New collections are launched in record time in the fashion industry. Each season, brands must plan the vigorous marketing and communication campaigns required to achieve visibility, meet sales forecasts and cultivate customer loyalty, all while they are also readying to ready collections for market, and all at a notoriously demanding pace. We know all too well that the ink has barely dried on the first sketches when it’s time for the garments to be put into production. This is the moment when a whole new barrage of tasks begins; samples must be organized, press releases written and influencers schmoozed. With so much happening around the launch of a fashion collection, the six months leading up to this point are vital if the brand is to see a good return on its investment (ROI).
Often, fashion brands’ marketing & PR departments are working with limited resources and they are restricted in terms of what they can realistically achieve. In these cases, it’s a good idea to get back to basics with a simple, clear strategy: identify your target, craft your message, choose your communication channels and measure your results.
For a detailed description of how to have a successful launch, check out our Ebook, 10 Ways to Streamline your PR Services.
Here in this post, we break down the 3 most essential steps you absolutely must take to make sure everyone is talking about your new fashion collection launch. Ready?
Go beyond content: create stories for your audience
First of all, it will serve you well to always remember that fashion is an exercise in imagination and beauty. Imagination and beauty, therefore, is exactly what your potential customers are expecting to see. Ask yourself how exactly you wish this season’s collection to be perceived, felt and remembered. The collection’s specific garments may be the stars of the show, but never take your eye off the details. The photographs that are taken of your samples will appear again and again, across the full range of marketing actions, from this point on: in lookbooks, line sheets, press coverage, on social networks, etc. Truly curated photography is a powerful promotional tool and can be the difference between the failure and success of your collection. A picture is worth a thousand words. One of the oldest and truest adages in the book.
That being said, great photography and meticulous detailing alone will not guarantee results. You must also think about the story behind the collection. Keep in mind that your potential customers are more and more swamped, saturated, smothered by advertising. If you want to reach those customers, you must craft a story that they can really connect with, that offers real value, that they can fall in love with. Achieving this requires a lot more than posting photographs of your new garments on Instagram. You have to tell a story, a story which helps you nail the three main goals of your marketing strategy: achieving visibility and generating buzz, converting interest to sales and cultivating customer loyalty. Ergo, promoting your new collection must involve much more than the launch of the fashion collection itself.
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Oysho’s sportswear collection is an excellent example of a product that has been created and promoted through storytelling. It was brought to market by a group of important influencers across different sports.
Optimize PR and sales by digitalizing your new fashion collection launch
Your PR and sales teams will have much more success in achieving the visibility a fashion brand needs if your collection is available online. Today’s most successful brands have completely transformed their lookbooks and line sheets; they now double as perfectly categorized digital galleries, which can be consulted at any time, from anywhere in the world. Let’s take a moment to clarify the difference: lookbooks are usually seen by the press and the general public. They show how the various garments can be used or combined, and transmit the overall vision of the collection. Linesheets, on the other hand, are usually sent to buyers and include the information they need to make orders: fabric, style, pricing, sizing, etc.
The availability of an online line sheet means that any brand employee can access detailed information on current and previous collections, at any given moment. Similarly, online line sheets are an extremely useful tool for your PR team or marketing agency. In a matter of just a few clicks, they can share images and information with journalists and influencers.
Build your strategy around press coverage, influencers and gifting
You’ve finally got your hands on your samples! Now it’s time to think about where (and to whom) they will be sent. Begin by reminding yourself of your sales objectives and of the kind of press coverage you want. Take full advantage of this moment and the editorial coverage available to you; send samples to every relevant journalist, influencer and person you possibly can. Use your less costly garments to launch a comprehensive gifting campaign, a tried and tested way to attract the valuable attention of influencers. If you also invest in personalizing some of these gifts, you will immediately multiply your chances of appearing in influencer posts.
If you are really committed to generating buzz around your new fashion collection, you simply cannot sit on your laurels. This is the time for action. Your PR strategy must be meticulously planned, months in advance; creating and nurturing good public relations (and strong personal relationships) takes time, lest we forget. You must be prepared to invest that time and effort into your influencer marketing strategy, in particular. Your aim should be to build strong, human relationships around your brand.
The true value of an influencer is in his or her innate ability to create expectations around your brand, just before your collection is launched. Hugo Boss is very good at this. In their #MasterTheLight campaign, they very successfully used bloggers like Bryan Yambao (Bryanboy), Rumi Neely (Fashion Toast) and Mariano di Vaio (MDV Style) to launch their new Boss Eyewear collection.
— HUGO BOSS Corporate (@HUGOBOSS) May 4, 2016
When all is said and done, the essential steps for launching a new fashion collection have not changed much. The fundamental actions remain the same as they always were. It’s just that now, they take place in a digital arena. With that in mind, it is vital that you identify which digital platforms are home to your brand’s target audience. Only then can you create the customized storytelling and strategies your collection needs to succeed and reach the people that are going to want it.
It is absolutely essential that brands learn to reap the rewards of digitally-focused launch strategies. The time is now! Are you looking for even more advice on how to get the most out of PR and communication strategies? Download our eBook by
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