Big Pic

Big Picture PR Agency San Francisco New York

50 PR Gamechangers, That Flotus Hat & Inside Free People’s Digital Strategy

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

...for the week of August 28, 2017

Simplify your business finances with these helpful tips (via Think Creative Collective)

Calling all GOT fans! Check out how the Game of Thrones uses wardrobe colors to convey the story line from the very first episode (via Ceros)

Are you a fan of Free People's Instagram aesthetic? How about Anthropolgie? Take a sneak peak into Urban Outfitters brands digital content strategy (via Dash Hudson)

When style signals political anonymity (via The Cut)

Here's how beauty brands are supporting victims of Hurricane Harvey (via Refinery 29)

An Instagram takeover may just be the key to growing awareness and engagement (ps - you can do one with PR Couture) (via Social Media Today)

Is influencer marketing actually driving sales? (via Marketing Week)

A handy roundup of PR organizations catering to niche groups for networking (via PR Daily)

Here's a list of 50 Game-Changers of PR - no surprise PR Couture Founder Crosby Noricks made the cut (via PR News)

The business industry is changing. Check out what female entrepreneurs have to say about hiring future employees (via WWD)

PR Mavens We Love: Courtney Worthman, Partner, Cogent Entertainment Marketing

With more than thirteen years of experience in prestige talent, PR, and influencer marketing, Courtney provides clients like Best Buy, Bare Escentuals, Hasbro and others with a unique holistic view of entertainment marketing, implementing ROI driven strategy and execution.

Courtney began her career in consumer marketing at Cohn & Wolfe Public Relations, and went on to accept a Vice President position at Alison Brod Relations two years later. She has been at Cogent since 2012. 

Name: Courtney Worthman
Title: Partner, Celebrity & Influencer Marketing
Location: New York, New York
Education: B.S. in Management, A.B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University
Company: Cogent Entertainment Marketing
Instagram: 
@cogentworld
Twitter: @CogentWorld
LinkedIn: 
@cogentworld

Tell us a bit about your career journey to date

I started my career in PR and shifted into influencer and talent relations when I saw how it could benefit clients and there wasn't anyone staffed to fill the void. I took a chance and started on a career path knowing I'd make a lot of mistakes along the way and learn through trial by fire - but I loved it! I was perfectly happy at the job I had, but then Mark Zablow (CEO of Cogent) came to me with an opportunity to build something from scratch with him. Something told me to take another risk and go for it - I'm so happy I did! We started as a company of 4 people and now have over 40 employees and a roster of global brands as clients. Cogent even won a spot on Ad Week's "Best Places to Work" last year!

What are your primary responsibilities?

I lead over the talent team and work closely with Mark on strategy and overall marketing for our company. And I am always keeping an eye out for new fresh talent to pair with our brands. The influencer pool is so big so it's important to do a lot of digging and find the perfect person who can relay your message authentically.

Tell us a little bit about how Cogent is structured?

We have a talent team made up of experienced talent buyers, former talent publicists, talent managers, and a mix of experts in the influencer space.

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

We like to keep it light and make each other laugh. One of my favorite things about my job is my coworkers. We have an in-house (self-proclaimed) DJ that pumps '90's hip hop most days and Rise Nitro coffee on tap. We try not to take ourselves too seriously, but since we are dealing with massive amounts of deal flow and many little details, we go from fun to focused in seconds to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

What is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?

Fossil's latest ad campaign was one of my favorite projects to date. We identified talent who had an emotional affinity to the Fossil brand and helped tell their stories through compelling content and consumer experiences. Partnering with Austin Mahone's tour and having Yara Shahidi hosting a breakfast panel at The Wing on empowering young women are a few examples of how Fossil authentically approached working with talent versus the many "me too" influencer campaigns we see today.

Most memorable moment in your career thus far?

As someone who has had many mentors, I would say the most meaningful moment in my career thus far has been getting to the point where I can recruit and hire amazing team members. Having an opportunity to show them the ropes and support their careers is incredibly meaningful to me.

The influencer pool is so big so it's important to do a lot of digging and find the perfect person who can relay your message authentically.

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

This question feels a bit ironic, because as anyone in the industry knows, our jobs aren't actually that glamorous. But the stress up midnight emails and weekend conference calls that go into pulling together successful brand partnerships and events are worth it when you see a stacked red carpet, a campaign go viral, or when you can exhale and congratulate your team once the job is done.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

I was traveling internationally for an appearance with a celebrity I won't mention. On the way to the event she decided she did not like her shoes, but she liked mine. She squeezed her larger sized feet into my shoes, and I walked around the event shoeless for the evening. 

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

At Cogent we use a phrase "batting average versus free throws" - basedon how you measure success you can go 5 for 10 and be the best baseball player or the worst free throw shooter ever... all how you measure success and manage expectations!

When I encounter circumstances beyond my control, I just pause and remember that I know my stuff. People get stressed or make a mistake, but in the end there is always a way to fix it. There is no situation in which a compromise or Plan B can't be established to still achieve our goal.

What are three current favorite tools, apps, or products that you love and why?

Instagram will always be a favorite, because it helps me stay current on up and coming talent that I should watch out for. Also, getting a visual on someone's style and personality helps me to match them with the right client.

The WWD and THR app - check them every morning before I get out of bed.

Postmates and Amazon Prime, because between work and my one and a half year old son, I don't have time to shop.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

There are no guarantees when it comes to talent. You could brainstorm the perfect partner for a launch or event, but they may not be interested in engaging with the brand. Or, you craft a campaign around a high-level name and it ultimately doesn't move the needle for sales. Not every swing is a home run; it's about being flexible and learning for the next round.

What are you excited about right now?

The surge of female empowerment that is happening with brands. The mix of fashion and entertainment and politics and advocacy for women is amazing and I'm here for it!

What's the biggest challenge facing lifestyle communicators right now?

In the marketing industry, it is this bubble that's occurred with talent commanding high fees for engagement. It's why I find it most important to partner with talent that have a genuine connection to the brand or campaign message, rather than paying top dollar for an A-List name. They will work with you to give you what you need and get what they need within reason without high demands.

People get stressed or make a mistake, but in the end there is always a way to fix it.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Don't let anyone intimidate you!


Thanks, Courtney!

5 Tools to Track Social Media Sales

Social media is always growing and changing. There are now a variety of ways to utilize Instagram, Facebook and other platforms. One of these ways is an e-commerce business. It’s becoming common to see individuals utilizing these platforms to connect their brands with sales. With this, social media accounts have become useful and multifaceted, as they let users turn their posts into sales.

Here are 5 tools we recommend taking advantage of to get a better handle on how social is driving brand sales.

1. LiketoKnow.it

With LiketoKnow.it, shopping images for Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and other mobile platforms is made simple. Influencers tag products in their images and when screenshotted or liked, LiketoKnow.it will deliver ready-to-shop product details vie the app and email. This pits the product at the buyer’s fingertips.

2. Olapic

Olapic transforms Instagram into your e-commerce storefront by linking each photo tag to product pages. Olapic’s simple 3-step process – curate, activate, analyze – has been used by social savvy brand like Free People and Lululemon. These steps allow you to increase engagement and performance on your channel then track your performance.

3. Shopseen

This tool is a multi-channel product listing and inventory management tool. Shopseen allows you to sell on different platforms and manage products all in one place through integration with Square – products can be easily added, inventory is automatically updated and shipping labels are created quickly. Through a Shopseen link on your profile, buyers can shop your feed.

4. Soldsie

Soldsie makes it easy for users to purchase directly from a seller’s Instagram and Facebook through a unique URL. On Instagram, sellers can place their custom link in their bio for easy access to the products featured on their Instagram feed. As for Facebook, buyers can purchase products by commenting on a photo, and Soldsie will automatically forward an invoice for checkout. This tool eliminates the back and forth process, making it simpler for both procedures and consumers.

5. Shopial

Already have an online store? Shopial acts as a gateway between your Facebook or Pinterest page and your website where you sell products. Through Shopial, your Facebook or Pinterest will be turned into a customizable shop or catalog. You are given the tools to promote your product and page and detailed analytics are available to track your success.

Merging your products and social media platforms will save you time and regular cross promotion of products will help to encourage engagement and sales, meeting customers where they are already spending so much of their time. We look for tools that make the buying and selling experience easy to use for both the brand and the customer, simplicity of design, ease of checkout and valuable reporting and insights are key when choosing a third-party sales tracking system for social media.

20 PR Responsibilities, YouTube Beauty Influencer Lawsuit & Challenges with Ethical Apparel

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

...for the week of August 21, 2017

Find out which Youtube Beauty Guru is facing a lawsuit due to a brand deal gone awry (via Tube Filter)

Why is it so difficult to build and produce a sustainable apparel brand in the USA? (via The Good Trade)

Learn about the 20 responsibilities PR professionals have now that they didn't have 10 years ago (via Air PR)

Is the fashion industry really as glamorous as it seems?  (via Fast Company)

Amazon reveals its new algorithmic approach to the apparel business and plans for the launch of Prime Wardrobe (via Technology Review)

Ethical shopping is hard! Here's what you can look for in a brand (via Racked)

Hundreds of global brands are featured on fake news sites and most don't seem to care (via Quartz)

Guatemalan artisans battle with Etsy over copyright infringement (via Fashionista)

With streetwear being all the buzz, who are the fashion icons that everyone is looking up to lately? (via Highsnobiety)

Over 80% of companies use some form of content marketing, but does that mean they're utilizing it correctly? (via Social Media Today)

I Moved to London to become a Fashion PR Intern…at 37

Written by Gena Dorris

Fashion has a reputation for being a nearly impossible industry to penetrate. Even more so when you’re older than twenty-five and don’t have many personal connections. So, what are the odds that a thirty-seven-year-old American coming to London to study would land one of the most coveted internships in the business?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Why would someone at my age come to London to study and pursue an internship?

Call it a mini-mid-life crisis or just a wake-up call, but life was passing me by. I wasn’t living up to my full potential. On the outside, I had what most women my age would consider a great life, an adoring husband, beautiful home, loving family and great friends. I had worked in PR previously for an NBA basketball team as well as local charities in my area. Life was good. Except… it really wasn’t.

I always felt like I was meant for more than what the small southern city I lived in had available. I am much more of a creative soul than corporate drone, and although the previous jobs I’d held paid well and positively impacted my community, they weren’t ever really ME. And so, when I turned thirty-five it hit me that I hadn’t really done anything that I’d dreamed of doing; I’d never lived abroad. I’d never had the chance to pursue the career in fashion I dreamt of. I wasn’t utilizing my God-given talents. And I wasn’t happy.  I wondered, was it too late for me? Was this all I would be?

Fashion has always been a passion of mine. I know thousands of people say that, but there aren’t really other words to describe it. I was the girl friends called for help planning an outfit or to help them find the designer shoes in a magazine. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted at work looking at something fashion-related online.

When I first graduated from college I worked in a law office. One of the lawyers there must have been in her seventies, and I assumed she had been practicing forever. I later found out she had been a nurse for more than thirty years before going to law school. I never forgot about her and her story inspired me. And so I slowly began to look into making a career change.

I found a program in Paris, after the deadline, applied late with permission, and wasn’t accepted. I was crushed but I knew that it was a long shot.

Call it a mini-mid-life crisis if you want, or just a wake-up call that life was passing me by and I wasn’t living up to my full potential

Months passed by and life went on as usual. I dreaded going to work every day and continued to feel uninspired and unmotivated. The more I thought about the situation, I thought that maybe fashion school wasn’t the best option. Instead of pursuing a specialized degree in fashion PR, I decided to pursue a more general degree, while still gaining experience in the fashion industry. That’s when I discovered the Master’s program in Advertising and Public Relations at Richmond American University in London. Everything about this program made sense for me. It was an American university so my degree would be accredited in both countries. Plus I could get financial aid to subsidize my living expenses while studying and possibly working unpaid internships for experience. Importantly, it was in London, a city I’d always wanted to live in and explore.

I thought, what do I have to lose? If I’m unable to “make it” in fashion in a year’s time, I’ll leave with an amazing experience living abroad and a graduate degree.

Before arriving in London, I began to research fashion PR companies for internships or work experience.  On the very top of my list was Karla Otto PR, a hugely successful international fashion PR agency that represents some of the biggest names in fashion. A chance to work there would literally be #goals. I looked for opportunities on their website, but there were no job openings or internships listed, only an email address to send a CV for future opportunities. I sent my CV and never expected to hear from them. I thought to myself, who knows how many thousands of applications they receive from people much younger and with better backgrounds?

Then, after my second term in my Master’s program, I received an email asking if I was still interested in an internship at Karla Otto. I jumped on the opportunity and scheduled an interview.

Now here’s where things got crazy. I totally almost missed my interview because I got the times mixed up! Can you believe it? The original interview was scheduled for one time but was subsequently moved up an hour earlier. By the time the interview came around, I had forgotten that the time had changed so I was late! I thought that I’d blown my chance but I emailed explaining my situation and was graciously offered the chance to come in at a later time. I also don’t think this ever happens so it must’ve really been in the cards for me to have this internship! I felt horrible and was aghast at how unprofessional I must have looked, and after the interview I didn’t think that I did well at all.

I thought, what do I have to lose? If I’m unable to “make it” in fashion in a year’s time, I’ll leave with an amazing experience living abroad and a graduate degree.

Yet, a few weeks later I received an email offering me the internship. I was elated! I couldn’t believe it. It seemed that everything that I had sacrificed by taking the risk to leave my life and come to London had paid off.

My first day of the internship I was a bundle of nerves. How would everyone treat me? Would I be able to actually DO it? Was I making a fool of myself? Most importantly, WHAT DO I WEAR?! I soon found that the dress code is strictly casual and that comfortable shoes are the most important part of your wardrobe. I decided not to make a big deal about my age. I really wanted my personality and work ethic to speak for me, and not the story behind how I got there. I wasn’t going to lie about it, but I wasn’t going to volunteer the information unless anyone asked. Surprisingly, not many people did. People say that I look younger than my age, and most assumed I was in my twenties. Another reason I didn’t volunteer the information is that I wanted to be treated just like any other intern. I wanted to earn my stripes, so to speak. I knew that most everyone that I would be interning for would be significantly younger than me, and I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable giving menial tasks to someone older.

The moment that I stepped into the showroom for the first time, I was in awe. After a while you get used to it, but there’s nothing like walking in the first time. All of the beautiful clothes and accessories I grew up seeing in magazines, displayed under the soft glow of ornate chandeliers. There was light streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

My experience at Karla Otto was very different than how I was feeling back in the states. Every day I was excited to be there. I never dreaded coming to work and each day provided unexpected and invigorating challenges. I often arrived early because I couldn’t wait to be there (this never, ever happened in any other position – and I was doing this for free!). I finally felt like my old self again. It was truly the best experience I could have hoped for. My only regret is that I didn’t give myself the chance ten years earlier.

One of the biggest misconceptions about working in fashion is that it’s all glamorous and fun parties. Sure, you get behind-the-scenes access to some of the most notable fashion shows in the business. Yes, you’re surrounded by incredibly exclusive and expensive designer merchandise and you work on exciting celebrity projects. But let me tell you something; my internship in fashion PR was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. The hours are long, it’s physically exhausting and you literally have no social life. You live it and breathe it and wake up in the middle of the night dreaming about it. But honestly, that’s the beauty of it all; that’s why you love it so much. The people that I worked with are some of the hardest working, most dedicated people I’ve ever met.

On the last day of the internship, I revealed my age and background to my fellow interns at our celebratory dinner. They couldn’t believe it and told me how much my story inspired them.  They encouraged me to write this piece. People tell me how brave I am to have done this, but I never saw it that way. I was only trying to find a place where I was doing something that I loved and living my best life. On this journey I’ve met so many incredible people who have touched me in ways that they probably will never know and understand. I walk away from this experience with new friends from every corner of the globe and a renewed confidence and determination that will always benefit me. I can’t thank the staff at Karla Otto London enough for giving me an opportunity to fulfill my dream and for giving me a second chance at the career I’ve always wanted.

