I am writing this post firstly to highlight and promote our Fashion PR competition that is currently running, however I am using this opportunity to elaborate on the importance of marketing & PR for your business!
We are pretty excited to be partnering with Publissimo on a Fashion PR competition that allows one lucky label a chance for a tailored PR package to kick start their label. In addition to this we have 3 co-funded packages available for 3 runner ups, which is such an exciting opportunity to really grow your label.
So why is PR so important?
You work hard on creating your label, and in most cases spend all your time designing, and/or making, working on branding, lookbooks and trying to sell it, that sometimes marketing and PR is overlooked. Most start up labels don’t have enough funds for advertising let alone getting a PR agency involved, however the value of this can be underestimated.
Speaking from experience we were very lucky to have PR sponsorship for the Finders Keepers, and let me tell you it had a massive impact on our startup business. Instead of advertising, which we had little to no budget for, we managed to build our reputation purely on media exposure and word of mouth. The value of editorial is much higher than any advertising and having amazing articles in countless newspapers, street press, magazines and online has really got the people to our events and grown our brand image in ways that we did not think was possible.
So you can’t afford PR just yet but want to know what ways you can make your brand more PR ready? Here are some simple steps that can help your label be more PR ready, or to start to do your own brand marketing.
Perfect your profile and build your story.
The media loves a story, and everyone has a story! You can start to prepare for this by telling the story about your label and include your background, motivation, and any other valuable information. Unlike the generic feel of a resume try and think of quirky and fun things that makes you UNIQUE. Include those little features and highlight your features in your story.
Your profile should include the details of who/what/where/how. Give someone enough information to want to write a story on you.
Re-read and perfect your story, make sure it’s informative yet interesting. Make sure your story is accessible! Don’t keep it hidden away, otherwise it’s not easy for people to access, and if it’s all too hard – why will people choose you?
Build hype with seasonal released ranges.
Seasonal ranges, or ranges based around a story are perfect for press as you have a collection to show and release. This builds hype and anticipation and you can easily prepare a press release around a collection. Creating a lookbook and a theme around your collection, means there is more to write about and can help you with ongoing press. This gives you something to aim for and work towards and means you can build press timelines into your production plan. This works perfectly for magazines as they have longer lead times than newspapers or online press. When you design your ranges keep this in mind and have a press release story to accompany your range ready for those opportunities.
Get yourself noticed!
Journalists are always on the lookout for new designers and stories to write about, if you haven’t got your work and profiles out there you are missing out on opportunities. Network, network, network! Get your products out there, and get people talking about your work. Build hype and get people to do the talking. Using blogs and social networking is an excellent place to start. Get other bloggers to support and profile you and do as much promotion as possible.
Don’t be afraid to send editors of magazines or online press info about your collections and images. Make sure you do your research and learn the most appropriate way of sending info, or packages. Think about every detail when sending any information including prices, release dates, distribution (where it is available to buy) who to contact etc.. Presentation is important so make sure you make a good impression!
Be ready for opportunities!
When you have completed a collection, make sure you have press images ready to go. Also make sure to have a profile picture of yourself on hand, get a photographer or a friend with a bit of camera experience to take a picture of you ready for potential stories or features.
Make sure you have images that are ‘press ready’ from a print point of view this means they need to be saved as high resolution files. If you are not familar with the technical requirements make sure you get some help, and have this ready on hand.
Sometimes opportunity strikes when you are not ready and speaking from experience if you are not prepared you can easily miss the opportunity. Once you have a photoshoot of your new collection keep a copy of web sized images, and a hi res folder ready to go.
Make sure you know the difference between what is email material and what is print material, it can be very frustrating when someone emails us high resolution images incorrectly instead of web images and as a result our server gets clogged up (yep we’ve had those dramas!) so make sure your images are the appropriate size and format for email and when you need to send hi res images send them in a zipped folder – via a website like yousendit.