The fashion industry has grown immensely over the last few years, and the culture that goes along with carves consumer attitudes. Since the industry is so popular worldwide, experts in public relations, marketing, and communication have emerged to support fashion brands and designers.
Public relations is ultimately about producing quality content that will resonate with audiences. In the fashion industry, PR agencies and professionals play a vital role in the marketing and communication of a brand. They help promote a fashion brand, designer, or any other clients and grab the attention of other members of the fashion industry, potential buyers, and the media. With their knowledge of the PR landscape, they can develop mutually beneficial relationships with members of the media, social media influencers, and bloggers. It is pretty safe to say that PR professionals can help brands build exclusivity, and communicate the uniqueness and benefits that the brand offers its target audience.
Of course, companies can do their own PR, but if they need a helping hand, they can hire PR agencies like Pressfarm to achieve their communications objectives. Pressfarm works with startups and entrepreneurs to create and distribute quality newsworthy content – including press releases, creative media kits and guest posts – which captures media attention. In addition to this, each client gets personalized media lists containing contacts in their niche. Clients can also access Pressfarm’s media database, which contains over 75,000 media contacts across niches. When combined with the personalized media lists, this database is designed to help brands to connect with the right journalists to share their story. With Pressfarm’s PR packages, clients can gain expert help with creating an effective media strategy and generating the publicity their brands deserve.
In this article, we will look at:
1) The impact of PR and Marketing on the Fashion Industry
2) Emerging PR and Marketing Trends in the Fashion Industry
3) Effective Fashion Marketing Tactics in 2021
4) Key Components of Fashion Marketing
5) How to make a Fashion Brand Stand Out
The impact of PR and Marketing on the Fashion Industry
Fashion trends change, and they are now changing even faster with advancements in digital technology. With shift towards eCommerce sites, wearable technology, and sustainable fashion, PR and marketing have become an essential part of building a fashion brand’s overall business strategy.
Let us now look at how PR and marketing can impact the fashion industry and help brands to create an effective media communications plan.
As mentioned previously, the fashion industry is greatly influenced by changing trends, which means it is constantly evolving. To stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant in this ever-changing industry, brands need to be ready to anticipate upcoming trends and influence consumer perception to set said trends first. Fashion brands are just as responsible for creating excitement and hype about the brand itself as they are for creating their products. PR and marketing are good tools for doing this.
In a more general sense, marketing is about coming up with unique ways to bring a product or service to market. Public relations is about developing relationships with media professionals and influencing how the public perceives a product. In the fashion industry, marketing can be considered as a way to engage a brand’s customers to generate conversations. Similarly, PR engages potential customers to develop a more positive brand image. Marketing mainly focuses on sales by tracking and providing complex data and conversion rates whereas the focus of PR is on getting brands featured in media publications and generating brand awareness. As you can see, these are essential tactics which fashion brands to use to promote their business. By combining marketing and PR, fashion brands can build a memorable brand image.
Emerging PR and Marketing Trends in the Fashion Industry
1) Omnichannel Retailing
Fashion brands are increasingly helping consumers to shop for their products on multiple channels. This modern approach to commerce focuses on creating a cohesive user experience for consumers at every touchpoint. Omnichannel retailing has allowed fashion brands to use multiple online channels like their own web store, marketplaces, and social media to sell their products. Omnichannel retaining is a tactic that every fashion brand now uses to reach larger audiences.
2) Product Customization
The fashion industry has also seen an increase in consumers looking to customize their products to fit their specific tastes and preferences. This is especially the case with athletic wear brands like Adidas and Nike which have given their customers the option of designing their shoes with patterns, colours, and even customized wording. Since consumer’s appreciate the power of choice, brands will see more and more consumers looking for product customization. However, that does not necessarily mean that they need to jump on the bandwagon and offer the same customization options as their competitors. It’s important to be creative in the process of creating a product that fulfills their target consumer’s unique needs and wants.