So what exactly are my plans for the future? I would love to stay in London. I love the energy and diversity of the city; and there are so many opportunities here. My only issue is that my visa to live and work in the UK expires at the first of year. (*Shameless plug for any fashion or PR companies that want a hard-working, mature, risk-taking bad ass and are willing to take a chance and sponsor my visa!). Hey, stranger things have happened. If I have learned anything from this experience, it’s that you never know until you try. Other than that, I’m currently exploring fashion opportunities back in the States. I’m also wondering if there is such a thing as American-British? Because that is exactly what I feel like I am now, I’m forever changed and I can go into my next phase confident that I have what it takes to be everything I always dreamed I could be.

Moral of the story: Take the risk or lose the chance.

About Gena Dorris

Gena has more than 13 years of communications experience in the non-profit, sports and entertainment sectors. Her love of fashion, art and culture is the driving force behind her career shift to the fashion and luxury brands industry. In her free time, you can find her scouring vintage shops for hidden treasures, spending time with friends and family and providing personal shopping and styling services through her lifestyle brand, Unabashedly Overdressed. Connect with Gena at genadorris@gmail.com.

5 Tips to Create PR Reports Based on What Brands Really Care About

PR Reporting Lifestyle PR Kpis Client

As communication professionals we are tasked with trying to maximize exposure across multiple forms of media, while actively listening to audience feedback and mining for emerging trends and conversations we can capitalize to keep our clients top of mind (and our jobs secure!).

While the standard reporting (reach, likes, engagement) is important, how you report on your progress and wins is often as important as what you are reporting on. In fact, reporting is often one of the more overlooked parts of our industry, as the “what’s next,” mantra pushes us to continue our trajectory with only a short window of time to look back.

Over the years, we’ve refined an effective process to ensure clients are kept up-to-date on account progress, here’s what we’ve learned.

1. Provide insights based on client goals

Frame reporting in terms of client goals and priorities by taking a look back at your original  client questionnaires, notes from kickoff meetings and feedback sessions and make sure you are showing results in terms of how they are impacting your client. This means that while you may be overjoyed that influencer X posted Y, but if the client’s articulated goal was print coverage, they are likely not to share your desire to break out the bubbly. Remember, it is up to you to frame results in a way that clients can see how you are driving their priorities forward, the placement is not enough.

2. Agree on KPIs

In keeping with reporting on what matters most to your client, decide ahead of time on your priority key performance indicators (KPIs). You might need certain data to come in from an in-house web team, like traffic or referral sites, for example, and it will be helpful to ensure this information is being passed through to you if you don’t have access. With both parties in agreement on what KPIs are going to be tracked and reporting upon, you’ll be in a better position to ensure you are delivering in alignment with expectations.

Reporting is often one of the more overlooked parts of our industry, as the “what’s next,” mantra pushes us to continue our trajectory with only a short window of time to look back.

3. Make Reporting Visual

It might be a general stereotype, but creative business owners rarely jump out of their seats for spreadsheets. Don’t make your clients have to work hard to process the results you’ve worked so hard to achieve, instead provide visually appealing. co-branded reports that display data in an easy-to-digest format. Oftentimes your reports are circulated to other decision-makers at a company, so a summary of wins and impact is useful leave-behind for your client.

4. Don’t undersell progress

We know that media relations is often a circuitous process. Bring your client into the loop by addressing any movement – from a request for more information, to a quick pitch over happy hour.  Make sure everything – from a positive comment on an Instagram photo, editor feedback on a collection, or a request for information via an online press kit form, get included in your report. Activities like these help clients understand how you are spending your time and can see the momentum building. . Be specific on what the opportunities are, what the steps you’ve taken have, and what your next steps will be to follow up and secure coverage.

5. Provide recommendations

Take advantage of your regular reporting and compile specific feedback from outlets that you’re pitching and meeting with (without naming particular members of the media), particularly after special events and product launches. However, as experts, it is our job to not only convey media feedback, but to provide out own. Carve out a spot in your report to provide your own recommendations and ideas on how to adjust for better results. Is the current collection to similar to the last, is the price point off? Not enough styles? Do you need more of a newsworthy angle? Your meeting to review your reporting is a huge opportunity to discuss what you need from your client to be more successful. Consider leaving ample time during the meeting to brainstorm new efforts based on feedback.

As publicists we’re constantly faced with crafting cohesive, exciting, on-brand messaging to the masses and ensuring media placements. Don’t make reporting an afterthought; establish an internal process and consistently review and revise how you report on activity for clients. 

Glossier Hacks Social, Racist Beauty Standards & What in the world is Vertical Video

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

...for the week of August 14, 2017

How Glossier broke into the industry and hacked social media (via Entrepreneur)

Are racist beauty standards exposing women of color to toxic products? (via Quartz)

Sarah Jessica Parker spills about her retail strategies for her new store (via Fashionista)

Is white supremacy present in the beauty and lifestyle images we so often see from companies? (via Kelly Diels)

Messaging apps pose problems for journalists seeking the truth (via ForeignPolicy)

Allure will no longer use the term "anti-aging" and here's why (via Allure)

W Magazine is teaming up with The Mill to create a computer-generated image of Katy Perry for the cover (via Engadget)

CSR manager at The Body Shop, Becky Willan explains what marketers must do for brand purpose to work (via Marketing Week)

Vertical video may be the reason why ads aren't performing as expected  (via Ad Week)

New Look is looking forward to "helping empower a younger generation through fashion" as a new partner of LFW (via Drapers)

 

Made a Mistake at Work? Here’s how to #Handleit

Mistake PR Job Help

Whether you’re a PR newbie or a long-time supervisor, you’re bound to make a mistake on the job – and that’s okay. In fact, mistakes help you grow and prepare you for all sorts of work situations. The good news?  Chances are slim you’ll make the same mistake twice. While everyone (and I mean everyone!) makes mistakes, few do so gracefully. Whether it’s a small slip up like forgetting to attach a file or as big as miscalculating an event budget, here are six proven ways to bounce back from any PR blunder.

