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How to Establish a New Client Onboarding Process

PR Client PR Agency Welcome New Client

The onboarding process for a new client can set the tone for the entire working relationship. Starting off on the right foot is crucial in order to set realistic expectations, standards on how to communicate and to build goodwill. It’s smart to have a standard, replicable process that ensures new clients receive a high-touch, seamless transition from prospective client to on the roster. Here are three components of a successful client onboarding process

Start with an Internal Team Meeting

Before having the kick-off meeting with the client, schedule a meeting in-house with all team members that will be involved with the account. This is the time for your team to take a closer look at the background of the client. Discuss what needs to be accomplished. Brainstorm how you will approach the account, immediate priorities and effective tactics. From this meeting, your team should next develop an in-depth PR plan. This document outlines goals, strategies and timeline, and will be presented at the kickoff meeting.

Host a memorable kickoff meeting

A common first step for successfully onboarding a new client is to schedule and plan a kick-off meeting. You can develop a meeting agenda for all new clients that combines all your lessons learned into important talking points. This is the first opportunity for the client to see your work so you want to be able to impress them with your team’s preparation and presentation. During this meeting, it’s important to set clear expectations, goals and immediate next steps. Make sure to allow time to ensure that your team has everything they need to start pitching, including brand materials, photography and samples. 

Set up a weekly call

No matter how clearly you lay out the timeline and discuss what can be expected out of the first few months of the relationship, clients are often nervous and full of questions. Knowing this, you can avoid multiple daily calls asking for any updates by proactively updating your client often in the early days. A weekly call is a good way to ensure they are hearing updates from you often (but not so often that the client communication keeps you from your work!). Explain that this weekly call is to inform them of any news from the previous week, as well as the plan for the upcoming week. As the relationship continues over time, trust will build, and it will become clear that you will provide them with any timely updates as they happen. Always assure your client that you will not leave them with the feeling they don’t know what’s going on with their account.

Your onboarding process should ensure all team members involved with a new account are on the same page, fully prepared for the kick-off meeting with the client, and ready to begin a weekly call. Creating a strong foundation from the start will guarantee that your team won’t need to go back and execute these steps later on, leading to successful PR campaigns from the start.

PR Girls We Love: Ethel Da Costa, Think Geek Media

Fashion PR India

Ethel Da Costa is the Founder and CEO of the award-winning Media, PR, Fashion & Lifestyle Content company, Think Geek Media. With more than two-decades of experience as both a journalist and forward-thinking Mediapreneur, Ethel creates media stories and manages PR events and celebrities across a variety of verticals.

A single mother, published author-poet (Eve’s Revenge: Stories of Nemesis 2008) and winner of the Goa Women of the Decade Achievers Award 2015, Women Economic Forum 2015, New Delhi, Ethel Da Costa continues to straddle the best of the East and the West, making her truly a feisty global professional with a perspective that defines her experiences, wisdom, inspiration and personal aspirations.


ethel-da-costa-photograph-by-mohm-shariffName:
Ethel Da Costa
Title: Managing Director, Founder-CEO
Education: Goa University, Masters in Economics
Location: Goa, Mumbai, India and the UAE
Company: Think Geek Media
Instagram:
@etheldacosta @thinkgeekmedia
Twitter:
 @dacostaethel @thinkgeekmedia

How did you get started in the industry?

My career as a Journalist started in 1992 with a local newspaper in Goa called the Gomantak Times/Weekender. Then I moved to the OHerald, The Times of India, Femina, Tarun Bharat, The International Film Festival of India, Radio Mirchi 98.3FM. Over 24 years, I’ve created and re-invented myself constantly, learning and unlearning, then learning more about media. I’ve traveled around the world covering stories on fashion, lifestyle and travel, meeting all kinds of celebrities and locals, watching, assimilating, absorbing like a sponge all the time.

During this period, I founded Think Geek Media. My first event was creating the Daniel Pearl Peace Concert (2003). Inspired by its huge success, I created community-centric fashion and art events and festivals (The Grape Escape for Goa Tourism, Govt of Goa, Celebrate Panjim, Down-to- Earth Jazz Festival, Fashion Fridays Club Night Series).

So really, my first job was creating Intellectual Properties for Think Geek Media, executed in public spaces and gardens of my city.

In January 2015,  I launched Think Geek Media into the public domain, driven by the vision to become a niche 360 degree content and media solution company. My vision is to give the company and our clients opportunities to localise, nationalise or reach international markets through the networks and collaborators we bring to the table.

How have you built your business?

I network aggressively, I make cold calls, I meet people, I just pick up the phone and introduce myself and my work, and there’s always Linkedin and Facebook. I seek opportunities to collaborate, to explore new markets and find new creators. Right now I’m working on 5 different projects, while simultaneously making time to write my freelance articles and create content for my own social media handles. Next to Content, EXECUTION is King. It speaks for itself.

What are your responsibilities?

As CEO, first and foremost ensuring we are generating revenue, producing quality work and setting the goals and vision. I make sure there is effective time management, where our team maximises output in relationship to effort/time spent.

In addition, I oversee detail. I’m a detail freak. Some of that is anticipating what problems might happen, and preventing them from happening in the first place. Keep ears to the ground, eyes on the ball.

I work with clients each financial quarter with plans and customised budgets. Clients often need to be educated on the principle of effective, authentic, sustained communication that goes into long term brand building. Some understand, but some just don’t.

What is your approach to signing new clients??

First I ask the client to lay down his/her vision. I listen to what they say and pay attention to body language. The shop talk lets me know where he/she comes from. Once I understand these fundamentals, I cut to the chase in an open, honest and to the point discussion. Time is money.

