How to Make Charitable Partners Part of Your PR Strategy

non profit PR, cause marketing brand partnerships charitable giving

Securing charity partnerships for brands opens up fosters goodwill and has the added benefit of providing a unique story angle that can lead media outreach. As you begin planning for next year, consider if a cause marketing approach should be part of your communication strategy and if yes, follow these steps to begin to explore opportunities.

Plan Charitable Partnerships Early

Developing a relationship with a non-profit takes time, so start by identifying the cause you’d like to align your brand with, how you would like to partner and when. Popular options for fashion and lifestyle brands include Breast Cancer Awareness month in April, and American Heart Month in February. Keep in mind that you not only need to have the specifics of your cause-based endeavor squared away to have time to effectively develop and promote the event or specific product but if you plan to secure any print media mentions, you’ll also need to factor in those deadlines. For a breast cancer tie-in, for example, editors generally begin sourcing products in June and July.

Don’t just partner with any charity

When evaluating different charitable opportunities, make sure there is an obvious connection between the brand and the non-profit.  For example, if you work with a beauty line that doesn’t use natural ingredients or sustainable production methods, an environmental charity might raise a few eyebrows and lead to more crisis management than cause marketing. On the other hand, if the founder of said beauty brand has an inspiring story as a woman in business, then an organization that offers grants to female-owned companies makes total sense.

The most successful partnerships are the ones where the brand truly believes in the cause of the charity, whether from personal experience or because it reflects brand values. Make sure you and your brand are well-versed in the concepts of pink-washing and greenwashing to avoid negative press.

Vet potential non-profit organizations

Make sure that the charity you are working with is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and actually gives back to where it says it does. Some great resources include Charity Navigator (which does in-depth analysis of charities and their allocation of money) as well as GuideStar or Charity Watch. Kayla Logan, Owner of Kayla Logan PR suggests that “when meeting with different organizations, ask to meet in their headquarters so that you get a feel for operations and always ask for examples of previous partnerships before agreeing to anything.”

Think beyond the “Percentage of Product” idea

Encourage your client to agree to something a bit more creative than the standard 10% of proceeds will be donated (this will go further toward media coverage as well).

When evaluating different charitable opportunities, make sure there is an obvious connection between the brand and the non-profit.

Maria Todaro, Territorial Corporate Relations Manager at The Salvation Army says, “when you are working to develop a meaningful campaign, think about how you can deepen relationships with customers, boost employee retention through engagement opportunities, and create a positive social impact story you can share and be proud of. These are some of the key components of a successful and sustainable cause marketing partnership.”

Discuss promotional language ahead of time

Draft a partnership agreement that outlines all of these specifics of the activation. This will help manage expectations and protect both parties. You’ll want to include some language around approvals for logo and name use. Pay special attention to language use; some give free reign while others are very specific on the terminology that can be used.  To avoid headaches down the line discuss language specifics, disclosure, and any confidentiality requirements, before reaching out to the media or speaking publically about the relationship.

Give generously

While it’s understandable that smaller brands cannot donate a large percentage of sales to charity, if the amount you’re giving is so small that it hardly benefits the charity it can appear to be self-serving. You don’t need to give away all of your profits, but make sure it’s enough to truly impact the nonprofit. Think beyond money as well and consider what expertise or services you might be able to provide.

Kayla often offers her own PR and social media expertise to smaller non-profits who struggle in this area. “Many charities don’t have a strong dedicated PR or marketing team to develop eye-catching creative or social media campaigns. As part of the partnership, I will develop social media templates and extend introductions to my own network to help them succeed beyond the specific client event.”

Charitable giving can boost brand perception and foster positive relationships among customers and media while having a measurable impact on a population in need.  There are many great ways to reach out to and work with charities when you choose the right organization that aligns with the values shared between a brand and its audiences.

 

Pro Bono PR Clients? 3 Questions to Ask First

Pro Bono PR, Free PR, PR Agency

One of the most rewarding parts of public relations is seeing a client grow and receive the exposure that helps take their business to the next level. Often, non-profits and small businesses are unable to afford the type of PR that could help them succeed and bring exposure to their cause or product and it is not uncommon for these organizations to reach out to PR agencies for free or discounted services. Adding anyone to your client roster comes with responsibilities and a time commitment, and taking on a client pro bono require serious consideration in order to ensure benefit all parties involved. Here are three things to consider when deciding whether or not to accept a pro-bono client:

Can you financially afford the non-billable time?

The first and most important question to ask yourself when considering a pro-bono client is, do we have the financial ability to provide PR services without compensation? Great intentions (and even great media hits) alone won’t cover the costs of running the business and the energy spent could take away from time spent acquiring new, paying clients. If you are already straining to keep up with your current client workload and account that doesn’t come with a financial boost to the agency bottom line will likely result in extra stress for your team and lackluster results, which isn’t fair to anyone. Similarly, if you’re operating a newer agency or your biggest client is going through some major restructuring, the timing might not be right. Speak to your accountant for any pro-bono work done for a non-profit as consulting might allow for a tax deduction.

How much time can you dedicate you the pro bono account?

Once you’ve determined the financial and resource viability, the next step is to determine the exact nature of the relationship; how much time and resources you can devote to the client and what specific services will be provided. Perhaps a full-scale PR program isn’t feasible, but a social media roadmap that can be implemented by the client would be possible. Talk to your team and find out what makes sense. Be sure to clarify the specifics with your client as well, so that everyone is aware of the situation and expectations. After accepting a pro bono client the lack of money changing hands should become a non-issue; they still require your best effort and should receive the same strategic thinking, creative ideation, communication and consistent focus as any other client.

How does the pro bono client support agency goals?

