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?

Brands That Gives Back

31 Jan

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear of fashion brands giving back, is Toms.  Toms motto of “One for One”, meaning for every pair of shoes they sell they give a pair to a child in a developing country, caught on like wildfire and shot the brand to popularity in recent years.  It’s always refreshing to see successful companies giving back to the world, while at the same time involving their customers in the process.  Buying that new pair of shoes or shirt always feels a lot more rewarding when you know you have helped someone in need at the same time.  Believe me, I know from selling about a million (okay, maybe not a million, but it seemed like it) pairs of Toms at my last job.  When the occasional customer would come in not knowing about the Toms philosophy, it was great to see how excited they would get knowing that by buying a pair of shoes for themselves, they would also be responsible for donating a pair to a child who desperately needs them.  Giving back always feels good, and it’s a great idea for fashion brands to incorporate the idea into their business.  So that got me thinking, what are some other brands, besides Toms, that use their platform to support causes and give their customers a chance to be involved?

Marc Jacobs came out with these cute graphic tees ($35) in which 100% of the proceeds are given to Aid for AIDS Intl (AFAI).  The shirts feature drawings made by children living with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean.  What a great opportunity for the everyday fashionista to be the proud-owner of something Marc Jacobs at an affordable price, while at the same time supporting an amazing cause.  By supporting this charity, the brand not only got great feedback from both the press and the public, they expanded their customer base by making them affordable and by being proactive in supporting AFAI.

Another philanthropic brand, Krochet Kids International, not only has great apparel, but is entirely devoted to empowering women in Northern Uganda and Peru.  Each hat that Krochet Kids Intl. sells is handmade by one of 150 women in either of the two locations, and includes a tag with that woman’s name on it.  The owner of the hat is encouraged to head to the website, and has the opportunity to personally thank the woman who made their hat.  What a great idea!!  Not only do these women have jobs to help support their families, they are given an education and mentorship in order to lift them out of poverty and end their dependence on outside aid.  Krochet Kids Intl. has also recently joined the Instagram sensation, providing a place for customers to share their new apparel.  From a PR perspective, they have done a great job using social media to involve their customers with their cause by including them in every step of the process.

These brands, and many more, have taken a great opportunity to give back and involve their customers in their business.  By using social media they are keeping the world updated with their progress, and showing them how their customers have made an impact.  I think it’s a fantastic way for fashion companies to build on connections with consumers and expand their customer base, while at the same time providing help to those who need it.

 

Fashion Brands Using Instagram #brilliant

29 Jan

Social media has become such an integral part of our lives today that it’s no surprise companies are using mobile apps like Instagram’s API  to engage with consumers on a more personal level.  Instagram began as an iPhone app (surprise, surprise) where users upload their own pictures as well as comment, share and like other people’s pictures.  It’s a social network for photography.  A social network that has become so popular, pictures are being upload at a rate of 15 per second!  And like any social network, brands have recognized Instagram’s popularity and put it to good use.  Fashion brands in particular have thought of creative ways to not only promote their products using Instagram, but interact with customers and turning their brands into lifestyles.

FMM (fashionablymarketing.me) recently posted an interesting story looking into how three fashion brands, Bergdorf Goodman, ALDO and Levi’s are successfully using Instagram to promote their brand and taking their public relations to a whole new level.  And although those are the only three brands mentioned in this particular post, there are not surprisingly a handful of other fashion brands using Instragram such as Gucci, Threadless and Burberry to name a few.

Bergdorf Goodman’s “Shoes About Town” Instagram campaign has been a huge success, asking customers to upload photos depicting the secret life of their luxury shoes from Bergdorf’s.  Shenan Reed, cheif marketing officer at Morpheus Media (the company Bergdorf’s partnered with for this campaign), told FMM, “Bergdorf Goodman is very forward thinking in their use of user generated content, especially for a luxury brand. When the time came to celebrate the opening of their new Shoe Salon and their latest Shoe book, Instagram just seemed like a perfect fit. We know the Bergdorf Goodman consumer loves their shoes, and we really wanted to create an interactive program that celebrated the shoe obsessed.”  Well, they hit that one right on the nose.  Bergdorf’s clearly knows their customers, and by incorporating Instagram into their business they have reached the public on a more personal level.  Fashion is such a visual industry, and using Instagram to let the shoe-fanatic share their great finds at Bergdorf’s is a fantastic and innovative idea.