Trouble-shoot a solution (before you bring it up)

You can’t undo a mistake – but you can create a killer solution. After recognizing your screw up, immediately begin brainstorming the solution. That way, when you go to your manager, you’ll already have a viable resolution. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. Evaluate what you did wrong and fix the habit moving forward. Were you distracted? Handling too many tasks at once? That’s fine – but don’t do it again. While yes, managers appreciate your heads up and problem solving, they’ll expect you to learn from your errors. If you make the same blunder over and over, expect a different post-mistake conversation.

Take responsibility, quickly

If you catch your mistake before your supervisor and are unable to rectify it quickly and quietly, fess up as soon as possible. Being willing to admit there is a problem and enlist support on next steps shows your maturity; taking responsibility proves you’re a trustworthy colleague. Additionally, admitting your mistake puts you one step closer to fixing it – before the client or media find out. Once you’ve fessed up, you and your supervisor can work on a solution together, whether it’s notifying the client, fixing a press release or rescinding information. Being upfront from the get-go will show professionalism and prove the agency made the right choice in hiring you.

Apologize if you need to – but don’t overdo it

If you need to apologize for your blunder, do it simply and quickly. Over apologizing and agonizing for days won’t fix the issue – instead, it will make you look incompetent and as though you care more about what this says about you than in solving the problem and moving past the issue. A quick email to notify your team member or client that you recognize the mistake and are working to fix it ASAP will suffice. Don’t send a lengthy novel of excuses – keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Mistakes happen; good managers recognize that. They’ve undoubtedly been there and will appreciate the apology.

 

Go easy on yourself

You’re certainly not the only one who’s screwed up in the workplace – and I promise, you won’t be the last. We’re all human; mistakes are part of our DNA, and trust me, you (like everyone around you) will be making mistakes for the rest of your life. It’s entirely normal, and the best thing you can do is recover from your mistakes gracefully and learn from them moving forward.

You can’t undo a mistake – but you can create a killer solution.

Innovation requires risks – take them

While we all hate making them, mistakes both small and large – are inevitable. I’m not condoning you go out and mess up every project, but think of it this way: When you’re deathly afraid of slip ups, you’re actually hindering your work and, ultimately, the client. All that fear of messing up could in fact leave you wide open for exactly that to happen, so trust yourself.

In today’s PR landscape, we need fresh thinking and new ideas to help our clients stand out. And innovation requires courage. It takes knowing you may fail and you may mess up – but you may be wildly successful. Calculated risks are integral to public relations, and as long as you raise those red flags early – and craft quick solutions – you’ll be an innovative, invaluable asset to your team.

BCA Profiles: J Public Relations, Agency of the Year Award

J Public Relations is an international powerhouse PR and social media agency specializing in hospitality, travel and luxury lifestyle with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego and London. Established in 2005, the agency is the country’s fastest growing, bi-coastal agency in the travel and hospitality spaces. Its global roster includes more than 100 hotels in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Dubai, Europe, Asia and more. JPR steadily garners and retains stalwart accounts including Relais & Châteaux, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Vail Resorts Hospitality, Grace Hotels, InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, Newport Beach & Company, Four Seasons Lanai and 17 Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts.

A philanthropic focus, internal trend reports, in-house social media division, complimentary hotel nights, a designer handbag after 5 years and an annual account team budget to “wow” clients and the media, are just some of the ways JPR stands apart and attracts top talent.

In 2016, the agency, helmed by Jamie Lynn Sigler and business partner Sarah Evans, topped revenue of $7.7 million, continuing the JPR’s trend of impressive double-digit annual growth since its inception.

How does it feel to win agency of the year? How are you going to celebrate with your team?

We’re tremendously proud to be named the 2017 Bespoke Communication Awards Agency of the Year.  We genuinely love what we do and the clients we represent.  It’s a celebration to see our hard work, dedication to our client partners and results rewarded.

In your eyes, what sets J Public Relations apart from other agencies?

One word: culture.  We’ve created a culture-first brand where our team members, clients and media friends are part of the conversation.  We never stop learning and we lead with a spirit of curiosity.

How does your team plan to tackle the rest of 2017?

In the second half of 2017, you can expect to see JPR continue to push the boundaries of social with our content creation and strategy for luxury travel clients.  Internationally, our London office continues to grow with European clients and global brands that want to reach the UK market.

What is your team most excited about right now in terms of industry trends, campaigns you are working on, etc.?

We’re most excited about the blending of PR and social strategy.  Today, they come together to create one fluid campaign.  We’re seeing the PR and social spaces advance at breathtaking speed, opening new doors for direct conversions and revenue.  Our goal is to build brands and build businesses and we’ve never had more opportunity than we do today.

Do you have any new or exciting changes happening at J Public Relations?

Every day here feels new and exciting.  Whether we’re onboarding a new client partner, promoting a team member or building out an office or division, we thrive in an environment of momentum and movement.

How will PR evolve in 2018?

You’ll see PR agencies continue to go beyond traditional PR and add or amplify their social and digital teams and services.

We’re seeing the PR and social spaces advance at breathtaking speed, opening new doors for direct conversions and revenue.

Anything else you’d like us to know?

This is an incredibly exciting time to be in PR.  Every day brings new opportunities and challenges.   We have big plans for 2017 and beyond.