For a pro bono account to make sense, both the client and the agency need to benefit. Examine exactly how this relationship supports agency goals. Perhaps you can use the work you complete as a case study in order to expand into a new vertical, or you believe strongly that the brand has huge potential and you want to be there when the budgets get big. Choosing to bring on a pro bono client means devoting your team’s time and efforts, so it’s important that at a minimum, the brand is something your team is passionate about supporting and excited to work on.

Taking on a client, pro bono or not, is a serious responsibility and hopefully the start of a long-term relationship. Before you accept a pro bono client it’s important that you sit down with your team to discuss if you can afford to, how exactly you want to help and the benefit of adding them to your client roster. Helping an organization that can’t afford your services, whether it’s a non-profit organization that raises awareness for a cause you believe in, or an emerging designer with an incredible line, can be extremely rewarding and lead to great things. First, get clear on how the endeavor will help your business benefit beyond the bottom line.

The Future at Condé Nast, Alicia Licht Dishes About Twitter and Vogue Makes Presidential History

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

…for the week of October 17, 2016

  • Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg‘s company memo regarding its new restructuring around five groups—business, editorial, research, technology, and creative – has been made public (via The Daily Front Row)
  • Launchmetrics explains how brands can measure influencer and social reach data with their digital platform (via Vogue UK)
  • Former DKNY PR GIRL Aliza Licht shares how Twitter can help get ahead in your communications career (via Harper’s Bazaar)
  • Luxury fashion marketers are struggling to use social data, using reach metrics when it comes to digital marketing rather than mastering retargeting and customer relations management (via Glossy)
  • Listen up! NPR ratings are up 43% thanks in part to their digital engagement and podcasts (via NPR Press Room)
  • In the latest Top 100 Brand Loyalty Leaders 20th annual survey Google takes first place, with Amazon placing second in the retail category (via WWD)
  • Vogue makes history by endorsing a presidential candidate. Yup, we are with her, too.  (via The Cut)

The Costly Mistake PR Agencies Make on Instagram

PR Agency Social Media Agency Strategy Policy Instagram

As PR agencies aim to take on more social media work, it’s a huge red flag to see them neglect a hugely important part of the puzzle; their own channels. When positioning agency or personal fluency regarding social media capabilities agency and public employee channels must function as a reflection of this expertise. The goal is to have evidence of your ability to build digitally savvy and successful brands, in part through your own company brand; to have a prospective client think, “That. I want that. I want those people working for me and representing my brand.”

Any best practices you recommend to clients should be implemented across owned company channels, from weekly themes to a style guide and monthly content calendar. On Instagram, for example, the strategy must go beyond simply republishing gorgeous images from influential accounts. It’s time to create a clear social media brand identity and to develop original content that clearly sets you apart.

Treat Your Agency Account Like a Client Account

You may choose to demonstrate your PR expertise with expert quotes, statistics, and industry tips. Or you may use your accounts share the energy and culture of your agency through depictions of themed dress days and company yoga dates.

It’s time to create a clear social media brand identity and to develop original content that clearly sets you apart.

If, in addition to PR and social media, you have strong skills in other areas – photography skills, in-house video capabilities or a law degree gathering dust – incorporate those differentiators in your content strategy. We work with people we like, so don’t be afraid to pepper in the personal interests and passions of your team into your feed. You never know when a mutual love of mini-ponies or 90s soap operas might just be the ticket to a new client relationship. In today’s world, you never know who may be listening in.

Take advantage of free and inexpensive social media tools

With tools like Canva, you no longer need a graphic design degree to create a branded, consistent look. Photo apps like Pic2Go and VSCO make it easy to mimic the style of professional photographers. Take a cue from brands who are moving away from photo shoots intended for print advertising and instead opting to invest in social image creation. Agencies must also evolve to promote and divine for new business where prospective clients are spending their time. Cut costs on expensive printed brochures, postcards and proposal print-outs and invest in your own stock photography that you can use across your online presence.

It’s common for agencies to give little weight to their own online presence simply due to time constraints; all the focus goes to client work. But just in the way that we google search, read reviews and vet everything from potential interns to new coffee makers, a shoddy online presence is simply money left on the table. As you begin to plan for 2017, make sure a company social media strategy is part of that plan.

PR Girls We Love: Jenelle Hamilton, Jenelle Hamilton PR

jenellehamiltonpr

Spanning more than fifteen years, Jenelle Hamilton’s career has taken her to London, Milan, Paris and now New York City. She has worked working closely with VIPs and celebrities including Madonna, Tyra, Gwyneth Paltrow, and HRH The Princess Anne and worked on global accounts including Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning costume designer Bob Mackie, Simply Gum, Andre Walker Hair, The Shorty Awards and luxury brand Tom Ford Beauty. Jenelle Hamilton currently runs Jenelle Hamilton PR, a New York City-based PR firm she started six years ago with nothing but a cellphone, laptop and strong work ethic.

Jenelle Hamilton Lifestyle Tech PR NYCName: Jenelle Hamilton
Title: CEO
Education: Communications Major,
Univerity of Greenwich, London
Location: New York City, NY
Agency: Jenelle Hamilton PR 
Instagram: @jenellehamilton
Twitter: @jenellehamilton

How did you get started in PR?

I attended the University Of Greenwich in London. I studied Media & Communications, so I learned the basic how-to’s of PR such as writing and the impact of media coverage on a brand. It was a great foundation to get started and helped figure out if PR was an industry I wanted to enter.

What was your first job/internship?

My first internship was actually working with a Princess! After graduation, I got a job as a PR Assistant with a not-for-profit in the UK, for which HRH Princess Anne (the Queen of England’s daughter) was the patron. I learned so much about PR there and skills such as; minute taking, effective telephone techniques, event planning and red carpet, pitching and media monitoring. Employees were there for 10+ years, so I learned from the best veterans in the business!

