Interview with David Meerman Scott
I was introduced to author and speaker David Meerman Scott a few years ago via his best-selling book The New Rules of Marketing & PR which I reviewed right HERE. David immediately commented on my blog post and replied to me on Twitter, meaning that he 100% practices what he preaches about genuine, thoughtful engagement! I thought I would be cheeky and ask him to be the next person to be interviewed for my Getting Naked With series and I was thrilled when he agreed. David is a straight talking, straight forward, no nonsense kind of guy which means that he replies to emails super quickly, uses social media in real time and is fast to react to the news stories around him. It is this honest, professional and inquisitive nature that has led to a stack of published books, speaking engagements that take him around the world and the ability to ’news jack’ his way into the media (more on this later so keep reading). Here, I ask the questions to David Meerman Scott:
NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
David Meerman Scott: I grew up in Connecticut on the USA East coast and then I went to school in Ohio at Kenyon college. My first job was in New York City on a bond trading desk of all places – which I hated. Then I went behind the screens because I loved the technology, the data and the news that was going through the systems like Dow Jones and Reuters and Bloomberg so I wanted to work in the financial news and information business. I started doing that, moved to Tokyo when I was 26 years old to start the Asia office of a Wall Street economic consulting company. I did that for a couple of years and then joined Knight-Ridder which at the time was the second largest newspaper company in the United States and I was their Asia Marketing Director, specifically focused on real time news. And that was great to give me an opportunity to see how real time news worked because I have been using those ideas for a very long time since then. And then I ended up being in Asia almost 10 years – Tokyo was about 7 years, Hong Kong was 2 years and I moved to Boston about 20 years ago – I’ve been in Boston ever since – I really like the idea of Boston. It’s been a great spot to live, it’s got a great airport because I travel a lot, I’ve got a vacation house on the beach area here outside of Boston and I really like it. I studied economics, that had absolutely nothing to do with what I’m doing now which is kind of neat. I didn’t do very well in school because it was kind of boring for me but I did enjoy learning the things that I liked.
NakedPRGirl: What was your big break?
David Meerman Scott: Well based on the fact of what I’m doing now the biggest break for me was the fact that I got sacked from Thomson Reuters in 2002. It was great because the fact that I got fired meant that I had to figure out what I was going to do next and that allowed me an opportunity to start my own business back in 2002. Initially for the first few years I did consulting around public relations and marketing – I did that for around five years and then in 2007 the first edition of the New Rules of Marketing and PR came out. As that book launched, it hit the International bestseller lists and that drove speaking engagements. Then I stopped doing consulting which I have not done since. So my biggest break was getting fired – how about that right?
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your business, what is the idea behind it? How did you come up with the business plan? And name (I hear there’s a good story behind the Meerman)?
David Meerman Scott: I have 4 lines of business right now: I run a one-person business, I have no employees but I have tons of people I work with virtually. And the four lines of business I have are:
Paid speaking engagements – I do 30 or 40 a year around the world which I absolutely love.
I generate book royalties and my books sell pretty well so it’s actually a reasonably strong part of my revenue stream.
I serve on advisory boards of companies – like HubSpot for example, where I’ve been an advisor since 2007. Rather than take cash for that work I take equity which has been great for me because three of the companies I work for have an exit which generates revenue for me.
Meerman is my middle name – there are a whole bunch of David Scott’s out there – one who was an Iron Man triathlon champion, a David Scott who is a member of Congress, a David Scott who walked on the surface of the moon and so rather than compete I use my middle name Meerman in my professional endeavours. This has been a really important aspect of my branding in that I am one of one rather than one of many.
NakedPRGirl: How did you come to write your first book? Is it something you always wanted to do? What tips do you have for people looking to get published?
David Meerman Scott: My first book was actually a novel called Eyeball Wars, the first novel about an Internet start-up company. I just had that book in me, I had to get it out, I was eager to get that book out. The second book I wrote was my first non-fiction book, it’s called ‘Cashing in with Content’. It was ahead of its time – it was the first book in the world on content marketing and if I had called it ‘Content Marketing’ it would have been a very different book. However, I called it ‘Cashing in with Content’ which was a truly horrendous name and therefore it didn’t get much notice – but it definitely was the first book about content marketing. The third book I wrote – The New Rules of Marketing an PR was the one that hit perfectly in terms of timing, just when people were looking for what’s going on the web in PR and Marketing and now is in its 6th edition. I’ve written 10 books altogether: some other one’s that I’m known for is ‘Marketing Lesson from the Grateful Dead”, ‘The New Rules of Sales and Service’, ‘Real Time Marketing and PR’ and a book called ‘Marketing the Moon’ which is the Marketing aspects of the Apollo Moon program that’s being turned into a movie that will be released in the July of 2019.
NakedPRGirl: The industry is moving so fast that you’re now on the 6th edition of your international best-selling book The New Rules of Marketing & PR. How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years?
