Not every fashion brand is trying to appeal to a mainstream audience, but that doesn’t mean that strong media coverage in the right publications, influencer outreach to the right bloggers, celebrities and thought leaders, and aligned partnerships and event collaborations aren’t just as important. In fact, one of the key benefits of working with an alternative or fringe brand is a highly specialized niche market. With a clear understanding of who you are trying to reach, you can bypass ineffective media channels and uncover highly targeted opportunities that help drive brand awareness. When we talk about alternative brands, you might instantly think about punk rock clothing, goth style or retro, rockabilly styles, but this concept encompasses so much more, including brands with a religious affiliation, or those centered around a particular hobby or activity. When we work with a client whose target market is outside of the mainstream fashion niche, we recommend taking this 4-step approach:
Develop customer personasIt’s crucial to understand the nuances of how your client’s brand aligns with the identity, preferences and behaviors of your target audience. Start your media strategic approach by developing a brand identity for the girl or guy who would likely purchase the product. Write the customer persona in first person and address not only demographic information but make it highly personal – where does this person hang out, do they exercise? What TV shows do they watch? Are they tech savvy? Here’s a template you can use to get started: Hi, my name is _____. I’m ______ years old and live in______ . My favorite bands are ______ and______ , and my celebrity crush is______. On the weekends my friends and I ______ and ______. I dream of someday ______ . I like to watch______ and read______ and spend a lot of time on the websites______ and______ . I’m known for______ and my personal style is inspired by people like______ and______ . I think the world needs more ______ and less ______ .
Think outside the “fashion” boxOnce we have a clear picture of our brand’s customer, we start researching to find fringe media outlets that may work for the brand. For this, you must step away from traditional media databases and use the Internet and social media (search relevant hashtags) to find alternative media outlets and influencers. Consider online magazines and think outside US media as well; The UK is a hot bed for great alternative online and glossy magazines with gorgeous editorial spreads. A few favorites include Inked Magazine and Auxiliary for alternative fashion, Twelv, Dazed & Confused, and Grey for fashion meets culture cool.
Think outside US media as well; The UK is a hot bed for great alternative online and glossy magazines with gorgeous editorial spreads.Of course, there may be a more mainstream piece of clothing, or editorial calendar opportunity that opens up a pitch opportunity, so also do the appropriate research and identify any mainstream media outlets that would work. If so, decide on the best way to position the brand to maintain the brand’s identity or essence, but appeal to the magazine you are pitching.
Write a compelling, image-heavy pitchNow the strategy becomes straightforward. Find the story angle that explains to the editor why this brand is a fit for their audience. Often smaller fringe or alternative publications do not have budgets for photo shoots and rely heavily on high-resolution product stills so it’s worth it to ensure your clients make photography a high priority.
Often fringe or alternative publications do not have budgets for photo shoots and rely heavily on high-resolution product stills.Fringe and alternative brands offer a fashion publicist and fun and rewarding challenge to push the boundaries of creativity and ingenuity in terms of the approach to pitching and developing your list of outlets for outreach. Photo Credit: Fabio Zenoardo Photography
Grab your free email Pitch Template
Start crafting your best pitches yet. Learn our signature 3-part process for reply-worthy communication.