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!
How to Market Christmas
Tis the season to be jolly! Welcome to Christmas my friends. If you are new to marketing, it is time to burst your Christmas bubble…(and not just that Santa is fictional)…because in marketing the festive season lasts all yearrrrr round. Yep, by the time it arrives, you will be lucky if the sight of Rudolph doesn’t make you want to reach for the mulled wine immediately. Christmas is a year long (sometimes plus) project. When I worked with a global retailer, they would have their Christmas mock shop up and running in November where creative could work alongside product developers to bring the following years Christmas to life. Sound intense? Well yah!
Let’s run some numbers. Christmas shopping is one of the biggest holidays with shoppers spending over $1 trillion in the United States and shoppers in the UK spending over £2 billion https://wearetop10.com/christmas-statistics/ Typical household spends over £500 extra in December https://edu.bankofengland.co.uk/knowledgebank/how-much-do-we-spend-at-christmas/ plus there’s all the presents and fun activities to consider! So as Kevin in Home Alone would say – arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
So this is big business and getting the right proposition takes time and consideration. So let’s take a look at the steps required for a successful Christmas PR & Marketing campaign.
Right, timelines are not your friend with Christmas. No matter which brand I have worked with over the years, almost every single one encounters problems hitting the deadlines required to max out festive opportunities. Why? Let’s work it back:
December. By the time December hits, everyone is already on the slide into Christmas and is generally continually drunk on mulled Cider. The only thing you want to be launching in this month is end of year sales and/or a Minced Pie into your mouth.
November. Public Launch – Any earlier and people get annoyed so I think about it as the second Halloween is over (or Bonfire Night in the UK), you should be ready to rock and roll.
September / October. If you’re launching in November, you’ll need all your creative signed, sealed and delivered. Any last minute problems should be ironed out and printing should be delivered in October ready to go-live.
July / August. Press launch time. Yes Christmas in July is an industry LOL. Yes we roll our eyes, yes it feels too early, BUT if you’re a journalist working on a long lead magazine or God forbid a Christmas supplement, then this month is golden. It is common to hold a press day or begin your PR activation in July – ho ho ho.
May / June. Oh hang on tho. If you are having a press day in July…you’re gonna need the high res images aren’t you? And some nice campaign shots? Ya know, with Santa holding said product next to a tree. Soooo we need to shoot the campaign in May in order to build in time for repro and design. Merryyyyy Christmas.
March / April. Sooooo we’d better get the marketing campaign decided then? And the creative team briefed in order to hit our blooming deadlines? Simplyyyy having a Wonderful Christmas time.
January / February. You’re gonna need some festive products to shoot. This is when your buying team will be finalising their designs and getting final samples in. SEE this is how it becomes an all year round effort.
So that is quite simply how you will be detoxing from Christmas with your Dry January while simultaneously be talking about the NEXT years Christmas campaign. FML.
Campaigns – things to consider
So that’s timelines, now onto how to capture the imagination with some of my favourite examples.
November 14, 2018: New economic forecast data released by the Advertising Association shows businesses will spend close to six and a half billion pounds on seasonal advertising during the final quarter of this year. The competition to be the number one Christmas advertiser intensifies every year, with spend increasing 5% on the previous record amount in 2017 https://www.adassoc.org.uk/2018/11/christmas-adspend-18/. Big businesses – say the likes of John Lewis and Marks & Spencers, have enormous pressure to deliver at Christmas.
In past years, John Lewis really have delivered adverts with emotional connections which highlight their overall campaign – my favourite was the Man on the Moon a few years ago which connected to their charity link with Age UK.
This year my favourite campaigns have been the underdogs. Marks & Spencer have made more misses than hits in recent years but their link up with Holly Willoughby, arguably the most influential woman in fashion has scored major points for being relatable.
Advertising generally means spending stacks of cash – and although it certainly can end up being very expensive, creativity sometimes wins through. Just look at this alternative-Christmas video which only cost £50 to make and for me is a much bigger win this year.
After this went viral, the filmmaker Phil Beastall has since been commissioned by Good Morning Britain to make their One Million Minutes campaign.
Advertising is all-encompassing so consider this in your marketing mix and find your audience; whether it is TV to radio to print to digital and social media.