Powerful communication comes from conviction, ownership and ambition. I’m not shy to say NO to what doesn’t feel right by instinct. I tell my clients that it’s better I tell you straight. I’m inspired by driven people who want to make something out of their lives, whose personal goals, vision and drive stand for something. I look for clients who are driven by their beliefs and a strong value system.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I am managing fashion portfolios, bespoke eco-luxe real estate and hospitality brands, a forthcoming a music and art festival, and a wedding blog assignment.

Next to Content, EXECUTION is King. It speaks for itself.

What are some of your career highlights?

A humble, small fashion client with big dreams who I launched with a grand PR buzz in Dubai. The second is a true eco soldier at heart, a  nature conservation builder in India, now now hailed as a trend setter in real estate design. Very different businesses, but with each I helped to develop engaging stories that really helped with growth.

I’m inspired by driven people who want to make something out of their lives, whose personal goals, vision and drive stand for something.

Launching Forest Essentials in Goa with a celebrity soiree, creating and managing media for my favourite designers, Wendell Rodricks and Malini Ramani’s fashion show. Launching Oman Air, winning the Woman of the Decade Achievers Award and being featured in Paris’ CLAM Magazine for my creative entrepreneurship in media. This moment on PR Couture is another one – it feels good to know my hard work is worth it.

What is the media landscape like right now in India – what should we know about?

India boasts a vibrant media landscape. There are so many publishing houses, magazines, TV channels springing up almost every week in the verticals of lifestyle, politics, opinion, capital, fashion, and social work. Regional content is also seeing an upswing. The Start-Up boom has erupted in India making more people want to be their own boss. It is a productive, creative, buzzing environment. My personal favourites continue to be old school Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, fashion brands like FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India), digital platforms like PopXO, and colleagues who have reinvented themselves as influencers like Naina.co.

PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?

Yes, I agree. Out of ten clients, two of them will get coverage in a traditional, conservative market. Many companies want or expect this for free, or want to pay a pittance but expect your arm and leg in delivery! Fortunately I have sold radio space in a print driven market.  I just soldier up, dust myself, sharpen the battle sword a little bit more and battle on. Being consistently persistent keeps me sane, positive and moving forward. My head is full of dreams and the ability to work at them. I just don’t quit!

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

That it is bloody hard work! I work long hours, even if I make it look effortless. I want people to understant that brand value is built through consistency, respect, relationships, integrity, passion and honesty. Growth is a partnership.

What’s the biggest challenge facing communicators in India right now?

In India, there is a lot of gray area when it comes to PR. Those who are willing to work for free, or work for a free dress, do a disservice to those of us who are seasoned professionals. Most clients are caught between the noise and the freebies and they are confusted. My sincere advice to brands is that you have to sieve through the noise and the riff-raff,’ and choose your foot soldiers. I always say a client who treats his brand with respect, will seek a PR partner who shares the same values when it comes to brand-building.

What would you tell someone who wants to be like you when they grow up?

Oh, sweetie be ready to work your ass off. It ain’t gonna come easy!

Thanks, Ethel!

Podcasts Offer a Powerful PR Opportunity – Here’s How to Take Advantage

Podcasts PR and Marketing, Publicity Press

As a seasoned PR professional, you’re probably always looking for creative ways to help your clients gain momentum. You might help someone polish his press materials, and assist another client with writing a punchy social media headline, but there’s another P-word in your promotional toolbox — podcasts.

This option is one of many smart marketing strategies for 2017. According to data from the Pew Research Center, Libsyn, one of the largest commercial podcasting companies, has seen a steady increase in the number of hosted podcasts and amount of downloads for the past several years. Those statistics suggest now is an ideal time to take advantage of this audio publicity technique.

In addition to the value of the recorded conversation, most podcasts have a separate website that includes small write-ups of each podcast episode. These summaries include pertinent contact information and resources mentioned, and this link back to your client’s website or products is a boost to SEO.

Data has also shown podcasts create a form of search saturation on Android phones. Since more than 1.4 billion people use Android devices monthly, your decision to add podcasts to the press section of a mobile-friendly website could also increase search rankings result in a rise in rankings rise. You can expose your client to new prospective followers — those who listen to podcasts while commuting to work, embarking on long road trips and setting playlists, or keeping their ears happy while running errands.

Podcasts are excellent marketing vehicles because they’re so accessible. An interested person can download the latest podcast episodes in minutes through iTunes or other media hubs. Keep reading to learn how to expertly pitch your clients to podcasters.

1. Find the right podcasts to pitch

Many podcast hosts regularly book guests to share their views in an interview format. If you’re weary over the mere thought of writing yet another pitch to promote something for your client, consider the meaningful ways you could convert printed words into spoken ones by pitching your client as a potential podcast guest.

You can expect beneficial results by specifically identifying what you’re trying to achieve through a podcast appearance. Does your client have a specialty that suits a podcast’s focus? Have they recently published a book that aligns with the podcast’s genre?

If you can find relevant or geographically-oriented podcasts, aggressively target those before your client passes through the area, whether it’s for a musical gig, speaking engagement, pop-up shop, or any other obligation that places them in the public eye.

2. Write a Purposeful Pitch

Once you’ve identified solid podcast matches for your client, it’s time to prepare for outreach.

Just like any pitch, your goal is to introduce your client and demonstrate how they align with the podcast focus and how the partnership will help to boost listenership. If your client is an emerging personality and not yet extremely notable, angle your pitch to suggest they have innovative views; a podcaster would be seen as forward-thinking by inviting your client to speak out.