David Meerman Scott: Interestingly, the strategy around marketing and PR that I talk about which is that you need to create content to get noticed as opposed to just trying to spend money on advertising or begging people who are members of the media to get noticed – that strategy has not changed. So over all of the 6th editions from 2007 until the most recent edition the strategies are the same. What’s changed are the techniques and the tools. Twitter didn’t even exist when I was writing the first edition of the book, Facebook was only for students when I was writing the first edition of the book. MySpace was the most important social network when I was writing the first edition of my book so lots and lots of things have changed over the years so for example when Instagram came around that need to get added to the book, when Google started to index blogs in real time that needed to get added to the book, when Google eliminated Google Plus that needed to get deleted from the book, because they have shut it down. The main thing that changes as well is that I always have new examples of success in the new editions of the book which is why it’s important to do that.
NakedPRGirl: In the UK we’ve seen many much-loved magazines and online news channels going into administration and closing down so as you know PR is evolving. Where do you see it evolving in the future?
David Meerman Scott: Yes, magazines and newspapers are closing down, the media is changing. When everyone can be a media company what does that mean for professional media companies? That’s the big question. At one-time media was scarce, at one time you needed a printing press, you need a television studio, you needed to have a huge infrastructure to create media and that meant that the media business enjoyed a period of time where they could print money if they did a decent job. Newspapers in cities did extremely well because they could sell advertising, because that was one of the few places you could advertise. Now it’s changing completely and what we need to realise as PR executives is that the media is way more than traditional media, the idea of getting noticed is way more than traditional media. it’s everyone – it’s all of us. And rather than just focusing on how you can get some else to tell your story the main thing I see happening, which has been evolving for 15 years is that you can tell your story yourself. That’s really important to understand as PR people. We don’t just have to have the media write about us and what’s interesting there in my opinion is that if you do a great job in telling them the story yourself; through a video, through a blog post, through speaking from the stage, through a fabulous Twitter or Instagram feed or whatever the media may find you. I love the idea the you can create this stuff yourself.
NakedPRGirl: One of my favourite parts of your book, is the cocktail party analogy where you explain that social IS social and shouldn’t just be one-way sales traffic. In a world of algorithms and advertising, do you think being friendly is the best way to excel on social media?
David Meerman Scott: So I love this analogy which I put in ‘The New Rules of Marketing and PR’ that social media and online communications is like a fat, honking cocktail party. So you’ve got all different aspects of that cocktail party going on and so how do you interact with people at a cocktail party? Well the way that you interact is that you go in and you meet a few people, you have some great conversations, you share, you let other people talk, you might share a little bit about what you do for a living but that’s not the dominant thing you do when you go to a cocktail party. And that’s so different from how most people participate in social media because what most people do is that they focus way too much on the idea of trying to pitch their own products and services. That’s like going into a cocktail party and yelling at the top of your lungs “buy my product’ and nobody wants to hear somebody at a cocktail party trying to pimp their own products – it just doesn’t work that way. So it’s much better to focus on just acting like a normal human being.
NakedPRGirl: I noticed in your blog post that you are a fan of mixing business and personal life on social media – do you think that is one of the hardest points to grasp as a brand? I always say for journalists and PRs especially, we have spent a lifetime being behind the camera and behind the scenes, and suddenly we have to embrace self promotion. Do you have any tips on how we get comfortable with this?
David Meerman Scott: And yes you did notice that I love the idea of mixing business and pleasure in your personal life on social networks and with content because I think people really want to do business with other people. They don’t want to do business with a big nameless, faceless organisation – they want to do business with other people. So the more that you put yourself out there the more that you can have people gravitate to what you do – I’m very convinced of that. And I think that it’s important for people who work in organisations to understand that the more you can get people who work in our organisation to come out from behind the curtain and be human beings, the better it is for that brand to personalise themselves.
NakedPRGirl: I noticed your recent website redesign (which looks great) resulted in a 359 percent increase in traffic by working with web strategists IMPACT. How important is it for us to work with experts when making big changes?
David Meerman Scott: I did redesign the website both from the visual aspect but also what’s going on in the back end of the website and it has had an amazing impact on my search engine traffic. People who have commented on my new redesign so they love it. It was really important – one of the things I did was I moved my blog onto Davidmeerman.com and that’s helped a lot because I was actually competing with myself, I used to have a different blog URL and I was competing with myself for search engine traffic which I silly but that’s what I did and I’m glad I changed it. I worked with the people from Impact Branding and Design and I was really important for me to work with someone who was an expert both in the visual branding aspect as well as the back end technology aspect and that was an important aspect for me.
NakedPRGirl: How do you manage your blog and social media workload – do you have a team? Are you a planner and a scheduler? And do you get techy in the back end?
David Meerman Scott: I just do it because I enjoy it and my focus is that I tend to do one blog post a week and a video now and then and I’m on Twitter every day several times a day – I check the news every day because I’m always looking for something for newsjacking. And I’m always thinking of images that would be interesting to post to Instagram. So for me it doesn’t feel like work or workload, it doesn’t feel like a chore because I constantly have it in the back of my mind and I tend to do Twitter during downtime: waiting for a meeting to start, waiting for the show to start if I’m in the audience and we’ve got 10 minutes until the curtain comes down. Instagram is basically, when I see an image I push it out there – I don’t think “oh I must do an Instagram now”.
NakedPRGirl: Instagram has completely changed our industry and it is hugely influential in terms of driving sales. So many businesses are focusing on social media, what advice would you give them to utilise this platform?
