Posts Tagged ‘Public relations’

Is it worth investing in PR in the Fashion Industry?

June 22, 2010
Fashion PR

Fashion PR

We just had a fashion client cut back on their PR activity, which has left us all really surprised and disappointed in particular seeing as they received terrific coverage around the country and nationally for their brands.

While trying to figure this one out internally we have to put ourselves in the client’s position and  ask ourselves the  simple question – If it was us would we invest in PR?

We use a simple criteria here – if you have access to strong, high quality current fashion visuals, in particular for a female brand the answer is yes, yes, yes!

I must admit that PR for a male brand is not quite as straight forward – you will get coverage but you need to work a lot harder to achieve the same result. Male fashion is not featured as much by journalists and is just not as sexy!! More imaginative solutions are needed here.

If you are a brand owner or agent make sure that you have a PR resource (internal or external)  in place so that the national fashion press and the local press where you have stockists can get their hands on the latest collections (press release & visuals). Make sure the stockists are mentioned in the local releases.

If you are a store owner and you know that the brand/agent are not engaging with a PR resource then take the matter into your own hands get those images from the brand and issue them locally yourself (or your PR person).

The print media absolutely love strong fashion visuals and if you have access to those for your stock then you will in all probability get coverage, which should build the profile of your store and brands with your existing and hopefully new customers.

Budget, budgets ..

I guess it all comes down to money and you need to decide how much can you afford to invest in this area.

If you have the quality material then don’t waste the opportunity for press coverage – if you can’t afford an external resource such as ourselves then try your best to allocate some internal resource to the task.

We do a lot of work in the fashion PR sector and once done properly you will achieve really good results.

Choosing brands for your store or agency?

In choosing what brands to stock in your store or what brands to take on in your agency it is worth considering –

  • Will the brands be supported by PR?
  • Will the PR extend to the local stockists?
  • Failing this will you have access to high quality visuals that you could use for your own PR drive?

This could be the difference between free coverage in the papers for your store/brand and none.

Choosing which product to stock in the store?

A little tip that we give everyone is to make sure when buying that you look for that item or that brand that is very unusual, which will create a talking point. The press love things that are attention grabbing and a little bit different.

So to answer my original question – would I invest in a PR resource ?

Definitely – If I couldn’t afford an external resource with experience in the sector I would make sure someone internally had PR as part of their role.  In the fashion industry it is the best value way of Marketing, achieving coverage and interest in your store or brand.

One thing you can be sure is that there are less people investing in PR than before so it is possible to make a bigger splash with less effort.

so .. another thing for you to consider along with all the multiplicity of challenges you have to face every day, as if you didn’t have enough on your plate already!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications

High Five When You See a ’10

April 19, 2010

Isn’t it fabulous to see the amount of ’10 Registration Cars on the roads since the start of the year.

Last year people, even those with the necessary funds were wary about buying a new car due to the “what would people think” syndrome – we need the positive activity to set the wheels in motion for our economy!

So, the car sales are up 31% in the first quarter – if you think about it this is probably with about 2/3 of the garages that were there last year and the good chance is that the existing garages are well down in staff numbers – time to start recruiting I wonder? Maybe a little bit premature? Whichever way you look at it – it leads to a higher tax take for the government and an industry starting to move again and some funds are back in circulation. All of those garages and car salesmen have money to spend elsewhere.

From what I can gather those sales are probably less than they should be – a few car salesmen I have spoken to have been telling me that accessing cars is a difficulty due to pessimistic predictions when they were placing advance orders – you will be lucky to get a new 5 Series BMW before next September!

And what else does all that mean? – well, that is a lot of positively motivated individuals driving around in their new cars – a new car is a great feeling – well done! It does put the rest of us in the mind for a new car – it’s a positive target to have for all of us. I want to buy a new car in 2010 – that’s a goal for you.. try to make it happen.

The “confidence wheel” is simple and this is what will get our country moving again, not any superb government policy – in my view their attempts to positively mobilise Ireland have just not happened. On the jobs creation front there has been zero strategy – the government have even slashed budgets in “job creation” departments, I’m deadly serious – if anyone has the time to check budget allocations, check out if budgets in government departments with the agenda of helping new business have been increased? – I promise you they have been cut in the same way as everything else, strategy – I don’t think so!

