The role of PR is to communicate a select message, we continue to do that but the channels have changed. To stay relevant publicists must understand their place in a community - Rachna Shah
For over twenty-five years, fashion PR and production agency KCD has maintained a client list of some of the most powerful brands and influential designers in the industry like Anna Sui, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, even the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. In December 2010, the agency launched KCD Digital to formalize work in the space and most recently handled the online launch of Nicola Formichetti’s first collection for Mugler, which included “teaser” images and an exclusive web-only video release.
I was excited and intrigued to see Rachna Shah, Senior Vice President, Public Relations, KCD and Managing Director, KCD Digital listed as a panelist for the upcoming Independent Fashion Bloggers Evolving Influence conference on February 10. It's been wonderful to see this conference grow year after year, I was lucky enough to be a panelist back in 2009 and caught the live stream in 2010. While the conference itself sold out in about half a second, I will definitely be tuning into the live stream again this year to catch Rachna on the "Working with Brands Gracefully," panel. In her words "When IFB asked us to participate we were thrilled to get involved. We’ve always taken pride in the relationships we have with the media and with the recent launch of KCD Digital we welcome the opportunity to get better acquainted with the blogging community and engage with the bloggers directly."
With the launch of KCD Digital and IFB conference, I caught up with Rachna via e-mail to learn a bit more about KCD's current state of mind with regard to fashion PR and digital efforts on behalf of top-tier brands.
How does KCD work with fashion bloggers? How does KCD evaluate which bloggers to work with?
We approach bloggers strategically, and the way we work with them really depends on the client we’re representing. If we have a product announcement or event we would turn to bloggers covering fashion news, if we’re looking to enlist a brand ambassador or influencer we may seek out a personal style blogger. It’s important for us to identify their distinction so we can try to find them exclusive angles or give them special access that is relevant to their site and specific audience.
In terms of evaluating which bloggers we work with, we initially hear about bloggers through the media, on Twitter, and linked to on other websites. We’ll first look at a blogger’s content, then their reach. If we like what a blogger is doing we’ll often look into their traffic info or Twitter following to gain insight into their audience and determine whether they’re the right match for what we’re working on.
Besides fashion blogs, what other themes (technology, concepts) is KCD focusing on with clients?
KCD is unique in that we’re not just a PR agency; we also have a production division that handles fashion shows and events. So through that side we’re able to incorporate new technology into the brand experience in different ways that are not just limited to PR outreach or social media. We’re constantly researching new technology and trying to think of cool new ways to incorporate that into fashion projects.
How can PR stay relevant in this world of social media/digital fashion marketing?
The role of PR is to communicate a select message, we continue to do that but the channels have changed. To stay relevant publicists must understand their place in a community; it’s not a simple sender/receiver model anymore. If anything the role of a publicist has been heightened because there’s so much more to monitor. We use digital media and technology to help us widen our reach and communicate more effectively.