What is the origin of Jenelle Hamilton PR?

I formed Jenelle Hamilton PR 6 years ago after hitting a glass ceiling as Beauty Director for a PR agency. Also, I realized I did not enjoy the working environment, as it felt like a factory and I wanted to be more creative. My motto is, “if you dread Monday mornings, you are doing the wrong thing.”I was doing the wrong thing – so I formed my own PR agency.

My first internship was actually working with a Princess!

Tell us a bit about how your agency is structured:

I create PR Strategies for client campaigns and work with my team members to execute them. It’s always so fun and exciting kicking off a new PR project. It’s like a fresh clean slate to watch things happen and watch brand grow – and sometimes explode! It’s very rewarding. I understand that sometimes getting results is difficult, so I don’t pressure my team. Instead, I work with them to figure out other creative ways to get placements. It’s a collaborative effort. 

I mainly work out of my office in Tribeca, NYC, so I have staff who work from there. I also have many virtual staff members who work from home, or other cities/countries. I think having to be in an office is tired and outdated. I can tell whether or not a publicist is putting work in from the results they produce. If they need to work from home and can get the work done, I am totally ok with that.

Credit: Kisha Batista Photography

Credit: Kisha Batista Photography

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

Our office is super relaxed and non-corporate. I did not want to create a corporate environment, it is not for me. I don’t even own a full matching suit. Right now I am back and forth to LA a lot. My client Bob Mackie is working with Marilyn Monroe’s auctioneer on the sale of the infamous JFK “Happy Birthday Dress,” so we are doing a lot of press around that. We are also getting ready to launch the Andre Walker Hair collection in London. Andre Walker was Oprah Winfrey’s hairstylist for 3 decades; it’s an honor to work with them.

What is a success story that makes you especially proud?

When I landed the delivery.com (on-demand delivery company) and Shorty Awards (Oscars of Social Media!) accounts, I knew my company had “made it.” I beat out a lot of huge competitors to land those accounts, so I was very proud.

I understand that sometimes getting results is difficult, so I don’t pressure my team. Instead, I work with them to figure out other creative ways to get placements.

Most memorable moment in your career thus far?

Working the 2016 SAG Awards. I had always dreamed of being on the red carpet with a client and it was one thing on my PR bucket list I wanted to achieve. So walking with my client Bob Mackie, doing press, and being surrounded by every A-lister, from Leonardo DiCaprio and Idris Elba to Sophia Vergara, was awesome. The carpet is so huge and busy, it was very exciting!

Jenelle Hamilton PR VIP

MBBA Gala

Most glamorous moment in your career?

Bob Mackie has dressed almost EVERY A-List celebrity out there. Beyonce, Elton John, Cher, Diana Ross, the Jackson 5, Barbra Streisand and so many more, have worn his designs. One day he invited me into his showroom in LA and gifted me 25 pieces from his archive couture collection. I remember standing there while he was on his knees pinning the items on me thinking, THE Bob Mackie is fitting clothes on me right now. It was so surreal!

Least glamorous moment in your career?

Throwing out the trash and running errands for my former PR bosses as an intern. I rarely ask my team or assistant to do this; I am an adult who can walk, I can get my own stuff!

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

I make sure I spend an hour working out each day. The Tracy Anderson Method clears my mind for a full hour. I am in the moment not thinking about anything work-related, which is good for me. I also meditate for 10 mins every morning before breakfast. Regarding rejection, after 15 years, I don’t take it personally anymore. It really doesn’t bother or phase me.

What are you really good at?

Forming a connection with people. I am really genuine and always myself. I am still a girl from Brixton, South London, whether I’m on the red carpet, or talking to the dustman. I always keep it real.

What are three must-haves essential to your job?

I need my icalendar, I would be lost without it. I love the app Skyscanner, as I travel so much for work, I need to find good flights and hotels fast and at the best price. And of course, my cellphone. I’d die without it. I recently had to get the screen fixed at the Apple store and they took it away for 2 hours. I felt lost without it! 

Regarding rejection, after 15 years, I don’t take it personally anymore. It really doesn’t bother or phase me.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

PR is not just fluff and glamor every day. You actually have to work hard. The hours are long, you sometimes miss personal events if you have to work an event or deal with a PR emergency. NYFW is always right around Valentine’s Day. Also if you are a wallflower, or cannot write well, PR is definitely not the job for you.

Jenelle Hamilton PR

Credit: Jenelle Hamilton PR

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

The biggest challenge is drowning out the noise and grabbing the attention of editors. Print publications are dwindling and space is limited, so it’s tough to land a placement for a client. Competition is fierce, especially if your client doesn’t have ad dollars. My solution? I only work with high-quality clients and turn down many brands that approach me, even if they pay well. By ensuring my client list is top tier, when I pitch editors, they know I am bringing them something good. Because of this, they always return my calls, pitches or invites.

How do you stay on top of industry trends?

I am often asked to speak on panels and it’s great to hear my peers and editors speak from their perspective. I also love working with the new, younger publicists. They often come up with creative ideas and that’s cool. I always want to learn more; you have to evolve, as the industry is changing all the time.

What type of person thrives at your agency?

I look for a go-getter, someone who is hungry. If you have personality and a great sense of style and are yourself, you cannot fail.

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

Don’t try to be me, Be yourself. There’s no one else like you out there, so own and kill it!

Thanks, Jenelle!

 

 

PR Industry News: The Eighth Floor, Shout PR & RPR

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PR AGENCY AND INDUSTRY NEWS

The Eighth Floor Strategic Communications announces it’s representation of luxury handbag line Madison Avenue Couture and Lan Yu Couture; Lan’s designs balance Chinese embroidery techniques with Western structural designs.