Ok, so there is positivity creeping through and that is coming from “us”, from pure positive attitude.

Performance will follow “positive attitude” – despite the odds, so keep it going.

While we are on the “positive” agenda and this is so critical for recovery I can finally report that the house across from us has been sold!

The sale seemed to be almost completed and then fall through a few times in the last 9 months. The same banks that would have handed out a mortgage at double the price have eventually approved a loan to our new neighbour (and they have picked up a fabulous bargain at the bottom of the market) at half the price. Something wrong somewhere!

Sherry Fitzgerald - Sold!

The Big "Sold"

The amusing thing is the sign put up by, Sherry Fitzgerald the auctioneers – in the same way that I am saying to celebrate the ’10, the auctioneers are celebrating the ‘sale’ with giant ‘SOLD’ text across their signs.

Well done to whoever is completing purchases out – high 5 when you see a  ’10 and celebrate those ‘Sold‘ and lease agreed signs – things are looking up, celebrate the positivity that is all of us ..

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications, Marketing & PR

A Merry Irish Christmas and a Happy New Year?

November 21, 2009

Bah humbug – we have just seen the NAMA legislation passed by the Dail and we are about to face a round of public sector one day strikes with the government and the unions both posturing in a serious game of who has more bottle for a battle as we nervously approach the second Budget day this year. Who knows where all of this will lead and how it will affect us? For the most part we are quite helpless with little enough ability to influence anything. Are you as fed up with all of this as I am?

The one thing that we can be sure of is that Christmas is around the corner and as with every other year since we can remember we will all be stretching our budgets on presents for loved ones and friends and even gifts for our customers and staff who will have looked after us during the year. As always we will indulge in extra treats for ourselves and for our home between food and decorations… Merry Christmas, we deserve it!

How can we take this opportunity to take some small element of control of our circumstances and positively influence the economic environment around us and help not only to make it a Merry Christmas but also a Happy New Year?

My simple challenge is that we all consciously influence that spend on our Christmas budgets will be on Irish products and Irish services as much as possible. Without a doubt there will be less spent this year compared to last year but at least if we consciously Spend Irish, the money will stay in circulation in Ireland with more money in the country coffers come January, which will help kick off 2010 in a really positive way.

Ok, this may sound very noble and patriotic but when it boils down to it are we really going to be able to do it? .. I think so.

Let’s have a look at the typical shopping list:

– Books: Irish books by Irish authors by Irish publishers – make the effort to specifically choose Irish where possible. There are some fabulous books available
– Music & DVD’s: given a choice can we vote for the Irish artist, comedian, movie?
– Vouchers: can we opt for the restaurant, spa treatment or weekend break instead of an alternative?
– Turkey & Ham: make sure these are from Irish suppliers, that should be easy
– Other foodstuffs, relishes etc: Irish all the way, there is plenty of terrific choice
– Booze: which brands are produced in Ireland? – can we substitute our favourite for an Irish alternative? Cork Dry Gin isn’t a bad substitute for Bombay!

This list can go on forever but if we consciously make it our business to choose for the option that keeps money in Irish circulation then, that is better for our economy, for jobs and ultimately for us.

And how about thank you gifts for customers and staff?

If you are in a position to allocate budget for Christmas gifts then consciously choose gifts that are Irish, Irish food and beverages, Irish vouchers, Irish books, Irish Christmas cards and so on. Without too much effort we should be able to easily steer all our precious Euros towards Irish products and services. Many of the hamper suppliers specialise in Irish products.

Where it just isn’t possible to choose an Irish alternative (Transformers and Hannah Montana and nothing else will do!) you will at least help the cause if you carefully choose how and where you purchase these products. You can help keep more money in the country by supporting our retailers or if you shop on the web try to keep the business for the Irish providers.

The retailers and Irish web retailers can also play a huge part in all of this with their choices about the products that they decide to stock this Christmas and how these are displayed and promoted. Purchasing behaviour can be significantly influenced by the retail space the products are given, by products featured in window displays and adverts and by the products featured on the home pages of the websites. Suppliers and retailers should proactively work together to ensure that Irish products are given a fair crack of the whip or even a significant advantage. How bad? – We will all benefit.