We’re in planning mode for the 2018 BCAs! Want to get in involved as a sponsor, judge or volunteer? Email info@thebespokeawards.com

WhatRUWearing and PR Couture Join Forces to Launch First Reality Web Series, “PRGirl” [Press Release]

Starring Chicago-based publicist, Alexandra Moresco, the series aims to give viewers an unparalleled peek inside the world of public relations

CHICAGO – AUG. 15, 2017 – WhatRUWearing (WRUW), a digital forum delivering shareable content for style, beauty and lifestyle obsessed 20-somethings, in partnership with PR Couture, the leading sourcebook for fashion and lifestyle communicators, today announced details about “PRGirl,” a brand new original reality web series starring Alexandra Moresco, a 24-year-old entertainment publicist and founder of A Moresco PR. In each entertaining and inspiring episode, Moresco gives viewers a rare opportunity to follow along as a young professional navigates a high pressure, and often misunderstood, PR career.

“The seemingly fabulous world of fashion and entertainment PR remains a popular career interest for creative, ambitious young women and men. Yet, breaking into the industry can be elusive and hard to navigate,” said Farissa Knox, founder of WRUW. “We want to show  the glitz and glam, as well as the grit and grind.

“PRGirl” marks the debut of original video programming for both WhatRUWearing and PR Couture. Providing a balance of career-driven content mixed with real-life personal successes and struggles, episode highlights include Moresco planning her wedding, finishing up her first year of graduate school at DePaul University, and executing one of the largest annual fundraiser galas for the Global Lyme Alliance (Moresco was diagnosed in 2016).

“We are thrilled to support WhatRUWearing’s vision through ‘PRGirl’ and to introduce our community to Alex’s story” said Crosby Noricks, founder and director of PR Couture. Over the last decade, PR Couture has emerged as an invaluable resource for thousands of PR professionals and organizations in the fashion and lifestyle space, many of whom have been loyal to us from college to the C-Suite. Expanding our digital footprint to include video programming is a timely means to ensure we continue to evolve and meet the media preferences of our community.”

Viewers can access a first look at the series, produced by the Autumn Film Company, by visiting the WRUW YouTube channel. The show is set to premiere on October 10 with details about exclusive preview parties and bonus material set to be released over the coming weeks. For more information on the “PRGirl” series, visit www.prgirlseries.com. To become a sponsor, advertiser or partner, email sponsors@prgirlseries.com.

###

About PRGirl

PRGirl is a brand new original web series starring Chicago-based Alexandra Moresco, a 24-year-old entertainment publicist and founder of A Moresco PR + Digital Strategy. Created and directed by WhatRUWearing, a digital forum delivering shareable content for the style, beauty and lifestyle obsessed 20 somethings, in partnership with PR Couture, the leading sourcebook for fashion and lifestyle communicators, the show documents Moresco’s world as an in-demand entertainment PR pro while she plans her  wedding, finishes up another semester towards her Master’s Degree at DePaul University and advocates for Lyme Disease (Moresco was diagnosed in 2016).

About WhatRUWearing

WhatRUWearing is a digital forum focused on delivering shareable content to individuals in their 20s and 30s that are style, beauty and lifestyle obsessed. By serving up engaging and entertaining editorial content, news, videos and podcasts, WhatRUWearing, founded in 2013 and headquartered in Chicago, IL, aims to provide its audience with relatable and interactive opportunities for learning and networking through events, TV programming, audio developments and accessibility with leaders in the space.

About PR Couture

PR Couture is the leading sourcebook for fashion and lifestyle communicators. Well-recognized as a top PR blog and brand among leading professionals and publications for over a decade, PR Couture delivers industry news, results-driving strategies, career opportunities, and expert profiles to its loyal audience. Known for its thriving social media community, enrichment courses, workshops and down-to-earth, inclusive point of view, PR Couture helps agencies, brands, and individuals navigate the ever-evolving world of communications, fostering connections, job opportunities and thought leadership across its properties.

For more information or to get involved with the show, please email sponsors@prgirlseries.com

The Evolution of Fashion PR, Researching Influencers & Google’s PR Crisis

Fashion PR Marketing News

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

…for the week of August 7, 2017

JBC’s Melissa Duren Conner talks future plans and the changing role of fashion PR (via Glossy)

Instagram is adding a fun new feature to Live Video! Click here to find out more (via Instagram Press)

The FTC, influencer, disclosure thing continues to unfold around sponsored content (via The Fashion Law)

Social media audiences dictate the way many fashion and beauty businesses run (via WWD)

Cornell researcher Brooke Erin Duffy goes in depth on how not just anyone can make it as a social media “influencer” (via Quartz)

Facebook’s new video tab could siphon away video users from TV networks, Youtube, Snapchat and other social media channels (via Ad Week)

Looking to become a digital marketing leader? Here’s four tips on how you can gain massive visibility for your brand and more (via Social Media Today)

Google faces a PR crisis over sexism and diversity as well as allegations from the U.S. government (via CNN)

Livestreaming may be the key to brand marketing and building authenticity (via Marketing Week)

Avoid writing content that will never be read by anyone with these 5 helpful tips (via Entrepreneur)

 

5 Takeaways on What it takes to run a successful PR Firm

Written by Stephanie Scott, CEO and Communicator-in- Chief of First and Last PR

Whenever I’ve seen a PR character on television or in a movie, she or he is always snooty, carrying a clipboard or bossing someone around to get ahead. That’s not my PR reality. What I’ve learned is that to achieve great success in public relations, you must be your best authentic self and operate as a strong team. At times, you’ll be a leader and at others, you’ll understand that to be a great leader requires following.