David Meerman Scott: I think just be yourself, don’t try to focus on your own products and services. I think a lot of organisations are spending too much time on that whereas I think what’s more interesting is focusing on stories and images themselves.
NakedPRGirl: Let’s talk influencers; social media is particularly criticised for transparency on ads and has also been open to manipulation from those seeing to fake their likes, followers and engagement. Do you think we are doing enough to regulate the industry?
David Meerman Scott: If you look at the movie about the Fyre Festival as an example – this was a Festival gone horribly wrong and which was originally promoted by social media influencers. It’s really important that influencer recognise that as influencers they have a tremendous responsibility. I don’t know if I would consider myself one but many people consider me an influencer in different aspects – whether that has to do with music, marketing, PR or travel. So I’m very careful if there is something I am talking about that I am in some way related to. For example, I am on the HubSpot advisory board and HubSpot is also the blogging platform that I use but if I ever talk about the fact that I am a HubSpot customer I will always say that I am on the HubSpot advisory board. That is so it doesn’t feel like I’m trying to promote them without talking about the fact that I also have a business relationship with them. So it is very important that there is transparency around the idea of influencers.
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about ‘newsjacking’ in PR & Marketing. Is there a standout example you use to demonstrate? Or anything recent which would have been a great story to jump on?
David Meerman Scott: Interestingly the term “newsjacking” was originally was used in the 1970s in the UK to talk about people who stole a package of newspapers in front of a news stand that they eventually sold. What I did was I applied that term to the idea of following what’s going on in the news and then creating something (a blog posts, a YouTube video, a tweet with a hashtag, a live stream) where you inject your take on that news. So it’s essentially real-time PR, but the most important thing is that it has to be instant and right when there is a breaking news story.
An example in my world is that I focused for several years on the US Presidential Election cycle of 2016 which is the one where Donald Trump was elected President. I followed the candidate for two years before that election and very early on I prediction Donald Trump was going to win because he was the most real time candidate. Then when he did win, I had an area of expertise that the media was looking for because everyone was confused as to why Donald Trump won. I did a blog post saying the best marketer was elected president and that got me quoted in a whole bunch of publications, it got me speaking gigs because my area of expertise was suddenly in demand. So what you need to do as a newsjacker is just understand that, no matter who is reading this right now everyone one of us has an area of expertise that we can push content out in real time.
NakedPRGirl: I’m a hybrid of an old school PR dealing with press releases and print media, and part new world PR where I’m focusing on social media, content creation and influencer relations. Do you think these will co-exist / merge together or will the digital side eclipse our need for old school media methods.
David Meerman Scott: I believe that Media Relations is a subset of Public Relations. The problem is almost everybody thinks that they are the same thing. PR is simply how a person or organisation deals with its public and that can take many different forms. You give a speech that people will hear, you communicate with people directly – perhaps at your store, you are active on social networks putting your content out there, you write a book to showcase your expertise. All of these are parts of the wider set of Public Relations. The narrower set of Media Relations is how you work with members of the media – reporters and editors, and bloggers and influencers – so that they may want to write a broadcast about you and I think those are two different things. 20 years ago it was the same thing because we didn’t have any other way of getting our information out there except form going through the media. Now there are a lot of different opportunities instead of going through the media so those are two different things.
NakedPRGirl: What advice would you give to those looking to get into the PR & Marketing industry?
David Meerman Scott: Really important – I would suggest that you have to create content that shows who you are; write a blog, do a YouTube channel, so you’re not saying “here’s my CV I want to get into the industry”, rather you’re saying “here is the blog I made, here is the YouTube channel I made – I am a PR person already” even if you’re just a student that is something anyone can do.
NakedPRGirl: You’ve travelled the world speaking at conferences and worked with famous faces around the globe. Do you have a particular career highlight that stands out?
David Meerman Scott: I’ve been speaking at the Tony Robbins events now for about 5 years and I absolutely love it. They are fabulous events with a huge audience – very energetic – lights and sound and it’s absolutely wonderful. I love the stage. People think “why in the world are the Rolling Stones still doing concerts when they are in their 70s” and I totally get it. There is a wonderful think about being on the stage and it’s something I want to do when I’m in my 70s as well, 20 years from now. It is absolutely fascinating.
NakedPRGirl: What are the top books on your book shelf?
David Meerman Scott: I almost never read marketing and Public Relations books, I might skim them. I do read books by Seth Godin, he’s my hero, I love everything he’s written and always read them as soon as they come out. Mostly I’m reading things outside of marketing and Public Relations – I read about music, I read about the media, I read about arts, I read novels and I think what is really important is to focus on being very well versed in a wide variety of subjects rather than being really narrow.
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
David Meerman Scott: I want to continue what I am doing – I want to be on the stage until I can’t even be on a stage any more. I want to continue to serve others, I want to continue to make a difference in educating people – I don’t know what I will be educating people on in 30-40 year’s time but I want to continue to be doing so.
Visit David Meerman Scott’s website – https://www.davidmeermanscott.com
Take a look at the Apollo Press Kits – here. Buy David’s Books https://www.davidmeermanscott.com/books
Follow David on Twitter
Follow David on Instagram
Getting Naked With Interview with Stylist & Author Alexandra Fullerton
NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Alexandra Fullerton: I’m an Essex Girl, born and bred and live there now
NakedPRGirl: What did you study? What was your first job?
Alexandra Fullerton: I did GCSEs and A levels and then went to LCF to do Fashion promotion, although I dropped out after two years.
NakedPRGirl: What was your big break?
Alexandra Fullerton: I’ve had a series of moments in my career that felt like big breaks at the time.
NakedPRGirl: I met you when you were fashion director at Stylist Magazine, how was your time there? It is such a well-loved and fast moving weekly, it must have been amazing to see everyone on the tube looking at your work!
Alexandra Fullerton: Stylist was incredible – very, very hard work but so satisfying and I loved turning the preconceptions of what fashion in a free magazine would be, on it’s head.
NakedPRGirl: You’re now fashion director at large for Glamour magazine, what can we expect to see from the new look publication?
Alexandra Fullerton: Everything at Glamour has been produced with a beauty filter and the imagery is rich, inviting and epic. I’m thrilled to be part of the title.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a particular career highlight/photo shoot that stands out for you? Any particular stars you’ve dressed?
Alexandra Fullerton: I loved dressing Florence Welch. Her style is so distinct I was thrilled that she loved my rail and wore everything I suggested – and looked like her in the resulting images.
More recently the two shoots I have in Glamour’s new issue (out March 7th) were shot in the Maldives are are E P I C.
NakedPRGirl: You have just published your first book, How To Dress, how did that come about? Did it take you long to write it and what can readers expect from the book?
Alexandra Fullerton: A commissioning editor came to me and asked if I’d like to write something but it was a long process to get started due to other commitments. Writing it only took two months and I like to say it’s like a recipe book where the readers bring their own ingredients or style but I suggest the recipe to make an outfit. All the advice is kind and I didn’t want it to be a prescriptive ‘You should only wear this’ book – it has to be inspiring and let readers stay true to their own personal style.
NakedPRGirl: How did you decide to work with illustrator by Bijou Karman to bring your book to life?
Alexandra Fullerton: The art director at my publishers suggested her and I thought her illustrations would be ideal for what I was trying to convey.
NakedPRGirl: What’s the one thing every woman could do today to up her styling game?
Alexandra Fullerton: Whatever you’re wearing, it’s the little details that can elevate your outfit. The way you roll your sleeves or tie your belt. Concentrate on these to up your game.
NakedPRGirl: I love that you value style over fashion and also to avoid fast fashion/over buying. Do you think we are doing enough to highlight the environmental impact of our fashion habit?
Alexandra Fullerton: So many people have no idea of the impact of their fashion choices. We need to keep talking and highlighting the effects of what fast fashion does to people and the planet so the public becomes educated and therefore empowered to make the right choice for them.
NakedPRGirl: Are you ever tempted to stray away from your signature style of sixities, denim, tomboy?
Alexandra Fullerton: Yesterday I wore a long floral dress with a striped jumper over it and chunky boots. There was no denim in the outfit! But all the elements gave the look a tomboyish vibe, despite the flowers. And I made sure my make-up was Sixties to balance it.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Alexandra Fullerton: Learn to spell and understand grammar.
NakedPRGirl: What would you say were the key elements of your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand?
Alexandra Fullerton: Denim is the mainstay along with shoes that have personality.
NakedPRGirl: What key style elements do women need to focus on getting right in their wardrobes? Is it the perfect jean, colour palette or a classic heel?
Alexandra Fullerton: When you have basics you can build on them and add seasonal twists as you wish, so get these right first.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a style icon? Who would you love to dress?
Alexandra Fullerton: Right now I’m obsessed with Courtney Barnett’s style. It’s the ultimate in rock and roll dressing. A cool tee, jeans, Western boots or maybe a trouser suit. It’s very pared back, unconsidered and unstyled but somehow perfectly styled in it’s purity. I’d love to work with her.
NakedPRGirl: Your mum looks incredibly stylish from your Instagram – my mum is a fan! What style tips do you have for style at any age?
Alexandra Fullerton: Ah bless her. I think my mum is incredible and has great style. Honestly, I just think you need to find your own niche and feel confident in your own style. Pared back style always works best at any age though.
NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business? What’s your favourite social media channel? Do you have any social media tips?
Alexandra Fullerton: Instagram is becoming a huge part of what I do, and my favourite channel. There are many ways you can brand yourself on social media but I’ve found being authentic is the best policy.
NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years?
Alexandra Fullerton: It has been the advent of instagram which has been the biggest change.
NakedPRGirl: Where do you see it evolving in the future?
Alexandra Fullerton: The bubble doesn’t have to burst although it’s what is being predicted.
NakedPRGirl: How do you manage your blog/social media workload – are you a planner and a scheduler?
Alexandra Fullerton: I don’t plan, I have things I know I need to do… posts I need to write… and I get round to them sometime but my main day job of styling and being commissioned takes priority.
NakedPRGirl: How important is your Instagram grid? Do you plan everything in advance?
Alexandra Fullerton: Nooooooo!!!! Not at all. I try not to post two #TheDailyShoes next to each other but that’s all the planning I do.
NakedPRGirl: I love your obsession with footwear which is realised through the hashtag #thedailyshoe and also the interviews with like minded women on your blog, Feet First. What do you think shoes say about a person and if you had to choose one pair that are your favourite pair, which would you pick?
