I’ve noticed it first-hand, time and time again. If I, or one of the other girls on the shop floor, wore an item, that day we would almost instantly sell out of the product. And let me tell you – mannequins really do work! A product worn is transformed from an inanimate object that looks similar to the thousands of other inanimate objects the customer has been browsing through, to a practical ‘must-have’ item!
Want to supersize this phenomenon? You want product placement.
I can’t tell you how often during my many years on the retail shop floor I had customers come in with a magazine cut out or screenshot on their iPhone wanting the outfit they saw. Sometimes they wouldn’t even bring a picture in, just ask for the shoes they saw in Cosmopolitan last month or ‘that dress’ they just spotted in Shop Til You Drop.
Advertising can be prohibitively expensive. But more than that, advertising can only go so far until it becomes a white noise that blends in with the hundreds of competitors that flood the marketplace. For fashion especially, the best cut-through you’re ever going to get is through the voice of a friend, celebrity favourite or trusted magazine editor.
There are thousands of fashion choices bombarding consumers daily. It is the role of magazines and blogs to carefully edit the best range, style them nicely and then present them in a personalised and practical way. The general feeling is – if I see something in a magazine, it’s going to be worth buying!
The role of the PR person in this is to have the relationships with relevant media, know what they are seeking, approach them with your label’s relevant pieces, manage the send and receipt of items and provide information about the product. Straightforward, maybe. Time intensive and requiring razor sharp attention to detail, definitely.
This is why fashion blogging has become so huge – and why, in my opinion, fashion magazines will survive the slow death of print media (but that’s a whole other issue…).
So, you should invest in product placement but be careful! Coming from both retail and the publicity background, it is an absolute necessity that you align the two. Nothing is more disappointing to a customer who buys the latest issue of Cleo, heads in store to buy their favourite item and only to find that it sold out months ago. Make sure you aren’t sending in old stock just because it fits the brief – however tempting it is! Product development, public relations, marketing and sales all need to work together – you may be separate departments but don’t forget to the consumer you’re just one company!