Shout Public Relations has added three new brands to their roster including new flip-flop brand MALVADOS, beach towel brand dock & bay and hair studio Artkiteks.

Regan Cleminson and Robbin Watson have announced the launched of RPR, a NYC and Boston-based public relations firm specializing in social media marketing, event marketing, influencer relations, and digital PR.


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

7 Ingredients to Create a Delicious Holiday Retail Event

holiday-event-retail

Fall is upon us and with it comes a bustling season filled with media opportunities, from company party outfit ideas to New Year’s trend predictions. While most brands know that the holidays offer opportunities to secure coveted holiday gift-guides and book winter fashion and party tips on TV segments, adding a well-timed and thoughtfully produced pop-shop or trunk show can really add a spark to those end of year sales and PR results.

When thinking about making an impact with an event, consider the following.

Choose an unexpected theme

Before you dive head-first into an ugly sweater theme, consider timing your event with October and November harvest-themed festivities. For example, Halloween offers a ton of creative event opportunities for fashion & lifestyle brands. The National Retail Federation predicts revenue derived directly from Halloween decorations, costumes, parties, and greeting cards is expected to reach $8.4 billion in 2016, a sharp increase from previous years. Rather than compete in a sea of holiday gift events, strike early with a costume party, pumpkin carving or Day of the Dead event to bring shoppers and media in-store. Whatever you choose, be creative and offer attendees something more unique than your basic “shop and drink” soiree. 

Align with an Existing Event

Go after event opportunities in the largest metropolitan area possible to garner a bigger return in terms of exposure, press coverage, and sales. It’s often a better strategy to work with existing retailers in key demographics rather than creating a stand-alone pop-up shop in a different venue. Whenever possible, work with these stores to align your event with existing special shopping days, like a “First Friday” shopping night in which local businesses stay open late and strolling from door to door, is encouraged. If your host store or boutique is having a special sale, that’s a great block of time to work with. Most stores do a wonderful job of decorating for Autumn, and you can help them by coming up with a special window and instore display that fits in with their look but highlights your brand.

Find a Unique Venue

For online-only brands, or those without a strong presence in a big city like NYC, a pop-up shop offers a way to drive buzz while providing a unique chance for consumers and media to experience the product line in person. Websites like Appear Here NYC and The Storefront can help source great locations throughout North America. If you’re a smaller firm that can’t send your entire staff across country, consider partnering with an event planner, PR firm, or even a regional blogger to ease the effort a bit while relying on local expertise.

Offer something only available at the event

Fashion brands always benefit from having designs walking around on a person rather than hanging on a rack, so consider informal modeling and fashion presentations. When it comes to successful events, people want to feel as though they’re getting in on something special.  Consider creating a few special or limited-edition pieces just for the event. Jewelry designers like Stephen Dweck routinely inscribe their trunk show pieces with an engraving pen; and Christian Louboutin autographs the soles of the shoes he sells at events.  You can also monogram bags, sweaters and other garments with the buyer’s initials and sign a special label.

It’s often a better strategy to work with existing retailers in key demographics rather than creating a stand-alone pop-up shop in a different venue.

Create photo opportunities

Online event results are boosted by the social media activities of attendees; even if your guests don’t buy immediately they’ll have the image to refer to and they often will order online later, show their images to their friends, or come back at a later date and buy.

Ensure there are easy, flattering and fun spots for participants to snap and gram, as well as branded materials to include in a flat lay. Pick someone on staff whose job it is to encourage photography, take photos for guests and encourage hashtag use while educating on the product line and softly pushing purchases.

Don’t ignore the details

Whether you are hoping to capture the interest of media for PR opportunities or driving immediate sales with a consumer audience, make sure to put thought into how you will merchandise your inventory. Rather than spreading jewelry out across a table tap local influencers as possible to wear the pieces and   keep re-accessorizing and changing outfits to keep it fresh.

Have ample food and drink; consider creating a special cocktail or non-alcoholic punch that adds to your event theme but keep appetizers to easily handled finger foods that don’t drip or squish. Sweets like cookies and candy, especially this time of year are always a big draw and can double as decoration.

Small gifts are great

A small gift, like a fragrance sample, stackable ring or resuable tote is a nice way to thank your attendees for coming (and encouraging future word of mouth, social photography and free promotion). Consider limiting gifts to the first attendants to encourage early visitors and keep gifting affordable.

The holidays are a great time to spend some valuable in-person time showing customers and media a great time during a time of year when spending is up and everyone is feeling a bit extra festive. With a unique event concept and enthusiastic on-site team, a retail event is a great way to close out the year.

About Carolyn Delacorte

Carolyn is Founder and CEO at Boxwood Press, a boutique public relations and marketing agency specializing in the beauty, fashion, accessory, food, baby and gift industries.