There are several pieces of information to include when writing a pitch to a podcaster:

  • Give a specific benefit: Tell the podcaster how your client can benefit them and their audience. How does your podcast pitch specifically speak to the value your client adds by being featured on the broadcast?
  • Give social proof and validation: Mention other podcasts your client has been on before, credentials, etc. Include relevant information such as YouTube video views, website visits and notable upcoming TV appearances, radio spots or conferences associated with your client.
  • Ask for what you want: Do no use apologetic language in pitching — either speaking or writing. You have something of value to offer, so do it.

3. Spread the Word About Your Client’s Podcast Appearance

All the hard work you put into perfecting your pitch and landing a podcast spot for your client is useless if the target audience isn’t aware of the appearance.

Once you confirm a booking, promote the upcoming broadcast any way you can. Announce the appearance on your client’s social media pages and mention it on their official website. Tap into physical and digital communities. Pick up the phone.

Make podcast appearances maximally effective for your clients. Besides following the suggestions above, thoroughly prepare your clients (listening to a few previous episodes is good prep work) and make sure they can competently talk about topics that may arise.

In case you missed it, check out the recent PR Couture article focused on fashion & lifestyle podcasts for a quick hit of potential leads.

About Sarah

Sarah Landrum is a Penn State graduate with a background in Marketing and Public Relations. She’s also the founder of Punched Clocks, a career and lifestyle site for young women professionals. For more tips on happiness and success, subscribe to her career advice newsletter and follow her on social media. You can find her on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Google+

6 Ways to Be More Productive While Traveling for Business

Business Travel Tips Public Relations Work

Traveling for pleasure is fun. Traveling more than 70% of your time for work? Not so much fun, especially when that percentage used to be 10%.

For seven years, I spent my career working in fashion PR in New York. I definitely did not think that I would spend another seven years in the Big Apple but when a large healthcare firm in Dallas approached my husband promising a big payout and a cushy lifestyle, we couldn’t refuse. However, 80% of our clients were based in New York so the intense traveling commenced immediately.

In order to keep our clients satisfied, our employees motivated and the business thriving, I had to establish some new rules for myself to stay productive while traveling.

1. Create an action plan for each trip

Write out a priority list of things you must complete during your trip. Whether that is finalizing a report, drafting a new business proposal or preparing for an employee salary review, write it down so you can plan each day accordingly. Put a deadline next to each task. Don’t overcommit! Be sure this plan is realistic and balances well with your schedule. Most importantly, review your list before you leave with your team and every morning and night.

2. Invest in good Wi-Fi

Stay away from wireless Internet sticks or cards. If you fly from the same airports or airlines often, it is wise to invest in their monthly plans. You will never have to worry about being disconnected from your team or clients. If you have to choose one, go for the monthly airline plan versus the airport plan. Work from your mobile device until you board. Moreover, some airports also offer complimentary 30-minute Internet sessions so you can just clear your cookies every thirty minutes.

3. Pack snacks and eat well

I am that traveler that always complains about the unhealthy snacks and overpriced healthy snacks at the airport. To stay energized, I pack snacks like nuts, fruits, protein bars and dried berries to keep me moving. A hungry headache will affect your entire day, especially if you have a full day ahead when you land. Try not to get tempted by the Popeye’s Chicken on your way to the gate! Fatty, greasy foods will just make you sleepy.

If you fly from the same airports or airlines often, it is wise to invest in their monthly plans.

4. Have a communications plan for employees

Minimally, I am out of the office for 2 -3 days out of the week. The longest I am ever away is 2 weeks at a time, which is usually around our busier months (February, March, September and October). Because I am always on the go, my team doesn’t get as much face-time with me anymore. So, I implemented specific communications process to stay on top of my employees and help us all be productive while I am traveling.

The system consists of each employee sending me an email every morning outlining their tasks for the day, their priorities, calls, meetings, etc. This helps me determine if I need to jump in and change that plan or determine a quick touch base chat mid-day to see where they are with their assignments.

5. Upgrade your credit card

Most credit card companies have incredible perks for travelers. I am a huge supporter of American Express. Although the annual fee is hefty, it is definitely worth every penny. The American Express lounge keeps me connected to the Internet, they offer great refreshments and it is usually pretty quiet so you can get work done and make a few calls too (I’ve taken quite a few phone meetings in the lounge). Some cards also offer perks like free seat upgrades, so doing work on the plane is made even easier.

I implemented specific communications process to stay on top of my employees and help us all be productive while I am traveling.

6. Never sleep on the plane

It is super important to get a good night sleep, eat and download all of your important documents the day before. Choosing a red-eye flight and sleeping is just not an option on the plane anymore. Most of my flights are between 3-6 hours so that means I can get a ton of work done. Always go for a window seat; the woman who has a bladder problem will not disturb you. This is the best time to be productive; when I am really tired, I get a caffeine boost or nap for 45 minutes.

When traveling a ton for work it’s important to have systems in place to help you maintain your productivity, stay connected to your team and clients, while ensuring good self-care.

About Erica Hicks Anderson

Erica Hicks Anderson is the Chief Strategist of PR VEIN, a boutique fashion and lifestyle communications firm that specializes in taking top emerging brands and influencers to the next level. She is originally from Miami, Florida and received degrees from New York University and Florida A&M University. Anderson has worked for companies such as The Net-a- Porter Group, KCD Worldwide, Tommy Hilfiger, Vogue Magazine and IMG. You can find her in New York, Los Angeles, Miami or Dallas where she frequently travels. Verizon, LaQuan Smith, @TheAmbitionista, and COSIGN are just a few brands and influencers that have retained PR VEIN for its quality services.