Humility Helps

I was recently producing a three-day event and wanted to order breakfast for the models and glam team but the kitchen wasn’t open yet (we had a super early call time!). The client had a later start time and I was the only one there representing the brand. Rather than waiting for an assistant or someone else to show up, I took the orders and picked them up – all 8 hot coffees, mochas, lattes, dirty chais, low-fat turkey bacon and double bacon sandwiches – myself and tethered across the street and down the block to
get them. You might think it’s weird for the owner of an award-winning PR firm to “fetch coffee” but I don’t.

The bigger story is that we had a production schedule to keep and breakfast would be nice for the team and allow us to keep focus, so I picked it all up and somehow managed to carry two trays and a tote bag full of hot breakfast sandwiches and waters back for the team without spilling a thing (I waited tables for a stint in college so perhaps that helped). The bigger picture was about keeping the team going, so of course I wasn’t “too good” to get coffee. I have my own agency and am proud of everything I do –
especially getting coffee if it keeps the team happy and on time. No one is too good to pick up a box or carry a bag. I like to think of it as professional chivalry. Just do the right thing and treat everyone with respect.

Relationships Matter (Event More than You Think)

Over the years, I’ve been able to forge so many strong industry relationships and I’ve discovered who I like working with – it’s the same for everyone else. I started out working in fashion and then switched to become a beauty editor before working in public relations.

I have my own agency and am proud of everything I do – especially getting coffee if it keeps the team happy and on time.

As a beauty editor, I got to interview so many talented people working in our industry from celebrity hairstylists and makeup artists to photographers, perfumists, dermatologists and stylists. Now, I rely on my personal Rolodex of contacts for collaborations and when I’m hiring experts to work with on campaigns. When I call someone for work, my calls are immediately answered. I’ve developed great relationships with many of these individuals – most of whom I consider to be friends – and it is because of this that my clients value what my firm brings to the table. Experts are also happy to work with us because of the trust that we’ve developed with them over time and the experience of being a true partner.

Get Involved and Give Back

Compared to global firms with hundreds or thousands of employees, my firm small in terms of numbers, but we have a huge impact when it comes to securing press and getting results for our clients One way that I learned to stay engaged with the public relations community at large is to be actively involved in communications organizations like reading the PR Couture weekly newsletter and blog, joining the board of New York Women in Communications and being an active member in industry organizations such as Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW). At First and Last, we started our own non-profit, First and Last PR Foundation. Being a member of professional organizations is a great way to interact with others in our industry, stay abreast of current events and develop a network of people that you can rely on for professional advice or just to laugh with at the end of a campaign. Of course you get what you put in. Don’t just pay dues to be a member. Find a committee that you want to be on to learn more about something that you don’t have as much experience in or to lead on something that you are an expert in and give back to that organization.

Treat Everyone Like a VIP

There’s something gratifying about the smile of appreciation received from a random act of kindness – either when you hold the door open for them or treat an employee to lunch
just because. Over the years, I’ve been able to develop such solid industry relationships not because I’m on the scene all of the time and meet a lot of people (I’m so not) but because I value and treat people well as a true part of my nature. I try to do the right thing for and by people all of the time. We work in a really competitive industry and editors, bloggers and clients can choose to work with anyone so why do they choose us? I think part of it comes from the exceptional customer service that we provide and because I’ve learned to underpromise and overdeliver. I try to give people more than what they are expecting even if it’s the little things because it shows them how much I care about them and not just the outcome for a client. In my experience, this leads to better results in the end, and happier people to work with.

Deliver On Value Promised

When I first started working in communications, I was a beauty editor – not a publicist. I later transitioned to become global director of marketing and communications for a luxury skincare company helping to launch the brand across the US and around the world including Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, and Dubai. When we approach a launch, we come to it with a 360 view combining editorial, social media, marketing, sales and the end consumer retail experience. This is what our clients and partners have come to appreciate about working with us because we’re able to see beyond one great story and add to the total
vision for their business now and beyond today.

So many people want to work in our industry and we’re lucky to be able to. I’ve learned that longevity in our industry requires that we get involved in as many things as possible to help with personal and professional growth and always give your best. When you look back, you’ll be pleased with your hard work and have a lot more respect for what you produce because you’ve earned it.

About Stephanie Scott

Former beauty editor turned communications pro, Stephanie Scott is CEO and Communicator-in-Chief of First and Last PR, a firm that provides services to leading luxury and consumer product good companies, mid-sized beauty firms and the next generation of innovative beauty brands. First and Last PR is currently celebrating their 5-year anniversary.

 

BCA Profiles: Droese PR, Best Launch/Relaunch Campaign Award

Droese PR Dallas BCA Awards

Founded by Suzanne Droese and colleagues in 2007, the Dallas-based publicity powerhouse known as Droese PR has grown to offer comprehensive public relations, consulting and strategic planning for a variety of luxury lifestyle clients.

The Bespoke Communication Awards recognized Droese for their work on the multi-brand store Forty Five Ten. Company owners sought to gain national relevance, while staying true to their Texas roots and promoting the launch of a new flagship store in downtown Dallas. DPR’s program involved an inventive A-list event and media outreach that garnered increased national press coverage, including features in key luxury and fashion media outlets including: Business of Fashion, W, Wallpaper, InStyle, Elle, MR, GQ, Town & Country, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue and WWD. The store launch involved a three-day series of grand opening events, which brought in customers, designers, press, and the community. While the store had existing strong relationships with numerous designers, many had never visited the Dallas area. Guests included Anne Hathaway, Viktor & Rolf, Kelly Wearstler, Eddie Borgo, Cindy Crawford and Hamish Bowles, to to name a few. Additionally, DPR developed and introduced a Forty Five Ten-branded book, The Eccentrics, in partnership with Assouline, to launch the new store as well as to publicly align the brand with some of its notable relationships. The book sold well in Dallas and nationally creating further and ongoing interest in the brand.

