The Upside to Working With Difficult Clients: Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned from Terrible PR Client Relationships

So you’ve just had an awful client experience. This isn’t about one or two hiccups or disagreements—that’s just ordinary professional relationship wear and tear, this was bad. Really bad. As communicators, we know that sometimes things like this happen; we just can’t see eye to eye, despite the fact that we’ve been hired to help reach a mutual goal.

Well, what can you do now? A little perspective can’t hurt – take a little scroll through Clients from Hell for the comic relief, and then sit down and perform your own little post-mortem to divine the lessons learned.

Was it a personality clash?

There are countless reasons as to why you may not get along with someone. When people clash, it often has to do with different communication styles. Did your client overstep boundaries and text you frantic demands at 2 am? Did your client not quite understand your social media report metrics, and get defensive and nit-picky as a result? Did your Account Executive make a blunder in an early meeting that set the stage for a lack of trust? Or, was your client, honestly, just kind of mean?

Work is the last place that you want any kind of conflict as it takes away from your ability to do your job, and to do it well. Instead of focusing on the frustration you are feeling, use this situation as a stepping-stone to avoid future conflict. Get clear on what actually went wrong, and evaluate how professionally and quickly you were able to cut ties and move forward. Take the answers to these kinds of questions back to the drawing board and develop or clarify new policies to that you can set better expectations, and have greater self-awareness about what types of clients are the best fit for you.

Did you ignore red flags?

You’ve already gone through a not-so-pleasant experience with a client, so identify what it was that drew you to them and their project in the first place.

Perhaps you were working with an incredible fashion house or that up-and-coming beauty line all the editors love. So what. Companies are made up of people, and your ideal client is never going to be a nightmare hiding underneath an impressive brand name. If you made the mistake of choosing to work with a client based on name recognition, ignoring signs of internal strife or unrealistic expectations during the proposal process – cancelled meetings, endless rounds of approval on a contract, even sales expectations – it’s time to call this a lesson learned.

Did you stay too long?

In public relations we’re so used to saying “yes, yes, yes,” that we forget that it’s also okay to say “no.” Dealing with a difficult client helps us realize what kind of professional relationships are worth saving, and what kind we’re better off tossing. After all, you can’t make room for a wonderful new client if your current roster is bringing you down. And you can’t risk your media relationships for clients who refuse to send samples, don’t show up for interviews and aren’t interested in developing something newsworthy you can pitch.

Its natural for our first instinct to be that walking away is giving up, an admission of failure. So we stick with clients and projects we dislike and aren’t passionate about. But it’s ok if you realize, in the first few months of working together, that you and a client just don’t fit. Be honest with yourself about who you want to work with, and who you don’t.

Working with difficult clients teaches about what you like and don’t like. Sometimes these relationships can be ultimately very gratifying, as you grow in your own professional skills and learn how to navigate difficult situations and strong personalities. But sometimes, it’s just a bad match. Learn what kind of clients are a fit for own business goals by taking the time to constantly check-in with yourself. Finally, develop an ideal client profile that clarifies what you are looking for – both in terms of industry, budget and personality – and use that to guide your outreach efforts.

You Absolutely Need These Top 5 Social Media Management Apps

The Social Media Apps Used by Top PR Agencies

Keeping up with the Kardashians and everything on our to-do lists can be time consuming and undoubtedly overwhelming.  At Beach House PR, we get by with a little help from our apps.  From finding the perfect hashtag, syncing calendars, or collaborating with our team, there is always a new tool to help make sure we manage our time and kick ass along the way.  As savvy players in the social field, we are constantly on the lookout for the latest and greatest apps to help manage our workload as efficiently as possible.  From management tools to Instagram assists, the following PR agency-approved apps are MUST HAVES for social media management success…and sanity.

1. Planogram for scheduling

Say hello to your new BFF.  Planerly is THE visual planner and scheduler for Instagram. With this strategic planning tool, you can plan and schedule content and marketing campaigns in advance, either days, weeks, or months before launch – talk about a stress reliever!  This app saves social lives because it features the capability to manage and schedule content for multiple accounts.  That’s major!  Even more, the push notification feature delivers reminders straight to your phone when it is time to post.  Can we get a praise hands emoji?!  The best part? There are multiple subscription options so you can pick the optimal one for you.  From Basic to Better, there is something for everyone.

2. Trello for project management

Say hello to Trello!  This must-have app makes working in groups so much easier with Trello boards.  A Trello Board is a list of lists, filled with cards, allowing you to organize and categorize projects, campaigns, and more with your social team.  Per each card, you can post comments for instant feedback, add checklists, labels, deadlines, and upload files straight from your computer or phone.  If that sounds complicated, it’s really not.  Trust in Trello.

3. Pocket to bookmark content for later

Girl, your Pocket is about to get digital…and much deeper.  Pocket is an app that allows you to store internet gems you find NOW to view LATER.  It’s a must-have for bookmarking the plethora of digital news articles that your coworkers are constantly swapping around the office.  Imagine all the goodies you can put in your Pocket without weighing you down!  With 22 million users and 2 billion (yes that was billion with a B) items saved in Pocket, this app is non-negotiable.

4. Tagomatic for Hashtags

Is your hashtag game lacking? Don’t worry, there’s an app for that.  Introducing Tagomatic, a genius app that finds the hottest hashtags for your Instagram post. Not only does this tool save you time and money (‘cus we all know time=money), it increases engagement with #TheMostEffectiveHashtags, helps you discover related hashtags, and allows you to copy them directly to Instagram.  Not all hashtags are created equal, so make sure you’re using the right ones.

5. Moleskine Timepage for calendar management

Let’s get organized, people.  With Moleskine Timepage, all of your calendars are synced to one place, seamlessly integrated with weather forecasts, maps, contacts, and other apps.  Timepage’s hottest feature, Month Heatmap, provides a stunning month view to help you look ahead and stay organized. Essentially, it’s an intuitive heatmap of your schedule so you can get a feel of when you’re busy and when you’re free…as if we’re ever free.  Never miss another post, appointment, meeting or five-minute coffee break again by investing in the calendar of all calendars. Lifesaver.

