public relations

Crave Fashion Industry Co-Storm: Key Insights and Takeaways

The fashion industry can be a tough one to tackle. Whether you own a blog, work for a PR agency or are starting your own clothing line, we all face similar challenges. To face some of these head-on, various people from across the Seattle fashion scene met at the Crave Co-Storm to brainstorm solutions.

A co-storm is a think-tank style session where small groups discuss industry issues with one another and brainstorm strategies to solve these problems. Co-storms help us understand that sometimes we need help from others to recognize solutions we can’t see on our own.

While I learned a lot from my first co-storm, there’s one key takeaway that I plan to apply to my professional and personal life: there is a power and benefit in brainstorming with others.

Although it seems like a simple task, we often forget the impact others have on our ability to think creatively and make decisions. In today’s day and age, we strive to accomplish things on our own but, by doing so, we’re only shorting our potential success.

Don’t get stuck overthinking things. Instead, pick people’s brains and ask for their opinions. But here’s the challenge: seek individuals who don’t work in your office.

While brainstorming among your co-workers is great, it can be more helpful to get a fresh set of eyes on your work. Ideas can get stale and someone who’s not familiar with your work may pick up on something you couldn’t see, ultimately fielding new questions that will direct you back to the right path.

I was able to experience this first-hand through the Crave Co-Storm. Speaking with different fashion-focused individuals, gave me the opportunity to gather thoughtful feedback from people who understand the complexities of the fashion industry, but from a different standpoint – one that isn’t PR related. Not only will you get fresh ideas, but may also receive direct feedback from individuals in your potential target audience.

So, the next time you’re in a creative rut or struggling with a project, reach out to others in your community. Meet up with a friend or, if you’re in Seattle, sign up to attend a local co-storm. Hearing different perspectives can make a huge difference in the outcome of your work. In the end, we all depend upon each other and one fresh outlook can open our minds to an influx of new ideas. 

Successful Super Bowl Ads Generate a Reaction

Curator’s Scott Battishill joined some of the industry’s most successful and accomplished advertisers and marketers last week for the American Advertising Federation’s 2016 Chalk Talk. The panel spent the evening going over spots from #SB50, sharing their opinions on what worked, what didn’t, which made an impact and which were duds.

The overall sentiment was that companies have to take a stand, make a splash, or do something crazy to stand out in such a loud, crowded marketplace.

To put it bluntly, neutrality sucks and it’s not going to get brands anywhere.

Some brands seemed to put out ads just for the sake of having an ad. They wasted $5+ million and didn’t take advantage of the stage they were on. The spots that everyone forgot about were the spots that didn’t have brand recognition, connect with the viewer, or strongly tie into social, which is where the conversation would continue long after the Lombardi trophy was awarded.

When a brand is competing for attention, they have to be the Donald Trump: loud, crazy, controversial and memorable. Brands who are safe, boring, neutral – the Jeb Bush of commercials – are forgotten. When there is so much going on in the viewer’s life – a game to watch, a beer to drink, a friend to talk to – it’s easy for a brand to get lost in the commotion. Spots that stood out made viewers stop, listen, react and respond.

So the take away here isn’t, “What’s the formula for a successful Super Bowl commercial?” The take away is brands will never get anywhere sitting in the middle. Whether good or bad, some reaction is better than no reaction. Either way, people are still talking about your brand and [hopefully] remembering your product.

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For Chalk Talk 2016, Scott was joined by Mary Knight, Principal and ECD of Hydrogen; Ronan O’Mahony, Director of Brand & Advertising at T-Mobile; Cal McAllister, Co-Founder and CEO of Wexley School for Girls; and Troy McCall, Freelance Creative Director. The event was moderated by Chris Copacino, Account Director at copacino+fujikado.