Coach’s New Luxury Consumer, Let’s Hear it for the CoverBoy & Your New Favorite Twitter Stat

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

…for the week of October 10, 2016

  • Coach’s strategy to reach the new luxury consumer seems to be working; annual revenue is (finally) up (via Glossy)
  • Satirical magazine Spy is celebrating 30 years in business and taking advantage of the current US presidential campaign (and the Esquire.com domain) to come back with a punch (via WWD)
  • There’s a new movement to unite entrepreneurs on the basis of who they are, rather than what they do. Are you into un-networking? (via Forbes)
  • Snapchat gets rid of its super annoying auto-advance stories feature. No more accidently seeing your ex-bff at brunch with her new gal pal – and knowing that she knows you saw it. Can you say #awkward? (via Seventeen)
  • “When a customer Tweets at a business and receives a response, they are willing to spend [up to] 20 percent more on an average priced item from that business in the future.” Now take that social media statistic to your client (via PR Daily)
  • Entertainment folks take note: the Power of Women L.A. Impact Report has been released
    – among them, DBA reminds us that “no matter what the brand or product, content always comes first” (via Variety)
  • Abercrombie & Fitch are literally wiping the slate clean (new website, new Instagram and new CEO) in an attempt to redefine their brand identity after plummeting sales (via Fashionista)
  • CoverGirl makes history, literally, by naming their first CoverBoy (via GOOD)
  • Fashion month is over but the effects of our compulsive need to overshare on social media and have everything Right Now is having a major impact on designer revenue (via New York Times)

The Writing Tool No PR Professional Should Be Without

PR Writing Tips Grammarly

Whether you’re running your own firm, a seasoned media relations pro, freelance publicist or student, we’ve found the perfect tool to help catch those embarrassing spelling and grammar errors that pop up when you’re moving a million miles a minute (we’re using it to put together this very blog post).

At PR Couture, our entire team is a huge fan of Grammarly, an easy grammar plugin for your web browser that instantly finds and corrects more than 250 types of writing mistakes. Grammarly corrects everything from repetitive words to grammar and spelling, making it an essential tool for communication pros. After all, everything we write, from email pitches to sponsor requests and client updates must be flawless.

3 big benefits of using Grammarly for Communications Pros

  • For content marketing, the genre-specific writing style checks are great for niche clients
  • For students and CEOs, the plagiarism detection is boss
  • For media relations pros, the option to find synonyms, identify overuse of the passive voice, and sentencesending with prepositions (all common “bad writer” markers) are particularly useful

The free version allows you to upload your work for review where you can then easily make edits on your grammar, spelling, and other simple mistakes (duplicate words, for example). It will also highlight your writing inside your inbox, WordPress, google docs etc, so you can easily catch any issues before pressing send, publish or share. The premium version really kicks things up a notch, and we believe it’s a critical tool, installed in every computer in the office.

Since we’ve started to use the tool life without Grammarly is unthinkable, which is why we’ve signed up as affiliates and couldn’t wait to share this not-so-secret weapon with you. Not only will this tool capture errors, over time it helps you to identify your own bad habits and improve your writing form the get-to. So go ahead and give Grammarly a shot and enjoy the benefits and confidence boost of knowing your writing is improving.

Do You Know Where the PR Jobs Are?

PR Jobs Top Cities Work Hiring Public Relations marketing

ABODO reports on the best cities for employment in the top-five fastest growing industries, including PR, communications & media.

One of the questions I get asked most often is, “Do I have to live in New York to work in Fashion PR?” Well, there is certainly a ton of value in establishing your career in its epicenter. For fashion, beauty and lifestyle public relations, that is certainly New York City followed by Los Angeles. The sheer number of PR and marketing agencies, brands and opportunities to collaborate with other professionals working in related careers simply doesn’t exist in other cities.  However, it’s not a requirement that you must choose between the subway and insane traffic to find a great communications job in an industry you love. Great brands and agencies exist everywhere, you just have to know where to look. Nordstrom is based in Seattle, Free People is in Philadelphia, Neiman Marcus is in Dallas and Addidas is in Portland.

map_artandentertainment1

Recently ABODO published a research report on the best cities & careers for job seekers in 2016. The report analyzes employment opportunities in the top-five fastest growing industries, including PR, communications & media, within the 25 most populous cities in the U.S. Not surprisingly, researchers uncovered the most opportunity in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, noting that “Our data shows that if you’re looking for jobs in major cities in the public relations & communications sector, your best bet is to start your search in either Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. or Seattle. Opportunity is surely available across the country, but the most opportunities are available in these five major, rapidly-growing cities.”

Overall, the market is broadening, with agencies and brands choosing to stay in places they love, and as a result, they are creating passionate pockets of industry in towns like Nashville, Atlanta and Miami. With an increased desire for flexibility among employees, agencies are also sometimes willing to retain amazing employees seeking new vistas by moving toward a more virtual working environment.

What city are you looking at for your next move?

 

 

PR Girls We Love: Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, TishTash PR

PR Middle East Agency Beauty Lifestyle

Natasha Hatherall-Shawe made the move from the UK to Dubai in 2010 after being made an offer she couldn’t refuse. A year later she branched out on her own after finding a gap in the quality of agencies and founded TishTash Marketing and Public Relations. Four and a half years later, Natasha has grown TishTash into the go-to PR agency for beauty and lifestyle in the Middle East with more than 45 brands on their client sheet and a multi-million Dirham annual turnover.

Ask any employee of TishTash, or even Natasha herself, and they will tell you that their success comes from a love of the job and the brands they represent as well as an unbreakable ethos that being kind, caring and respectful can lead to great things.

TishTash Dubai PR Agency Lifestyle BeautyName: Natasha Hatherall-Shawe
Title: Founder & Managing Director
Location: Dubai, UAE
Agency: TishTash 
Instagram: @tishtashtalks

Where did you attend college and what was your degree?

I was born and educated in the UK, where I earned a Bachelors degree in Psychology. Upon graduation, I signed up to do a Masters in the same field, but a summer job at a marketing agency changed my mind. I swapped onto a Masters degree in Marketing instead.

A poster in the faculty building advertising for Ph.D. applications in Consumer Behaviour sparked my interest as it combined my background in psychology and marketing. I graduated as a specialised in shopaholism –the irony of being a ‘Doctor of Shopping’ is not lost on me, or my friends, as I love to shop.

How did you get started in PR?

I quite literally fell into the world of PR! I was sitting in a tort law class when I got a call from a friend in LA saying he was producing an awards show in London and asked if I could help out with PR. Being a nerdy law student, I repeatedly refused until I got dirty looks from my professor and eventually said yes just to get him off the phone. That night I went home and googled “what is PR” and “how do you do PR”.

How did you get started in PR?

I was working at the University, studying for my thesis and lecturing on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in marketing. Sitting in my university office, I had an epiphany that I did not want to be still sitting here in 20 years time. I realised I wanted to be out in the business world and wearing beautiful clothes every day!

My first job was a graduate position at a small media agency called BLM Media, which is now part of the global network Euro RSCG. After a few years working in media planning and buying, I moved into more general marketing and communications roles at agencies such as McCann Erikson and Havas.

What is Tish Tash’s “Birth Story?”

After working for more than 16 years in public relations and marketing in the UK, I jumped at the opportunity to work in the Middle East; it has always been my ambition to experience working internationally.

In 2010 I began work in the UAE for a government-owned media company, Abu Dhabi Media, marketing some their digital brands. It was a challenging role that created great opportunities in the region in a very short period. At the same time, I was concerned about the standards and quality I saw in PR agencies, and communications as a whole, within the region. So, in 2011 I took a leap of faith. TishTash is a boutique lifestyle PR agency which specialises in beauty, health, and wellness brands.

What type of person thrives at TishTash?

For me, choosing people that reflect the ethos of TishTash is as important, if not more, than experience and qualifications. We are at work most of our life, so a team that works well together and that echoes my ethos is important to me. I pride myself on having a really lovely team. While we work in a very female industry and a notoriously catty one, my team is made up of genuinely nice girls (and one boy!). We support each other and have each other’s backs and that is something I am very proud of.

I have no time for preciousness and diva behaviour, and I like people who will roll their sleeves up and do whatever they need to get the job done. Even though I own the company, you will often see me crawling around on the floor tidying up cables, erecting banners or packing gift bags – it is just what you have to do.

What is the mood like in the office? What do you have going on right now?

It is peak launch season for the beauty industry, so right now our office is pretty quiet as we are all working hard on lots of launches and events. We have over 20 events this month, so juggling it all is challenging, especially as we are known for our attention to detail and personal touches. We have a big launch for Neutrogena coming up which we are very excited about, and we are also in the process of launching Australian brand Grown Alchemist in the UAE.

What’s a recent success story that makes you especially proud?

Dubai hosts so many events, and before the season closed, we hosted a fantastic breakfast in support of the global Neutrogena campaign #SeeWhatsPossible. A group of amazing Emirati women who had achieved so much were invited to share their stories, and openly discuss the barriers they faced and how they overcame them to show just what is possible, especially in a region where historically women have been limited in what they can achieve. In my entire career, I have never witnessed a media event where people in the audience were openly crying. It was one of the most uplifting and empowering experiences I have had in a while. I feel proud TishTash supported such an important cause in an authentic and genuine way that resonated so well with people.

After working for more than 16 years in public relations and marketing in the UK, I jumped at the opportunity to work in the Middle East; it has always been my ambition to experience working internationally.

Most memorable moment in your career ?

This is a tough question! In the 16 years I have been working in marketing and communications, I have been blessed with some amazing career moments, so picking one is impossible! With regards to my own business, the success I have achieved in just four years makes me pinch myself every day. Representing over 35 amazing beauty brands in the region and becoming one of the biggest beauty PR agencies is something I never dreamed of. Also having one of the largest global beauty brands approach me saying they heard I was the best at beauty PR and choosing to hand me their business without a competitive pitch was a little surreal and amazing.

Most glamorous moment in your career?

I was recently featured on the front cover of a magazine in the UAE as an inspirational woman. I love my job and achieving publicity and coverage for my clients, but I struggle to do PR for my company and myself, so many people had to persuade me to do it. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life as for a month I kept spotting myself on the front cover of this magazine. I doubt I will get the chance to be a cover girl again in my life, so it is something I will cherish and be grateful for forever.

In my entire career, I have never witnessed a media event where people in the audience were openly crying. It was one of the most uplifting and empowering experiences I have had in a while.

Least glamorous moment in your career?

Work/life balance as a whole can be tough. Since launching my agency I have worked pretty much seven days a week, 20 hours a day. I have sacrificed a lot, including holidays and sadly, relationships. Our industry can have very anti-social hours with events in the evenings and on weekends, and is rarely as glamorous as it seems.

However, TishTash is more than I ever hoped for and I am happy to invest my time and love into it, with a view that it will pay off in the future and will leave a legacy that I am very proud of.

How does the PR industry differ in the Middle East?

The Middle East can be a challenging terrain to operate. It is made up of many different countries, and there are different ways of dealing with each, as well as between the Arabic and English media. It is important to understand each market well and the nuances such as language variations and cultural variations to manage regional PR effectively.

It has been a while since I worked in the UK market, but from my experience and what I see now, while influencers are important everywhere, I see their role, foothold and influence in the Middle East being far stronger than elsewhere in the world. Compared to markets such as the US and the UK, the Middle East region was very slow to develop a digital footprint for its traditional media outlets. When the Us and UK magazines were spending time developing their digital presence through online portals and apps, many of the Middle Eastern media companies were still investing money in traditional channels and barely had a social media presence, yet alone a proper digital one.

As such, brands needed to find ways to establish an online presence to get the word out and to drive their own digital channels forward. Bloggers and influencers became the easiest way to do this and very quickly brands were investing their time and budgets in them. Now we do have some fantastic online portals, including Gheir.com, AnaZahra.com, nawa3em.com, Yasmina.com, Savoir Flair and PopSugar, but the bloggers and influencers had already carved their space and dominance and as such we still see budgets allocated to influencer campaigns over traditional media.