Recession or no recession, a huge amount of money will be spent between now and Christmas
…so when you are making your list this Christmas, try to check it twice and where possible decide to keep as much as possible of that money in Ireland, have a Merry Christmas and help to make it a Happy New Year!

 

Getting Past the Menu

October 4, 2009

Getting past the menu

How can searching for the perfect meal in a really nice restaurant teach us valuable lessons about our own business?

I am sure like myself most of you absolutely love dining out!

After all enjoying a good meal in a good restaurant is one of life’s greatest pleasures and a bad meal is a huge disappointment and feels like a wasted opportunity and will leave you totally disgruntled.

Have you noticed with restaurant reviews that they talk about the food in intimate detail, examining each dish, discussing each flavour and the textures of the food – mouth watering stuff indeed!

I find it really interesting that most of the reviewers rarely talk about all the complicated steps that come before the food, which I find are often as important as the meal itself.

Ok, where am I going with this argument?

On holidays I always look forward to meals out – for me it is one of the very best parts of the holiday. In particular if you are in a place that you are not familiar with there is a fabulous sense of discovery and adventure as you search for the ‘perfect meal’.

Now this is where the difficulty lies – how to negotiate your way through the choices on offer and finally get past the menu and find the perfect meal?

If you have had the time to do your research in advance you may have been able to get your hands on some reviews, searched for restaurants on the web (how many restaurants have websites?) and then maybe visitors on Trip Advisor may give you a clue as to where to go.

Maybe some friends have been there before and can make a recommendation. No doubt they will have been through the same tricky process in trying to discover the perfect meal.

You may just wait till you arrive at your destination, study the local guide books and adverts or then again it might just be a case of hoping for the best and heading out and leaving it to your eyes and ears to decide where you will find the perfect meal.

If you are anything like me you will probably end up walking the streets and judging places by how the look. Very scientific!

What does the building look like, does it look clean on the outside, what kind of food are they serving, have a peep inside – busy or quiet, what do the staff look like – smart, casual or too casual, have a peep at the menu outside, what is your overall impression?

No doubt at this stage you will have looked at too many places, probably walked too much and starvation starts to kick in.

Eventually if you are lucky you will find a place that you are happy with or if you have been searching for too long you might just settle for a place that looks ok.

You are one step closer to the perfect meal.

And now for the closer look – the greeting, the cleanliness, the cutlery and the napkins, the toilets and the menu?

The menu – Besides the actual contents, is it clean, do the pages stick together with bits from previous meals, is it battered from overuse, are there pieces of paper covering over prices or menu items that have changed, are the menu items spelt properly? – chickne (I am not kidding!). How many times have you sat there and realised that you have probably made a mistake? – Get up and leave embarrassed or just give in and order and hope for the best?

It is your chance to have a perfect meal and you shouldn’t blow it!

We recently experienced the ‘sticky menu’  did just that, admittedly having ordered a starter and some wine, consumed them quickly and moved on. The food may have been superb but we weren’t going to risk it. Eventually we settled on another restaurant and a not-so-bad meal was had by all but the holy grail of the perfect meal was never found.

When you get it right it is fabulous, when all the parts come then you do tend to tell everyone how great a meal you had.

Eating out can be tricky and very frustrating – maybe that is why we end up going to the same restaurant over and over, where we pretty much know what to expect. The low risk strategy!

So how does all of this relate to you?

In your business, whatever that may be, do your prospective customers get past your menu?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork

Dare to be Different

July 3, 2009
Cystic Fibrosis - Irish War Crimes Campaign

Cystic Fibrosis – Irish War Crimes Campaign

Dare to Be Different?

I picked up on an expression lately that I found was really interesting: “Sheepwalking”, referring basically to our general tendency to follow the norm, doing what everyone else is doing and I guess basically conforming to a general expectation or code of practice or behaviour.

We apply this to everything we do in our lives from the anguish of “What will everyone else be wearing?” to “I really have an opinion but I dare not say anything”.