FMM also discusses how ALDO uses Instagram’s API allowing users to tell their own stories of the ALDO brand and what it means to them.  They started the campaign to support their new fragrance collection, engaging customers with a Moodboard where they pick through photographs which they feel represent them and ALDO tells them which fragrance suits them best.  They have plans to increase the levels of engagement for their users by adding games to the site, which is a great idea because clearly their customers are responding well to their Instagram campaign.

Finally, Levi’s has been using Instagram not only to promote their brand, but as a global casting call to find the freshest faces to represent Levi’s in 2012.  Talk about brilliant.  I completely agree with FMM that Levi’s has come up with a great way to encourage worldwide participation in their brand by inviting everyday people to become a part of Levi’s.  Not only are they asking customer’s to upload photos of them in their favorite Levi’s fashions, to enter the program users upload photos with the hashtag #iamlevis.  They are making their brand a lifestyle, and giving customers the chance to make it big.

It will be interesting to see which brands (fashion and all) jump on the Instagram bandwagon, because clearly it is a successful tool that connects brands with customers and reaches them on a more personal level.

Will You Be Able to Watch NYFW From Your iPhone?

26 Jan


Well, only if you are one of the carefully selected buyers, editors, stylists or industry reporters invited to view Prabal Gurung debut his new collection for ICB digitally during this February’s New York Fashion Week.  “Attendees” will be able to view the show on a computer, tablet or smartphone on February 15th, in the midst of NYFW.  Garung teamed up with KCD, a top fashion industry PR and production agency, and branding agency King & Partners to introduce this innovative way to bring the fashion show from the runway to the iWorld.  And with how quickly our lives have turned digital, why not?  Of course the experiences of going to a fashion show, seeing the clothes, having the opportunity to network and travel to fashion capitals like New York, Paris and London can’t be replaced, but in a week’s schedule busy enough to fill up an entire month for some, going digital might be welcomed.

Not only will selected invitees be able to view the pre-recorded show on their choice of iDevices, there will also be photographs of each look accompanied with detailed shots of accessories, shoes and makeup.  In addition, guests are given access to behind-the-scenes interviews with the designer, and the ability to tag their favorite looks, making it interactive for the buyers.  “Going digital” remains a fairly untapped tool for the fashion world in terms of presenting their lines, and KCD is paving the way to something that may become a part of every fashion line.  Ed Filipowski, Co-President of KCD, told the Wall Street Journal, “Our industry has not taken the time to look within itself and find the digital tools we need.”  KCD is taking that step into mostly uncharted waters to find out if this the way of the future.

In a world where our iPhones, iPads and iEverythings are attached to our hands 24/7, brands have to find ways to make themselves fit into people’s busy lives.  I don’t see digital fashion shows replacing live runway shows anytime soon, but I do think KCD has found a creative way to make sure people (no, not everyday people like ourselves) but influential players in the fashion world, pay attention to Gurung’s new line.  They don’t intend to replace the experience of going to a runway show, but they are providing an alternative for buyers, stylists and reporters who aren’t able to attend every show during the busiest month for fashion.  Mr. Filipowski said, “We are fashion purists and we believe in the runway show. This online experience will replicate the pureness of a live runway show, the only thing this doesn’t give you is the glass of champagne. Bring your own.”

However, fashion PR and marketing expert Crosby Noricks brings up a good point in her blog post on PR Couture, urging the press and bloggers alike to not solely use the “PR approved” shots and descriptions of the clothing provided while they write their critiques, but to bring their own individual reviews to the table.

It will be interesting to see if the digital debut is a success and evolves into a norm for the fashion world, or if the live runway show will live on.  Now if only I could get my hands on one of those invites…

 

Photo Credit: Maxene Huiyu