Last week, Maria Boyle, founder of MB Communications, was recognised as one of the world’s 25 smartest women working in luxury this year, according to Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2017. Here, she offers ten top tips on how to succeed in the luxury sector, advocating the need for aspiring luxury PRs to “get the basics right”.
Luxury brands are planning to be more proactive on marketing and advertising to engage consumers in 2017, according to a new report released this week.
Overall, half of those surveyed plan to spend more in 2017 than in 2016, a significant shift from last year. And only five per cent said that they plan to spend less.
This bodes well for PR companies working with luxury clients.
But, the world is a different place than it was this time last year, with Brexit, Trump, geopolitical issues, media and marketing shifts and changing consumer consumption patterns.
For any PR working in this highly discerning sector, it’s important to get the basics right. With 25 years’ experience and a few awards under my belt, here’s some tips from someone working day in, day out in the industry, about how to hit the ground running:
Learn the art of storytelling
Luxury brands tend to be very story rich and PR campaigns can make engaging content if you ask the right questions at the outset to get these gems of wisdom. Finding these golden nuggets are essential in today’s cluttered media spaces.
Get clued up
Read around the subject you are promoting. Be your client’s eyes and ears. It shows you are passionate about their brand and gives you essential talking points when at events or meeting media. Never stop reading, watching films, interesting documentaries, visiting exhibitions and listening to others who work in the industry. It’s amazing what you will pick up.
Ditch the email and pick up the phone
Emails are great but we’re all inundated with them. Only last week was I speaking to a journalist about an idea I had and she was saying how she had 2,092 unread emails in her inbox. I regularly media train PRs and I’m constantly surprised how many avoid phoning a journalists at all costs and hide behind their email.
Get out and about
It’s very easy to be desk bound in PR, but even after 25 years in the business I push myself to meet new journalists, go to interesting talks and network with people – and it pays dividend. One of my great contacts is a senior executive at a leading Sunday broadsheet. I met her at an industry event, found out she was a huge fan of one of my clients, set up a lunch with them both and our relationships has blossomed ever since. She recently told me I was one of only two PRs whose emails she opens and replies to.
Be a digital stalker
Well, not quite, but with the advent of journalists and other third party influencers being on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook, it’s quite easy to get to know a lot more useful information about them and what makes them tick before you even call them with a pitch. From my experience, a journalist will always give you time of day if you sound like you know your stuff and are in tune with where they are coming from.
Don’t dumb down
Experience counts. Luxury clients are highly discerning and sophisticated. They demand seniority, experience, quality thinking and the ability for their PR to navigate and manage any situation carefully. Each member of my team has a minimum of 15 years’ PR experience. It is a model that has worked extremely well for the last 10 years of running my business and it is one I won’t be changing any time soon.
Look the part
Working with luxury brands requires a well thought through wardrobe. I often rely on a very smart coat; well-tailored trousers or dresses; sassy shoes and a bag that looks the business.
Listen and learn
Luxury brands have managed to obtain their prestige by being market leaders in their industry for many, many decades. Their teams are often staffed with the best of the best and the insights they provide are fascinating. It’s a wonderful opportunity to work in this sector and a real privilege so keep your eyes and ears open at all times.
Presentation is everything
PR for luxury brands has to reflect the prestigious products we are entrusted to promote. I’m very careful about how information is presented – even down to the paperclips I use. Attention to detail is everything.
A thank-you goes a long way
I regularly say thank-you to clients for their business – where would I be without them? And I never forget to say thank you to a journalist for a wonderfully written article or beautifully produced broadcast piece – it’s surprising how many PRs forget their manners. Do so at your peril!