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New tech solutions for fashion PR agencies and brands A PR Couture Guest Article by Nour Al Hammoud

Less Admin, More Strategy: New Fashion PR Tech Solutions You Need to Know About

Affordable small-scale manufacturing options, fashion technology business applications, and low overhead e-commerce solutions are reducing the need for so much upfront capital to enter fashion entrepreneurship. As a result, there are a lot of new independent entrepreneurs entering the fashion market and providing tech solutions for the communications industry and beyond.

For those in fashion public relations and related fields, the rise of digital has intensified opportunities and required continual innovation. The conventional fashion PR approach heavily relies on maintaining relationships with media and stylists, and generating press coverage, product placement and social media mentions.

Administrative operations around these fundamental basics can take over the majority of in-house and/or agency PR resources, as they traditionally require individual transactions, positioning PR agents merely as intermediaries. But with an abundance of media outlets, a culture of content overload, and quickly evolving communication channels, the traditional approach is insufficient. It’s irrational and expensive.

Although PR is a long-term investment and it definitely takes time to build exposure and momentum towards brand awareness, traditional processes towards editorial engagement are outdated because they are neither scalable nor cost-effective in a growing and evolving media environment.

New approach to Fashion PR

A few fashion-tech start-ups such as my company, spOt the shop (sign up for a free 14 day trial through PR Couture), affiliate powerhouse rewardStyle, influencer directory Fohr CardGet Media Happy (which connects media queries to lifestyle brands), and Production Showroom (which connects brands to stylists and costume designers) have created fashion specialized PR solutions that cater to the evolution and growth of the media industry. By taking advantage of these new companies, media, brands, stylists and publicists can work together more resourcefully and more efficiently.

These global online solutions promote productivity, consistency and scalability of PR campaigns, as they streamline or even automate many of the administrative tasks related to media and blogger relations. For example, by allowing brands, designers, showrooms and PR agents to consolidate and tag their seasonal collections and marketing assets, spOt the shop allows publishers and stylists to easily search and filter through seasonal collections, effortlessly discover, and instantly access pertinent materials and products for their media outlets.

Some PR agencies are leading the industry by adopting these tech-based PR management solutions to complement their efforts and streamline clerical processes. This allows communication professionals to focus on high-level strategy, creative concepts and to differentiate themselves by producing incredibly customized and proactive communication programs for their clients.

Some PR agencies are leading the industry by adopting these tech-based PR management solutions to complement their efforts and streamline clerical processes.

Steeped in the tradition of "but we've always done it this way," or a misunderstanding of the true value of their own expertise, the majority of PR agencies are slow to adapt. PR agency business models are habitually built on the promise of media coverage through administrative activities; essentially leasing contact lists until the relationship between the brand and agency is terminated, and offering cookie-cutter PR services in exchange for ambiguous retainers. Agencies still believe that their contact lists and relationships are their bread and butter, but those ushering in a new way of providing clients value realize a contact list and administrative work (emails, sample management, tracking sheets) is what’s keeping their business alive, it's time to reevaluate.

The true value of a PR professional is the ability to craft strategic programs that generate calculated results. Today, more than ever, a PR campaign needs a cohesive strategy for it to be effective, and adapting to new technologies can elevate our conversations, expand our reach, and give us the time we need to focus on strategic and creative work.

What this shift means for Publicists and PR Agencies

Administrative PR processes have to evolve to catch up with the growth of the media industry and to make room for PR creativity and originality. Let’s be real: PR is certainly more than social media, networking and pitching media. Today, more than ever, a PR campaign needs a cohesive strategy for it to be effective, and adapting to new technologies can elevate brand conversations, expand reach, and optimize processes to allow us to get back to acting as that true extension of a company's executive team.

About Nour Al Hammoud 

Nour is a fashion and lifestyle PR consultant and the founder of spOt the shop, an innovative and specialized PR platform and solution that caters to the growing and evolving fashion and lifestyle markets and media landscape.

Nour has been in the PR industry for over a decade and has worked both in-house and on the agency side. She has helped established recognized brands such as BCBG Max Azria, Herve Leger, Stuart Weitzman, DKNY and Le Château promote their businesses, and has collaborated with dozens of talented emerging and independent designers.

Please note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

(A version of this post originally appeared on Startup Fashion. It has been modified and reposted with permission.)

