired Depop, the current chief exec of Depop is encouraged to continue running the marketplace. As for Etsy, it will remain in London and will continue its operations as a stand-alone marketplace.

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Penji Review: How unlimited is it REALLY? (+25% Promo Code)

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Move over Fiverr. Unlimited graphic design services are the newest alternative to hiring a graphic designer. But, these services bring up many questions. For example: How unlimited is unlimited graphic design?

We tried out one of the top services: Penji.

Like many of their counterparts, Penji offers graphic design work on a monthly subscription. We put their promise of fast turnaround, high-quality, and affordability to the test.

You can submit as many design projects as you want via their online portal, and they’ll complete your requests one at a time until your queue is complete. This type of service promises to be a great added resource for teams to improve productivity.

Does it sound too good to be true? We thought so too. So, we signed up to see for ourselves.

This article was updated on June, 2021.

Quick Summary

As with any service, there are pros and cons. To help with your graphic design hiring decision, we decided to condense what we found in a bulleted list below. Here’s a quick summary of our review of Penji’s unlimited graphic design service.

(Still wondering what “unlimited graphic design” is? We explain what it is here.)

Pros

  • Easy and quick to create design projects
  • Storage for all my requested designs
  • VERY fast turnaround on most projects. I expected just 1 draft in 24 hours but instead received 3 drafts. Revisions were sometimes completed the same day I submitted them.
  • Helpful features such as a revision tool, ability to invite team members, brand profile, and more
  • Upbeat and direct communication from everyone I interact with
  • A dedicated and responsive account manager who replies within a few hours

Cons

  • Can’t call or talk to designers
  • Best if you have design projects ready to submit
  • Not available as an app

Overall Experience

Penji’s “unlimited” design model is a great choice if you have the right expectations going in. The service is affordable for growing businesses and their output is reliable. However, if you’re expecting to be on-call or face-to-face with your designer, this type of service is not for you.

Compared to designing yourself, hiring freelancers, or using Fiverr, Penji is a much better service and value by a long shot. Their team of designers lived up to the promise and exceeded my expectations.

Thinking of trying Penji out for yourself? Here’s a special promo code for Owner’s Mag readers:

Use the Penji promo code “OWNER25” to get 25% off your 1st month.


PENJI FULL REVIEW

We put Penji to the test by signing up, requesting a design, and examining the results. Here’s how it went.

Final Verdict

We get it. You want to know how it went without reading all the mumbo jumbo.

All four projects were completed within two weeks and I was impressed with how they all turned out. If I had paid hourly or per project, these would’ve easily cost me well above $1200+ to get done, and probably taken weeks.

With Penji, it took just a few days and I paid a fraction of what I would’ve paid elsewhere. Definitely impressed with both the turnaround, quality, communication, and value this startup has to offer.

But Penji isn’t without its flaws. The service definitely isn’t for everybody.

Who would benefit:

  • business owners
  • marketers
  • agencies
  • creatives with consistent design needs

If you don’t have a consistent need, the bill will start racking up after a couple of months and you won’t see the value in the subscription.

However, if you do happen to fit their target demographic, then there’s no better alternative out there. The speed and quality of their work easily rival other services I’d ever used. For $399 per month, this is an absolute steal.

What I Did Step by Step

Now, if you want to get into the meat of how it went, keep on reading for every detail of how I got from the sign up screen to the final project.

Signing Up For Penji

Signing up for Penji was a relatively quick and painless process. All of my questions were answered in less than 5 minutes by customer support via Intercom and another 2 minutes to complete the checkout process.

Communication with Penji’s Support Team

How fast and reliable a company’s support team is before you are an active customer is a reflection of what’s to come. If they’re unresponsive now, it will only get worse once I’m a customer. I reached out to Penji’s customer support team via their Intercom chat popup and got a response within 30 seconds, which is pretty good. I asked basic questions and the agent seemed knowledgeable.

Communication as a Customer

All communication is done online through Penji’s proprietary online portal. That includes revisions, feedback, and answering any questions my designers may have.

