The relevance of the topic chosen is due to the fact that ownership of the PR technologies has become an important characteristic of professionals engaged in business. The reason to it is that PR is a set of communications, suggesting multiple activities to improve the relationship between an organisation and the general public, as well as those who are used in all sectors, including the fashion industry. Thus, there are many pictures of consultants or PR-directors of a fashion house in the pages of fashion magazines next to names of fashion designers, top models, politicians, celebrities and a show business. Fashion industry is the creation of fashionable products in the widest sense of the word. Large borders of fashion industry accommodate all those involved in the creation of new collections of clothes, shoes and accessories. Fashion is the designer’s talent, coupled with the professionalism of the manufacturer, planning the budget for promotion, as well as a competent PR campaign. However, it should be noted that this issue has been insufficiently studied, which increases the interest in studying the specific application of PR technologies in the fashion industry.
Public relations, shortly PR, system assumes multiple public relations activities aimed at improving the relationship between an organisation and the public, as well as those who support it in business contacts both inside and outside of it. Being an important factor in obtaining business results at the expense of mutual understanding based on truth and full knowledge, PR contributes to a worthy image of the company, helping to avoid harmful rumours and prejudices, as well as improve the quality of the provision of total market consumer demand.
The main goal of PR is to collect, interpret and disseminate positive traditions of an established business. As an organic part of the reproductive process control system, PR not only helps to solve the problems of industrialisation and technological progress, but has also a direct impact on improving the mechanism of community-money relations. Ensuring the involvement of extensive factual material about the formation of the business environment, PR acts as one of the main components of marketing communications.
Thus, the aim of the essay is to consider the role and importance of PR and communication within the fashion industry. The objectives of the essay are the following. Firstly, it is required to discuss the features of PR technologies in the fashion industry. Secondly, to show a practical use of PR technologies based on the examples of companies’ activities. The subject of the research is PR technology in the fashion industry.
The Concept of PR Technology
There are more than 600 definitions of PR these days. However, despite the variety of approaches it is possible to identify some common elements. These are the following:
- PR includes the establishment and maintenance of mutual understanding between organisations and their target groups, as well as the formation and support of mutual trust, respect and social responsibility.
- PR is management activity that requires efficient operation of all types of planned communications.
- It is the management of relations between an organisation and key community groups or target audiences.
- The purpose of PR is to create understanding through awareness, support the positive impression and transform negative experiences into positive ones.
- Strive to harmonise the private and public interest with the help of PR where it is possible. PR is much more that supports advertising of the organisations, brands and personalities (Pundir 2007).
It has been offered a lot of different interpretations of the concept of PR over the past 60 years. Thus, the Institute of Public Affairs establish in the United Kingdom in 1948 gave the current definition. According to it, PR is a long-planned effort to establish and maintain friendly relations and mutual understanding.
As a science, PR is engaged in the organisation of communication space in modern society. The American Society of Public Relations describes its goals as PR that helps complex, pluralistic society to make decisions and function more effectively by achieving understanding between groups and institutions. It helps the harmonious combination of private and public interests.
The area in which PR functions can be defined as a public communication. It differs from both everyday communication and communication by mass. Everyday communication is personal, digital, oral, and others, while communication by mass includes impersonal, monologue, or printing, which allows going to a mass audience. In general, mass communication forms a mosaic of a wide variety of information, since the channel that is neutral with respect to the objects described in it (Lea-Greenwood 2013).
One of the strategic objectives of the measures undertaken as a part of the PR campaign is to create a favourable public opinion and winning audiences location, and separate social groups, based on trust. The strategic goal is impossible without the provision of communication between a company and its social environment, such as customers, governments, the media, and members of the company.
Leading foreign organisations usually implement and conduct an express analysis of PR campaigns involving major structural units, as well as qualified and influential business circles before entering foreign markets. The result of PR campaign is the final analytical stage, which is formed by a comprehensive assessment of the results achieved by the findings, observations and assessment of the progress of the company’s image. The achieved popularity of the company in the community is estimated in the following areas. Firstly, it is expansion of the commercial contacts with the target audience, which is the implementation and development of the effect of addiction. Secondly is the formation of active relations with the media, the public and authorities. Thirdly is restructuring of the business with flexible adaptation to changes in society with a constant offer of what it expects from that company. Fourthly, it is management of commercial activities in case of detection of time pressure situations due to timely offers of similar goods and services with higher quality specifications, as well as the elimination of suddenly appeared harmful rumours as quickly as possible. Finally, it is holding of counter-advertising in case of emergency. PR technologies are technologies that allow consumers to form a common opinion about the company, its products and services.
The Role of PR Technologies in the Modern Fashion Industry
An active use of PR technologies in the business is the apparent trend these days. It is justified by a real necessity, like the difficulty of the sales of goods, especially luxury goods, and an increased competition. