Last week, we profiled DMD Lab, a unique integrated fashion marketing agency working to establish up-and-coming fashion brands with a sustainable focus. DMD Lab is a pilot project of DMD Insight, an integrated marketing agency based in New York.
Agencies that offer services in integrated marketing have the capability to serve brands across various communication touch points. At it's core, integrated marketing focuses on the consistent and strategic creation and delivery of marketing messages and materials, which may include media relations, events and other tactics in the PR realm. The idea is that by taking an integrated approach to brand management and promotion, brands can develop more fully online as well as offline, so that over time, brands can enjoy greater sustainability and coverage.
Melanie Bender, DMD Insight associate and DMD Lab ‘Chief Scientist,’ sat down with her team and came up with 6 Tips on Integrated Marketing for Emerging Designers.
First things first, get your positioning straight.
A great place to start is with mood boards. We recommend keeping it visual AND verbal, gathering images and words that reflect your label or its target customer(s). Begin broad and don't be afraid to throw a lot out there, and then edit it back as you suss out exactly what the brand stands for.
Invest in your brand's 'look and feel'.
As you're just starting out, logo and website design may not be on the top of your list. However, we urge new labels to really get behind it from the initial phase - we can't tell you how often we see brands needing to do a logo or web redesign within their first 5 years, which is always a bit tricky as you must be careful not to confuse or alienate existing followers. To keep in mind: your logo, website 'look and feel', and hantags and collateral (1) should reflect your brand, but not be overtly tied to one collection such that it won't make sense a few seasons down the road, and (2) should work together to create a cohesive brand identity.
When you're just launching, you may have only limited funds for your website. Complex sites utilizing flash or extensive databases are pricey, so we recommend starting out simple and keeping it modular so it's easy to add on as funds become available. Here's a good place to start: Homepage, Collections, About, Contact, and Stockists, as well as a strong Content Management System (CMS). Keep in mind how you might implement e-commerce or other desired functionality in the future.
Focus on the fit
Do your homework, and make a list of outlets and sections you'd really like to see your brand get coverage in - think in print AND online. Keep in mind what's on target and within reach for your label and clientele - you may well determine that Vogue is not right for your brand! Find out what editors are responsible for those sections, and send them a succinct but informative email introducing your label (PR Couture has some great resources on this) and don't forget to include a few images. As you're cultivating relationships with editors and bloggers, keep those big placements in mind.
Be prepared for post-launch
Have your nuts and bolts in place. Prior to putting your brand out there and engaging media, you'll want to have everything ready to quickly accommodate editorial requests that come in. That means loan sheets, an inventory tracker, a system for getting press hits up on your website or Facebook page, and someone to follow up on any outstanding sample loans. You may find that some of your best opportunities result from short-lead requests (lie 'we need it tomorrow'), so it pays to have a good system in place from the get-go.
Get connected in online AND in person
We're seeing two distinct worlds emerging, and as an emerging brand you need to be active and engaging in both. You may find that you gravitate towards just one, but you know what - that's also true for many of the people out there that you need to be connecting with. Choosing to explore only online OR in person networks could mean a host of missed connections and opportunities for your brand. If you're really comfortable in only one of those realms, don't be afraid to identify someone else on your team to take charge of the other.