Nasty Gal Files Chapter 11, Billion Dollar Retail in Canada & Vogue’s Festival

cn_fashion-pr-fridays_08

Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of November 7, 2016

  • Oh Canada. International retailers like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue are flocking to the great white north for its billion-dollar opportunity (via Business of Fashion)
  • The PR industry is about to shift on Dec 1, 2016 when the salary threshold for overtime will be raised to $47,476 per year. Is this the end an era for PR workaholics? (via Forbes)
  • Here’s a recap of Vogue Fashion Festival 2016, a 2-day fashion conference & masterclass event that explores the past, present and future of fashion (via Clausette)
  • Rise of the chatbots, live video streaming and mobile first are just a few of the social media trends  projected for 2017 (via brandwatch)

  • Snapchat has finally revealed how and where it will sell its new Spectacles to the public (via Time)

PR Account Executive

Position: Beauty/Social Media AE
Company: MediaCraft
Location: NYC
Learn more

Yes, You Need to Listen to these 10 PR Girl Approved Podcasts

Top 10 Podcasts Fashion and PR Girls Should Be Subscribing to

There are a gazillion podcasts out there. I know because I listened to just about all of them while putting together this list. Only the crème de la crème for you, darling.

So get your subscribe finger ready and reap the rewards of my hard work (listening to podcasts at the beach for work, #roughlife no?). Each of these podcasts is PR Girl approved and ready to inform, inspire and entertain you from your morning commute to stuffing swag bags to your evening sweatathon.

Fashion Friends

ChiCityFashion Founder, Blogger and Podcast Host Jena Gambaccini dishes about the week's trending fashion news with notable guests like Boy Meets Girl’s Stacy Igel and Founder and CEO of Modern Citizen, Jess Lee. This podcast is like having a Fashionista or Business of Fashion article read to you - with a side of witty commentary and a drizzle of good-natured banter. You might even be able to replace google alerts with this newsy pick.

Start with: Creating A Fashion Brand + Giving Back With Boy Meets Girl’s Stacy Igel

Pitching PR

Host Leslie Luce is currently a graphic designer but she’s a veteran PR girl. Pitching PR is a down-to-earth podcast that explores the tools and skills communicators need, no matter their career level. Best part? She doesn’t sugar coat anything so you're getting the real deal. So cut the jargon and check out this podcast!

Start with: How to Come Back From Burnout

Fat Mascara

Real life beauty editors Jessica Matlin (currently Beauty and Health Director at Teen Vogue), and Jennifer Goldstein (Marie Claire’s Executive Beauty and Health Editor) share the latest beauty news, insider dish on the latest products, and refreshingly candid stories from their beauty adventures. You can count on this podcast for juicy celebrity interviews, such as Orange is the New Black’s Dasha Polanco. Fat Mascera is a must-listen for the days you are one lipgloss swipe away from losing it.

Start with: Self Lovery

Spirit of 608: Fashion, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability + Tech (F.E.S.T)

I’ll give you 3 reasons why you need to listen to Spirit of 608. 1) Creator Lorraine Sanders is a former fashion journalist who knows PR. 2) Lorraine isn't afraid to raise important issues like sustainability and social responsibility. 3) Spirit of 608 will give you tons of insight into the newest fashion tech startups and the women leading them. This knowledge makes for excellent talking points at your next new business meeting or networking event.

Start with: PR Couture's Crosby Noricks on Fashion PR & Taking Your Side-Hustle Full-Time In Style

#GIRLBOSS RADIO

Nasty Gal Founder Sophia Amoruso’s podcast is worth a listen, if only the incredible guest line-up. Sophia interviews women across all forums, platforms and industries, and she has a knack for asking questions that unearth unexpected gems of advice. All in all, the format that feels like you're kicking back with your girlfriends, chatting over a glass of pinot - perfect for the subway ride home after a long day.

Start with: Brit Morin, Founder & CEO of Brit+Co

PR WEEK

You know that feeling of utter industry overwhelm? A great solution is PRWEEK’s weekly podcast. The trade magazine's editorial team discuss the latest news and issues affecting PR professionals globally.

Start with: Tiffany Guarnaccia, Founder of Communications Week

Fashion Is Your Business

Plain and simple, Fashion is Your Business is the world’s leading fashion and tech podcast. The hosts bring together fashion, technology and business experts from companies like Intel, google and lululemon for robust conversation.

Start with: Jennifer Yemu Li of MuseFind – One Million Influencers

The Lively Show

Jessica Lively provides an audio retreat from the chaotic PR world with her delightful podcast. Fans of Jess will know that her entire ethos is based on living with intention. This is the perfect listen when you need to reinvigorate and access some latent motivation.

Start with: Curiosity, Epic Self-Compassion, & Creativity with Elizabeth Gilbert

Oh Boy by MAN REPELLER

Top reason to listen? Host and Filmmaker Jay Buim’s smoky, dare I say sexy, voice. And maybe also because it's MAN REPELLER, and we need more MR our lives, always. This podcast features conversations with inspiring women, many of whom are business mavens. Pair an incredible guest list with a host who loves women, like really really loves them, and you're guaranteed a thoroughly entertaining listen, every time.

Start with: Interview with MAN REPELLER Founder Leandra Medine

Office Hours With College Fashionista

I could just name drop all the incredible industry leaders featured on this podcast like Elaine Welteroth, Fitness and Beauty Editor at Teen Vogue, Jayna Maleri, Digital Style Editor at Condé Nast, Aya Kanai, Executive Fashion Director at Cosmo and Seventeen, Connie Wang, Fashion Features Editor at Refinery29...Oh, wait, I just did. Do you need any more reasons why you need this podcast in your life? Me thinks not.