What challenges do you face when introducing a new product or brand into the Middle East?

I am not sure our challenges are much different from the rest of the world right now, but some of the biggest challenges we face are as follows:

  • The market is very cluttered – The Middle East is a very attractive market for fashion and beauty brands to launch in and as such it is competitive in terms of reaching and persuading consumers to try/buy.
  • Packaging/brand campaigns that are not culturally relevant/suitable for the market – this is often the case with beauty and fashion brands who end up having to invest a lot of money adapting their products/packaging, so they are acceptable to the region/able to get approved by the Ministries.
  • Accessing critical Arabic media can be very hard for smaller or niche brands as this is largely commercially determined.

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

You cannot take it personally. You just have to dust yourself off and move on, especially when working in a small media pool like the Middle East. Just because someone says no to you one day or may be rude to you, doesn’t mean they will not say yes to something else the next day or be helpful. I always try and see it from the other person’s perspective; perhaps they were having a bad day or had a bad call before you. It can be stressful working on both sides, and I find putting yourself in other people’s shoes sometimes helps.  On a practical note, I try and exercise regularly, eat well, get regular massages, laugh a lot and surround myself with good people as it all helps deal with the daily stress.

My mantra is always “Kill with Kindness” so if someone is rude, unprofessional or downright awful, rise above it, be professional and courteous. You will never regret it, I promise.

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

We have quite a few, but one challenging area that I alluded to above is bloggers/influencers. It is clear that they have changed the face of fashion/lifestyle PR and communications. Today fashion, style, and beauty bloggers are as influential, if not more in many cases, than magazine editors; they are also replacing models in editorial shoots, as well as in advertising campaigns. They are the ones influencing and shaping the landscape, which is why brands cannot ignore them.

As such we have seen many changes in the way brands are doing marketing today, but these changes go further than marketing and point to bigger transformations ahead.

Honestly speaking, the whole area of influencers and bloggers is currently a minefield, and it is something that the majority of marketing and PR professionals I know are struggling with. In my agency, it is one of our most talked about topics! From mind-blowing fees to a lack of regulation, quality of content and dealing with unprofessional and unpredictable behavior, something has to change, as long-term it is unsustainable. I predict the next year will see some variations in this area.

Many of the PR regulatory bodies such as PRCA are actively looking at how they can regulate/standardize to some degree. I think guidelines for all sides – agency, brand, and influencer would help a great deal as we are all still finding our way in the dark to a large extent.

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

That you can be successful, and do well in life, by being nice. I have heard it said many a time that you cannot do well in business by being nice, but I totally disagree, and I have made it my mission to prove otherwise. I have always firmly believed that you treat people how you want to be treated and that you should be respectful to everyone you engage with whoever they are. The same applies even if they are rude to you.

In a market as small as Dubai, you never know when you will cross paths with someone, so this is even more important. The importance of being nice, giving everyone the time of day and being kind and generous at all times is something I believe in wholeheartedly and instill in all who work for me.

Secondly, love what you do! Passion and love for the job go a long way in marketing and PR. It is essentially a sales job, so you need to enjoy the brands and respect the people you represent, and if you do, this always shines through and is visible to media and those you engage with. This is my personal policy for my agency – I only take on brands and clients that I 100% believe in and know have an amazing product or offer, as this makes my job so much easier.

Thanks, Natasha!

About Hayley Jaqueline Ashworth: 

Hayley graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University, England with an MSc in International PR. Having spent the last couple of years traveling and exploring the world, during which she completed the PR Couture PRISM course, Hayley has settled in Dubai where she is currently interning and finding her place in the Middle East’s communication industry. You can follow her Instagram and Twitter to keep up with her adventures.

PR Industry News: Liquid Communications, CRC, Krupp & Janice McCafferty PR

PR Industry News

PR AGENCY AND INDUSTRY NEWS

PR agency Liquid Communications is now Agency of Record for Forty-Eight 10, a shoppable destination for modern, successful women

Veteran publicist Dina White has joined Krupp Kommunications as VP of Media Relations

iConcept Media and Council of Aspiring American Fashion Designers (CAAFD) have announced a strategic partnership and the opening of a NYC flagship showroom that will feature 7 to 11 international designers

CRC has announced the hiring of Brianne Dezzutti to Account Supervisor and Director of Celebrity Influencer Management, Erika Kuzmicz to Senior Account Executive and Manger of Celebrity Influencer Management as well as Jillian Fredi as Public Relations Assistant.

Janice McCafferty PR is now handling Corporate PR for Sundial Brands, the largest black-owned beauty brand in America and manufacturer of SheaMoisture, SheaGirl, Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture and Nubian Heritage.


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

How To Plan An Amazing PR Event (with a not so awesome Budget)

Media Event PR Event Event Budget Tips

Producing a successful media event on a budget is not as hard as you think. The number one skill you need (aside from being a stellar bargain shopper) is organization. If you’re a PR pro, you most likely have this skill down pat. Once you figure out the What and Why of your event, the Where, When and How will easily follow. Here are some tips to creating an awesome soiree on a shoestring.

Find the right venue

The location for your event is your first hurdle. This will most likely be the biggest expense unless it makes sense to hold it at your company’s PR office or your client’s workspace. Think about where most of your guests will be coming from and keep the location central. A cute, trendy restaurant, boutique hotel or bar with a separate party room or patio can work well, and reduced the need to decorate from scratch. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price with the manager. The worst they can tell you is NO. Ask about their less busy days and times and try to make that work to your advantage. Since most people have day jobs, scheduling your event in the morning before work or in the evening once people leave for the day will insure you more RSVPS.