The Problem with Small Talk

Ever get stuck in a cocktail party talking to the guy spouting inane small talk? It's exhausting. You're doing your best to laugh at the right places, but at some point you're done. You're giving the ear tug sign to your wife to come save you. We've all done it. And so have consumers of many brands through social media. Except, instead of an ear tug they hit the "hide" button.

The problem is "engagement" in its current form often equates to small talk. A little bit of small talk isn't a bad thing, but at some point, if we want to actually build a relationship with the person we're talking with (not to) we need to graduate to a conversation that adds value.

For brands it starts with understanding the behaviors of people on social and a realization that, in it's purest form, social media wasn't created for brands. That said, brands can thrive in that environment — they just have to do so the right way.

I recently spoke at the IPRC conference on this subject and shared this presentation below. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

The Curator News Feed: May 10, 2013

Could someone really go a year without Internet? Did you know that Disney Princesses parallel women in PR? What are brands doing to leverage this Mother’s Day? These are just a few of the questions that are answered by our favorite articles from the week. See them all here in our latest link roundup!

Lip Sync-Off with John Krasinski, YouTube. From this day forward, I will just close my eyes on Friday and let John Krasinski take me away... – Shawn

I'm still here: back online after a year without the Internet. The Verge. Most of us couldn't imagine being without the Internet for a full week, maybe only a day. Paul Miller just got back online on May 1, after abstaining from the Internet for an entire year. If I summarized his thoughts in these couple of sentences, I would ruin it for you. There's lessons about the Internet, but more importantly how we function as people. This one is definitely worth your time.  – Maria

Five Simple Rules, and Additional Tips to Make Yourself into a True Travel Warrior. LinkedIn. Whether you're traveling internationally or not, for business or pleasure, Paypal's President David Marcus has some pretty worthy advice on how to make traveling efficient and the time you have before, during and after a trip feel like you never skipped a beat. – Maria

Taking The Long View: Social Media's Real ROI, WTIA Community Blog. If you do any kind of social media analysis or SEO work in your job, you (hopefully) know that Ian Lurie is one of the brightest, clearest voices in that space. Here's the thesis of his latest post, which you should read immediately and not save for later: "If you’re measuring every dime spent on social media and expecting a clear ROI, you’re doing it wrong. Social media doesn’t generate near-term ROI. It fixes rattles and makes people happy. By doing that, it helps you secure long-term ROI." Seriously, if you were only to ever read one blog post about social media, this would be a great post to pick. – Paul

The End of Traditional Ad Agencies, Harvard Business Review Blog. A Vespa dealer in Lexington, Kentucky, came up with the concept of "No Cages" for the Harley Davidson campaign and a guy from Tukwila came up with the concept for Stereotypical Harley — both through a crowd sourced effort from Victors & Spoils. We're obviously believers in curation here and this concept digs deep into the theory. I was really intrigued by this article and had good conversations with our team. Lots to ponder with this one. If you're the CMO on the client side does it matter where the spark of the idea came from? The agency will still have to bring it to life and make it strategically smart. Part of me likes this a lot for the right brand. What do you think? – Scott

Microsoft Buying Nook Reported $1B Deal Would Escalate Amazon Rivalry, GeekWire. I own a Kindle. My wife does, too. My mom owns a Nook. And we have an Audible.com subscription for audiobooks. Needless to say, we like the printed (and sometimes spoken) word. As such, all this who’s  buying whom in the world of digital books is interesting to us…and may just impact our next purchase decision. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out from a marketing perspective, as well, and how both Nook and Kindle customers will react. – Dan

Seizing the Crown: Disney Princess PR Parallels, SmartyRants blog at TraversCollins.com. I'm not entirely sure I fit the Princess mold, but am amused that we're now comparing our careers in PR to the plights of our favorite Disney leading ladies. Any of my fellow Curators willing to share who they best identify with? – Jennifer

Why Floundering Abercrombie Should Reconsider Snubbing The Full-Figure Set, Forbes. Here's a how-to on alienating consumers. Ironic that the very segment of the population that this brand is shunning from its stores, could in fact help boost its market share if the brand embraced it. – Noelle