Alexandra Fullerton: I absolutely couldn’t pick a favourite pair – they all mean so much! And it’s the personal meanings behind the aesthetic or styles that fascinate me.
NakedPRGirl: How do you split your time between business and real life?
Alexandra Fullerton: Work definitely spills over into my evenings and weekends – but as I’m self-employed there are times within ’normal’ working hours where I decide to have a bath, do a workout or visit friends… so I’m fine with this mix.
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
Alexandra Fullerton: I’d like to have written more books and I need to design my own shoes!
Styling will still be my day job, I love it and don’t ever want to stop.
Take a look at Alexandra’s website here https://www.alexandrafullerton.com
Follow Alexandra on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/alexandrafullerton/?hl=en
Buy her book How to Dress on Amazon
EXCLUSIVE – Lorna Luxe x In The Style Interview
Hold onto your Dior Saddle Bags, stop what you’re doing and set the countdown clock to 11th February because influencer Lorna Luxe is about to land her first ever collection. Lorna Luxe x In The Style promises to be a momentous day in the fash calendar as the Instagram-ista touches down with her highly anticipated range which she has been previewing on Stories over the last month. I’ve known Lorna for a solid 4 years (where has the time gone) – in fact you can read an interview with her from 2015 HERE which goes into detail about her brand. Since then, I have seen her trajectory go from great to stellar in the last few years. I am so proud of her for all her achievements and delighted that the queen of effortless chic has finally designed a collection for her followers.
In this exclusive interview you’ll find out how to get your hands on the collaboration, key info including how many pieces there are and how much it will cost, how the collaboration came about with In The Style founder Adam Frisby, why the collection was shot on the beautiful streets of Portugal AND most importantly, the one piece that is Lorna’s favourite. Thank you to Lorna Luxe as always for your time to take part in these interviews, this blog would not exist without you!
NakedPRGirl: Congratulations on designing your first line, what can we expect from the Lorna Luxe x In The Style collection? And how many styles will there be for us to lust after?
Lorna Luxe: I began moodboarding this collection back last September so it’s heavily influenced by European summer holidays gone by… there’s a beautiful Porcelain print which drove our decision to shoot the collection in Lisbon and silhouette wise there’s a heavy 80’s influence with puff sleeves, synched waists and power suiting all over the shop… 40 pieces in total. I’m a child of the 80’s so I think somewhere in the creative process I imagined being that seven year old girl playing dress up in mum’s closet.
NakedPRGirl: You filmed and shot the collection in Lisbon, was this an important place for you?
Lorna Luxe: Absolutely. It was vital for me that the surroundings reflected the collection and told the story. Lisbon is a visual feast of colours with the terracotta tile rooftops and blue beautiful tiled architecture. Off-duty we made the most of their foodie culture it’s an incredible city I will be back.
NakedPRGirl: How did you meet In The Style founder Adam Frisby? What’s he been like to to work with and did you bond over your Manchester roots?
Lorna Luxe: Adam’s reputation preceeds him so when the In The Style opportunity was presented to me I had no hesitation. My first meeting with Adam was in Manchester which I’d expected would be an informal chat – in fact he came armed with an eight page intricately researched document about my brand and how it would align with the In The Style consumer. He takes his business very seriously and he’s passionate about the customer experience which if I’m honest I am too. He’s incredibly positive and not afraid to get stuck in- a very inspiring experience.
NakedPRGirl: Was it an easy decision to collaborate with In The Style? What makes them the perfect brand for you?
Lorna Luxe: I think with any big collaboration like this you have a huge feeling of excitement coupled with an enormous fear that you won’t deliver or live up to expectation – least that’s my default position. What has been incredible about this collaboration not least the investment made in developing my line, but just how much freedom I’ve been given to really tell a story and share my personal style.
One of the core values of In The Style is that of empowering woman and that has been my experience of Adam and the team throughout.
NakedPRGirl: When did you start to design it and what was the process with the In The Style team? How long did it take from start to finish (how fast is fast fashion?)
Lorna Luxe: Not as fast as you’d think. Adam’s design team (who are hugely talented) countered my moodboard ideas with runway trends that meshed with my own. They encouraged my decision making throughout and this was truly collaborative in terms of the fabrics and details we decided upon…. the conversations run into the thousands where adjustments and alterations were made. As Adam will atest, the collection had to be perfect in my eyes regardless of the time taken to get there. We got there!
NakedPRGirl: Did you have a muse for this collection?
Lorna Luxe: I didn’t. But I did want a collection filled with pieces that made whoever wears them to feel fabulous and maybe just a little bit sexier.
NakedPRGirl: What is the favourite piece in the collection (I know – JUST one – I am so cruel!)
Lorna Luxe: The ‘Don’t Speak’ polka dot mini-dress because that’s Mr. Luxe’s fave.
NakedPRGirl: What does Mr Luxe think of the collection?
Lorna Luxe: He’s incredibly proud and I think impressed that ITS have permitted me to remain true to myself in designing a line for such a well respected brand.
NakedPRGirl: I spotted you have aimed to curate a collection with shapes you swear by and pieces that were affordable – how much are we talking?