Start with: Interview with Danielle Bernstein, We Wore What

PR Industry News: Beach House PR, Sizers & Women in PR North America

PR Couture Industry News for November

PR AGENCY AND INDUSTRY NEWS

Beach House PR signs TONI+GUY and will be in charge of social media, digital, and event activations for über-florist Eric Buterbaugh LA and EB Florals, Eric’s floral-inspired perfume collection. In addition, the agency has annnounced the addition of Liz Spornick, Sr Social Media Manager; Brittany Hohl, Sr. Account Executive PR, and Ellie Wiekamp, Account Executive, PR.  Finally, Beach House Nicole Kegley, formerly Account Executive, Influencer Marketing is now Senior Account Executive + Brand Communications.

Sizers has won the 2016 annual nonprofit Footwear and Friends Micro-Pak Ltd. award. Footwear and Friends is a charity in London, England that provides financial assistance to people in the Shoe Trade.

The Organization of Canadian Women in Public Relations has announced the launch of their sister organization, American Women in Public Relations. Together, the organizations form the networking group Women in PR North America.

4Elements Media now represents Khuli Chana, one of South Africa’s biggest music artists.

The Martina Arroyo Foundation honored fashion designer Adrienne Landau at its 12th annual fundraising gala.


Do you have agency or industry news to share?
We would love to feature employee news, new client announcements, awards, partnerships and more!

Contact us at hello@prcouture.com

Brand Girls We Love: Chanelle Laurence, Co-founder of Valley High

Chanelle Laurence,Co-founder/Creative Director, of Valley High

If you’re not the exactly a dresses and pearls type of girl and that off-duty look is more your style, I have a brand for you. Valley High is a clothing brand made in Los Angeles, co-created by designer Chanelle Laurence and her fiance Christian Ojeda. Chanelle began as a fashion blogger and vintage shop owner while Christian Ojeda was formerly a graphics designer for multiple street wear brands.

Growing up in LA, Chanelle and Christian have always had their pulse of what the “cool kids” are into. Compiling influences from music, art, and street style, Valley High is a distinctive brand built with that Southern California lifestyle in mind. From athleisure separates to silk bomber jackets, many of the pieces pull from boyfriend-style silhouettes and feature bold graphics. I’ve been lucky enough to offer some PR support to the brand and today, Chanelle shares her journey developing the Valley High brand from concept to launch and beyond.


Chanelle Laurence,Co-founder/Creative Director, of Valley High
Name: 
Chanelle Laurence
Title: 
Co-founder/Creative Director
Location:
Los Angeles, CA
Company:
Valley High
Instagram:
@valley_high / @chanelledotcom
Twitter:
@valley_highh / @chanelledotcom

How did you get started in the industry?

I started by getting my degree in fashion design at FIDM, then went off to dance professionally for a couple years (not fashion related). After that, I started a fashion blog in conjunction with an online vintage clothing store and the rest is history. I made sure to throw myself into everything and learn everything I could when I was first starting out. I went to every event I was invited to, met every person I could meet and read every article I could read. I’m able to apply all of that experience to what I’m doing today and it’s really rewarding.  I’m still learning and growing all the time and one of the promises I made to myself is that I will never stop learning and growing.

Tell us a bit about Valley High

I always found myself shopping in my boyfriend (now fiance’s) closet. I always wore his sweatshirts and t-shirts and when I would go to look for stuff like that for women, there was nothing. There were cute shirts that said funny phrases, but nothing was edgy enough for me. We really wanted to bring men’s streetwear graphics to the women’s side as well as presenting  boyfriend style fits that fit women in the right places. Everything that was sold as a “boyfriend fit” was still a “girlfriend fit” to me, it was never long enough or baggy enough.

Our brand has morphed into this edgy, yet girly, collection (I’m not even quite sure if it’s considered streetwear anymore) that you can wear no matter what mood you’re in. We want to make pieces that you can mix and match with each other while providing you with everything you need to be stylish no matter what day it is or no matter how you’re feeling. You can be confident in knowing  that you can wake up,  throw a piece of Valley High on and look great no matter what.

Lastly, being LA natives we really want to bring the Southern California lifestyle to our girls, whether they live here or not. There’s always an underlying, laid back vibe in our pieces that really encompasses who we are and what we wore growing up here.

Valley High 2017 lifestyle and fashion brand shares her brand secrets

What has been the most powerful and remarkable piece of media coverage you received recently?

We were featured in Nylon Japan earlier this year, which was pretty amazing. We were featured alongside 2 other LA based brands, representing Los Angeles, which was such an honor.

What is the role of PR in your communication strategy?

We’re focused on introducing ourselves to the world and sharing what we have to offer. PR helps get everyone familiar with us and allows us to tell our story.

Now in our second year, I’ve really started to see the value and need for PR, especially for a women’s brand. Girls need to know who you are, they need to read and hear about you multiple times and you need to earn their trust. I know this because that’s how I am with brands when I’m shopping around. PR plays such a crucial role in all of that which is essentially what grows your business.

We’ve been working with Kristen Conahan on the PR side of things, while Kacie Anderson has helped us connect with stylists and other important people. As far as social media and marketing goes, that’s my department that I tackle with my intern and brainstorming sessions with my partner, Christian. I love, love, love the social media side of things and coming up with fun ways to market our product.

Valley High founder shares her branding secrets with PR Couture

We’ve been working with Kristen Conahan on the PR side of things, while Kacie Anderson has helped us connect with stylists and other important people. As far as social media and marketing goes, that’s my department that I tackle with my intern and brainstorming sessions with my partner, Christian. I love, love, love the social media side of things and coming up with fun ways to market our product.

Girls need to know who you are, they need to read and hear about you multiple times and they need to trust you. I know this because that’s how I am with brands as well.

Valley High clothing company founder talks branding on PR Couture

Looking over the past year, what are you most proud of?