3) Luxury Fashion Online Marketing
While there was a previous hesitation over luxury brands going digital, this trend has now become popular. In fact, many luxury brands now use online marketing to connect with their audiences in creative ways. Fashion brands and marketers have realized that rather than solely focusing on selling to their current audience, they need to provide a more interactive brand experience. This is why luxury fashion brands like Burberry, Prada, and Gucci have partnered with Twitch and other live streaming platforms to enable their audience to experience their new collections in chat rooms. Video streaming is nothing new, but many fashion brands have found that collaborating with platforms like Twitch they can offer a more immersive brand experience for consumers and connect with them.
4) Social media and Influencer Marketing
In the past, consumers used to obtain information about the fashion world through traditional media like magazines, billboards, and television. These days, fashion icons and influencers come in many different forms and help generate publicity for brands all over the world. Through social media, digital influencers can use their platform and expertise to promote fashion brands on multiple channels. Companies now prioritize influencer marketing over traditional advertising because of the reach that social media platforms offer them to gain a loyal following of customers while also building brand visibility.
5) Ethical and sustainable buying behaviour
While corporate social responsibility and sustainability do not directly impact sales, they help brands build a positive reputation among their community. As more people – celebrities, and the average consumer alike – bring attention to social issues related to the fashion industry, brands have had to take a stand to deal with textile waste and other ethical issues.
Since fast fashion is now considered wasteful, consumer behaviour has shifted once again to more sustainable fashion or “slow fashion.” A big part of this trend involves brands creating “seasonless” fashion with the intention of developing clothing which can be used throughout the year. The goal was to challenge seasonal trends and urge consumers and other designers to create and buy pieces that will remain in style. This has allowed brands to develop higher-quality pieces with higher prices that consumers are willing to pay.
6) reCommerce emerges
Thrift and consignment shopping is nothing new, but it has become more popular as people are selling items they do not use anymore or looking for products but at a lower price. The reCommerce trend came about partly because of the shift towards eco-friendly buying and reducing waste. Likewise, we have seen “upcycling,” when someone repurposes an article of clothing and transforms it to match their style through a DIY project. Consumer-to-consumer marketplaces like DePop and Facebook are the powerhouses that have facilitated this trend.
7) The “comeback” of political fashion
While in the past, many people believed that they should shy away from making political statements, the fashion industry now embraces political issues. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 also brought with it many cultural and political changes from the impacts of the Black Lives Matter protests to the US presidential election. Since consumers care more about these issues now, fashion brands have had to create products and a brand message that resonates well with their target consumer. It is true that many fashion brands had already taken a stance before 2020. Even so, clothing with political slogans have made a huge comeback due to the new generation of consumers voicing their opinions on current political issues.
Effective Fashion Marketing Tactics in 2021
Collaborations for a fashion brand do not always mean having to team up with a brand similar to theirs. While this tactic can lead to success, collaboration can also mean working with a completely different industry to reach a different audience. We will touch on this a bit later. While luxury brands always maintained a sense of exclusivity in the past, many have partnered with platforms like Twitch that provide a more interactive experience for their consumers. By doing this, they can connect with the younger crowd.
Burberry became the first luxury fashion brand to partner with the world’s leading live-stream gaming platform to enable viewers to interact in chat rooms and discuss their latest collection. Prada and Gucci also followed suit by hosting virtual shows that encouraged audience participation. However, we have also seen other collaborations between luxury brands and fast fashion brands, with H&M and Karl Lagerfeld’s example that combined a lower price point with higher-quality materials and styles. Ultimately, collaborations help brands extend their product lines and increase their visibility among new audiences.
2) Celebrity endorsements
While social media influencers have become the fashion industry’s brand ambassadors, celebrity endorsements still hold some merit. Celebrities help brands increase product visibility because they have many loyal fans who hang on to their every word, opinion, or choice. Regardless of how big a fashion brand already is, celebrity endorsements will help a brand get loyal buyers. Even celebrities with their own fashion brands have used their friends to promote their products and create a positive image for the brand.
