The Bromley Group is a leading fashion, lifestyle and celebrity communications agency with more than 25 years of experience growing and elevating brands in footwear, apparel, children's, home, accessories, intimates and special events categories. Founder Karen Bromley and team partner with clients to accurately understand their needs and to develop communication and marketing strategies that align with brand objectives and reach target audiences. Read on to see what's she's learned from working in public relations as well as retail buying, the new social division, and why it's important to be get involved with and give back to your industry.
How did you get started in PR? What was your first job?
Prior to launching The Bromley Group, I worked in the PR departments of several fashion corporations, as well as a top fashion PR agency that is now part of Interpublic Group. My experience includes PR Director at Vanity Fair Intimates (now owned by Hanes), Texfi Industries and Balliet’s in Oklahoma City. I began as a buyer for Belk stores, including developing several private brand programs for more than 500 stores nationwide.
Share a bit more about your evolution from retail buyer to PR agency CEO:
I thought I wanted to be a buyer because I would get to pick what I loved and what I had a creative eye for. However, it did not satisfy my creativity. PR and marketing does – every client, project and challenge is different. No two days are ever alike!
What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on right now?
We have a high-energy environment that is friendly, creative and embraces new ideas. Right now we have several exciting client projects including the Words of War Benefit gala event for The Headstrong Project, an organization that focuses on providing free mental healthcare for Iraq, Afghanistan and 9/11 veterans suffering with PTSD. Seth Meyers, Chelsea Clinton and Adam Driver are all part of the evening celebrating Veterans. We are also working on a Fashion Week show with The Art Institutes, and are also gearing up for several press previews with fashion clients. We are very excited about @TBG, our new social media division that manages clients’ social media programs including planning, content, analytics for Facebook advertising, Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter. We are also developing video content.
What are three must-haves essential to your job?
- iPhone 6 (awaiting 6S)
- MacBook Pro
- My amazing team
What makes an ideal client for your agency?
An ideal client has developed product and retail distribution. They also have a good sense of what their brand DNA is and can provide constructive feedback. It’s also important that clients provide us with regular information on sales performance, upcoming projects, product updates, budgets, etc., so that out team can create pitches and content to support their goals and objectives. Weekly and monthly reports should be reviewed and discussed.
Guess Chicago In-Store Event
What is a recent success story you’re proud of?
The re-launch of Coldwater Creek has been one of our most exciting new clients. We manage all their social media and PR. Coldwater Creek had extremely negative social media comments from consumers, and editors did not know they were back in business. In a few short months we have generated incredibly positive feedback from consumers, tremendous support from magazines and are about to begin a celebrity placement activation and produce a video series. We have grown the positive social media following by double digit percentages.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since you started working in PR?
PR is about people. And most importantly today, it’s about consumers being in the driver’s seat. Communicating and understanding needs of clients and consumers is most important. Customer service is key – following up with clients, including them in decisions, speaking regularly. For social, always answer consumers’ feedback and questions. Be responsive. It is important to take a holistic approach to PR Campaigns. Each platform has its audience and you must speak to them individually. Media is very dynamic and immediate today. It can be very tricky and unkind, It can also take your brand to the moon in sales and success! It’s been an exciting evolution and revolution. To meet all these changes we created @TBG with our social media team to work in conjunction with our PR strategies, goals and tactics.
It is important to take a holistic approach to PR Campaigns. Each platform has its audience and you must speak to them individually.
How do you get the word out about your agency?
The Bromley Group is active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We have a well-trafficked blog and I write articles for several marketing publications. Our events are well attended by senior executives who have come to know us for our work. In terms of new business, TBG is mostly recommended by members of the footwear, intimate apparel, beauty, and consumer products industries. Ultimately, prospective clients want to work with an agency that comes recommended.
Presenting Spanish Footwear Designers at New York Fashion Week
What excites you about PR these days?
It’s exciting to have new and creative ways to directly reach consumers. Social media is playing a big part of this, and so are grassroots events, guerrilla marketing and strong tie-ins to meaningful charities.
A Night at the Femmy Gala
Ultimately, prospective clients want to work with an agency that comes recommended.
Tell us a bit about your charitable work!
Part of my satisfaction comes from giving back and always getting clients involved with a charity program.
As a founder of K.I.D.S. (Kids In Distressed Situations), an industry-wide charity dedicated to children in need, I am currently an active Executive Officer of the board and provide pro-bono services. The group's prominent industry members have been responsible for donating more than $1.2 billion of NEW products which have been distributed through a network of 1,000 community partners, responding to disaster relief, poverty and disadvantaged families, military families and those in desperate need worldwide. It has been an amazing journey to see how the organization has grown and the people we have helped. I am also on the board of The Underfashion Club and produce their gala, called The Femmy, to support education; as well as One Simple Wish, an organization that provides wishes for children in foster care, I also support The Fashion Group and Accessories Council.
It has always been important for members of an industry to join together to share ideas, network and nurture relationships. Industry organizations keep you updated on issues that are important and relevant. It is also great for our clients’ knowledge and to keep them apprised of industry matters.
Thanks, Karen! Don't forget to follow Karen and team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.