This year things have gone extra AF. The rise, and rise of Instagram and social media has put the emphasis fairly and squarely onto the double V – visual and viral. I’ve talked before how businesses including shops, cafes and pubs can use their physical space to become a haven for Instagrammers. Traditionally we would rely on councils or streets to decorate but now, businesses can take matters into their own hands.
My favourite hot spots are London based but there will be plenty more examples – Tweet me when you find them!
Florist Dickinson & Doris have been creating beautiful displays for Peggy Porschen for the last few years and for 2018 we have a pink Winter Wonderland which ticks all the festive boxes. This is Instagram genius – we literally have pink and sparkly backdrop of the cafe on the pretty cobbled streets of Belgravia serving up cute Christmas cupcakes and pastel coloured treats. A must visit – just expect to queue on a nice day.
Churchill Arms – if there was an award for a pub which has gone viral – it would be the Churchill Arms because as soon as they installed their Christmas tree decorations, it made national news. The Churchill Arms famously spend £25,000 a year on decorating the pub with flowers and over Christmas their budget is £5,000 on Christmas decorations. That money provides 90 Christmas trees, almost 12,000 lights https://secretldn.com/churchill-arms-flower-pub/. The ROI on just one of the national news pieces would have paid for itself in terms of press coverage and ensures it is consistently top of the must-visit pub lists for tourists and Londoners alike.
Annabel’s has been killing it in Mayfair this year with their OTT floor to ceiling, purse busting decorations but the ROI on Instagram is OOC.
The key is to make it impactful enough and ensuring you get the ROI. You can never be 100% sure of the results but each year you can test new decorations through fresh campaigns and track your mentions and engagement.
Creating a Christmas Offering or Experience
Nothing says Christmas without yearning for a special mulled wine or a stacked hot chocolate with whipped cream inside a festive, cosy igloo on the Thames. Well this has happened! Coppa Club are booked up solid for the Christmas period with their igloos which overlook Tower Bridge. This is the perfect Christmassy experience where getting that shot inside the igloo looking super smug is reserved for the very lucky or the very early bookers.
Dalloway Terrace have also created #WinteratDalloway with a cosy festive setting by Wild At Heart and Christmas cocktails including the Belsazar Vermouth Winter Warmers.
Ice Bars and skating rinks have also been on the rise, popping up in iconic places like Somerset House, the National History Museum and Winter Wonderland. Speaking of Winter Wonderland, it has been growing and growing since it opened in 2007. It now spans a huge area with bars, rides and activities and attracts over 2.5 million visitors each year.
Creating Christmas Products
Christmas products have a SHORT SHELF LIFE so their reason for being needs to absolutely clear. For Christmas shopping guides, festive themed outfits or cosy wintery pieces are absolutely crucial. This is a crowded market though, so it needs to be cuter, funnier, more colourful and more festive than the rest to stand out. Christmas jumpers have had a particular resurgence in recent years, partly due to Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day and also to embrace the festive period, creating a fun party uniform amongst family, friends and colleagues.
If you work in the food or drinks industry, then ding dong merrily on high. Get a Christmas menu pronto with festive cocktails and introduce special offers for parties.
PR Tips for Christmas
Be Ready – Get your high res images and lifestyle shots by July. Think about what the press want for gift guides and make sure you have cut outs on plain backgrounds.
Press Release ready – If you don’t have a product you can photograph prior to installation (for example – Churchill Arms festive pub), make sure you have confirmed your plans and signed off the press release with quotes which you can send out in July. If you have images from previous years, you can use those to give everyone a taster and get everyone excited by adding to your blog if you have one on the lead up to the event.
Get to know the press – Find out the specific contact or commissioned journalists on key titles so you can be super targeted.
Use social media – Many journalists will use the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter to search for Christmas Gift Guide suggestions so get yourself a Twitter account. Many media databases will send out alerts if you pay to join them too – like Gorkana and Diary Directory.
Hold an event – Brands like Jo Malone are the gold standard in holding luxury events in beautiful settings, and Christmas is no exception with their stunning dinners to launch the new season with a signature scent or their Christmas Wreath. Depending on your budget, you can hold a simple press day in July, or even join one which will feature many brands, or you can hold a smaller, more personal breakfast, lunch or dinner. An event is always an extra cost and not always what I call a basic requirement, however, the social reach around the brand and potential to reach Christmas Gift Guide decision makers, should make it all worth it if you do it right!
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