Every day, media receive multiple invites to book showroom appointments, attend trunk shows, make an appearance at yet another purported "red carpet" event in the hopes that a gift bag and a few glasses of champagne with somehow channel their way down into some sort of coverage. Many of these events hope to stir the pot by including some cause-related component to further entice attendance and coverage. It makes sense - fashion without purpose is frivolous, and as Marie Antionette would surely agree, frivolity only gets you so far. So how to then craft a cause-related event worth of media attendance and public interest?
Francesca Pittaluga runs her own public relations company out of Los Angeles, and has years of experience putting together cause-related events for clients. Currently she is working on a fashion event to benefit her client, Project Rainbow, whose mission is to mentor and help youth affected by domestic abuse. The event, taking place today, is in partnership with boutique Taylr Joynt and is being sponsored by Paul Mitchell, Planet Salon, Painted Nail, Lululemon, Pillow talk and other local businesses to the Ventura Blvd. strip. The event also includes special performances by Tyler Perry and Disney star Stephanie Ferrett.
In Francesca's Words ...
Philanthropy is a huge part of PR, not only for the non-profit/charity itself, but for the sponsors, partners and brands associated with it. Linking a non-profit to an event or brand helps create a deeper meaning to the event - attendees like to know that their presence and support is going toward a cause-related purpose, not just for profit. Not only do charitable events help with event attendance, but they also help to generate a bigger media and word of mouth buzz about the brand and charity.
Not only do charitable events help with event attendance, but they also help to generate a bigger media and word of mouth buzz about the brand and charity.
Project Rainbow is a well-estabished non-profit in Puerto Rico, where it was founded, but is new to the United States. In partnering with Taylrz Joynt Boutique, we created a highly targeted event relevant for those fashion influencers loyal to the boutique by giving them an opportunity to feel more closely connected to the boutique and this lesser-known non-profit. The goals of the event are to promote Taylrz Joynt's new clothing line and to raise funds for Project Rainbow through a few different tactics.
First, we selected five girls from local domestic abuse shelters and provided them with a three day workshop that included pampering, personal development, self defense and yoga classes and a delicious dinner. Next, the girls will walk to the runway at the event with their new looks, wearing Taylrz Joynt Boutique spring/summer collection and her new fashion line Taylr Jay. The workshop was also filmed, and we will premier the result at the event on April 28th at Athenea Lounge in Sherman Oaks. We are expecting media, press and 350 people in attendance. Half of the door fee goes to the non profit (the other half to the venue) and there will be an opportunity to give on-site donations at the event.
5 Tips for Fashion & Cause Related Events:
Start early! Especially if you are working with less known brands, you need to educate sponsors, media and supporters with important information on WHO your client is and give yourself enough time to sell the event. Working with a lesser known client will be extra work as you need to push much more.
Find sponsors that are appropriate to the level of your client. I always try to aim high and attack larger brands and media to get involved, but it can sometimes be a little bit of a reach. So make sure to balance your media targets and sponsors so you aren’t wasting time trying to lock in the big dogs when there are plenty of people out there
who would love to support your event.
Reach out to local communities and organizations. I find that depending on the cause of your philanthropy, there are tons of organizations that are willing to help generate buzz for you on their event bulletins and newsletters.
Remember, the purpose of your event is not only to generate buzz and coverage for your client, but also to build content for your client's press kit. The larger portfolio of things they are involved in, the more attractive and established they will seem to media, buyers, etc. This will bring more business in the future.
Choose the cause wisely and have a clear idea of who your audience is. Project Rainbow mostly helps young women facing domestic abuse. While this is supporting women, we do not want to only market it towards a female audience but encourage men will come to. Incorporating a “hot” celebrity or singer to perform/attend with mass appeal can help keep the audience neutral.
Photo Credit: Disney | ABC Television Group