Host multiple clients at once

A great way to keep the budget down with a PR event is by having more than one client participate. Last April, I held a spring beauty media event that included 6 clients. While that sounds like a nightmare, it actually worked out brilliantly. By doing so, I not only allowed all of my clients to show off their latest product launches to the same group of media members, I was able to book a 5-star hotel’s pool area and split all of the expenses by 6.

Keep décor costs down

The theme and location of your event will determine its look and feel. Most locations already have a set décor so you can easily play off existing elements to keep decorations to a minimum. Succulents, plants and loose cut flowers from Trader Joes paired with simple glass vases from The Dollar Store can look much more expensive than they are. For a beauty client, focus on the product ingredients for décor inspiration. For instance, a rose facemask can be accessorized with rose petals, a skin cream with coconut and aloe. Pick up a few coconuts at the supermarket and an aloe plant and voila! You’re fancy.

If you’re promoting a fashion client, you can easily take their latest line sheets and house them in cute, colorful frames and display them throughout. Fun frames or decorative chalkboards are also a great way to show off your client’s social media handles and event hashtag so guests are reminded to share their experience with their followers.

Enhance the event with sponsor participation

Sometimes it makes sense to partner up with another PR firm or service-oriented company to offer a more memorable experience for your guests. Mini massages, manicures, astrology readings, even a braid bar will make the event more interactive and interesting, which will often boost attendance. To negotiate these services for free, offer the companies gratis PR by promoting their logos and social media handles via your invitations and social media..

Keep food and drink options to a minimum

The truth is that media rarely consume a ton of food and drinks at events. Rather than going overboard with snacks, meals and cocktails, offer something to sip and nibble on that makes sense for the time of day of your event. Work with the manager of your venue for elegant yet economical ideas. Depending on where you’re holding your event, you may even be able to bring in a food or drink sponsor to prepare a signature snack or libation that fits in with your event theme. With a sponsor, you can provide your guests with delicious refreshment at no cost to you in exchange for free promotion at your event. It’s a win win!

Lean on your client for event assistance

With events on a small budget, everyone needs to pitch in. You’ll need assistance managing RSVPs, connecting with guests, photography, and generally making sure everyone is having a good time and learning about your client’s products. Bringing on outside help is going to cost you, but if your client is willing to help manage the event, or bring in their own employees to help, it’s one less expense.

Keep Swag Simple

A gift bag is usually expected at media events, but this doesn’t mean every guest needs to walk out the door with $500 in free product. Talk to your client(s) before hand and see what they’re comfortable offering. If it’s a new beauty launch, one item from the launch along with a press kit is a good idea to gift each media member. Ask the manager of the venue if they have anything they could throw in like a gift certificate, or a wrapped up baked good from their kitchen. If you have a co-sponsor at your event have them throw in a gift card or small item. Resist the idea to fill up your gift bag with a bunch of collateral (discount coupons, promotional materials) that is just going to get tossed, and focus on 1 or 2 useful items in a good looking package.

With a bit of creativity and elbow grease it is possible to work with your clients and sponsors to produce a well-attended, successful media event without blowing the entire PR budget.

Account Executive

Position: Account Executive
Company: NKPR
Location: New York City, NY
Learn more

3 Things All Successful PR Managers Know

PR Manager, Professional Development, Manager Tips, Team Management, Agency Management, Public Relations Career

At the base of every great PR agency is the management team who facilitates success from the bottom up. Without strong, effective leadership, communication, and direction, most agencies would be hard-pressed to stay in business for long. Gallup estimates that the quality of managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. With that said, here are three components necessary to improve your management skills.

Team members need autonomy

True leaders empower others. This is why I believe it’s important to give ownership opportunities to each of your account execs. Autonomy increases team members’ ability to both make decisions and be accountable for their own actions – good or bad. When employees know their actions and ideas truly make a difference to their company, they are more invested and motivated to contribute their best work, and they take more pride in their accomplishments. Introducing shared leadership models will also help sustain the business as a whole, ensuring so that knowledge, expertise and agency structures are not solely dependent upon one person. After all, an agency needs to function positively and profitably, regardless of the near-constant client, employee and industry changes so common to agency life. 

Open communication increases efficiency

I believe in being transparent with my team because it allows for better relational engagement; which in turn produces better performance. An open relationship between a manager and her staff builds trust, which invites more honest feedback which improves everyone’s workday and allows issues to be addressed quickly and efficiently. It’s important to let your team know that you truly care about their thoughts and that their voices matter. Different voices create diverse perspectives when it comes to each client, project, and task. Every team member brings something different to the table and a bundle of distinct ideas is better because each client is unique, and one style does not fit all.   

Introducing shared leadership models will also help sustain the business as a whole, ensuring so that knowledge, expertise and agency structures are not solely dependent upon one person.

Trust is a two-way street

You can do anything, but not everything. As a manager, you need to focus at least some of your time on team dynamics, individual performance and agency planning, and this means shifting away from being involved in every tiny aspect of a client’s retainer. Delegation not only deepens that all important trust factor by showing your team members that you value their competence but will improve productivity. As the CEO and founder of BLND Public Relations, there are a lot of things that need to be done constantly — like taking care of the back-end of the business, problem-solving issues and making myself visible and accessible to all out clients. I always keep in mind that there are only 24 hours in a day and only one of me. Delegation helps my team and me to make the most of each day, which produces big results in the end.

While every business is different and there isn’t one magic formula that makes every team thrive, take time to analyze the best way to increase engagement and communication with your team. While it can be tempting to put management to the wayside in order to keep up with business and media opportunities, a strong, committed and thriving team will help to ensure your agency’s long-term growth.