Industry Insider View - Fashion Editor Ross Pollard shares his view on fashion PRIndustry Insider
We are thrilled to be joined by the talented Ross Pollard, Fashion Editor, industry commentator and founder of the acclaimed FashionWorked Awards who has agreed to share his views of PR for start-up brands.
Ross is a huge supporter of emerging talent and has often expressed his concerns about the damage bad PR can have on a brands development.
Over to you Ross…..
Ok so why’s a Fashion Editor talking about business and not flicking through look books, terrifying interns & sending stylists scurrying for cover? Well for a start that’s a bad stereotype, and secondly I care about this industry and I come from a commercial background originally, not a fashion one. The other thing is I’m quite honest and part of that is saying things that need to be said. I often watch in horror as I see money handed out like it grows on trees for nothing more than magic beans.
Here’s the thing, there are good PRs and bad ones. The good ones will nurture you and set you on a path to become as rich as Crassus, others will take until the coffers are empty. One clear way to tell a good PR is how they help you with customer acquisition. This is along with P&L and ROI is one of the most important numbers you should know, how much cash are you spending to get each customer, if it’s higher than margin you’ll eventually go bust.
It’s also a great metric for how much PR’s, consultants or anyone giving you advice is helping. Unless you’re developing a plan to change it, it’s dropping or at manageable levels you’re quite likely being taken for a ride. From my perspective as an editor, we can help you with that, we have readerships eager to be shown great designers, they have a desire to spend. But there are ways to do it to maximise results.
First of all, the ever-arriving blanket email to everyone, this is just paying for a very expensive mail merge. You may as well buy a contact list from an industry website and do it yourself. Also not all emails are equal, if I get an email about clothes with no pics it gets deleted, I get about 50-60 brands a week pitching labels for consideration, then add in the other emails etc. I’m not going to go chasing a label to find out what it looks like. If you pay someone to do outreach and they do this, stop, stop now.
Also, the content needs to be short and to the point, if you can’t sell it to me in a couple of lines, then I can’t sell it to my readership as they flick through. No extreme claims, just the key points & images. Oh and I’m getting absolutely sick of people referring to their label as a “side hustle” I see those words, it’s never going on a page. If you don’t respect your business enough to describe it in any way apart from a term for a bit of extra cash, I’m not going to either, I see this at least twice a month and it’s infuriating.
A good PR will pitch me something they know I’ll be interested in that’s a good fit for our pages, they’ll select carefully, they won’t throw every client they have at me in the hope one sticks. If you don’t have representation, pitch to me, but make sure you do research, if I get a pitch that is so far from our time, style or content that it’s ridiculous it’s getting deleted, where as if it’s in the right ball park but not quite right I’ll often pass it to other people I know who I think it would fit.