Lorna Luxe: Yes absolutely- the range starts at £12 all the way up to £60 but crucially the majority of pieces straddle the £30 mark which if I’m honest as a consumer is a price-point I’m most comfortable with.
NakedPRGirl: You’re following in some very well heeled footsteps. In The Style has also had successful collaborations with Love Island’s Dani Dyer and influencer Sarah Ashcroft, how do you feel about joining them?
Lorna Luxe: Privileged. These women are hugely successful, power houses even.. I’m so so fortunate to be joining forces with a brand that has so many iconic ambassadors.
NakedPRGirl: I always say you’re a master marketer and I loved how you teased the first mention of the collaboration on New Year plus you’ve used Instagram stories effortlessly to preview the collection without giving the whole thing away… is this a conscious approach or are you just in sync with what your followers want?
Lorna Luxe: Instagram Stories is fluid for me… I don’t plan too far ahead but I do answer every dm that slides in so i’m fairly in sync with what my followers want. I’m a story teller at heart, it’s what I enjoy most so I find sharing stories very addictive. Sharing the lead up to the launch on there has been so well received I’m chuffed to bits.
NakedPRGirl: When I interviewed you back in 2015, I asked you where you would be in ten years time and you said: ‘Clutching a croc Birkin, sipping a slow gin cocktail, shading under a palm tree in the sea breeze…Career wise I have to carve out something that makes or at least doesn’t hinder that happening.’ Is this still the plan or have side stepped onto a Victoria Beckham style career path to become a designer instead?
Lorna Luxe: No my goal remains the same although in hindsight I’d probably want a rosé chaser after that sloe gin.
NakedPRGirl: Will there be a follow up collection? If so, any sneak previews on what to expect?
Lorna Luxe: I think my followers will decide that.
For a more in-depth look at everything about Lorna’s business and how she grew her amazing brand, don’t forget to take a look at my interview with Instagram star Lorna Luxe in 2015 HERE.
How to Market Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is more than a day of love, it is a money making, heart shaped, pink hued business opportunity with more than 22 million Brits – like practically all of us – spending an estimated £1 billion in 2018 according to GlobalData (an average of £28.45 per person) on the 14th February. This is nothing compared to the numbers in the US where Valentine’s Day pulls in $18.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation and there is an average spend of $136.57 per person (must be more romantic in the states). With that in mind, let’s delve into why and where Valentine’s Day fits into your PR & Marketing calendar plus you’ll find my fave campaign of the year .
Why bother with Valentine’s Day
The day itself has overtaken Easter spend according to Mintel with romantic partners spent 620 million pounds on Valentine’s gifts in 2017, compared to the 575 million pounds they spent at Easter…so whether you are loved up and smug or single and ready to mingle, marketeers cannot ignore Valentine’s Day. Well, I can’t tell you where to stand on the ethics of marketing this blissfully romantic and spiritual day (apart from please steer clear of anything flammable) but where you have consumers searching for products or services, then you have a reason to jump on the love train. Quite frankly, you can expect to take a slice of the £1 billion spend and take advantage of popular hashtags surrounding the event. Valentine’s Day has also spawned a second day, Galentine’s Day is celebrated on 13th February and focused on female friendship so there are plenty of ways to explore this special day and get extra love for your brand.
What’s the history?
This one time at band camp…well in third century AD to be exact, Valentine’s Day was inspired by Saint Valentine. Rumour has it that when Emperor Claudius II banned marriage, Valentine broke the rules to arrange marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death…not exactly the rose filled history I was expecting… However to make it into the history books, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine. Read more on the BBC.
Planning your PR Campaign
These days, it really is more a pink and red fuelled fight for coverage, so a long lead time in PR circles is always your friend, and it is easy to miss Valentine’s Day in the bun fight that is Christmas. By the time you’ve sobered up from the festive season and started your Dry January Detox, you’ll mostly be too late to be featured in anything but extremely short lead titles. So PR wise, as ever, six months in advance is the key to having all your assets ready to wine and dine editors before the big day. August may seem a bit early, but you’re talking January and February issues which most likely will go to print before Christmas.
You can still ‘go viral’ and hijack news stories, so all is not lost, but in an ideal PR world, one in which you are quaffing Champers while you’re selling stories in, six months in advance is preferable!
Deciding your Valentine’s Day product or offering
Now then, as I joke in my PR Dictionary (read here) there are two kind of Valentine’s Day sell-ins:
1 – the kind of sell-in with six months planning in advance
2 – the kind of sell-in where you’re hunting round for ANYTHING heart shaped from your clients collection a week before Valentine’s Day
If you are carefully considered, you can ensure you have the perfect product to appeal to press and consumers alike, you can photograph it, write clever stories about it, social media it and convince the whole world you define Valentine’s Day. If you leave it until the last minute, then most likely you’ll be pulling a pink rabbit out of a hat and convincing people it goes perfectlyyyyy with Valentine’s Day.
If it is a product, try to be different and unique to get headlines but obey the rules of Valentine’s Day in that pink/red and heart shaped ultimately make commercial sense.
If it is a service, creating a special offering is crucial – a Valentine’s Menu, a Valentine’s cocktail or special cupcake is key. The more effort you put into the theme of your Valentine’s Day offering, the better it will be. Yes it isn’t the giant that is Christmas, but also a half assed red cocktail might not win the day.