Social media can be chaotic, but our lives don’t have to be.  Have you tried any of these apps?  Are there any rockstar tools that you think we’re missing?  Give us a shout on Twitter @beachhousepr @prcouture!

Fashion’s True Prince, Eva on Instagram Metrics & Retailers Head to Snapchat

Facebook's Algorithm, The Cannes Dress, and The Lookbook How-To, Kate Middleton Style, The Row

Fashion PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of April 18, 2016

  • “Over the last year, especially, digital upstarts have become increasingly entwined with the companies whose business models they are disrupting.” Find out who is behind some of your favorite sites. (via Hollywood Reporter)
  • Whether seeking self-promotion or securing interviews on behalf of a client, be sure your media training is up to snuff before the questions begin.  (via Presenting Yourself)
  • When Eva speaks, we listen. And she’s telling fashion brands to relax; Instagram numbers never tell the whole story. (via BoF)
  • Does your online persona need an upgrade? Where to start and what to do. (via AirPR)

3 Places to Find a Professional Mentor

professional pr mentor tips

As young PR professionals, we are in an exciting yet extremely overwhelming time where it can often feel like there is so much out there we simply don’t know. And so we need direction; we need to find someone who not only knows how to use the coffee maker in the office but who is willing to provide tips on cold calling editors and pitching on the spot.  We need inspiration; we need to find someone we admire who encompasses the refined public relations professional we aspire to be. It’s time to find a mentor.

Find a mentor in the workplace

Your first PR internship is an obvious place to seek out such a person, a PR girl or guy who not only has the patience to teach you the basics, but who exemplifies PR prowess and ethics.

I was lucky enough to find 2 mentors at my very first internship in college at a small boutique PR firm.  It was just the #BossLady, one account executive, 2 other interns and me.  We all became very close.  That internship was my very first experience in the industry and much of what I learned I still utilize to this day.  Though we all continue to journey on different PR paths, we continue to catch up and discuss our successes as well as lean on each other.

Key Takeaway: We often think of mentors as grown ups with heaps more experience than we do, but peer mentors can be just as useful. Who can you add to your PR squad?

Find a mentor online

Even if you aren’t currently working in PR, or aren’t living in a city with a ton of networking opportunities, you have the entire internet at your disposal. There are a ton of blogs and other online resources, like Twitter chats, that can help to further your career development. By paying attention to the people managing and writing for these sites, you can identify potential mentors – ones that you never thought you’d get the chance to meet or work with!

Through NYC PR Girls, I stumbled upon PR Couture and was instantly obsessed.  My classmates and I even planned an imaginary PR Couture Convention for one of our event planning classes. Through a little social media networking, we caught Crosby’s attention (gasp), and we were able to set up a meeting. Crosby instantly opened her arms and amazing wealth of knowledge to us, inviting us to pitch our conference and other ideas to her, and sharing information and seeking our feedback on a few emerging ventures. As a result, I was one of the first to sign up right away for her PRISM course and recently attended Fashion PR Confidential.

Key Takeaway: Don’t be confined by your physical limitations and always make the ask – the worst that can happen is you get a no. That’s a near-constant in PR anyway, so might as well get used to it!

Find a mentor outside your industry

It’s easy to get wrapped up with joining every club, reading every blog and finding public relations agency CEO, trying to find that perfect mentor. But sometimes a mentor is a business savvy relative, or someone you volunteer with or who is seriously kicking ass in an entirely different industry.

This may seem strange, but my best friend is one of my mentors. Her buoyant personality, unstoppable drive and go-getter business ethics not only make her my best friend, but someone I look up to as well. We feed off each other when we’ve had a little too much wine and when we need a little help crushing this whole “adulting” thing.

Key Takeaway: You might already be surrounded by potential mentors. Ask yourself how you might formalize these relationships. For example, asking your entrepreneurial cousin for a monthly coffee date, or even hiring a career coach.

Ultimately, this is a period of transition. What we need is support and direction, much more than any sort of official mentorship, so think broadly about how to assemble your own cast who can cheer you on from the wings. Once you’ve got a mentor, be sure to make the most of the mentor-mentee relationship and always focus on being as helpful to your mentor as she is to you.

About Morgan Hough

Morgan is an entry-level PR Girl currently living in sunny Stuart, Florida.  She works as a Junior Account Executive at an advertising, PR & marketing firm for luxury real estate and as a freelance writer for fashion & lifestyle brands. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

PR Girls We Love: Fallon Ryan, Public Relations Director at Lana Jewelry

Jewelry Photo Shoot Celebrity PR

Fallon Ryan is the Public Relations Director at Lana Jewelry, a contemporary fine jewelry company based in Chicago. In the past give years, Fallon has moved up within the company, from Intern to Director. She has helped grow the brand immensely through coverage in top tier fashion magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour, and celebrity placements on A-list stars like Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lawrence, Madonna and Gigi Hadid.

Now responsible for everything from social media planning, advertising, photo shoots, tradeshows and events, Fallon’s first love remains product placement; nothing compares to pening a magazine and seeing Lana Jewelry inside.

Celebrity PRName: Fallon Ryan
Company: Lana Jewelry 
Title: Public Relations Director
Education: BA DePaul University
Instagram: @lanajewelry
Twitter: @lanajewelry

How did you get started in PR?

I secured my first internship by applying to an incognito accessories internship post on Craigslist, and here I am at Lana Jewelry 5 years later. Before that, I worked in accounting, which wasn’t nearly expressive and motivating enough for me — but I still do my own taxes!

How did you get the job you have now?

It’s cliché, but I worked my way up the ladder from intern to now. I proved that the company needed me. At first, that was by making sure the team’s supply room was always sparkling clean, and now it is by securing placements on major celebrities.

What are your primary responsibilities?

Lana Jewelry is a smaller company, so my position oversees a creative umbrella: social, digital, events and branding, in addition to traditional public relations. My most prominent role is product placement and securing coverage through celebrity and editorial channels.

What are you working on right now?