Having 4 seasons under our belt is such an accomplishment when I really stop to think about it. I’m so proud of us for pushing and making it this far. Another highlight was getting featured in Nylon Japan as I mentioned prior. Something that always makes me feel all the feels is when customers post photos of their purchases from us on social media and are stoked on them. I love our Valley Girls.

Chanelle Laurence Co-founder and designer of Valley High shares her branding secrets with PR Couture

What social media platforms do you invest in and why?

I’m a firm believer in not spreading yourself too thin with social media. If you’re accounts don’t look poppin’, they ain’t poppin’ –  so I only take on what I can give my attention to. Instagram is one that I’ve worked really hard on since the beginning and it’s important to me that we have organic growth on it. I’m also trying to post on Instagram stories more and our intern posts on our Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter accounts pretty regularly.

What are some of the challenges you face as a newer brand?

Right now the challenge is to get our customer to trust us because we’re so new. They haven’t seen us enough to fully let themselves commit and I totally understand that. I think this is something that comes with time and will come with more exposure and more and more with girls taking the chance on us and vouching for us. Our price point is a little higher as well and I know it can be difficult to splurge at times. One thing I always try to stress is our quality and design; it’s worth it, I promise!

Everything is made in LA and we see, feel, touch, and approve every single step each of these clothes take. Each piece is like a little baby we’re sending out in the world to go to a wonderful new home.

Chanelle Laurence, co-owner and designer of Valley High Women's Fashion Brand

 What are you excited about lately?

We’ve been getting some good traction this year so it’s been getting me really excited. Also watching the brand grow as well as ourselves as designers, business owners and partners. It’s such an enjoyable process (even with the stress that comes with it).

What projects are you currently working on?

We’re getting ready to launch a small capsule of t-shirts and coaches jackets that we’re really excited about. We’re also planning a really fun concept for Cyber Monday that you’ll have to follow our social media accounts to see!

Everything is made in LA and we see, feel, touch, and approve every single step each of these clothes take. Each piece is like a little baby we’re sending out in the world to go to a wonderful new home.

What are your big communications goals for 2017?

More write-ups, more fun collaborations and unique ways to incorporate social media to interact with our Valley Girls. I love when people have genius marketing and I’m really striving to do that as well.

Chanelle Laurence Co-Founder/Designer of Valley High is featured on PR Couture's Brands We Love

Thanks, Chanelle!

ABOUT KRISTEN CONAHAN

Kristen is a style blogger at Style Wax Poetic and freelance publicist working with various fashion and social impact accounts clients.As a blogger, Kristen has been asked to host events at Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus and has been featured on numerous publications and brand’s websites including Banana Republic, Racked.com, PopSugar.com, Boohoo.com, Lack of Colours, Beauty Collection, StyleSpotters and more and has collaborated on various brand campaigns including Target, DSW, Banana Republic, HP, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Starbucks and Jockey to name a few. When working as a publicist, Kristen enjoys helping companies thrive and specializes in smaller accounts that are working to gain attention and brand awareness through PR.

3 Ways PR Pros and Event Planners Can Work Together

Event Planning, PR Event, Media Event Tips

PR professionals and event planners have complementary, though different roles. When both parties come together to collaborate and to clarify roles and responsibilities, results can be bolstered and the whole endeavor can run more smoothly.  Here are three ways conversations publicists and event managers should have to ensure a successful event with a high return.

1. Agree on a media-worthy event theme

One big challenge with events is standing out from the multitude of other events happening on the same day (not to mention the allure of couch + Netflix after a busy day). Both the PR team and event team can work together to develop an event concept that offers something unique. Discuss what will make this event different and what the big allure for a media outlet or influencer is going to be.  A nonprofit beneficiary partner, celebrity, a high-profile guest or speaker, giveaway or a select media sponsor can all aid in earning great coverage from media and party press. Once you’ve participated in the brainstorm and agreed on a general theme and some key elements, let the event team parse out the specific details.  Meet again to ensure all the components for the big day are elements sure to stand out as coverage opportunities for press.

2. Review the Event PR plan

With the event theme in hand, it’s time to develop a tactical event roadmap. When it comes to events, PR reps often have a primary goal of selling tickets or ensuring RSVPs, rather than simply building awareness for the event. The PR team should take the lead on a plan that includes pre and post event efforts (outreach can begin as soon as a venue and date are confirmed). When building out various strategies (media alerts, event calendars, invitations, etc), be sure to highlight the media-friendly event elements the events team is putting together.

3. Collaborate on pre-event social media content

While live event coverage across social media is crucial (if a hot celeb comes walking into your gift suite unannounced, you’ll want to have Snapchat ready), there is a ton of social content that can be developed and scheduled beforehand. Social media preparedness allows the PR team to be fully present on event day to deal with in-person guests, without having to make sure that last-minute Tweets are going out, sponsors have been properly tagged on Instagram, etc. As the events team starts to confirm details, start drafting 140-character and longer-form social media posts for the pre-event social-promotional pipeline. And remember that everyone loves a good behind-the-scenes look at an incredible event so include the event team’s presence and ideas in your social brainstorms and actual content development.

By ensuring key meetings and a collaborative energy exists among both the PR and the Events team, both entities can leverage their expertise to ensure a flawless event experience; the PR team draws in the attendees and media interest, and the events team ensures that once they’ve crossed the velvet rope and unforgettable experience awaits.