Newsjacking is a practice of aligning a brand with a current event or situation to generate media attention and boost brand exposure. It is a marketing strategy that brands use to capitalize on breaking news and trending topics to draw attention to themselves and their products. Through related blog content and social media posts, companies can instantly reach a wider audience. While newsjacking began as a PR technique, it has expanded into inbound brand marketing and digital content practices. In order to be effective, newsjacking must be done right. Otherwise, it could backfire on the brand.
4) Live streaming
While product launches and other brand events used to be a privileged moment for only the elite members of society, live streaming is now helping brands to reach millions of potential buyers who can watch the event in real-time from their electronic devices. As mentioned previously, many have used Twitch to achieve that goal. Alternatively, brands can establish their own official Live Stream channels rather than rely on live streams from other channels.
5) Fashion bloggers & influencers
As previously stated, social media influencers and bloggers can significantly impact a brand by simply giving them a mention, a review, or using their products. While high school is now a distant memory for many of us, influencer marketing is just that. In fashion – just as in high school – everyone wants what the cool kid has, and fashion brands can leverage on reputable fashion bloggers and influencers to reach out to the new market segments. A good influencer marketing strategy should result in increased leads and sales. “Unboxing” videos have now become a way for influencers to use a product and give it an honest review for the Internet to see. Whether it is generally sharing products from the brand or working in collaboration for a product-specific marketing campaign, influencers know exactly what to say and do to gain loyal fans while also promoting a brand.
Giveaways can come in many different forms, but it is a great way to promote a brand, gain engagement, exposure, followers, and loyalty. While it may seem counterintuitive to give away free or discounted products, by organizing giveaways to promote new products and collections, brands can boost their sales. This is because their consumers feel a deeper sense of connection with the brand after a good giveaway. In fact, this is an excellent way for brands to turn existing customers into brand ambassadors and acquire new ones. Giveaways can help with promoting new products and celebrating important occasions for the fashion brand.
7) Affiliate marketing
Much like social media and influencer marketing, affiliate marketing is a way for people to earn a commission for marketing another company’s products. The main difference is that everyone can do it, not just the “cool kids” of influencer marketing. Rather than going into the collaboration to get free stuff for promoting a brand, affiliates can search for a product that they enjoy, promote it, and earn a piece of the profit from each sale they make. Since it works by spreading responsibilities of product marketing and creation across multiple parties, affiliate marketing can leverage people’s talents to generate a more effective marketing strategy.
One of the many benefits of affiliate marketing is that return on investment (ROI) is almost guaranteed. It has become a widely used marketing strategy for brands trying to increase online sales outside of their website or app. It is also an excellent way for fashion brands to develop brand advocates and work with influential people for mutual benefit.
8) Style Guides
Style guides take on many different forms in the fashion industry; they can be a document that brands use internally that provides guidelines and best practices for a brand’s visual identity and language styles. However, they can also be given to consumers so that they can visualize how they would look in the products and whether they would like to make a purchase.
Traditionally, style guides were physical copies that brands sent out to their existing consumers in hopes of generating sales, and their fans would then use word-of-mouth marketing to generate more publicity for the brand. These days, style guides and other content can be found online and can be edited in a few minutes. In other words, brands can create multiple style guides at the same time for different seasons, special occasions, etc.
Storytelling is not a new concept; it remains one of the most popular public relations trends. In product promotion, it is about creating a narrative that shows journalists and the general public how their lives would benefit from the product or service that the company is trying to promote. However, with new products and services being created every second, if companies want to attract media attention, then they need to craft a powerful. Storytelling is about not only attracting journalists, but also explaining to existing and potential customers the background of the product. This includes why they need it and how it will add value to their life. When consumer behaviour has changed, storytelling in a PR pitch is the fastest way to achieve results that elevate brand exposure and support a company’s marketing and sales objectives.
Even though there has been a significant shift towards digital marketing, creative storytelling is still relevant and can deliver a return on investment if well utilized. In order to achieve success both through conventional and digital media, brands need to tell a story.