It’s a busy month for us and the office is crazed with a variety of projects. On this week’s agenda: prepping for the fall campaign photo-shoot in New York next week, pitching celebrity stylists for May red carpets such as Met and Cannes, planning collaborative events with Nordstrom for spring/summer, and booking trips to New York and Los Angeles for fall press previews.

I proved that the company needed me. At first, that was by making sure the team’s supply room was always sparkling clean, and now it is by securing placements on major celebrities.

Take us behind the scenes – how is Lana structured?

The PR/Marketing department is the only in-house communication department at Lana; the rest of the office is comprised of sales and production departments. Rachel and I are two-woman show who rely on an amazing team of interns, and super talented photographers/artists who we work with throughout the year. The business is equally challenging and rewarding which keeps each day exciting.

Gwen Stefani wearing LANA Jewelry

Gwen Stafani in Lana

What type of person thrives at Lana?

Someone who has thick skin, is creative, hustles and enjoys listening to 90’s R&B throwbacks.

What are three must-haves essential to your job?

Instagram. Photoshop app. Portable jewelry cases (I made mine from plastic photo organizers and foam).

How do you stay on top of industry trends?

Instagram is a news source. It’s where the average person spends their free time, and where the not so average (celebs and influencers) post first. I also subscribe to all the major fashion magazines; there’s something about holding a book, ripping out an article, and pinning it on the wall that inspires me more than a screenshot ever will. When they start their own trends instead of following what’s hot.

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

Stay positive. The lows always last longer than the highs. Rejection is an opportunity for achievement; it keeps you humble and working hard.

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

I started overseeing the Lana Jewelry seasonal campaigns last fall and I am very proud of the turnout. I am working with a tremendous creative/styling duo, JP and Sandy, and the photos have totally rebranded our campaigns. Shooting campaigns is new to me, so it’s been a thrilling journey.

Jewelry on celebrities

Jennifer Lopez in Lana

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Meeting Jennifer Lopez at dinner in LA (she was wearing the Lana Jewelry Glam Hoops that I loaned her stylists earlier that day for “American Idol”). It was by complete accident and I felt like the stars were aligned.

Most meaningful moment in your career thus far?

Securing the first Lana Jewelry placement in Vogue magazine so meaningful. It proved to me that “anything is possible if you’re willing to work for it” isn’t just a B.S. phrase on T-shirt.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

The Lana Jewelry brand doesn’t advertise, pay for placements, or gift the jewelry to the celebrity. My team works very hard to build relationships with stylists and editors (who love the product) to secure jewelry placements.

What are the biggest challenges facing fashion communicators right now?

The game of pay-to-play is such a challenge, especially for Lana Jewelry, because we don’t gift before a placement. With the introduction to social media endorsement, many brands feel the need incentivize celebrities/bloggers/editors to obtain media placements. It has definitely made the industry more competitive, but if you represent a good product, are a nice/easy person to work with, and take the time to write quality/personal pitches, you don’t need to pay-to-play. I am certainly a fan of sending gracious thank-you gifts, but I am a believer that traditional product placement is still very feasible.

The Lana Jewelry brand doesn’t advertise, pay for placements, or gift the jewelry to the celebrity.

What are you really good at?

I can (almost) name any celebrity’s stylist at any given time. I guess I am good at stalking.

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

Stay humble. You don’t deserve anything until you prove it.

Thanks Fallon!

9 Questions to Help Figure out Your Retail Pop Up Store Strategy

Retail Marketing: How to throw a successful popup event

Part of the beauty of a pop-up shop is that it exists in an isolated timeframe where you have a limited downside. The pop-up shop allows you to achieve multiple goals in a temporary setting, using a relatively low-cost alternative to investing large sums of capital in order to sign multi-year leases and make other long-term commitments.

The first thing to remember is that not all pop-up events are intended to sell merchandise. Likewise, not all pop-up events are intended to launch a brand. Pop-up activations are ultimately about customer engagement. They are an opportunity to physically interact with customers, surround them with your message and gather feedback about your customer at the same time.

What makes pop-up events special is that they are unique to your brand and goals, so there is no one formula that will work for everyone. However, some questions to ask when identifying the goals of your pop-up should include:

  • Are you launching a new brand or category within an existing brand?
  • Are you growing brand awareness for a specific product line?
  • Are you testing a new market?
  • Are you experimenting with what works and what doesn’t?
  • Are you educating customers?
  • How will you immerse them in the lifestyle experience of your brand?
  • Are you testing the launch of a new partnership or collaboration?
  • Are you pushing out inventory with a sample sale?
  • Are you leveraging a highly seasonal business?

The answers to these questions will inform you as to what your plans and strategy should be for your pop-up shop. They’ll allow you to hone in on what your purpose is and what your customers’ expectations might be. By having clearly defined goals and expectations, you’ll be able to focus on building out a true experience for your customers.

Pop-up activations are ultimately about customer engagement.

In a way, a pop-up is an amplification of a focus group. It allows you to collect a substantial amount of information on customer reactions to a product and it creates an environment in which people are giving you feedback. However, they are also speaking publicly about it, and even sharing it on their social channels. They’re not sitting in a small group where they feel con ned to give you structured answers. They’re coming to discover a new experience and talk about how it makes them feel.

Step one when planning your brand’s pop-up shop is to step back and think about your key goals. There’s lots of possible benefits, but what’s the one goal that this pop-up needs to achieve to be a success?

If you are launching a new brand, it’s a great way to learn what resonates with your projected target market. If your brand already has a presence in one city but you want to explore another, it’s a test to be sure you open in the right neighborhood and an opportunity to learn how merchandising and pricing may be impacted from city to city.

Brands can explore completely different audiences with pop-ups, too. For example, just because you might be a great men’s retailer doesn’t mean that you can’t sell equally well to women. You can potentially use the pop-up as a cross-marketing opportunity, combining with existing interest groups of women who are shopping for your target male demographic. In a pop-up, a brand has a safe place to test new markets, customers, and beyond.

Excerpted from The Pop-Up Paradigm: How Brands Can Build Human Connections in a Digital Age written by Melissa Gonzalez, the founder of the Lionequese Group in New York City. She can be reached at mg@lionesquegroup.com.  The Pop Up Paradigm is available online.  

10 Social Media Myths That Ruin Business Results

10 Social Media Myths

Just a few short years ago, companies questioned whether they should use social media to connect with key audiences. But, with as much as 72% of all internet users active on social media—936 million on Facebook worldwide, 1 billion on YouTube, and 270 million on Twitter—the question has evolved into how companies should use social media to connect with their audience.

These statistics are growing every day. It’s no wonder why social media has become the fuel driving the modern marketing machine! So, how can we better use social media?

Before thinking of a strategy for better social media optimization, let’s re-examine the common our outdated myths about social media that we simply need to let go.

What separates fact from fiction? The truth from the fibs? The internet is brimming with social media misconceptions about how to ensure a high return on investment with social media campaigns. These fallacies actually travel faster, farther, and wider than they do in other industries, simply due to the very medium through which they have evolved…digital communication.

Here’s a roundup of the top 10 most common social media marketing myths and how you can debunk them before your next planning meeting.

Myth 1: If you aren’t on every social media platform, your strategy won’t work

Brands need to focus their efforts where they are most effective, and this holds true for social media. We speak about social media in generalities, but there are nuances to every platform. To best serve your audience, you must go to where you’re target audiences are spending their time.

A company never needs to be active on all social media sites, though it might be beneficial to claim handles on the top-performing ones in case your social strategies change or evolve over time. Instead, companies should be active on the platforms that work for them and make sense for their brand.

In order to let this myth go, reflect on your company’s function and role in the lives of your audience. Decide which accounts you will prioritize and emphasize, and how each social media platform will aid in your strategic engagement goals.

Myth 2: Publish content and people will engage

With millions of blogs posted, tweets exchanged, and purchases made online daily, standing out among the feed is more important than ever. Simply put, it’s not enough to produce content on your social media channels, you need to be actively engaged with your audiences. You need to have a content extension program in place to ensure the necessary reach required to get your target audience to take action.

To let this myth go, consider how often you want to be promoting content and how you will work within the confines of each platform in order to generate engagement, clicks and retain attention.

Myth 3: Social Media will take all your time

Social media marketing is not a regular job; you have to be active 24/7/365 to attain the best results. However, we’ve come a long way in terms of social media management, and there are several programs available to help you automate your content publishing and alert you to content seeding a response.

53% users who mention a brand on Twitter expect a response within an hour. The percentage increases to 72% for those with a complaint. Another interesting set of statistics reveals that people aged 35-44 are the keenest late night shoppers, with 41% of this age group claiming to log on for late-night purchases.

53% users who tweet at a brand expect a response within an hour.

And when purchasing online, 71% visitors expect help within five minutes.

To let this myth go, ensure you are both scheduling content to go live outside of the traditional work day and that you have a plan in place to offer customer service quickly – around the clock in necessary.

Myth 4: Post, repost, repeat, works

While it is true that only a small portion of your social media audience is going to see your live content, reposting the exact same content over and over again (or worst of all, setting your Facebook posts to auto-post to Twitter), runs the risk of annoying your followers into clicking that unfollow button. Be cautious around reposting the same articles and links over and over.

Research also shows that social media posts perform better, attracting more engagement and shares, when they contain other forms of media.

To let this myth go, explore adding GIFs and photos to your Twitter links, play with headlines and evaluate which perform best on what platform. Ensure you are publishing a mix of promotional and useful content.

Myth 5: Social media is the best tool to gain new customers

In most cases, your primary audience on social will be current or past customers. As such, you can look to drive loyalty through repeat purchases and brand ambassadorship through social endorsement. However, brands need to stop expecting social media to be a primary driver of immediate, direct sales for new customers.

To rethink this myth, view social media as a means of cultivating customer retention and increasing brand loyalty.

Myth 6: A social media presence will open us up to negative comments

Social media is a two-way street. You are bound to acquire negative feedback or complaints, which you shouldn’t ignore. Arguably, social media is the perfect platform to engage your B2B or B2C audience effectively when it comes to feedback—good or bad. The problem with this perception is that the conversation is already happening. Without social media monitoring, you’re simply not able to respond.

The silver lining to a complaint is that it opens the door to dialogue. Not all conversations will be positive, but it is important to understand that receiving negative feedback on social media will not ruin your company, but being ignorant of its existence might.

Myth 7: Social media is a marketing channel for sales

As a one-to-many communication channel, social media should not be seen as another one-way sales or marketing channel. Promotion that directly advertises goods or services needs to be mixed in with standalone value. Think education and entertainment first.

There is great value in offering your audience content that helps them succeed. Sometimes that content is going to be a solution in the form of a product or service. But keep relationship-building and community building front and center of your strategy. Content marketing pieces should relate to your business, but not always be about your business.

Myth 8: The bigger the following, the better

Particularly in the fashion and lifestyle space, the purchasing of followers – through paid advertising or sketchier means, is rampant. The belief that bigger is better leads brands to put a follower count above all else when it comes to success metrics.

The truth is that there is very little value to be gained from adding thousands followers who are disinterested in your company, and are likely coming in from dead or inactive accounts.

Content marketing pieces should relate to your business, but not always be about your business.

It’s easy to see if a company has clearly paid for their following, which reduces your credibility and puts your entire reputation with your genuine following at risk. Instead, focus on increasing engagement with your existing audience.

Myth 9: Thou shall not promote competitors

The majority of social media marketers believe that sharing competitors’ content will damage their own image, business, and brand reputation. This is a fallacy. In fact, sharing valuable content produced by your competitors can lead to partnerships and goodwill.

Now, you may not want to share the marketing or promotions of a direct competitor, but an article penned by the CEO of a like-minded company shows an awareness and interest in your industry beyond sales, and your audience is likely to appreciate the recommendation.

These brands may also reciprocate the gesture by sharing your content.

Myth 10: Go for reach over niche

As an example, many social marketers do not take Google+ seriously because they don’t see a specific use for promoting their business. However, according to Marketing Land, more than a billion and a half photos are uploaded at Google+ photos each week from more than 300 million active users present in the Google+ Stream.