Communication with Your Designers

Penji assigned me 1 designer, Billie, and communication with her was easy. If you have used any messaging platforms like Slack, Facebook Messenger, or Discord, you’d be familiar with this form of communication.

Billie was responsive, attentive, and always seemed to have a positive attitude no matter how demanding my requests were. She had many questions about the projects, which I tried my best to answer as a customer. Though the back and forth took longer than I wanted, I realized she was just being thorough to get the design done right, which I appreciate.

Communication with Your Account Managers

They assigned me an Account Manager, Charmaine, who was very quick whenever I needed something. It usually takes just a few hours for me to get a reply via email from her. When I had an issue with one of the projects, she quickly stepped in and helped resolve the situation.

1. Choose the Right Package

All the packages are laid out with monthly, quarterly, and yearly pricing. Starting at $399 per month for the Pro plan, you’ll be able to make unlimited graphic design requests with a 24-48 hour turnaround. As your design needs grow, you’ll have the Team and Agency packages to choose from.

2. Checkout

The form is straightforward and easy to fill out. Checking out was a breeze and took about 2 minutes.


3. Submit a Design Project

Clicking on the “+ Create new project” button, I’m presented with a visual chart of all the design categories they offer. They offer an extensive selection of options and even the ability to request a custom project.

4. Fill Out the Request Form

Next, I filled out a short form detailing what I wanted them to design. For those of you who hate long forms, this one from Penji is easy to follow and doesn’t ask too many questions. Most of the questions are actually optional so you can be as descriptive or non-descriptive as you like.

My test projects

As a digital publisher, we produce content on a daily basis and always have a need for on-brand graphic design. I created several projects to test how well-rounded Penji is and how they handle both simple and complex requests. A simple banner should be difficult, but can they handle a complex infographic with lots of texts and imagery?

Here are my test projects:

  1. Blog Graphic: Best DSLR Camera Equipment For Beginners
  2. Custom Illustration: Best Vacuum Cleaner Money Can Buy
  3. Facebook Post: Isometric Tech Gadget Graphic
  4. Magazine Print Cover (Owner’s Magazine’s 2020 May Edition

Despite creating four projects, the entire process was quick and smooth. It only took a few minutes to create them and their internal platform was lightning fast. At this pace, I can see myself submitting multiple projects on their platform with ease.


Turnaround Time

I expected at least one draft the next day. What I didn’t expect were three drafts ready for review. To give you a comparison, most freelancers and design firms we’ve hired take several days to submit just one draft.

The designs were surprisingly good considering that it’s the first draft AND they had a 24-hour turnaround. After reviewing, I realized how they did it. Every project had a different designer. I wasn’t assigned just one designer. It was like having my very own virtual design team.

4. Requesting Revisions

Though the designs were good, I still needed a few revisions. The drafts were turned around usually the same day or by the next day. Their support agent actually told me it will take 24 hours to turn around revisions. The revisions that took 24 hours were typically much more involved.

Overall, revisions were quick. Most came back within a few hours after I submitted them.

My one gripe would be that I prefer to have some sort of real-time chat with my designer or at least have a Zoom call. That’s one thing I like about working with my freelancers. Whenever they were online, we could just have a back and forth conversation to get the revisions across. I can’t do that with Penji.

Built-in Revision Tool

Penji has a built-in revision tool that lets me click anywhere on the design to leave a revision. I found this incredibly useful as it enables me to pin-point what I want to change.


The Results

It took about 1 week to go back and forth with revisions and edits for all 4 design projects. At the end of the week, I received the final drafts for all three. Here are the results of the three test projects.

1. Blog Graphic: Best DSLR Camera Equipment For Beginners

This far exceeded my expectations and will more than do for the blog I’m writing about DSLR camera equipment. I think most designers would probably just stop with 1-2 icons and graphics for this design. My designer decided to add the tripod, three lenses, drone, backpack, and a whole entire stage lighting kit.

I didn’t ask for those, but I’m impressed with the quality of the design. No revisions needed. I approved this project on the first try.