Image via: Glam Getaways 

onlinerep A PR Couture Guest Post by Jana Glowatz

A PR Girl Guide to Protecting Your Digital Reputation

In the world of PR, a publicist’s job title entails many different roles, which probably explains why some people still aren’t sure what it is that we do. One major role is playing the “hero.” It is our responsibility to make sure we always represent our client in the most positive light, enforcing why others should want to feature or work with them as well as purchase their products. When a client has a problem, we step in, put out the fire and dodge any other obstacles that may stand in our way. When a client is faced with an unfortunate circumstance or an unexpected negative is revealed, we need to come to the rescue, switch into “crisis management” mode and help maintain and save our client’s reputation in order to get them back into that positive light.

What about you and your business? Who’s your hero? With the Internet and social media having such a prominent presence in how we do business, your online reputation is your business card that you present to the world. In fact, it takes just seven seconds for a person to form an opinion of someone, and 93% of that comes from your image. The reality is if someone wants to know about you, all they have to do is check Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Therefore we need to be conscious as to what is out there in cyberspace for the world to see. Unfortunately, what you may discover is not always pretty and we often have to go into crisis management mode for ourselves.

With the Internet and social media having such a prominent presence in how we do business, your online reputation is your business card that you present to the world.

Not everything you read online is true.

The Internet is often a great source and an amazing tool for us when it comes to doing our job, but on the flip side no one is really monitoring what gets posted online. Former employers or employees, disgruntled clients and even competition can take to an Internet forum and say whatever they want about you or your company whether it’s true or not. It could be a review, a blog or a site that caters to this type of activity, but once it’s out there, there’s not much you can do to get it down.

From personal experience with a former employer who took to the Internet in an attempt to cyber bully me, cripple my new business and smear my name, I’ve unfortunately learned a thing or two on what you can do to be on alert if this happens to you. Here are a few cautionary steps you can take to make ensure you're making a good impression to potential clients.

 Precautionary steps

  • Google Alerts – set up alerts to let you know if anything has been posted online that includes your name or your company’s name.
  • Google Yourself – no it’s not being vane, every once in a while take a moment to check out what others are seeing when they research you.
  • Resolve - always try your best to settle any type of animosity or problems with clients, ex employees or employers.
  • Think Before you Click - if you don’t want the world to see or know everything about you, don’t put it online period.

When you need to go into Crisis Management for yourself

  • Acknowledge – if there’s absolutely nothing you can do about the negativity posted online, then be aware that it may raise questions from people who stumble upon it. Do your best to explain the situation without too much detail and counteract the negative with a positive; like a link to your online portfolio with all of the press you have garnered for your clients.
  • Comment or Reply – respond to the posting in a cool and collected manner trying to resolve the problem and not bash the initial party.
  • White Hats – reach out to clients who are happy, editors who you’ve worked with and anyone else business related that will write a referral singing your praises.
  • Testimonials – post these positive comments anywhere you can, put them on your website and include them in your email signature where people can easily access the link.

What else would you add? How have you handled a situation like this?

About Jana Glowatz:

Jana is the CEO and Founder of JANA Public Relations based in Miami, Fl. Jana has an established history within the industry and is a veteran when it comes to working with celebrities, stylists, editors and events. Prior to owning her agency, she held the title of fashion & accessories director at New York and Miami PR firms.

 

Image via: Favim

FPRF Fashion PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of March 30, 2015

Nordstrom’s Secrets, Fashion April Fools & Zappos Bans Bosses

  • Live-streaming is making Fashion Week accessible to everyone around the world. Is it going to change the Fashion Week model for good? (via Style)
  • Heavy social media using models are inspiring personality and not just beauty. (via AdWeek)
  • So you want to be rock star? Not that type of rock - the bling bling kind. Enter to win your chance to design your own jewelry line with JTV. (via JTV)
  • These are they types of personalities that are happiest at their jobs. Where do you fall?
  • The digital secrets of Nordstrom's success. (via Digiday)
  • European mega fast fashion brand Primark is coming statewide and it could mean big things to its competitors. (via Racked)
  • There goes Zappos with its work model. CEO says take the no boss model or be gone. What do you think? (via Fast Company)
  • The fashion elite sure have a sense of humor. Here are some of the best April Fools jokes by the fashion community. (via Quartz)
  • How to sell a brand without a big name behind it. (via BBC)
  • As warmer weather shines upon us, let's take a look at the history of one of our favorite accessories: the sunnies! (via Refinery29)

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Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, Founder of PR Couture, Fashion Brand Strategist and PR Girl Mentor. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixir sessions or shoot me a note.