The famous quote from Microsoft creator Bill Gates, "If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations," proves how invaluable a well executed PR campaign is to the success of a company. Gates probably wasn't referring to his secret plan of taking over the fashion world, but you get the idea. The main goal of PR is to attract awareness, growth and ultimately, the success of a business. Without it, you could have a great denim line...that no one knows about. It’s your job to figure out the best methods to do build interest and enthusiasm for those jeans!
Before you plan on introducing your client’s latest collection of eco-friendly yoga apparel or retro-inspired swimsuits to the media, you need to have a solid grasp of the budget you’re working with.
Representing an established designer or a capital-funded company with deep pockets? Then shelling out $25,000 to have Ms. Fabulous Celebrity tweet about your client’s clothing or messengering 100 samples to a coveted list of fashion bloggers and influencers might just work wonders. However, if you’re working with a startup or an unknown, emerging designer who is just starting out, that kind of cash is probably not going to be accessible.
Instead, focus on utilizing the resources you do have, creativity being your biggest ally. And above all, make sure your client and you are on the same wave length when it comes to promoting the brand. What are his/her expectations? How should the company be perceived? What is its mission statement? Good communication between the two of you is key. Without that, many of your efforts could be a waste of time and money.
Provided that you have a solid understanding of what your client wants, what their collection is all about, and have a sense that consumers are going to be interested in the collection, here are the creative assets you'll need to be successful.
A Stellar Press Kit
While this should be a no-brainer, many start ups actually forget to put together a press kit. This is a set of promotional materials about the business, owner, mission, etc., intended for media members. It can also include images, the company logo, any previous press mentions and social media statistics. Since it’s often the first thing many editors may see when checking out a new collection, the press kit should be well-designed with clear, concise writing that features the company the same way you want the press to feature it. Designed electronically and saved as a PDF, a press kit shouldn’t cost anything at all.
High Res Images on a White Background
You need great images of all of your designs. Clean, uncluttered, high resolution images on a white background, ready at your disposable. While employing a photographer can be costly, with a little trial and error, it’s actually pretty easy to take your own high quality photos. These images are your ticket to landing editorial placements. Flat images (meaning laid out neatly on a white background), or on a dress form are usually best. If the designs are shot on models, try making sure the models are not overly accessorized or stylized. This can often hinder the look of the item. Editors are looking through hundreds of pitches and pictures everyday. If they ask you for a knee-length circle skirt, show them a knee-length circle skirt, not one that had a pink crinoline underneath it.
Social Media Platforms Set up and Ready to Go
Sorry if this sounds like a broken record, but social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are incredible and FREE tools for promoting a fashion collection. Time consuming, yes, but soo worth it!
A Specific Budget for Samples
Once you start spreading the word about your fashion client, bloggers from all walks of life will come knocking on your digital door requesting for samples in exchange for a blog post. While working with bloggers is a great way to promote a collection, you need to be very selective with who you work with, especially in the beginning of a launch. Unless the blogger has a substantial following, fits your client’s aesthetic and has worked in the past with other companies you deem as competition, it’s probably a waste of funds to foster these relationships by sending samples. Instead, offer early access to the new collection, a visit to the designer's studio, or an interview.
When sending out requested samples to editors, don’t be afraid of asking for their shipping number. More often than not, editors will need an item sent overnight. If you don’t send quickly, you risk losing the placement, but if you keep paying these crazy Fedex and UPS fees, you can end up broke in no time. Most big publishing companies will give you their shipping account info, you just have to ask.
Shoot a Video
As a new designer, your boss may not be able to afford showing at Fashion Week. One way to promote the line is to shoot your own video! Get creative and come up with a concept that will show off the collection and appeal to your target audience. Gather a group of friends to model your clothes, head to the beach and see what happens. Then, upload it on YouTube and promote it via social media and to the press.
Design an Online Lookbook
While you and the crew are frolicking on the beach in your client’s gorgeous clothing, shoot some pictures and create your own online lookbook. These are super easy to do and are completely free (check out www.youblisher.com).
Sure, signing on to promote a fresh, new albeit unfunded fashion line may be challenging and even a bit unnerving. But once you’re tuned in to all the inexpensive and free resources available, the opportunities can prove to be as exciting as they are endless. Also, starting out with a new company gives you the opportunity to be an instrumental part of early success. Prove yourself during this influential time and who knows just what may be waiting for you around the corner!
Photo Credit: www.caritadegato.cl