A fashion brand’s press room has always played a major role for their PR teams to quickly interact and share content material with journalists and key influencers.
The traditionally printed dossier, which brands used to invest a large share of their overall budgets into, have pretty much been eliminated (except for a few exceptions) and have been replaced by virtual press rooms and digital galleries. These tools provide journalists and influencers easy access, wherever they may be and regardless of what time of the day, by simply logging on through their tablet or laptop.
According to findings from The State of Fashion 2017, published by McKinsey & Company, digitalization within fashion firms is essential for optimizing launch cycles. It’s also critical for improving the entire supply chain. This digitalization will drastically reduce costs while increasing business through missing less publishing and sales opportunities.
Not so long ago, in a previous post, we discussed how traditional luxury brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo or Cartier transformed their communications strategy by utilizing technology. A virtual press room, even Instagram or Facebook, is no longer only a channel to promote new launches, but rather a space in which brands can engage and meet the needs of influencers, press, and journalists.
3 advantages of an online press room
As I mentioned earlier, the fashion industry is moving quickly and becoming more digitally-focused. It is much more than just simply uploading images onto the web, allowing key journalists and influencers to download images, finding press releases, jotting down upcoming events or reading the latest news covering campaigns and brand launches. An online press room can provide so much more! Here we list the top three advantages of an online press room:
- Accessibility: We are all perfectly aware of the fast pace work environment that editors and influencers work with. We also know when they have an urgent need, accessibility and support are both crucial. A virtual press room enables us to supply all the information that these opinion leaders may need at any given moment by having the proper content and images available online whenever they need them. Let’s just imagine a Vogue editor calls you up on your iPhone because she urgently needs a high-res photo of one of the pieces in your latest – and greatest! – collection for the print edition which needs to be sent to the press within half an hour (surprise!). Assuming you are not twiddling your thumbs at your desk but rather writing your own article on the couch, from the comfort of your living room, you would have to call a colleague from the office, explain exactly what it was that the person needed, receive the file and then send it off to the editor through email or WeTransfer… Now let’s look at how that same process would work by simply sharing a link to your latest collection within your virtual press room so that the journalist – or anyone, as a matter of fact – can easily have access, choose a high-quality image, then download it at any time. This accessibility and convenience are essential in today’s world, where we are constantly on-the-go.
- Immediacy: “Acceleration” is the buzzword that best describes the fast-paced environment that everyone involved in the fashion industry faces every single day. ‘See now, buy now’ is so critical for the end consumer yet we have all realized that ‘See now, publish now’ is even more critical for our journalists and influencers who need to publish content ASAP. A virtual press room helps meet this need by providing ‘real-time’ shots of every show, from any catwalk or presentations anywhere around the world.
- Insights: Each time your brand is mentioned, either online, through a traditional printed magazine, or a printed journal, it holds immense press value. Every single impression that you receive through the press is a valid argument that justifies the work and time that your PR team is putting in. A printed-out dossier normally won’t include the data behind all these PR efforts, but your virtual press room can by showing information on who downloaded images, who read your latest press release, as well as who was looking at your collections. These figures show help you better anticipate your audience’s needs and another wonderful advantage is the wonderful data you’ll be able to analyze and include in monthly reports.
Well-known brands such as Burberry, Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Proenza Schouler and Tommy Hilfiger have all re-engineered their supply and distribution chains to meet the needs of today’s “fashion-hungry” consumer, enabling them to sell their newest collection immediately overnight after the shows, creating the whole ‘see now, buy now’ frenzy. To take it even further, brands changed their communication strategies to please the attendees at shows, giving them the opportunity to share live content with their own audiences and show the world that “I was there”. For those who missed the most-coveted fashion shows, brands can still use their digital press room as a tool and platform to directly communicate show content to those who didn’t attend.
So here we are… we have all the tools to maximize press opportunities with key journalists and influencers who are hoping to have easy access to all the latest scoop and press material.
GPS Radar, a free virtual press room
In 2010, before designers had thought about today’s ‘see now, buy now’ approach, thanks to our partnership with IMG (the firm that organizes New York Fashion Week), we launched a free platform that aimed to provide the top fashion industry insiders with a digital space to follow all the latest fashion industry news and view press content.
At the beginning of this year, we launched GPS Radar in the European market. With the latest release, our goal is to become the leading platform for fashion industry professionals from all over the world to connect. GPS Radar has since then been referred by some media as “The Fashion Industry’s LinkedIn”.
This newly updated GPS Radar includes corporate brand pages where brands and designers can manage and use as their own virtual press rooms. They can upload full galleries of their latest collection, share articles that have been published in the media or blogs, create press releases, and even announce upcoming events. The following screen shows how brands, such as Gucci, leverages Radar
Currently, there are over 44,000 users registered on GPS Radar, which consists primarily of journalists, designers, brands, agencies, buyers and a whole range of other fashion professionals. All users have 24-hour access to the content and posts in this global platform and it’s still growing every day… new members are requesting to join at this very moment. To become a member of the GPS Radar community, all you need is be a fashion industry professional and apply here to become a part of this exclusive, member-only network. Here you have a short “How To” video that will explain GPS Radar’s benefits and functionalities:
As you can see, having your own virtual press room can be so effortless and easy!
Yet for brands who need a closer control over their own information, images and material, digital press rooms, through a supplier or internally developed may be the best option. While it implies extra investments, it enables press teams to share content and connect with journalists from anywhere and ensure all the relevant product details are available to maximize their coverage as well as provide them with vital data on the content they are sharing with the press.
Now it’s all up to you! Don’t you think the time has come for you and your brand to start building your own online press room?