10) CSR and Sustainability
While corporate social responsibility and sustainability do not directly impact sales, it helps brands establish awareness among their community. As more people – celebrities, and the average consumer alike – bring attention to social issues related to the fashion industry, more brands have had to take a stand to deal with textile waste and other ethical issues.
According to Anya Hindmarch, a leading fashion, luxury, and beauty expert, both customers and brands need to meet in the middle to make the fashion industry more responsible. Currently, she believes that the fashion industry is in a transition phase, and consumers are more likely to consume less but pay more from ethically responsible brands. While fast fashion is predominately about volume, consumers are increasingly shifting towards sustainable garments that will last longer and remain chic for years to come. COVID-19 has driven brands and consumers to focus more on sustainability and responsibility, allowing brands that have already integrated it into their internal and external strategies to flourish.
As people begin to look down on fast fashion due to sustainability and human rights issues, slow fashion has become a popular alternative. A big part of this trend involves brands creating “seasonless” fashion with clothing which can be used throughout the year. The goal was to challenge seasonal trends and urge consumers and other designers to create and buy pieces that will remain in style. This has allowed brands to develop higher-quality pieces at higher prices that consumers are willing to pay.
By adopting the values of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, fashion brands can not only get a return on investment but also stand out in the industry.
Key Components of Fashion Marketing
To build a successful PR campaign, brands need to break it down into three phases; the planning phase, the implementation phase, and the evaluation phase.
The planning phase comprises brands and professionals doing a market analysis to have a clear picture of the brand. During this phase, functions like analysis of the competition, research on the brand’s current and potential customers, brand assessment, and upcoming industry trends are implemented to develop a marketing plan successfully. Next, the marketing plan is put into action, and brands organize resources and build marketing schedules. The marketing plan created during the initial phase should also be used as a reference point for further marketing tactics. Lastly, the evaluation phase is meant to provide information about the results achieved through a brand’s PR and marketing efforts. The results obtained should ideally be in line with the initial business goals, but corrective measures can be taken if any deviations occurred so that the brand can stay on track.
Let us now break down the individual vital components of fashion PR and marketing:
1) Identify the need in the market/ conduct market research
Due to a shift in consumer and buyer behaviour, many fashion brands have had to revert to truly understand whether their product or service helps or hinders their consumers. To be successful in a competitive market, brands need to do thorough research to understand what type of products are required in the market. This is in addition to evaluating whether potential consumers are willing to buy them at their price point. A successful fashion brand is not only created through the passion of the designer; it should also fill a niche in the market that hasn’t already been filled previously.
The need for market research is even more critical in the fashion industry because it gives brands the ability to understand the market size as well as its growth or decline. Furthermore, brands get insight into consumer spending habits, and any emerging trends in the industry.
2) Develop a business plan
Having a clear plan for all aspects of the business, from a solid media communications strategy to setting objectives, is very important for brands that want to have a clear focus. It also helps brands deal with any obstacles that may present themselves and avoid negative press.
3) Identify the target audience
Finding a need for a product in the market is one thing, but finding the right audience is another. There is no point in creating great products if they are targeted at the wrong demographic. Besides that, brands also need to find out what media their target audience is using to obtain information. For example, if they are focused on the younger generation, they need to consider that these people are more style-conscious and more receptive to social media posts than traditional print ads. Through research, brands can tailor their products to meet their target consumer’s needs and budgets. While the younger generation may be more receptive to short-form videos and social media posts, they are also low on funds. On the other hand, more middle-aged customers may be less concerned with style and already have brands that they are loyal to but may pay a bit more money. In either case, brands need to find unique and creative ways to attract their consumers to their business.
The ideal marketing strategy should target a specific market. In addition to identifying the type of consumers who are most likely to purchase the product, this strategy should also divide the target market into different levels of difficulty.
4) Brand and product positioning
Along with researching target audiences, brands need to understand the current perception the market already has of the overall company and its products. Market perception is an essential element to consider when trying to develop marketing campaigns. Using this information, brands can create effective campaigns that hopefully reinforce positive perceptions and change negative ones.