Now, this isn’t to say that Google+ is right for your business, but social media platforms that are regarded as too niche or emerging for serious effort, could be a serious miss. There are platforms that cater to everyone. From foodies to the cat-obsessed, and these niche sites can be a win for brands looking to effectively connect with a particular audience.

So be flexible and test out different platform to find the right social media mix.

Social media offers compelling, impactful opportunities to drive consumer loyalty while effectively telling a multi-media, content-rich story about a particular brand. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach here, it’s all about exploration, testing and continual refinement to figure out what works.

About Nina Pineda

Nina is part of Spiralytics’ SEO Team. She launched her career as a web copywriter but eventually jumped into SEO and Online Marketing out of curiosity. This curious cat may be easily amused by Tumblr memes, funny YouTube clips, and foreign TV series but she is keen and driven in achieving results when it comes to work. Don’t let the petite physique fool you; She has a big heart wherein her other half, family and friends fit in.

 

Pinterest’s Colors of the Year, WTF is WeChat, Fashion/Beauty Brand Marketing Coachella

Facebook's Algorithm, The Cannes Dress, and The Lookbook How-To, Kate Middleton Style, The Row

Fashion PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of April 11, 2016

  • Find out fashion’s top 25 most desirable companies to work for. Spoiler Alert:  Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Dior are the top three on the list. (via FashionTimes)
  • Gucci and Burberry go gender neutral with shows for both men’s and womenswear. (via Marketing Magazine)
  • Move over Pantone. Find out what Pinterest found to be the true Colors of the Year(via Pinterest Blog)
  • If you’re hoping to sell online in China, consider WeChat. The messaging app is attracting quite a bit advertiser interest for branded content. (via L2)
  • Think you know what ’empowerment’ means? Jia Tolentino tackles word by striping away the layers of cultural marketing rhetoric. (via The New York Times)
  • If you’re interested in boosting revenue through speaking opportunities, the Rebel Speaker Podcast is worth a subscribe. (via Dr. Michelle Mazur)

FAVORITE FASHION VIDEOS

PR Industry News: CFDA & Cadillac, alice + olivia & new Agency clients

Recent Fashion, Beauty Agency and Industry News

The Retail Lab, a program of the CFDA and Cadillac, gives designers the opportunity to gain real-world business and retail experience through a store and mentorship program. The inaugural fashion designer is Timo Weiland, whose shop will open to the public in early July.

The alice + olivia brand, in partnership with Neiman Marcus, held their first ever See-Now-Buy-Now runway show with music by The Dolls and Ana Calderon. The show featured the alice + olivia x Grateful Dead capsule collection paired with limited edition items from the Spring 2016 collection.

White Handed PR announces representation of Slovakian footwear brand Novesta, who are launching their first U.S. collection with the introduction of the brand’s unisex, eco sneakers.

Los Angeles-based, fashion and action-sports PR boutique agency S+L Communications, has been acquired by Santy, a full-service, integrated marketing communications firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Charmed PR announces representation of Luma Brush and Blo Blow Dry Bar in Brentwood (soft launch is this weekend).

Consumer sport and lifestyle PR agency GUNG HO Communications has acquired London-based Coffin on Cake PR.

The Eighth Floor Strategic Communications announces the addition of flooring company FLOR and lifestyle performance brand Hawke & Co. as new clients to the agency roster.

Glo Creative has hired Lamont Johnson as Public Relations Director.

 

 

6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Influencer Marketing

Is Influencer Marketing the Right Brand Strategy?

The growth of influencer marketing means many companies are wondering if it’s a viable marketing strategy. The truth is not every company is ready, or well suited, for influencer marketing. Keep these questions in mind when determining if working with influencers is the right marketing strategy to implement,

1. Are you looking for a Brand influencer or a Brand ambassador

Brand influencers are content creators who talk about products and services within a certain niche, such as travel, health or fashion. Brand ambassadors, or spokespeople, on the other hand, are typically hired to talk about a brand. The relationship may not always align with their values or product preferences (are top celebrities really using $7 drugstore shampoo?).

Let’s put it another way: you’re looking to buy a new pair of Nike sneakers. What will impact your purchasing decision: a Nike commercial, or your best friend who bought them and raves about them? The commercial might entice you, but it’s your friend who will ultimately push you to buy.

That’s what influencer marketing is all about, and for this reason, influencers can be tremendous assets to a brand. Rather than talking about the product, you’re letting other people do it for you, organically.

2. Do you host a lot of events?

For many businesses, event marketing is key. A brand influencer can attend events and network on your behalf. If they love your brand, why not create an event for them to bring in their audience?

Many fashion brands do this with bloggers. A blogger will promote the event on their blog and social channels, encouraging local readers to come to the store event. These events are often an extension of a partnership between a blogger and the brand. A blogger hosts a store event, inviting people to try on looks (see an example of an influencer promoting a store event with a post from Julia of Lemon Stripes promoting an event with Madewell). If your store wants to bring in foot traffic, influencer marketing can be a great tactic.

3. Do you want to inspire action?

If you’re simply looking for brand awareness, traditional marketing might be a better fit, as a brand influencer does much more than promotion. While influencers certainly raise awareness, their primary role from a brand perspective is to inspire engagement and action.

Influencers are very intentional with what they choose to talk about, and therefore have a specific niche and an earned audience. When they share reviews and experiences, they impact the audience’s purchasing behavior.

If we look back at the Nike example, an influencer might share an Instagram or write a blog post featuring a new look with her favorite Nike sneakers. Their audience, in turn, is more likely to buy the shoes because they trust the influencer.

If you’re simply looking for brand awareness, traditional marketing might be a better fit, as a brand influencer does much more than promotion.

4. Are you willing to give up control of your message?

With a brand ambassador, you have the ability to control your message. What do you want them to say? What key points do they need to mention? Influencer marketing is different. It’s about finding an individual who is compatible with your brand, while still allowing the influencer to infuse their own voice and style.

You can certainly ask an influencer to address specific points; however, those points should seamlessly flow with the rest of their story, not just yours. The key is to allow them to be creative with their content, otherwise the message won’t feel authentic. If you aren’t willing to let influencers share their own message regarding your brand, then influencer marketing isn’t an ideal strategy.

5. How much do you want to spend?

As with any marketing plan, budget is important. How you choose to spend your money can greatly impact your strategy. With influencer marketing, there are many important cost considerations that can affect your decision to work with influencers.

In most instances, you will have to offer some form of payment for an influencer’s services, whether it’s product or monetary compensation. Asking an influencer to take the time to put together content around your product for free won’t work. Depending on your campaign, your budget can start low and increase over time, rather than spending a lot upfront like you might with a brand ambassador.

Of course, depending on your notability as well as the influencer’s following, you might have to pay more upfront to work with them. Keep in mind that larger, well-known influencers can charge thousands of dollars for their work. If you’re not prepared to spend that kind of money, consider searching for influencers who have a smaller reach.

In addition, you can always ask for a media kit during initial discussions. Those numbers can give you a better sense of the ask before you dive too deep into discussions, and determine whether they’re willing to negotiate. If you’re unsure about how much to spend, start small and then track results.

If you’re unsure about how much to spend, start small and then track results.

6. Are you looking for a partnership?

One-time collaborations are great for sending out messages about your brand in the short term. If you have a new product launch in the works, working with a few people to craft and share your message prior to or on the day-of launch is probably enough. While you certaintly can work with influencers in the short term, it’s much more benefial to think about long-term opportunities.

One of the best parts about working with influencers is the potential for lasting relationships. You get to work with people who genuinely love talking about your brand with their audience. Think about the big picture. Is there a potential for a one-off project to turn into something more?

A partnership ensures that you are consistently putting out a message about your company to attract new and loyal customers. And you’ll feel comfortable knowing that you are working with someone who truly enjoys collaborating with your brand.

If you’ve determined that influencer marketing is suitable for your business goals, the next step is to start looking for the right influencers. Don’t let numbers be your sole focus. Look for influencers who have engaging readers and followers.

Relevance is just as important, as you want to attract the right customers. Build and nuture relationships with influencers who are eager to help promote your brand, and sales and new business opportunities will come.

ABOUT ELLEN

Ellen Borza is an Online PR Specialist at Web Talent Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency located in Lancaster, PA. Ellen earned a B.A. in communications and a B.S. in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. When Ellen isn’t conducting outreach for her clients, she loves reading and writing about the latest digital marketing trends, especially as they relate to fashion. In her free time, she authors her own fashion and lifestyle blog.

Media List Sale

Media List Sale

PR Girls We Love: Elisa Richardson, Communications & PR at VSCO

Tech Publicist VSCO Public Relations Interview

Elisa is the New York City PR Girl at the helm of communications at VSCO, who recently announced that their popular photo app has 30 million monthly active users and 5B images consumed on a monthly basis. Prior to joining VSCO, Elisa worked for corporate and financial communications firm Brunswick Group.  While there, she spent time in-house at Facebook during their IPO, after which she left to join an innovative 3D printing startup called Shapeways. Connections made throughout her career led to a year of freelance work until the opportunity to join VSCO fell into her lap. As a massive fan of the app, Elisa couldn’t help but to go for it. And the rest is picture perfect history.

 

Eliza Richardson, PR at VSCOName: Elisa Richardson
Company: VSCO
Title: PR & Communications Manager
Education: BA DePauw University
Instagram: @elisarichie
Twitter: @elisarichardson

How did you get started in PR?

I realized that I loved the news but I wasn’t interested in working as a reporter. I was fascinated by the idea of being able to impact what stories were in the news and how they were told. My first PR internship was at The Brunswick Group. I learned so much that summer and fell in love with the firm, and was able to turn it into a full time job once I graduated from college.

How did you get the job you have now?

I was very fortunate in that at a young age I also realized that I had a passion for companies that were doing innovative things in the tech space. From there I was able to steer myself toward working with specific companies, which helped me diversify my background and work experience. I think I largely got the job at VSCO by having great experience in both the tech and design industry. That paired with a lot of hard work and an open mind.

What are your primary responsibilities in this position?

I currently oversee all external public relations and communications, as well as internal comms and messaging. Our team is small so we wear a lot of hats!

What is the mood like in the office?

The mood at VSCO’s NYC office is always pretty upbeat. We’re in a really large open format office so there’s a lot of collaboration happening, music being played, and photographers coming to shoot. It’s honestly so much fun.

Right now I’m focused on changing the perception of VSCO as being just a photo editing app. We’ve got an awesome platform and a massive community that’s actively sharing some of the most incredible content that I’ve seen on the web. We also just launched VSCO Originals, our first entry into original content, which we’re all really excited about.

Interview with Elisa Richardson, PR at VSCO

Inside the VSCO offices

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

Recently I faced a situation in which I had to convince a large group that based on my experience, a certain course of action was the best course. Not only did I face a ton of opposition, which is always hard, but I found myself getting frustrated about having to explain the reasoning behind my thinking.

Right now I’m focused on changing the perception of VSCO as being just a photo editing app.

Luckily, I was able to understand where others in the group were coming from and re-evaluate my own response to the situation to turn it into a positive. With a fresh perspective, I was able to have a really productive and healthy conversation with the group that took me off of the defensive and helped us all get to a great place of understanding. It sounds like a small win but I was really proud of myself for being able to quickly shift my mental state and ultimately bring a lot of light to the situation.

What are you really good at?

I’m really good at judging situations – whether it be in communications or in my personal life. I can take a complex situation, figure out what’s going on relatively quickly, and then swiftly decide how best to respond. I think it may be because I have a background in crisis communications and M&A or maybe I’m born with it? Either way, I’m grateful.

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

Working with a small team on the Facebook IPO was really memorable. Being at Facebook’s HQ the day of listing is something that I will never forget.

Interview with Elisa Richardson, PR at VSCO

Admiring the art at the BK Museum Exhibit Opening

Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Pulling off a massive press event with Dita Von Teese and The Ace Hotel around the unveiling of a fully 3D printed dress. The whole thing was very glam.

Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?

Answering investor calls when In-Bev bought Anheuser-Busch. Let’s just say that the calls were from a lot of very upset midwesterners that were not very kind. I was also really junior at the firm and my seat rotation at the time landed me directly next to the head partner of the New York office (talk about on-the-job training). I still remember how red my face would turn when having to politely ask the caller to stop cursing. I both cringe and laugh when I think back on it now.

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

Lots of yoga. Hah! No, I think it’s all about perspective and yoga really does help with that. Whenever I’m having a tough go of things, I always try to change my perspective and see if there’s a way to take a fresher approach.  In this industry I think it’s also key to not take anything personally. That was a huge lesson for me.

What are three must-have tools that are essential to your job?

  • I’ve been loving Slack! My inbox is totally free of emails from my co-workers, it’s amazing. I basically have one big inbox of press emails which makes my life so much easier to sort.
  • Any monitoring software. I’ve been using Trendkite recently and am a big fan; Google News helps a ton too. I do miss my Bloomberg Terminal though!
  • I can’t leave out my iPhone, without it I’m pretty sure I would never make it to a meeting on time.

What do you wish more people understood about your job?

I think people think that press is a given and that if you’re in a publicist role or anything PR related you can nail down stories no matter what. I wish they realized how much goes into it…from the pitch, to the assets, to targeting the right reporter, making sure they have the time, etc. It’s a lot and what it comes down to is dealing with people, and that people are volatile beings who have opinions and feelings (especially reporters).

 In this industry I think it’s also key to not take anything personally. That was a huge lesson for me.

The VSCO Offices

No view is bad at VSCO HQ

What’s the biggest challenge facing communicators right now?

I think one of the biggest challenges facing communicators is the fact that reporters are being inundated with pitches now more so than ever and it’s become increasingly hard to get coverage. I do think it forces you as a communicator to get creative with both your pitch and your assets, which is niche but it’s definitely a challenge. Companies and brands are announcing new products, partnerships, and initiatives at such a rapid pace that it’s hard to keep up. I push myself to think creatively about every pitch and to be unafraid to pitch angles that aren’t necessarily traditional.

PR trends are always changing – how do you keep up?

I read. I read everything. Digital trend reports, print news, online news, social media, my younger cousin’s diary. Everything. I really think that reading and just continually keeping your eyes and ears open is the only way to stay on top of trends.

I push myself to think creatively about every pitch and being unafraid to pitch angles that aren’t necessarily traditional.

What type of person thrives at VSCO?

Open minded people thrive at VSCO. If you can approach tasks with an open mind and aren’t afraid to get a little creative, you’ll fit right in.

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

I think the most helpful thing I could tell someone would be to get really clear on what your interests are. From there, focus on self-discovery and identifying your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be afraid of your weaknesses but embrace them so that you can to allow yourself to improve and always keep an open mind. From there, good things will just happen.

Thanks Elisa!

Behind the Scenes with #TheRevolutionaries, a Video Series Highlighting Forward Thinking Communicators

Agency launches video series profiling PR professionals

There is a revolution happening in communication. And the people who aren’t afraid of the unknown are breaking through the noise to stand out as leaders across their respective industries.

At C1 Revolution, we call them The Revolutionaries. And, as their name suggests, they’re a busy bunch, hustling behind the scenes to create the biggest waves in the business.

To join the conversation, we decided to spotlight these innovators by developing a web series, in partnership with Entrepreneur Magazine, to highlight forward-thinking work in communication, public relations, marketing, advertising, social media, journalism, events and branding. The idea took years to flesh out but there were a few milestones that stick out that led to its creation. Here’s a bit about how we brought this idea from brainstorm to YouTube!

We chose to turn toward change, rather than lose direction in the chaos

I attended graduate school for journalism in 2008, a turning point for traditional and digital media. We were panicking that newspapers were on their way out, Twitter was emerging as a news source (I actually wrote a paper on how it was a fad that would soon be over) and Patch was portrayed as the savior of online news.

Now as the founder of C1 Revolution, a communication start-up of creatives that offers brand amplification, I know that what worked a year ago can very well be out of date today. Instead of trying to overanalyze the industry and identify a blanket approach to address all the changes in how people seek out information and connect online, I decided to embrace the chaos. For me that meant going directly to the people who are successfully navigating the field and asking them to share their stories.

Communicators often make things look easy and appear as if they happen overnight. But with this series, we break down the complex, time-consuming and stressful situations it takes to create big moments that might last a few minutes – but take weeks, if not months (or years!) on the front and back end, to execute.

We chose video as our medium

Even though video content remains expensive to produce, I felt that viewers needed to see the experts to buy into the concept. When you see the variety in age, race and experience of the communicators profiled in the series, it really helps our audience to understand that the roadblocks, challenges and opportunities are universal. You feel less alone. The frustration ends up feeling like a natural part of the process, not an never-ending loop.

We hired the right team

When I fully fleshed out the idea for this series, I called Adam Banicki, producer and cinematographer to help me bring this project to life.  He said yes but there was one caveat – it would have to be shot the following week before he started a documentary project. In one week, we put together more than 20 interviews with communicators across lifestyle, sports, non-profit and media brands.

We profiled the right people

We are so proud of #TheRevolutionaries we have profiled thus far. Among them, Brook Jay, co-founder of All Terrain, an experiential marketing agency whose clients included the Chicago Blackhawks, GM and the Cosmopolitan in Vegas; Nathan Michael, a photographer who shoots Instagram content for brands like Wendy’s and American Express; Fallon Ryan, PR director for Lana Jewelry, who helped place the accessories line in 24 images used in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition (including Gigi Hadid, Chrissy Teigen and Erin Heatherton); and Cody Madsen, a producer for the Chicago Bulls who’s living the millennial and sports-fan dream of having with his favorite athletes, Snapchatting and getting paid to do it.

When you see the variety in age, race and experience of the communicators profiled in the series, it really helps our audience to understand that the roadblocks, challenges and opportunities are universal.

We continue to optimize our process

Personally, I’m proud that an idea has become a movement, and that Entrepreneur saw the value and wanted to distribute it. Recently, I was able to sit down with Ludacris to discuss the success of the Fast & Furious franchise, making a film that speaks to minorities, and the power of social media. It’s just been incredible.