2. Custom Illustration: Best Vacuum Cleaner Money Can Buy

For this project, I asked my designer Kei to do a custom illustration of a man vacuuming his floor. He actually drew it up and sent me a rough sketch first before he started coloring it in. That was an extra layer of care and attention to detail I wasn’t expecting. Needless to say, I approved of his drawing and he delivered this draft the next day.

Revision

Everything in this graphic was hand-drawn and then colored digitally. Like the first project, I couldn’t think of any revisions except asking him to put the texts “Best Vacuum Cleaner Money Can Buy” on the graphic.

He went the extra mile and designed the text to fit the graphics. See for yourself above. It’s details like these that I would have had to harass my freelancer and he would try to nickel and dime me for every revision. Great work Kei!

3. Facebook Post: Isometric Tech Gadget Graphic

My designer Jave’s first draft amazed me because of how much detail he put into this project. I had asked for an isometric graphic with various tech products laid out on an isometric glass plane. I honestly thought my description may have been a bit too vague, but he understood my vision even better than I did.

4. Magazine Print Cover (Owner’s Magazine’s 2020 May Edition)

My designer Billie gave me 3 versions of the magazine cover. I don’t like version 1 at all. It looks too templated. I personally like version 2 and 3 and left revision notes accordingly. The coronavirus image was entirely her idea and I love it.

Revision

This project took a bit longer than the others because my designer Billie had questions and we had a lot of back and forth. I didn’t mind at all since she was asking good questions that I should’ve included in my design request. Overall, I appreciated the extra time she took to understand me and the project better.

About three days later, I received another draft which blew everything before it out of the water.


Reviews From Other Sources

Because you may not take our word for it, here are some of the most recent reviews from other sources:

Jan Kartusek

Jorge Vila

IM Nights

Disclaimer: we receive an affiliate commission when the Penji promo code is used, however, the review is based on our experience.

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Graphic Design Tips You Need to Know

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If you’re not putting enough effort into your visual branding, there’s a chance your brand would be defunct in a few year’s time. Sounds harsh? Well, think about this – research by Kinesis says 75 percent of consumers judged a brand’s credibility based on website design. That being said, it’s vital to know the best graphic design tips to keep your business afloat and thriving.

Stick to a Color Scheme

This is one of the most crucial marketing graphic design tips pros swear by. To create a strong visual branding, you need to pick a color palette and stick to it. Resist the urge to overload your scheme with too many hues. Otherwise, you risk making your visual look amateurish and tacky. 

If you’re having trouble picking a color scheme, consider color psychology. According to this field of study, colors can invoke moods or emotions. For instance, red signifies passion while blue channels peace and calm. Make sure to pick a hue that expresses your brand identity or what you want your audience to feel when engaging with your brand.

Use Fonts Wisely

Choosing fonts wisely is one of the graphic design techniques that separates pros from newbies. Without a doubt, one could get excited scrolling down a long list of new and cool fonts. However, too many fonts or using styles that clash against each other can wreak havoc on the visual. The rule of thumb is to never use more than three fonts in one design. 

Also, if you’re combining two fonts in one copy, they need to have contrasting differences. For instance, using one serif and one sans serif font is a go-to trick for many pros.

Negative Space is Your Friend

Negative space pertains to the blank area in the design that surrounds the text or image. One of the best graphic design tips for beginners is to embrace negative space and not crowd every pixel with a design element.

But what exactly does negative space contribute to a design? For one, it offers a break to viewers, helping them absorb info better. In addition to that, it also brings the viewer’s attention to the crucial parts of the design. That said, not using negative space enough or having too little of it can result in a visual that’s too “noisy” for the eyes.

Ask Help from a Pro

Sure, you can take a pseudo crash course of all of the graphic design hacks out there. But if you don’t have the patience to actually put them into practice, then they won’t help your brand in any way. 

If you’d rather focus your energies on other facets of the business, then it’s best to hire a pro to handle the creative work for you. Reputably designers know graphic design best practices by heart, and they can save you a lot of time, money, and effort. 

In the end, it’s not about how beautiful or trendy your graphic designs are. Instead, it’s all about making sure that your visual assets reflect your brand values and let them shine through in every design.

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