Last week I wrote an article titled TV’s PR Beauty Myth. I have since then been thinking about how we can disprove the impression given by popular culture.
Creative billboards, TV ads, making our own reality show- maybe? The more I thought about it, the more I found it ironic that in an industry where we know everything there is to know about brand, image and reputation management, the reputation of its workforce is false.
In any case, I was reading a post by Stuart Elliot in The New York Times called Redefining Public Relations in the Age of Social Media and thought this very much linked to what I had to say.
First of all, we all know that there are tons of definitions of Public Relations, all leading up pretty much the same thing: creating mutual relationships between an organization and its publics. Basics. Anyways, Stuart Elliot and The New York Times suggest that the way in which this has been done is now changing. And I agree.
In ancient times (before social media) PR was a one-way communication monologue. Fast forward to 2011 (almost 2012) and this conversation now goes two ways. In present time, PR practitioners are worshiping hashtags, eager to learn everything there is to know about creating relationships online.
I’d say by now we are pretty skilled Facebook and Twitter users, don’t you agree? And I am sure almost all of you aspiring PR professionals have a tumblr (I was trying to get a new title on my tumblr the other week and was hoping for ‘Morning Coffee’. Hopeless. I’m telling you, it’s a crowded tumblr world out there!)
Proving Samantha Jones wrong
So why don’t we use these to prove Samantha Jones and her no-nonsense and ignorant attitude wrong? In other words, let’s look at how PR practitioners are using these social media platforms to govern their behaviour.
An area of PR embracing social media is Fashion PR. Think Fashion Week for example. Twitter and Tumblr are tools that fashion brands are using to bring the audience behind the scenes of what the brand is doing – all the time. Works just like a backstage pass, trust me. This is a great way of creating a brand personality and brand awareness for that matter. Hence, this is not done on one day. It’s an ongoing process and it is important to have a strategic plan.
For example, who is going to be the face of the brand? How can the brand best listen and reply to its consumers? How much should you reveal about the brand? How does your share of voice compare to competitors and even more importantly: are you allowed to talk about competitors? What are the needs of the target audience and how can your brand help to address these? What excites them? The list goes on. If you excel at this, the next person calling you a Kelly Cutrune must have missed reading your tumblr – or simply missed his morning coffee.
Ubersocial PR girl
I am a fan of DKNY PR GIRL as you might have noticed if you have read my previous posts. I read her posts daily and I’m amazed by how this brand has succeeded in creating a brand personality – always ongoing conversations, constantly updating and re-tweeting with relevant pictures of both DKNY and NYC. After following her, I now know what they mean by ‘the city that never sleeps.’
There are plenty of other fashion brands out there that are pretty awesome tumblr and twitter users. Yet, not everyone are as ubersocial as DKNY.
Oscar de la Renta for example, posts a little less, writes a little less and tweets a little less. Although, by following Erika Bearman, the PR girl behind this luxury brand, you definitely get a sense of what type of woman the brand wants to portray: an elegant woman who is sophisticated, international and very intellectual. She is friendly and calm, social and considerate.
In sum: Stop watching (or at least stop believing in) reality shows. As much as I dislike (hate is a strong word) how the Internet – quite frankly – has become a sneaky little time-stealer, it is important to know how to manage social media platforms. Stuart Elliot is right; PR is changing! And I see this as a great advantage when it comes to improving the reputation of its workforce.
So, if you are thinking about a career in Fashion PR or any PR industry for that matter, get a tumblr and twitter account and learn how to manage these really well! We don’t need any billboards or TV ads to prove Samantha Jones wrong. Social media is the way to go!
And for the next person telling you that people in fashion PR have a bad attitude, you should ask them: why on earth would big international brands like Oscar de la Renta then pick a PR girl to manage the image of their brand? I mean, this powerful man has been in the fashion industry for decades and would surely know a bad promotion when he saw one.