Press Release & Assets
You know me and my assets. Images and videos will always bring your campaign to life so spend what you can afford. A nice cut out plus a lifestyle image are the minimum requirements and then behind the scenes videos or short videos are perfect for your website and social media campaigns.
Make sure your press release goes out to key journalists including Shopping Editors in September or as soon as your offering is ready. You can also keep an eye out for journalists requests on Twitter (using #journorequests) and on Diary Directory or Gorkana.
Win the headlines
It is worth noting that Instagram has made seasonality even more addictive that ever before. The marketing calendar can often define your social media calendar and being ‘live’ or first to snap something for the ‘gram is more important than ever. “WE ALL KNOW WHEN YOUR PICTURE WAS TAKEN SHARON,” we say as we look at five year old picture of a perfect-looking-non-scaffolding-clad Big Ben. Anyway, here are my PR winners for Valentine’s Day.
Peggy Porschen perfectly packages up this lust for seasonality by using their ever-evolving windows to echo both the time of year and latest collection. Visitors and influencers flock to the new windows as soon as they are installed outside the pink parlour and London’s Instagrammers fight to get their snaps taken first in front of the floral displays. For Valentine’s Day 2019, their theme is La Vie En Rose inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s statement; “Paris is always a good idea.” Expect a perfect floral sign above the door spelling ‘Love,’ poodle shaped biscuits, rose decorated cupcakes and Eiffel Tower decorated coffee. Check out Peggy Porschen here.
Ok so not STRICTLY a Valentine’s campaign but who could miss out this lush pink paradise which is a Insta-winner. Elan at it’s heart is a love story about coffee but it is more than caffeine that has boosted their Instagram following to over 200k followers. Elan Cafe recently expanded their London collective to include a flagship at Market Place in Oxford Circus with beautiful, and very pink floral walls, delicate pastel chairs and elaborate foodie treats with everything from breakfast fruits to sweet cakes. It is the added extras in the plush interiors like pink blossom trees, carousel horses and pastel bicycles which make this a Valentine’s Day paradise. Check out Elan Cafe here.
Fortnum & Mason
Gosh got to love a bit of a luxury treat for Valentine’s Day and Fortnum’s ticks all the heart shaped chocolate boxes. In store they have a Big Wheel style cart and heart shaped pink chocolates lollipops. Check out F&M here.
Anya Hindmarch and London Fashion Week
Last year Anya Hindmarch teamed up with London Fashion Week and the Mayor of London to install enormous red hearts around the capital. These ‘love letters to London’ appeared at Marble Arch, Battersea Power Station and The Ritz as London Fashion Week commenced a day later. Check out Anya Hindmarch here.
Read more on How Marketing Love Makes the World Go Round http://nakedprgirl.com/2015/01/love-makes-the-marketing-world-go-round/
Getting Naked With Interview with Bonnie Rakhit The Style Traveller
The face that launched a thousand trips; Bonnie Rakhit is THE Style Traveller. Bonnie is a London-based former fashion editor who has worked for titles including Sunday Times Style and Grazia. Our paths crossed when Bonnie was fashion editor at British ELLE, back when blogging was a brave new world and Instagram was in it’s infancy. It was during that time that gorgeous Bonnie founded the prestigious and inspirational blog The Style Traveller – ‘a fashion editor’s guide to the world’s most stylish places.’ No stranger to creating content, the blog, which is a ‘must visit’ if you are planning a trip, has been voted in the Top 5 Luxury Travel Blogs in the UK. The blog is a ‘Place of Dreams’ full of mouthwatering photography, fabulous scenery, food and fashion complete with essential travel tips and hacks. If that isn’t enough, she’s taken TV in her stride by gracing the This Morning sofa several times this year in her role as travel presenter – is there anything she can’t do? I’m in awe of her commitment, her determination, her entrepreneurial spirit for spotting a gap in the market, and clearly, her travelling wardrobe! It is time to get inspired by the globe-trotting fashionista, Miss Bonnie Rakhit.
NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Bonnie Rakhit: Both my parents are Indian but I was born in Manchester, in England, where I grew up. Then moved down to London after uni and I’ve been here ever since.
NakedPRGirl: What did you study? What was your first job?
Bonnie Rakhit: I studied Fashion Design at Manchester Met Uni. My first job was actually in fashion PR.
NakedPRGirl: What was your big break?
Bonnie Rakhit: Before doing PR I had done work experience at several magazines and newspapers. One of which was the Sunday Times Style magazine. I did that work experience while I was still at college. And three years later I bumped into the then fashion editor at the mag and she asked me if I wanted to come back the Sunday Times as the fashion assistant! I said yes of course!
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your time at ELLE, what was that like? Was it a dream job?
Bonnie Rakhit: Being at Elle Magazine was my ultimate dream job (until now). I’d always wanted to be a Fashion Editor on a big glossy magazine so when I was accepted onto the mag I felt like I’d made it! It was such a fabulous and varied role, but it was super hard work and highly pressured. The amazing things I got to do on the job completely made up for all of the hard work.
NakedPRGirl: Where did the idea come from for TheStyleTraveller?
