How a Fashion Platform Took Press Days Virtual in the COVID Era
By: Frida Rosenqvist, Public Relations Associate, DREEMS NYC
June 4, 2020
This time of year, designers and fashion brands often host press days to showcase their collections for media and opinion leaders. But ongoing global crises have necessitated restrictions on physical gatherings, and like so many verticals, the in-person events reliant fashion industry has had to rethink its traditional operations. Several public relations agencies and brands have announced that they are taking their seasonal presentations online, but how to do so successfully and efficiently? The answer may lie in virtual press days that take into account how communications have shifted in recent months.
Journalists have been bombarded with press materials from companies trying to secure coverage in an effort to stay on the radar, in a time when there aren’t many other ways to operate. If you want to get noticed in the commotion, it’s crucial to do so not by being the loudest, but by reading the room and identifying the right tone. Be personal and authentic in your communications, meaningfully check in with your industry colleagues and ask how you can take your existing symbiotic relationships to the next level.
Most communications professionals are confined to their homes, glued to smartphones and laptops. That said, it’s no surprise that social media platforms like TikTok have continued to grow in popularity in the age of quarantine. TikTok has reportedly experienced a surge, surpassing the 2 billion mark in downloads. (The app saw an astounding 315 million installs in the first quarter of 2020.) Instagram has announced similar developments, especially in terms of their live video feature which has skyrocketed in popularity while we are in isolation.
In response to social media users’ growing appetites, our online fashion platform, DREEMS NYC, addressed the current climate with the following tactics:
1. Creating short-form, eye-grabbing video of clients’ collections. These were shared with the press as an invitation to attend virtual press days. Overall, DREEMS has found emerging social media platforms and once-overlooked features to be great tools for content creation and distribution as well as audience segmentation.
2. Keeping editors’ time constraints in mind. Writers’ appearances at in-person press days are usually short, sweet, and to the point; we knew the virtual version wouldn’t be any different. Keeping editors’ packed schedules in mind, we prioritized newsworthy information over endless content.
3. Prioritizing one-on-one interaction. DREEMS hosts one-on-one Zoom calls providing detailed video documentation of each collection—both on the hanger and on models—with accompanying lookbooks for a full walkthrough of new lines.
4. Incorporating a social good element benefiting businesses hurt by COVID-19. Virtual press days supported struggling businesses in New York City by accompanying each call with a comped breakfast. This format also allows flexibility in terms of presentation of new lines, extending the timeframe for potential press coverage.
Time will tell whether or not these practices prove successful. But with careful exploration and ongoing adjustments to our approach, virtual press days should prove an effective alternative amid a challenging and unprecedented moment for communications.