Nia Thomas has been doing bridal PR for over 10-years, her agency Nia PR has looked after a range of clients from Charlotte Balbier, Caroline Castigliano, Elbeth Gillis, Aruna Seth and Stephanie Allin. She gives us her point of view on PR during covid to keep audiences engaged in the current climate…
Public Relations, has always been a way to keep a company looking fabulous, and steady. Even if behind closed doors, your orders are poor, or you are having a bad sales year, seeing your brand featured in a magazine will make it appear as though everything on the surface looks steady. PR is like a duck, stay calm on the surface but you might be paddling like hell underneath. Good PR, well, just keeps a brand looking good!
Covid-19 has disrupted the whole industry, stockists were unable to meet with brands at the White Gallery, brides have had weddings cancelled and bridal stores have had their doors locked for 2 months. But over this terrible period, PR is an activity that can be done by a brand must strike the right balance.
Stay Positive, yes, the covid-19 news has been terrible and we’ve all been stuck indoors with our normal lives put on hold. Whilst it feels like we’re living in a bad dream, consumers do want to hear some positivity to keep spirits high. Brides still want to see the beautiful new collections you were going to officially launch at The White Gallery. More people than ever are sitting at home looking online, keep putting out press releases to the bridal media on your brand. If you keep promoting your brand to press and consumers, it keeps things positive, it keeps momentum going for the brand, your staff and the brides. It will just put out positive energy and keep momentum going! Keep feeding the pretty images out to press and Pinterest as a way to mindfully keep brides happy!
Brides will want to hear how your brand is adapting to the ‘new normal,’ – are you holding virtual appointments or going to show videos of the new collections online. Perhaps you are doing tasks to help the community such as transferring your skills to make face-masks or have your staff offered to help key workers in some way! Brands that show acts of kindness will be remembered, it helps with brand building and community positivity at the same time!
At the same time as staying positive, there has to be a balance struck, and you do have to recognise that there is something bad in the world happening. Engage with the brides who have had weddings cancelled. Now is the time to brainstorm new ideas and keep brides engaged. Why not organise a ZOOM session with all the disappointed brides to vent anger about their weddings being cancelled or ask a bride to be a ‘case-study,’ for the media to put out a story on their wedding cancellation. A wedding being cancelled in such a huge ordeal after all the organisation that has happened. Other brides will certainly resonate hearing such stories!
With the lock-down happening in the UK, we’ve really had to think on our feet in PR terms. Events are a no go at the moment so we looked for new opportunities for clients. We have searched out magazines and bloggers who are doing instagram lives and webinars to keep bridal personalities in the press. If you have never done a video for your brand then now is the time to start. Videos get more engagement than regular posts and with more people on Instagram more than ever, videos are such a great way to connect with your audience.
You can also take this as an opportunity to engage with brides in new ways! You could even think of outside of the box and look to non-bridal ways to keep brides engaging with your brand. With a fashion brand we look after, we decided people might not have their minds on buying clothes but we wanted to keep building the brand name. Over the last few weeks we’ve done so many different segments on Instagram that have nothing to do with selling their clothes. We’ve engaged new audiences, by putting on LIVES and email send outs to help over this period. We’ve collaborated with life coaches, we’ve recommended best products to help sleep and receipes to keep peoples immune systems up! You want to keep the brand interesting, engaging in new ways and to help people! For bridal brands a whole plethora of ideas comes to minds such as doing instagram LIVES with wedding planners or doing live meditations to help with bridal stress!
PR is very relevant over this period, it’s a period to build relationships and engagements with new audiences, and keep things going!
(Photo credit: https://lauramillsphotography.com)