Bonnie Rakhit: Whilst at Elle I travelled the world all the time, but the only thing you saw in the magazine was the model shoot and none of the trip behind the scenes. So I decided to start a blog which was all about the trip, where we stayed, the trendy bars and restaurants we ate at and where the shop and party in these far flung destinations. and being a fashion editor there were plenty of style and packing tips and street style shots.
NakedPRGirl: How did you come up with the business plan? Who did your branding for you?
Bonnie Rakhit: I pretty much winged it to begin with. I started a google blog at the time and did the logo and branding myself. Things changed pretty quickly once the blog started to become more successful. I moved over to word press and my graphic designer re designed everything for me. That was about a year later.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your USP?
Bonnie Rakhit: The blog is a Fashion Editor’s guide to the world’s most stylish places.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a particular career highlight that stands out?
Bonnie Rakhit: Yes I styled JLo for the Elle cover shoot in LA. And in blogging I met and hung out with Richard Branson at the launch of his Chicago Virgin Hotel. And last year I was given my own private jet, which flew me and boyfriend to Nice for an all expenses paid romantic weekend away.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand?
Bonnie Rakhit: My personal style is pretty, feminine, colourful with a sexy nod. I do market myself as the brand, clients and customers respond and engage much better when they see the face of the brand rather than than a generic logo and an invisible team.
NakedPRGirl: I saw you on This Morning recently, how did that come about? Does TV feel like a natural next step for you?
Bonnie Rakhit: I loved being on This Morning. I met a TV producer years ago on a press trip and out of the blue she said she’d been following me on social and seen the blog and did I fancy doing a slot all about Holidays of the Rich and Famous for them. I loved doing it, it felt very natural to me. I’ve been on the show a couple of times now and would love to go on again.
NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business?
Bonnie Rakhit: Social media is one the most important parts of my business. I promote my blog, TV appearances, talks and shop events on there. As well as all my trips. Many brands also want to purely work with me on my social channels now.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your favourite social media channel? How did you grow so many Instagram followers? Any tips for readers on social media?
Bonnie Rakhit: It has to be instagram! I love it and it works perfectly with my brand which is so visual and all about beautiful imagery. I was very lucky as I started my blog while I was still at Elle so every time I was featured in the mag or online I saw a surge of followers. Likewise I work with so many brands and am now featured in magazines and on TV and when these happen I gain more followers too.
NakedPRGirl: Are your business branding and blogging persona symbiotic? Do you ever feel like they are out of step with each other?
Bonnie Rakhit: They are totally symbiotic, the only time they aren’t is if I’m taking a much deserved social media break. I’ve only done it once around my birthday and I didn’t share anything for a couple of days. It felt great.
NakedPRGirl: How do you manage your blog/social media workload – are you a planner and a scheduler? And do you get techy in the back end?
Bonnie Rakhit: I am very techy and like to keep up with the latest fads and trends. I do have have assistants and people to help me.
NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years? Where do you see it evolving in the future?
Bonnie Rakhit: It’s so much more about Instagram and Youtube these days which is a channel I’m just starting out on now. I see it evolving into video.
NakedPRGirl: How important are London events in your work – for example London Fashion Week? What do you look forward to attending?
Bonnie Rakhit: The more you are seen out and about the more people you network with the better. I love London Fashion Week and being a Mercedes brand ambassador means I get my own car to take me around the shows which they put my logo on. It’s all very exciting!
NakedPRGirl: Are there any London events or venues on your wish list to attend or visit?
Bonnie Rakhit: Without sounding spoilt I do get a lot of invites. What I really love when I’m at home in London is spending time with my friends and family.
NakedPRGirl: What are your favourite places to shoot? And who is behind the camera? Do you have a certain ‘look’ you’re aiming for?
Bonnie Rakhit: I love dramatic backdrops, the more romantic or fabulous the better. I’d like to create a dreamy reality, somewhere people will be swept away. My boyfriend shoots me when we are on trips together, I also regularly collaborate with photographers and other bloggers.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion start ups or bloggers?
Bonnie Rakhit: Do it. Don’t be scared, put yourself out there and see what happens.
NakedPRGirl: Who in the industry inspires you?
Bonnie Rakhit: I love seeing what other bloggers and Instagrammers are doing. I love how epic SamKolders videos and photos are and I love the dreaminess of other Instagrammers like Gypsealust and SincerelyJules.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?
Bonnie Rakhit: Do what makes you happy.
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
Bonnie Rakhit: Doing the same thing but with my family in tow. And being happy!
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“Claire was my PR and Marketing Manager for four years at Donna Ida so we worked closely together to build a marketing strategy for the Ultimate Denim Destination. Claire’s PR experience led to an increase in press coverage 30% year-on-year with a focus on luxury titles and targeting key editors"Read The Full Testimonial
Claire was very well liked by the press and they felt very happy and comfortable with her, so much so that they were just as happy going to Claire as they were coming to me. We developed a press strategy of one-to-one appointments and special evening press dinners to encourage exclusivity with exceptional results.
She worked closely with our in-house creative team to build the brand and my personal profile within the fashion and business sectors, managing photo shoots and Look Books. Claire is loyal, entrepreneurial and strategic so when presented with a challenge she sees it as an opportunity.
DONNA IDA THORNTON, www.donnaida.com