For our second installment of the Ask The Brand series we chatted with Liz Walker the Directer of Public Relations at Tibi. We love Tibi – for many reasons - but most of all because of how they have embraced the blogging community.
At what point in your marketing strategy do you incorporate Social Media – is it considered from the beginning, or do you find ways to fit it in later?
For the past two to three years, social media has been a huge focus for us. While we still use more traditional PR and Marketing techniques to get our news out, we like that the organic and rapid way of spreading our news through social media outlets helps us directly connect with the consumer. A great example – we’ll announce a contest or giveaway through Twitter or Facebook exclusively and we can create excitement and exclusivity by offering a chance to win to existing or new fans and followers only. More news related marketing, for example a recent collaboration we did for Spring 12 with Elin Kling and Julia Sarr-Jamois, is still often communicated through industry press outreach, and followed by social media, but even that is not always the case.
How big is your Social Media team?
Our PR/Marketing team is three, plus a graphic designer who helps us to create visual content. We all brainstorm ideas for social media as a whole, and then handle posting on various outlets individually. This is a big initiative and definitely a group effort.
Has Social Media changed the process of your designers at all?
Amy (Tibi owner/designer) is very involved with social media and reads comments and feedback we receive from fans on a daily basis. With the launch of our E-commerce in August 2010 and popularity of social media, Amy and the design team have a better idea of exactly what our customers respond well to (or don’t.) That being said, she stays very true to her vision for the brand, but it’s a great knowledge that ultimately will have a place in their minds when designing.
In what capacity do you work with bloggers?
Amy’s an avid follower of 15 blogs or so but is always scouting around for the newcomers and I’d say in influenced a great deal by these guys. In the past year, we’ve worked with some great girls – Leandra Medine of The ManRepeller, live-styled our Spring 2011 collection in the windows of Bloomingdales in May. Elin Kling, Swedish blogger from Style by Kling, styled our Spring 2012 runway show and ad campaign starring Wonderland editor Julia Sarr-Jamois. Most recently, we sponsored the 2012 bloglovin’ Awards during Fashion Week. At our most recent show, we focused on this group over our celebrities because it’s so relevant – we had Hanneli, Glamourai, Olivia Palermo, Elin Kling, Song of Style, Tuula Vintage, Purseblog and more in our front row.
What do you look for when choosing bloggers to work with?
A lot of the directive comes from Amy-she looks for someone whose aesthetic meshes well with Tibi, and also possess a unique viewpoint. Its not always the most popular with the largest following, they definitely need to inspire her with their style and creativity.
When did you start inviting bloggers to come to your runway shows?
The first season where we focused on inviting key bloggers to our show was Fall 2011, so just over a year ago. Since then blogger attendance has quickly turned into a huge focus. As mentioned above, this season-in lieu of inviting celebrities we had a front row of great blogger personalities, which we loved.
What value do you see in having bloggers at shows? Are they there for coverage, or more to build relationships?
Of course from a PR perspective we love the coverage, but one of the best things about blogger attendance is the very different interpretations you get about the collection and the immediate feedback. Editors and buyers look at the pieces from Fall 12 with a September shoot or clothing delivery in mind-that’s over six months away! The bloggers post, tweet or tumble pics instantly in a lot of cases, and the various viewpoints could each represent the feeling of one of our customers. The show itself is so hectic, that we work on developing relationships in the months leading up to fashion week-inviting bloggers in to pull pieces to wear, or seeing them at events.
How do you measure the overall value of bloggers and Social Media?
We use traditional web analytics to measure the traffic blogs and social media drives to our website and e-commerce. Outside of that, a less-measurable (but just as important) goal is awareness. Bloggers, depending on physical locale and focus, open our brand up to new customers with each post.
What changes have you noticed in fashion marketing/PR over the past few years? What trends would you predict for the future?
Of course social media is a huge change, I also think that the customer is expecting more and more-product info, brand news, peeks behind the scenes-and they want it all now. That immediacy is driven by the web, Twitter especially is a constant news feed. It’s a fun challenge to keep our fans and followers engaged. A few years ago we would plan for a feature to run in, let’s say, the July issue of a major magazine, now we want the feature on that magazine’s website tomorrow, or even announced on our own Twitter today.