Today I sat down with a fashion PR authority. Sally-Anne Stevens of B PR set aside 40 minutes of her incredibly busy schedule to give me an exclusive look into the world of fashion PR. She walked me through the ins and outs of the planning process for branding as well as introduced me to some new brands and products I’ve already fallen in love with.
The trip to B PR
After getting turned around a few times as I headed to Bedford Square where the office is located; I finally made it to B PR’s headquarters. The show room was gorgeous lined wall to wall in the latest trends from various brands the agency represents. Sally-Anne was truly a wealth of knowledge, allowing me to draw my first comparisons between the planning processes for fashion branding in the U.S. versus the U.K.
“It’s very similar, they are very similar markets.” -Sally-Anne
In our conversation Sally-Anne concluded that her experiences branding and working with clients in the U.K. have not differed greatly from the U.S. She noted that both U.S. and U.K. markets are similarly influenced by the celebrity enthusiasm or culture. However, she pointed out that the French fashion market does not follow the trend. “If you were to go to somewhere like France, it’s a very different market with PR. They’re much more based around personalities rather than celebrities, they’re less enthralled by which celebrity is wearing what. For them it’s much more about trend and fashion. They are quite different in the way they do their communication.”
Sally-Anne also identified the importance of the initial meeting phase with the client as discussed in my previous U.S. interviews.
Although the planning process for fashion branding is consistent whether in the U.K. or across the pond. Significant differences emerge in the activity level and importance of brand emersion of U.K. agencies. London is after all a fashion capital of the world, which is reflected in how busy these agencies are. “Well, to give you an idea we’ve done six in the last month, so busy, really, really busy,” commented Sally-Anne. B PR orchestrates about 40 promotional events each year. Sally-Anne emphasized brand emersion a great deal more than my U.S. interviews. B PR prefers a hands-on integrated relationship with clients. This allows them to take more creative risks and really impress media contacts with samples and product.
“It’s not just about being creative, it’s about being clever. You need to be creative but on message.”
Clearly, their approach to planning for fashion brands has been highly successful. B PR has a wide range of clientele that extends well beyond fashion. Sally-Anne noted some recent success stories such as their work with Truffle Shuffle, Misguided and wildly popular manicure brand Ciaté. Many of these brands began as small U.K. start-ups but have now reached notoriety on the international fashion stage. Truffle Shuffle is the largest online retailer of t-shirts and is approaching its 10th year anniversary working with B PR. The agency has also secured numerous celebrity product placements with icons like Nicole Scherzinger who as worn pieces from up and coming brands like Misguided. As my interview came to a close I dreaded the thought of leaving this little slice of fashion PR heaven. Then Sally-Anne handed me a sample of Ciaté caviar manicure! I feel my first product review coming on! Stay tuned!