We are determined to keep this project alive and we are facing different challenges to make it happen. We are continuously evaluating our process, broadening our ask, and finding new ways to keep people engaged with the series.

For agencies and brands there is still opportunity to carve out a niche through video and establish yourself as a leader and content creator in the space.  The other side of it is, does it make sense for you company? Will it impact your bottom line? For C1 Revolution the answer is yes. Not only because we love telling stories and promoting people we love, but because it allows us to refine our process and provide a better service to our clients. By creating content and promoting our series, it allows us to test new ideas on ourselves rather than our clients. In turn, people who we respect in the industry are given the platform to share their expertise. The result is vertical integration for our company and the result is a win-win.

 

About Ximena Beltran

Prior to founding C1 Revolution, Ximena lead Walgreens’ social media team in an analyst role on risk management issues. Her unique expertise and relatively new role is social has been called upon by media and educators to weigh in on industry trends, including in a Macmillan college textbook on digital branding and reputation.

Ximena specializes in using social media for public relations campaigns to create offline engagement. She is fluent in Spanish, providing past employers with an edge in understanding the Hispanic market and being able to quickly turn-around translations.

Handle Tiny PR Budgets with Smart Small Business Marketing

PR for brands with small budgets

As PR professionals, we’ve all had our fair share of clients with incredible projects but with a serious lack of budget wiggle room. Yet, we take them on because we truly believe in them, and because as PR mavens we’re used to making even the impossible happen!

However, it’s still important to keep in mind that there’s a difference between a client with a small budget, and a client who is simply just unwilling to expand their budget. The latter usually never works out, and often times—after much back and forth—they either give in or disappear.

For those clients you love, but that come with a barely-there budget, follow these creative tips to help you do more, with less.

1. Be realistic with your client from the start

You may expect a client’s expectations to be realistic, given the tiny retainer/budget they have to work with. Unfortunately, I’ve found that often its the clients with smallest budgets that come with the highest expectations. Nip this potential problem in the bud right away by setting clear expectations.

Most often, clients need to hear assurances that their brand is important to you as their publicist, and that you’re committed to brainstorming all kinds of possibilities for them and their project. At the same time, it’s important for you to be clear about what type of results are realistic. So have an honest conversation with your client, letting them know the pros and cons of different PR or marketing strategies within their budget. Explain your capabilities (and any prospective limitations), based on the amount of hours you can dedicate to their brand, based on your rate.

2. Prioritize organic PR over paid opportunities

When you don’t have any extra money to spare, social sponsorships and paid influencer campaigns are out. Instead, focus on traditional PR outreach possibilities and what you can offer beyond a free sample and a check.  Think about what your client has to offer that you can use to their advantage to attract the right attention; editorial samples, a free product trial, private tour, exclusive interview or event invite can help to establish goodwill toward your client.

Can you organize a press event, or book desk side appointments to give editors a personalized experience of the brand? Or perhaps there’s a way to fit your client into a real time marketing campaign. Paid sponsorships are such a small part of PR (and such a recent development in the grand scheme of things), so show off your bootstraps and bring new opportunities to the table.

3. Make timing your ally

It’s difficult to jump from brainstorm sessions to pitching, to closing placements, and back again. Before you start the proposal phase, take the time to mine through campaign ideas and story angles so that you have a general sense of where to begin, before you start tracking hours. Consider whether you can realistically do your best work on such a project. Mapping out your approach from the start will not only save you time, but also help you from hitting any surprise barriers. Chance favors the prepared, after all.

I’ve found that often its the clients with smallest budgets that come with the highest expectations. Nip this potential problem in the bud right away by setting clear expectations.

What are the PR opportunities you can take advantage of immediately? Does the client’s product or service that play well with the current calendar, or is it likely going to be months before the media timing is a fit? For a highly giftable client coming to you for help in June, for example, those holiday gift guides are going to be huge. If they are coming to you in January, however, you won’t be able to take advantage of that gifting angle. What will be your approach as a result?

4. Focuses on quality coverage rather than quantity

What is it exactly that your client wants to achieve and what kind of results are they looking for? When you’re limited money-wise, quality always triumphs and sometimes even this fact has to be explained to your client.

One great placement in a top tier magazine beats three mediocre mentions of the brand in three different publications that may or may not be read by your target customers. You want your client to be seen and recognized by their target consumers. This may take a bit more time, but it’s well worth it, and in the end will really pay off for both you and your client. Prioritize your efforts on ensuring the ensuring the coverage in publications that can truly move the needle, and on securing on-message coverage that the company can parlay into new opportunities.

Small PR budgets are workable, if the client has a compelling story to tell, and if you have the relationships and know-how to make the most of your time spent on the account. However, without smart planning, clear expectations and creativity, your ultimate success hangs in the balance.

YSL Deletes Instagram, Surprising PR Skills and the Latest Social Media Data

Fashion, FTC, State of News Media, Twitter, Emojis and Advertisers

Fashion PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of April 4, 2016

  • Refinery29 co-founder and co-CEO Philippe von Borries talks “native advertising” and the $100 million check he’ll be cashing this year from ad sales alone. (via ReCode)
  • GIFs are finally going mainstream. At Social Media Week, Outlook announced that its software would release a Giphy plug-in. How are you using GIFs? (via Social Media Week)
  • Rachel Roy is making a pivot to her fashion brand with a new line of plus-size styles, plus a new book, “Design Your Life: Creating Success Through Personal Style.” (via LA Times)
  • One fashion house is doing more than just making you look pretty. Rallier has implemented the buy-one-give-one model, donating uniforms to girls in poverty-stricken regions. (via eCouterre)
  • In PR, life isn’t always about PR. You’ve got to have common sense, creativity, and a keen sense of business to succeed. (via Spin Sucks)
  • There’s a new digital player in town. Time Inc. is restructuring some of it’s smaller brands under one umbrella – The InStyle Collection – combining InStyle, xoJane, xoVain, The Outfit, and Mimi. (via FishbowlNY)

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