There is a risk of embarrassment and feeling a little self conscious when you go that little bit out of the way but the person that is generally remembered will probably be the one who dared to be different.

When it comes to your business the same logic applies and you could argue that in the present climate it would be very risky to do anything that it is a little different. “Keep the head down”; “do what we always do”; “play it safe”. Sounds familiar? We are conditioned to obey the rules, stay within the lines of the conventional way of doing things and stay within the normal boundaries and expectations.

Now let’s turn the argument on its head and explore the dark side!

In the current economic climate, or in fact anytime for that matter: ‘Is it a bigger risk not to be different’?

Unless your business is one of few exceptions, you are feeling the effects of the recession and every day you are constantly making tough decisions; cutting back on staff, reducing wages, cutting back on marketing activities, supplying customers whose payments have slowed up, dropping prices, selling or even liquidating the business. We are all caught in this storm and are boxing our way through it in ways that are probably new to most of us.

Is it a time for playing it safe or should you dare to be different?
• Cut back or proactively look for the unique opportunities?
• Pull back or start marketing creatively?
• Pay it safe or Dare to be Different?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions but if it is right for your business to be proactive, it is clear you need to get maximum return for your activities and your investment.

Daring to be Different will get you noticed and will bring you the greatest return for your investment and change how the marketplace views your business.

What do we mean exactly by ‘Daring to be Different’?

Tick the Box and the Wild Card?

“Ticking the Box” is doing the normal thing for every situation: the typical advertisement, the typical sale, the typical window display, the typical mail shot, the typical response to a query, the typical company policy, the typical special offer, the typical business card, the typical sales presentation, the typical advice, the typical packaging, the list goes on..

“The Wild Card” is pushing out the boundaries and exploring some ideas that were never tried before in all these situations and considering them. Some of these you will throw out as being too costly, impossible to execute and totally impractical, but some might actually stay in the mix and merit further consideration.

Eventually you will land on a wild card ‘type’ idea that is feasible but will make you feel uncomfortable because it is not the norm and after all what will people think? What will my boss think? What will my customers think? What will my potential customers think?

The idea will be debated in the business and some will totally disagree and feel it is the wrong thing to do. Democracy probably won’t help you here unfortunately – Daring to be Different will involve someone being forceful and putting their opinion and conviction on the line. When you are in this ‘uncomfortable’ territory you have entered the ‘Dare to be Different’ zone.

Go for it? – This is a really tough one and you have to have a good look in your business mirror and decide what type of organisation and culture do you have.

The answer depends on a few simple criteria:
1. Make sure everyone is on board with the objective – at least agree on this much!
2. Ensure the business is capable of executing the idea properly
3. Does the culture support those with the conviction of their beliefs? There is no place for ‘the sitting on the fence brigade’ rehearsing patiently for the moment that they can recite a chorus of ‘I told you so’.

What if it does not work? – The worst that will probably happen is that you will get noticed and you move on and try the next thing. At least you tried and were positive – This is a good thing.

Let’s try a little experiment to test the ‘Dare to be Different’ argument by answering a few questions?

• What adverts can you remember having read through the newspaper today?
• What adverts can you remember on the TV and Radio from this morning or last night?
• What special offer that came through your letter box did you actually read instead of filing in the waste paper bin?
• Which bank would you consider switching to because they are doing something or anything different to the others?
• Which window display made you stop and consider going into the shop?
• What rep made a presentation to you that really impressed you by the level of preparation?
• What customer rang you and was really honest about being in difficulty instead of ducking and diving your calls? (Might you go the extra mile to help him out or call in the 7 day letter crew?)
• Which business card did you actually notice?
• Which politician really stood out in the local elections?
• What brochure did you actually stop and read?
• What event did you attend and you still talk about it?
• What product feature made you consider a product above another one?
• What have you seen or heard lately that made you laugh, smile, angry or talk about after and debate?

Whichever way you decide to go ‘Daring to Be Different’ is something to really consider for your business.

Do you have a culture that will support it? If not forget about it. However if you do, then you should strongly consider going for it. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will get you and your business noticed, something we all need right now.

Do you Dare to be Different?

Greg Canty

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork