Archive | February, 2012

Facebook Timeline is Good News for Fashion Brands

29 Feb

This past Wednesday, Facebook announced that Timeline is now live for certain organizations who use pages, and will be live for everyone March 30.  Pictured above is Kate Spade’s interactive new page.  We’re already used to Timeline on our own or friend’s pages which allows us to look back at our history on Facebook, but what does this change mean for brands?  Well, it could mean great things.

The layout of the page alone creates a much more visually pleasing look; with the opportunity for brands to use the cover photo as a place for logos, production promotions an all around creative way to capture people’s attention.  The old format of Facebook got boring, with just line after line of text.  The new Timeline has an improved layout, that to me is similar looking to Pinterest, featuring two columns scattered with pictures and posts chronicling your past.  Think about how insanely popular sites like Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest have become.  People would prefer to browse through photographs rather then text, and the pictures help create an image with which we remember a company.

This setup also lets people connect with the identity of the brand and learn about it’s history.  The new Timeline allows companies to enter in events that occurred before Facebook, even dating back to the founding of the company. Burberry’s Facebook Timeline dates back to 1856, when they opened their first store in Basingstoke, England.  Their cover photo is a black-and-white picture of the store opening way back then, making consumers feel more connected to Burberry and it’s history, (like I said in my last post, they really are an industry leader in using social media).  In addition, brands are able to highlight specific milestones or photos by starring the post, which expands it to fill both columns and drawing attention to it.  The opportunities are endless, and the whole experience of going on Facebook will be so much more engaging and personal for consumers.  It’s especially great for fashion brands since fashion is all about seeing the clothes, not necessarily reading about them.  Starting March 30, all pages will switch over to the new Timeline, so here’s two key strategies to help you prepare:

  1. Figure out what you want to use as your cover photo.  It’s the first thing that people see when they visit your page and Facebook has given it a lot of space.  You can change this photo often to keep your page interesting.  You can also use it as a way to promote new products or brand representatives.
  2. Go through your company’s history, back to its founding, and highlight which events you want on the Timeline.  The ability to do this creates a much more engaging experience for visitors to your page, so use it to your advantage.

I’m excited to see how brands use Timeline and it’s features.  What do you guys think?

 

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Burberry Leads the Way in Social Media Use

26 Feb

Yet another innovative and creative way to incorporate social media into the world of fashion was unveiled last week at London Fashion Week.  Burberry, already a leader in using Twitter, took their game to a whole new level when they debuted their Spring/Summer 2012 line.  The brand shared looks from the runway show via Twitter to all of there followers, before the show even happened; bringing designer fashion events, usually reserved for the rich and famous, to a level the everyday consumer can participate in.  Some of the images were even in the form of animated GIFs (explained more here), which made them even more interactive.  Here’s a full set of the photos and animated GIFs from the Burberry fashion show…pretty cool, right?

Not only did Burberry grant their Twitter followers first-looks at their new designs, but the show was live-streamed via burberry.com, Facebook and on live screens set up at London’s Liverpool street station, Heathrow, Cromwell Road and LED screens outside Burberry stores in Beijing.  But they didn’t stop there, live streams were set up to be viewed on both the iPhone and iPad, as well as on Chinese social networks Sina Weibo and Youku.  While live-streaming and Tweeting from the show, Burberry also updated their Instagram with photos.

Burberry managed to turn what is usually a 20 minute runway show in London, into an event that was viewed all around the world.  High-end fashion used to be so unattainable to the majority of people, but brands who have used social media to bring runway shows to living rooms everywhere, have finally found a way to build stronger relationships with consumers.  For a week after the show, Burberry lovers were able to purchase the entire collection, along with beauty products and fragrances, on their website and at 25 Burberry stores around the world.  By providing full-access to the show and immediate access to the line, Burberry is leading the way in social media use and I expect to see other brands follow in their designer footsteps.

Photo Credit: Tobias Kankelborg

 

Fashion 2.0 Awards

26 Feb

Last week, on the tail-end of New York Fashion Week, 450 fashionistas met in New York for the 3rd Annual Fashion 2.0 Awards presented by Style Coalition.  Big names included social media innovators from DKNY, Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs and Bergdorf Goodman.  The event was also available via livestream of course.  The Fashion 2.0 Awards are said by many to be one of the most important nights in fashion, recognizing designers and brands for their innovative and exceptional achievements using a wide-variety of digital media as communication strategies.  The nominees were chosen by a group of influential industry representatives and fans, winners were chosen by the public.

This award show demonstrates the undeniable importance of digital and social media, and the role it now plays in the fashion world.  Designers have found creative ways to connect with their customers and use social media to their advantage.  Style Coalition Founder and CEO Yuli Ziv told Fashionably Marketing Me, “The breadth of this year’s nominees and winners shows the importance fashion brands have placed on the medium…The Awards capture the spirit of social media and the ceremony brought together all of the talented people who are driving the innovation.”  Social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest seem to be tailor made for the fashion world.  They provide a ad-free and clutter-free inspirational place where customers and designers can learn from one another.

Big winners for the night included:

  • Best Twitter: @DKNY
  • Best Facebook: Bergdorf Goodman
  • Best Blog by a Fashion Brand: DKNY PR Girl
  • Best Website: Marc Jacobs
  • Best Mobile App: Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring Finder
  • Top Innovator: Kate Spade
  • Fashion 2.0 Visionary Award: Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-founders, Gilt Groupe

And not surprisingly, the “Next Big Thing in Tech” was awarded to Instagram, which brands are quickly adopting as a part of their social marketing strategies.  I think it’s fantastic that these awards specifically honor designers who are using digital media in new and creative ways.  It’s clear that being tech-savvy and building connections with customers via social media is a vital part of any business, and these brands have proven that.  What’s your favorite brand using social media?

Photo Credit: Sunny Norton

Pinterest: The Hottest Website of 2012?

24 Feb

It’s true, according to CNN who has predicted that Pinterest will be the website to watch in 2012.  And, the Wall Street Journal recently named it the “hottest startup in Silicon Valley.”  If you’re not already on Pinterest, you should definitely take some time (and by time I mean clear out a few hours, it can be addicting) to check out the site.  If you don’t have a few hours free right now, I’ll give you a quick overview of what it is.

Pinterest was launched almost two years ago, and since then has reached almost instant popularity.  The site is a visual social network featuring mood boards where users post photographs of things they like, and others can then repin them onto their own boards.  Last month Pinterest surpassed 11 million unique page views, more than double the the number who visited the site in November; according to TechCrunch, “crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history.”  The site hosts a wide-variety of users, including fashion editors and designers, and companies like General Electric.  Roughly 68% of users are women between the ages of 18 and 35.  The instant widespread popularity of Pinterest has caught the eyes of retailers, who are using the site to help draw attention to their products.  However, Pinterest etiquette urges users, “don’t use Pinterest as purely a self-promotion tool.”

Companies are catching on to the craze, and using Pinterest to share products with consumers, create an inspirational atmosphere to connect with customers and as an easy way to drive traffic to their site.  Lands End found an innovative way to be the first company to incorporate a contest into their Pinterest account.  All users had to do was create a Lands End mood board, and pin some of their favorite Lands End items onto their boards.  After they emailed in the links to their boards (increasing email subscribers) they were qualified to win $2500 in gift cards…it was as easy as that!  Lands End increased traffic and time spent on their site, which increased sales and upped their email subscribers.  What a smart idea!  Here’s a few ways how brands could benefit from the wonderfully simple Pinterest:

  • Running a contest through Pinterest is much simpler than Facebook, which has a lot of complicated rules for how you’re allowed to use their site for promotion.
  • Many companies are saying that Pinterest is already bringing in as much, if not more site traffic, than Facebook and Twitter.   When users click on a picture they like, it will take them directly to your webpage!
  • Pinterest is all visual, so it’s a great way for fashion brands to share with consumers what their new looks are.
  • The site creates an inspirational atmosphere, where users can get a better idea of a brand’s personality and feel more connected to it.
  • Not only will your brand gain more notoriety, you will be able to see which looks are most popular and resonate with consumers.

And, it’s fun!!  Pinterest is a great way to see what inspires other people, and is free and easy to use.  So if you’re not already on Pinterest, I would definitely go check it out.

 

Twitter-holics. They’re Everywhere.

15 Feb

Do you know any?  Are you one?  Or maybe you are, and you don’t even know.  Ragan’s PR Daily recently posted an article discussing a study conducted at the University of Chicago, which reported that the desire to use social media is harder to resist than the urge to drink or smoke.  The study measured the actions of 205 participants, ages 18-25, over a span of seven days.  They were asked seven times a day, over a 14 hour period, what their desire to use social media was.  Of the 10,588 responses, 7,827 reported they felt a ‘strong desire.’  All of this meaning that the desire to tweet or use email, is stronger than the desire to drink, smoke or drink coffee.

Now personally, I don’t find this all that surprising.  I definitely know some twitter-holics, and can be sure they exist everywhere.  But what’s so wrong with being addicted to tweeting?  Well on a personal level, it may loose you some followers or annoy your friends, but you probably won’t do much damage.  However, I feel that on a professional level, over-tweeting can have a negative effect on your reputation as a professional or as a company.  As far as tweeting from your own account as a professional, you don’t want to bombard people constantly with messages or else they will seem less-important and people won’t pay attention anymore.  Tweet when you have something important to say or to add to a conversation.  You need to find a balance, to make sure your presence is known and you can build a reputation, but you don’t want to annoy people and make them loose interest in you.

Learning to tweet responsibly is an important skill to learn.  If you want to use social media to further your career and make connections, then using it properly is key.  Remembering to make comments thoughtful and relevant to any conversation, instead of constantly bombarding people with messages.  It will make you stand out that much more, in a sea of tweet-aholics.

Photo Credit: Vectorportal

Sit Back, Relax & Enjoy the Show…With Fashion’s Newest App

10 Feb

“Relaxing” is not usually the word that the majority of editors and buyers, who descended upon NYC yesterday, would use to describe their experience at fashion week.  What can usually be an overwhelming experience of crisscrossing across town at a superhuman pace to make as many shows as possible, may be made easier by this new app.  Made Fashion Week, which takes place February 8-15, gives designers another outlet to debut their collections, aside from the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week venues.  This year they have provided an app, for both fashionistas and editors alike, which provides the attendees of live runway shows, along with app users, an innovative way to review each look.

The app, which is available at both the Apple app store and the Android Market, synchs up with the runway show the user is attending and tells them which outfit is being shown, along with details such as the designers name, biography and contact information.  But, how does it work?  Well, the app has been designed to pick up soundwaves from the show, which then prompts it to pull up the outfit coming down the runway, with pictures taken from an on-site photographer.  Users can then tag the looks, and share their favorites via social media like Twitter.

What a great way for designers to ensure that no one misses a part of the show because they’re looking down scribbling notes.  Not only that, they are making their shop available to fashion lovers all over, who aren’t some of the lucky few who get to attend the actual show.  Designers and companies can use analytics from the app to see which looks have been e-mailed and tweeted about the most.  This offers them a new insight into the editor’s, buyer’s and consumer’s mind that they never had before.  Although this specific app is for the designers showing at Made Fashion Week, I think it’s a fantastic idea for other designers to consider incorporating into their shows.  It opens up a new line of communication between designers and buyers, who are essentially the ones deciding which looks make it into the stores, and then into consumers shopping bags.

Photo Credit: Tony Buser

Inside the World of Fashion PR

2 Feb

When I finally make it big in fashion public relations I’ll be front-row at every Marc Jacobs show, forever jet-setting the world from NYC to Paris to Milan, VIP list at all the industry parties and BFFs with all the celebs, right??  Wrong. (Well hey, a girl can dream.)  And anyone who is actually serious about a job in fashion public relations, or any career in public relations for that matter, knows that.  Just because the word “fashion” is a part of the job title, doesn’t mean I’m fooled into believing it’s all going to be glitz and glam from the get-go, it takes hard work, creativity and long, tedious hours of dedication.

Not to say that events, traveling and attending fashion shows won’t be a part of the job, but I know that’s only a slice of the pie.  I mean, take a look at Kelly Cutrone (pictured above), founder of public relations, branding and marketing firm People’s Revolution.  Her show “Kell on Earth” is a docu-series following her and her staff on a non-stop grind, working hard to promote their clients.  In the first episode, which happens to be leading up to NYFW where they are juggling ten fashion shows, Cutrone kindly tells her staff, “I have a rule, there’s no crying in the office.  If you have to cry go outside.”  Sure, it’s a little harsh, but that proves how crazy the job can get.  So, here are some tips, a few from Ragan’s PR Daily and some from nyc PR girls, that I find helpful for surviving the crazy world of fashion public relations:

  • Attention to detail is key.   This is true in everything you do, from putting together seating for an event, sending out press releases or updating a blog.  You don’t want to spell anyone’s name incorrectly, overlook an important guest or forget to send out important samples.  Details, details, details!
  • Be proactive.  Don’t just sit around and wait for someone to tell you what to do next.  Always be on the lookout for new opportunities and fresh ways to promote your clients and help out around the office.
  • Prepare for long hours.  In fashion PR, there is no “off-switch”.  Working long hours and taking red-eyes can be part of the job, but if it’s what you love then it’s all worth it.
  • Be aware. Always take note of what other campaigns are doing that catch your eye, and brainstorm ideas of how you could use similar strategies to help your own clients.
  • Love what you do.  If you don’t have a passion for what you do, then you aren’t going to do it very well.  Take pride in your work and prove that you are cut out for the job.

What are some tips you have for staying sane and making it in the world of fashion PR?