We caught up with Suzanne herself to learn more about DPR’s approach and future plans.

How does it feel to win Launch/Relaunch Campaign? How is your team going to celebrate?

It was so exciting to win the award for a campaign we worked so hard on, over the course of the year.  We put everything we had into making the relaunch really special and successful.  We celebrated our award the same way we celebrate all milestone moments at Droese Public Relations – with champagne, of course.

What is your team most excited about right now?

Public Relation strategies have changed in the past few years. Our goals have changed. We have to look at client’s objectives through a different lens; public relations requires a 360 degree approach from all angles – print, digital, influencer relationships and interactive consumer facing experiences. Retail is a different, more challenging game and we have to tackle our goals accordingly.

Our team is excited about the ever-changing consumer facing experiences and how we motivate people to shop. Consumers are spending their money differently. We look to develop active campaigns that grab the attention of consumers, and provide a enjoyable, creative experience.  It’s all about the experience.

How do you ensure proper planning and preparation before, during and after a launch/relaunch? What stage do you feel is the most challenging?

Our office motto is “one team, one goal.” We all expect perfection in every step of the process when it comes to events and activations. We plan for the unexpected and I have taught my team to think on their toes. An event checklist becomes our best friend!  We try to earmark goals starting 8-12 months out. Then we move down to the day, then hours, before the event.  On the day-of an event, it’s minute by minute. Attention to detail makes an event go off with a hitch!

Retail is a different, more challenging game and we have to tackle our goals accordingly.

I find the situations that are unexpected can be challenging, but always provide a learning experience alongside the issue. Teaching the team to trust their gut matters.

What are three tips that you’d give to PR pros to help them be as prepared as possible for their next launch?

Details, details, details and creativity. There are no bad ideas! Think outside the box. Challenge yourselves to expect the unexpected and plan accordingly. Pay your vendors and treat them with respect. Relationships can make or break you!

If we looked inside your purse/work bag right now, what PR survival must-haves would we find?

My laptop and my phone – and chargers for both of them – are always a must, along with lip gloss.  For event days,  it’s a full-blown event kit (scissors, tape, clipboard, pens), and a beauty kit with breath mints,  hair spray and just about anything else imaginable!

What is your team focusing on most during the rest of 2017?

We are focused on ending the year strong. Holiday gift guide has become a huge revenue driver for our clients. We start pitching holiday in July and we don’t stop until December 23rd.

What is a trend you’re following?

I hope we will continue to see the uptick of the #GirlPower movement.  It’s so nice to see women supporting and cheering on each other.  Experiential marketing and the use of micro-influencers will continue to grow. And, I think overall, we will continue to see clients and consumers expect transparency – they are too smart not to want to know the inner workings and details.  While some agencies and practitioners might feel threatened by this, we shouldn’t.  We should take it as opportunity to educate them on what we do.  PR, if done right, is never as easy as it looks!


We’re in planning mode for the 2018 BCAs! Want to get in involved as a sponsor, judge or volunteer? Email info@thebespokeawards.com

Amp up your presentation skills with these 4 tips

Presentation Tips for PR and Marketing Professionals
Marketing and PR professionals are used to the ongoing networking and relationship-building that helps to drive word-of-mouth recommendations, but the process of actually presenting in front of a live audience is a completely different game – one that requires not only an effective presentation from a visual standpoint, but an energetic, informed delivery.

Don’t skip over introductions

While you might be ready to simply dive into the actual presentation (after the inevitable late nights and multiple rounds of review who could blame you!), but introductions are an important way to engage your audience. Take time to introduce each team member and allow them to explain a bit about their focus. Include a personal anecdote or fun tidbit that relates to your clients business, and then invite your audience to do the same.
Remember its not just about demonstrating your expertise, but demonstrating you are the right partner. Opportunities to add a bit of personality to your presentation not only engages, or hooks, your audience, but actually prices them to be more invested in what you have to say.

Begin with an attention-grabber

Because you have done your research and have garnered clear objectives from your prospective client, you know the problem or opportunity at hand. Build a story around this knowledge, pulling in examples from previous successful programs and making it known how deeply you understand the business challenge at hand, before jumping into why your firm should be hired.

Stay focused on the central message of the presentation

Tangential conversations can crop up when a nervous presenter veers off-topic, or when someone on the prospective client team asks a question that then refocuses away the conversation at hand into uncharted (and unplanned for) territory. Connect with your team beforehand and make sure everyone is clear on the intended outcomes of the pitch, and name someone the point person to reel everyone back in. Remember it’s totally fine to say something like “I am really enjoying this conversation, but in the interests of everyone’s time, I’d like us to table that for later and dive into a few of our campaign ideas.”

Practice before you pitch

When the script and slides are ready, deliver the whole presentation in front of someone else, or video tape yourself explaining your part of the pitch. Video is a great (if painful) way to make sure you aren’t fidgeting, swaying, speaking too quickly, mumbling, etc.
With practice, you can learn to deliver new business presentation with confidence.  For a great resource to circulate with your team, consider sharing this infographic from WalkerStone about how to keep audience engaged during a presentation and communicate your message efficiently.