5) Competitive analysis
Given the fashion industry’s competitive nature, a fashion brand should not ignore their competition if they want to remain relevant in the industry. The most successful fashion brands know who their competition is, how their products are different from their competition, the market segment they are in, and how they can edge. The whole point of doing this is to stand out from the competition.
6) Start designing
Once a brand has established the need for their product on the market and their target audience, they can start designing their product. First impressions are important, and this is especially the case in the fashion industry. In fact, first impressions can make or break a brand. To be successful, brands need to create practical products that their target audience loves and identifies with. Suppose they were to develop products that are entirely out of the price range for their target consumer. In this case, they will not generate sales, nor will they gain visibility for their brand because they will create an impression of being unatainnable.
7) Begin the marketing and PR process
As mentioned before, public relations and marketing play a massive role in the fashion industry. They are essential parts of any business plan because they provide insight into the market and build brand awareness. Social media and influencer marketing have become popular strategies for capturing the attention of any target audience.
We went into detail at the beginning of this article. Influencers, whether on social media, bloggers, celebrities, or brand ambassadors, are generally the first ones to hop onto new trends. These are the people who will tell the public where to shop and what to buy, as well as sharing their honest opinions about products and services. Reaching out to influencers is a great way for fashion brands to gain positive feedback and reach a larger group of people. Consumers are more likely to choose a brand that their favourite influencer is has endorsed.
8) Use content marketing
A way to get noticed in any industry is to establish authority within it. Creating organic content or guest posting on influential sites can help build up a brand. Writing blogs that include photos about subjects that customers may be interested in will give companies a higher visibility rate. Fashion is a visual business, so it is also essential to use high-quality images on their website and social media.
9) Marketing metrics
As we touched on earlier, the final phase of a marketing strategy is to perform analytics and measure a campaign’s success. Ideally, a brand and its PR and marketing professionals should measure the campaign’s success. Brands should measure their effectiveness to see what worked and what tactics need improving. Using these metrics, they can compare the budget spent on the campaign versus the actual return on investment. This will help them understand how effective their strategies were, and whether they need to go back to the drawing board to make them more effective.
10) Have a compelling storyline
Nowadays, consumers gravitate more towards brands with the same values and brands that the feel personally connected to. Creating a compelling storyline that resonates with media professionals and audiences gives them incentive to write or talk about a brand. Content that sounds more like a story rather than a sales pitch is more appealing than content that merely promotes the brand.
How to make a brand stand out
With so many fashion brands out there all competing with one another for sales and visibility, companies need to figure out creative ways to get their target audience’s attention. It is not enough to simply have a great product these days. Brands also need to display specific qualities to help them stand out from their competition.
While this quality may be difficult with so many of the same companies out there, a fashion brand needs to do its best to be original. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of what other brands are doing, they need to create a compelling reason for consumers to choose their company over the competition. Whether this is through a compelling story or unique feature, brands need to find an angle that no other has used before. It is also important to develop an image and voice that is uniquely theirs rather than messaging that relies on cliches, sales talk, and existing conversations.
The fashion industry is one that genuinely applauds taking risks. Brands that are not afraid to experiment with new techniques or take a stand on controversial issues within the industry will get the attention of their audience and encourage more loyalty and respect from customers. Moreover, these brands will never run the risk of being seen as boring.
Once a company gains the attention of its audience, the next step is to retain it. Ultimately, the goal of any fashion brand is to get their customers to stay with them for as long as possible. By giving existing customers a sense of familiarity and predictability, brands can build a relatable brand. If brands can do this effectively, they can build brand loyalty and gain brand ambassadors from their existing consumer base.
Value does not necessarily mean money; it can also be through its organic content, products, or services. Fashion brands can offer value by simply offering better products and services or better, more informative content. Furthermore, a solid dedication to personalized customer service can help brands to stand out from their competition.
As you can see, doing PR and marketing for a fashion brand can be challenging because it requires a comprehensive strategy. Even so, by following the tips outlined above, your fashion brand can earn the publicity it deserves.