Developing a brand is a labor of love, but a well-crafted strategic PR plan helps brings that passion into focus, establishes concrete goals, and helps keep you organized. The following series of steps provide an easy-to-use outline to customize your own fashion PR plan. There are several different ways to establish a PR plan, this one is based on the ROPES concept.
- You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where your brand fits in the marketplace and without identifying a target customer. There are two avenues to achieve this, primary and secondary research. Secondary research consists of collecting data that has already been published. You might find statistics relevant to consumer purchasing behavior or emerging trends in fashion trades like WWD, or picked up in apparel or marketing blogs (one way to get around not having a WWD subscription!). Primary research means going out and doing research on your own - a quick survey of previous customers, friends and family can all be used to help you better define your brand.
- Don't make the mistake of choosing a target public that is too broad. While you and your mom may believe that "all women" should fall in love with your handbag line, not establishing a clear target customer actually does a disservice to your brand. The creative tactics of your PR plan will be tailored toward a specific set of customers, so learn as much as possible about your target public. Get creative - what is her favorite movie? What kind of a car does she drive? What is her favorite flavor of tea? Is she married? Does she travel often or stay close to home?
- While goals are general, objectives are specific. Identify 2-3 major objectives that you want to accomplish with your PR plan. Make these measurable so they are easy to evaluate at the end of the campaign. For example: Goal- To be the an Internationally known handbag designer; Objective- To secure 5 stories in major print media publications within the next 6 months.
- Once you have clear objectives in place, you need to consider what creative strategies you will employ to ensure you successfully meet your objectives. This step lists the tactics you will employ to accomplish your objectives. Tactics include securing interviews, distributing press releases, hosting a trunk show, sending out product samples, setting up a Facebook Fan Page, etc.
- Remember that each strategy should deliver a cohesive message that ties into your objective. You should also identify a series of key messages to use in your communication that stress the important elements of your brand and story.
- Almost done! The final part of the plan is figuring out how to evaluate the success of the program. How will you measure success? This may include media impressions, or a pre and post survey to determine how levels of awareness or brand affinity have changed as a result of your campaign.
- One important note: relationships don’t end just because your campaign does. Good PR practitioners and designers know that PR is a cumulative process and to continue cultivating any new and existing relationships with editors, vendors, publics etc. Relationships build credibility and will make your job easier the next time around. Keeping in touch has never been so easy in today’s world of technology. A quick email, tweet or mention on a Facebook page can go a long way so stay in touch even during downtime.
Thank you to Vianka McConville, a recent University of Florida grad with a B.S. in Public Relations, for her help in putting together this article. She can be reached at mcconville.vianka[at]gmail.com