Sunday, 17 January 2010

Salon 13th January 2010 - PUBLIC RELATIONS

There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?  Well, tonight, we are out to show our bevy of designers that PR isn’t all air kisses and champagne-fuelled press nights.  It’s targeted, strategic, militarily planned and takes a sharp business brain. 

With our speakers, Nell Trotter, Accounts Manager at Blow PR and Jessica Bumpus, Fashion Features Editor,, poised on their stalls and ready for interrogation, here’s their whistle-stop tour of getting onto a publication’s radar, dealing with PR agencies and mastering the art of self promotion.

Approaching a Journalist
·       Pinpoint specific publications and make your approach highly targeted and personal.
·       Know the publication and its lead times: is it daily, weekly or monthly?  Are they working 3 months ahead, 6 weeks or can they publish information within a few hours?
·       Consider who the reader of the publication is; are they your target customer?

Sending a Press Release

‘A press release should make the journalist think, ‘I get them, I feel like I’ve almost met them’, Nell Trotter.
·       Your press release should be a paragraph of attention grabbing writing that encompasses you, and your brand, completely.
·       Mention price points, where you will be stocked and materials.
·       Keep it concise and provide all the essential facts; journalists are on a tight deadline so the easier you make it for them the better.  Including a good quote and low res images can also be useful.

Dealing with PR Agencies

‘The PR is part of your team and acting as a little version of you, so they need to know you’, Nell Trotter.
·       Consider which designers you like and admire, which PR are they with?  Look on LFW’s website to see the PRs for each designer.
·       Manage your expectations.  It takes time to build a young designer’s profile and patience is key.
·       Question whether you are ready for a PR?  Are you prepared to wait to make this a long term business?  Don’t put the vanity of PR and high profile coverage above sales which, essentially, pay everyone’s wages.
·       Monthly reports from PRs are essential, will show you what’s planned, where your samples are going out and which celebs are being dressed in your clothes.

Building Contacts
·       Get bloggers on your side, email them, compliment them on their blog; if you get featured other bloggers will take note.
·       Set up a Google Alert, it will email you every time your name gets mentioned on the web.  If you get coverage, take the time to send a thank you email or card to the blogger or writer.
·       Befriend the assistants on publications, they are useful to know and may become lifelong supporters of your brand as you both move up the career ladder.

What to Watch Out For: Scammers and Dodgy Dealers
·       Never send out samples to an unusual address, or if the person is only providing a mobile number.  Google the person’s name and if in doubt, don’t take the risk. 
·       Use delivery notes, take photos of your products before you send them and after they are returned to you so if they are damaged, or missing, you have proof of what was sent. 

Be Your Own PR

‘Everything you do can have a hook or an angle’, Jessica Bumpus.
·       Create your own database of contacts, scan, collect and make note of your coverage.  Put it in a press book or up on your own website and make sure you balance old and new clippings from a variety of different press.
·       Be willing to share your inspiration, have an opinion about who’s wearing your collection, and be out there socialising and meeting people. 

In the end, the key to PR success is being confident and clear about what you do and who you are, as well as having realistic expectations.  If you believe in your brand the chances are, everyone else will follow.

Posted by Fiona Anderson