The Cool Brand Factor, Millenial Shopping & Instagram’s Latest Feature

FASHION PR FRIDAY FEATURE IMAGE 4

Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of October 31, 2016

  • Fashion brand Chitose Abe opts out of celebrity branding – here’s what they’re doing instead (via Vanity Fair)
  • How Warby Parker  is handling their social media channels (via Planoly)
  • CR Fashion Book announces the end of the four-year partnership between Carine Roitfeld and Stephen Gan; the publishing rights have now transferred to Roitfeld (via Business of Fashion)
  • Instagram announces new e-commerce strategy with the launch of a ‘Shop Now’ feature as early as next week (via CR Fashion Book)

 

PR Girls We Love: Carly Sullivan, Senior PR Manager, Coastal

How to create a global brand like Vancouver, B.C. Company Coastal

From an early age Vancouver, B.C. native Carly Sullivan knew she loved retail – from the product and packaging to merchandising and the in-store experience. She has built her career within retail, spanning positions across wholesale, vertical, brick & mortar and now e-commerce. After a decade in marketing and brand strategy leadership roles at lululemon, Carly Sullivan has added PR manager to her skillset as Senior Manager, PR and Community at Coastal, the largest online optical retailer in the world. These days, her role focuses on creating and deepening connections between the brand, consumers, and media.

Senior Manager, PR and Community Marketing for Coastal; Carly SullivanName: Carly Sullivan
Title: Senior Manager, PR and Community Marketing
Location: Vancouver, B.C
Company: Coastal 
Instagram:
@vancitycarly/@coastaldotcom
Twitter:
@coastaldotcom

How did you get started in the industry?

I started in PR this past February. Seriously. After nearly a decade with lululemon athletica in multiple community marketing and brand strategy leadership roles, I joined the team at Coastal to head up community marketing, social media and public relations.

My first job was for a now-defunct Canadian shoe company. From a very young age, I absolutely loved retail- the product, the experience, the branding, the packaging, the merchandising. It’s by no mistake I’ve built my career within retail organizations.

How did you get the job you have now?

Since very early in my career, I’ve been unwavering about my choice to work for companies I love and leaders I believe in. Coastal offered both. I worked for our CMO, Nancy Richardson when she headed up Brand at lululemon and knew I’d jump on any opportunity to be under her leadership again. At lululemon I got to change the way people dressed- disrupting the idea of technical athletic apparel and blurring the lines of gym/streets. But now at Coastal, I have the chance to change the way people see – it was an exciting & meaningful opportunity that was an immediate ‘yes!’ when I was offered the position.

Find out what every PR Girl should know from expert Carly Sullivan

What are your responsibilities?

First and foremost, I have the privilege to lead and learn from a very talented group of woman who all specialize in multiple functions- social media, public relations, communications, community, partnerships, product seeding, retail merchandising and local marketing. While we are the largest online optical retailer, our organizational structure is similar to a (very healthy) start-up, which is an environment I thrive in. The more entrepreneurial and diverse the better for this girl!

Since very early in my career, I’ve been unwavering about my choice to work for companies I love and leaders I believe in.

In addition to being in a leadership role, I develop and lead the public relations, communications, social media and community strategies for Coastal and it’s exclusive brands. Coastal’s portfolio of products includes a curated collection of third-party brands, such as Ray-Ban, Kenzo and Chloe, and our own exclusive brands that are designed in-house. The exclusive brands we design cater to different audiences so it’s really exciting to have a range of products to pitch. I’m lucky that I get to pitch everything from fashion to health to business on a daily basis.

Over the past few months, I’ve also taken on the management of our Executive Thought Leadership, including content creation, social media management, and public engagements. We run PR in-house and are very hands on; I share media and influencer relationships and pitching with my team.

How is your department is structured?

We’ve taken a holistic approach to PR at Coastal by joining social media, digital influencers & ambassador programs, partnerships and community marketing on my team. How and from whom people consume media is changing, and our goal is to create a seamless brand experience across multiple touch points. We’ve also found lines are also blurring between the producers, creators and consumers of media, and an open company structure allows us to develop more meaningful relationships as we can work with an individual across multiple mediums, instead of a siloed approach.

Learn how to build a global brand and product by Coastal's experts

What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on?

Contagious energy! This summer we went through a rebrand and new site launch. Last year we put a new product design approach in place for our portfolio of exclusive brands designed in-house, and we are starting to see those product lines come to life. Right now our main focus is introducing and re-introducing who we are as a brand today and where we are going. We are excited to offer a best in class experience and gorgeous product- and to invite as many people as possible to #seeclearly on this journey with us.

We run PR in-house and are very hands on; I share media and influencer relationships and pitching with my team

What is a success story that makes you especially proud?

What makes me most proud is witnessing the development of my team. While I am the first to squeal at a great hit, getting tagged by ‘that Instagrammer’ or creating a new friendship with an editor or stylist, my excitement is tenfold when it comes from the success of a member of my team. Leadership and coaching is one of the biggest takeaways I gained in my previous roles and to bring forth those learnings and share and shape them with my current team is extremely fulfilling.

What’s the most memorable moment in your career thus far?

I don’t think it’s happened yet! While I savor so many moments so far, I can’t help but have the feeling that even more are to come. Anyone need a plus-one to Paris Fashion Week?!

How to create a global brand like Vancouver, B.C. Company Coastal

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Every trip to NYC. There’s something about that city, no matter how many times I’ve visitedt, I get the sense ‘I’ve made it’. I grew up on an island on the West Coast of British Columbia and dreamed of NYC glamor a la Carrie Bradshaw. I never get tired of the glam, the grit, the lights, and the buzz.

What makes me most proud is witnessing the development of my team. While I am the first to squeal at a great hit, getting tagged by ‘that Instagrammer’ or creating a new friendship with an editor or stylist, my excitement is tenfold when it comes from the success of a member of my team.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I was escorted off a plane by the RCMP! While traveling home (Vancouver, BC) from a round of desksides in NYC, I witnessed a minor scuffle between two passengers. Don’t fret- everyone was fine and it was an unfortunate case of a tray being put back a little too aggressively. I learned on that flight that all in-air altercations need to be reported to the police and that the best way to embarrass co-workers is being escorted off a packed airplane (even as a witness!) by individuals in uniform.

PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you deal?

There’s a certain healthy separation that’s needed between oneself and one’s work. This is a field where it’s important to know who you are, what your worth is and what your boundaries are. While I love my career and find it immensely fulfilling, it bears constant reminding that I am not my job. This attitude is one I’ve had to hone over the years and allows me to put things in perspective. It’s great to be passionate and bring emotion to work- it can fuel you to go further than what you may think is possible. When things are tough, let them be tough. Just give yourself a timeframe & commit to being as angry or as sad as you need to be during that time then let it go. Everything changes so quickly!

PR Girls We Love Featuring Coastal's Carly Sullivan

What are three must-haves essential to your job?

I love Instagram. I’m a very visual person and gain lots of inspiration and ideas from what I see. I am with a company that’s mission is to help people #seeclearly after all. I’m also really into aromatherapy at the moment. I’m particularly fond of the products made by Saje and have several essential oils within reach at my desk, in my purse and at home at any given time!

I’ve replaced my 3pm coffee with peppermint oil- a feat I never would have imagined was possible. Lastly, I’m super old school and need to write everything down. I’m meticulous about having a black pen and fresh white paper with me to record notes, ideas and doodles. My brain is always moving and my pen tends to be too.

This is a field where it’s important to know who you are, what your worth is and what your boundaries are.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

Everything we do is strategic. There’s this whimsy that seems to exist around PR and the truth is it takes a lot of strategic thought and planning to make it all look so seamless.

What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?

Cutting through the clutter. With so many outlets and points of influence, it takes a much more thoughtful and tailored approach to create anything of meaningful impact. I’m about the long-game with short term success. We want to see results today, but everything has to be building to something bigger and sustainable.

Public Relations Coastal Optical Strategy Carly Sullivan

How do you stay on top of industry trends?

I’m really excited to be a part of the PR world right now. I feel that we have the ability to shape our roles, our brands and even our industries more than ever. I don’t do well with cookie cutter. I approach things with the mentality of what’s the best, most meaningful and impactful way of doing things vs. what’s the traditional approach.  I always ask what’s right for us and what’s right for them- them being an influencer, an editor, a publication, our customers. The industry is at a point where things are evolving so quickly allowing us to write our own rules of engagement and find success in doing so. Mine are rooted in authenticity- both in who/how we pitch and how we show up for our others.

There’s this whimsy that seems to exist around PR and the truth is it takes a lot of strategic thought and planning to make it all look so seamless.

What type of person thrives at Coastal?

It may sound cliché, but one who is adaptable and can thrive through change. While we are 10 years old, online optical is in its infancy and we are pushing forward creating a future that wouldn’t otherwise exist. This equates to change. A top performer can recognize what to push for, what to let go and what’s needed now.

What would you tell someone who wants to be like you when they grow up?

Trust yourself. I haven’t always been able to articulate my choices or give a really great answer why something will work. I just knew. I knew it would work and if it didn’t I trusted myself to figure it out. I’ve made my choices based on what makes me happiest and most fulfilled. It’s important never to feel guilty for that- take your career and make it what you want. This is what’s gotten me here and will take me to what’s next. It’s an exciting ride!

Thanks, Carly! 

3 Ways to Get Attendees to Actually Use Your Event Hashtag

Event Hashtag Tips

An event hashtag is pretty standard for events these days; it ensures offline to online integration and makes it easy for PR professionals to track online buzz related to the event. While it’s easy to create a hashtag, getting attendees to actually use the hashtag during the event can be surprisingly challenging. Ultimately,  you want to create a hashtag that will become so memorable that it can be used for future events. Bonus points if becomes associated with the brand and gets used consistently, regardless of an event. Here are 3 ways to get increase your chances of that hashtag getting used by more than just the brand. 

Make event hashtags short and fun

The longer the hashtag or confusing to type, the less likely people are going to use it. Sometimes clients want to use an overly branded hashtag or language that may be “on brand” but confusing for the average attendee.  You want to create something that aligns with the brand but also appeals to the guest. To make a hashtag memorable, use alliteration or a fun play on words. A great hashtag can drive curiosity and extend the reach of your event.  

Ultimately,  you want to create a hashtag that will become so memorable that it can be used for future events.

Use the event hashtag everywhere

During the event, the hashtag should be everywhere, on every sign, napkin, swag bag, step & repeat and photo booth. Alternate simply using the hashtag with a strong call to action directing guests to post using the hashtag.Make sure guests are encouraged to use the hashtag verbally as well. Make sure everyone running the event knows the hashtag. If there is a speaker at the event have them remind everyone there to use the hashtag. Make it a team a team mission to secure a certain number of hashtags used. Lastly, make sure the brand is actively chronicling the event on its own social media channels, using the hashtag and tagging guests. Like and comment on all event photos using the hashtag to boost engagement.  

Create an incentive to use the event hashtag

Everyone loves to win a prize! While the event is going on, announce a contest that requires the use of the hashtag. Explain that the winner will be selected the next day and announced on the brand channel. This which will help keep everyone’s attention on the event and may boost post-event photos. Attendees will continue to track your social media accounts to see if there are any other updates and to see the winner.

Creating a unique hashtag, encouraging guests to use it during the event and incentivizing attendees to share their photos after are all steps to actually get your attendees to use your event hashtag. Every event is different and brainstorming with your team the best way to reach the target demographics that make up your attendees is ultimately the most successful way to make your event hashtag stick.  

Account Manager

Position: Freelance Publicist
Company: The Tesla Group
Location: New York, NYC
Learn more