Confessions of a luxury PR practitioner
CEO for Communications DNA Monica Alsagoff gives Marcus Chhan her two cents on a booming section of the industry.
"When people see me and say they want to do fashion, I say are you sure? It's probably not as easy as you think, and then when they come in within two weeks they are overwhelmed and don't understand half the jargon that is used in the business. It's not brain surgery but you need to do a lot of research. At the end of the day, it's taking marketing skills and understanding your target audience," Alsagoff said.
According to Alsagoff, in the last four years the lifestyle and luxury PR industry has seen a boom but some of the biggest misconceptions are luxury clients equal big bucks and big budgets - at least this wasn't the case before.
"Actually in luxury, clients tend to ‘stinge' because they expect quality but not necessarily expect to pay for it, maybe because they are very used to people wanting their brands...and sometimes it's not fair - if you pay peanuts you'll get monkeys," she said.
Lifestyle marketing is visual and experiential and the persona of the lifestyle team is different - "there's an image. They are more fashion conscious," Alsagoff says.
"They are the customers of this brand. To be a good lifestyle practitioner you've got to know what the team is up to, every bar that is opening, every restaurant, you've got be ‘in the circle'. People trust your judgement. How would I know, if I read a review that said a restaurant is bad, unless I tried it for myself. How can you tell your client who the competition is if you don't know anything about them? You can go the academic way, read up, research, Google etc., but that's not as convincing as if you've been to the place yourself," she said.
Over the years, Alsagoff has engineered and attended countless ‘parties', networked and made the contacts that are invaluable to her business but does having a stellar list of contacts give Communications DNA leverage to win new business?
"No, I would never," she says.
"A lot of my contacts are my personal friends. I invite them if I know they would enjoy a certain event...it has to be for both parties benefit and I would not invite a celebrity if I knew the brand would not do good for his or her career. Integrity and right counsel is important because it's my reputation so a lot of clients hire me not for the execution because any agency can do that but more for the value-add of the brand positioning, the value of me saying this is not the way you should do it and can I help you in another way. Those are intangible," she said.
- Communications DNA
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