My Mom Always Said…, Pinterest. Leading up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, Procter & Gamble released this touching “Best Job” video as part of its global “Thank you, Mom” campaign. As the brand shared, they’re in the business of helping mom, so this video celebrated moms around the world who have given so much. Last week, perfectly timed for Mother’s Day, the brand began asking for great pieces of motherly advice from the Thank You Mom, by P&G Facebook page and Twitter handle. I played along and contributed my own mom’s advice, and there was some nice engagement through the week via Twitter. Yesterday, they revealed a Pinterest board full of clever graphic posters of the real-mom advice that people shared with P&G. I love how the brand invited engagement across several channels where I connect with friends and family and created an opportunity for me to celebrate my own mom. Nice work, P&G.  – Ann Marie

Seattle’s Best Brunches, Seattle PI. Are you panicking because you didn't make plans for Mother's Day? This article from Seattle PI may just save your skin. – Liz

Twitter Vines Get Shared 4x More Than Online Video, AdWeek. While I have yet to make my first Vine, I’m on it a lot looking at my feed of friends and brands alike. I think it’s an awesome concept and I love how some brands, like Lowes, are using it to showcase products, events, services and culture. I also enjoy the creativity some people are using, like this great compilation of Vines of Ryan Gosling refusing to eat cereal. –  Chelsey

Warby Parker Customer Service, YouTube. Some companies are really known for their customer service on social media. Warby Parker just blew it out of the park though when a customer tweeted he had a crush on the customer service rep he just spoke to over the phone. Most companies would probably ignore it but not Warby Parker. Original tweet here: https://twitter.com/Mister_Wang/status/330062442098987008. – Brooke

The Curator News Feed: January 18, 2013

This week we enjoyed a few laughs over some bad PR jargon and comedians on Instagram, and also learned why you shouldn’t be a travel writer. Check out all the news that caught our eye this week in our latest link roundup:

 2013 Places to Go, NY Times and Luella June. When I find a new blog that I haven’t come across yet in all of our pitching, I get really excited. I discovered Luella & June, a Dallas-based lifestyle blog, when reading the always-inspiring Glitter Guide. She has a great style, and doesn’t focus on just fashion, home décor or travel – she covers it all! I also stumbled upon (when going very directly to the NY Times travel section which I love) this article about the 46 places to travel in 2013. Several unique, unexpected places on there, and full of even more inspiration! – Julia

Journalists Identify the Worst PR Jargon, Ragan's PR Daily. UK-based public relations firm, twelve thirty eight recently published its annual buzzword report and according to 500 surveyed journalists, PR pros should stop using words like issues, deliverables and dynamic when working with them. Reading this article made me recall my time with Seattle's now nonexistent NBA team and a list of words and phrases, appropriately dubbed "Sonics Speak," that were often abused in staff meetings. My personal favorites were synergy, circle-back and full-tilt boogie. – Jennifer

Magazine Publisher Buys Pop, Biz Journals. Magazine publisher buys marketing agency? What? Interesting from a content creation and distribution standpoint. – Dan

Blind dates go mobile, PSFK. Like the information age before it, the mobile age is already pushing the limits of our imagination. During the late 90s, I don’t think any of us could have anticipated mobile email, mobile banking, mobile payments, mobile PvP gaming, or, what’s this now? Mobile dating? Yes, OkCupid’s new app uses GPS data for on-demand blind dates. It seems to be missing the ability to take advantage of its compatibility matching software and trove of users, but I have to imagine that’s in the works. The idea is brilliant in its own right, in my opinion, but what caught my attention is the opportunity to monetize the information they have about the users. They already know where they are, who they are, and that they plan to spend money somewhere; if I’m a restaurant or theater owner in the area, I can’t think of a more captive audience to advertise to. – Matthew

Pentagram Redesigns NYC's Parking Signs Into Twitter-Sized Bites, AdWeek. Whatever communication industry you're in — I've been in journalism and PR — your job often boils down to this: Take complex information and make it simple. Design firm Pentagram did a great job of that with their refresh of New York City's disastrously confusing parking signs. The new signs (photos at the link, and here) highlight the things you need to know most when you're driving loops around the block: Can I park here? When? and For how long? The 140-character limit they imposed may seem a bit gimmicky, but it's also something of a standard, and if the point is to keep words to a minimum, it makes sense to go with that. Just one request: Can we have these on Capitol Hill? – Paul

10 Ways Not to Be a Travel Writer, Lonely Planet. This week I was researching travel bloggers for a client and day-dreamt at least couple moments up of what it'd be like to get paid to travel. It seems pretty awesome, and I got all fired up about traveling that I'd like to do. That's how I ended up on Lonely Planet's site and saw this ironic article about how not to be a travel writer. Although I wasn't surprised by any of the points, I thought it had some great tips to keep in mind for any job. – Maria

Funny Instagrammers to Follow, Mashable. I love perusing Instagram, especially following celebrities and brands that have fun with the photo-sharing app, and now I have a new list of Instagrammers to stalk in my spare time (and you should too)! – Chelsey

2013 Golden Globes via Social Media

While most people get excited for the new year because it means a clean slate or a chance to go for those resolutions again, I get excited because it means the Hollywood award season is here. After living in tinsel town for a short while and interning with the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2010, I became even more fascinated with the whole production onscreen and off. But what I noticed most from my behind the scenes look into this world was how social media was slowly transforming the way the public not only saw the show, but got to interact with it.

At the SAG Awards in 2010, Facebook and Twitter were of course the reining champs of the social media world and it was so cool to see media, fans and stars alike sharing snapshots from the red carpet, posting their commentary about who won or should have won, and ultimately giving outsiders a peek into their lives for a night. Fast-forward to 2012 and now 2013, we can see an explosion of social media activity around events like this, both from the public and media.

This past Sunday the 70th Annual Golden Globes aired on NBC and sure enough the Twitterverse was going crazy and Instagram was flooded with photos by stars and media at the show. In response to the surge in conversation about everything from who wore what and the acceptance speeches, to commentary on the winners, social media monitoring services Radian6 and Sysomos compiled and shared their stats from Sunday evening. Sysomos claimed, “[there was] an astounding 2.4 million mentions of The Golden Globes. There were 17,270 blog posts, 24,712 online news articles, 8,238 forum postings and a whopping 2,351,722 tweets.” Radian6 showed that despite having competition from the NFL Playoff games happening that same day, the Golden Globes doubled their social media mentions from 2012.

Radian6- 2013 Golden Globes: Over Two Million Mentions 

Other sites like Backstage and Hollywood.com also recapped the night’s social media activity by best celeb Tweets, pics and a (fairly comical) GIF of Glenn Close.

Now, while I do love this kind of social media activity for the inherent entertainment and new set of conversation starters, I also think there are some key takeaways that can be applied to the work we do here at Curator. Sure it might be easier to have organic conversation around a big event like this, especially when big stars are involved, but these cultural events can be a great platform for leveraging a brand or product. For instance, one of the main advertisers during the telecast, L’Oreal, took advantage of their airtime and simultaneously tweeted about how to get specific celebs’ look from the Red Carpet. In doing so, they broke the trending list and sparked a lot of excitement and attention from fans and makeup artists. For more on how advertisers shared the social spotlight, check out this great article by Blufin Labs.

Like any major cultural event, whether it be sports championships, political elections, award shows or big news, looking at how and what people were talking about (especially when compared to past years) is a great benchmark for where social media is headed and how the different channels are evolving. So, the next time a big award show is on (Screen Actors Guild Awards January 27th or Oscars Awards February 24th), take a minute to watch what’s happening across social media and see how your observations stack up against the next day reports.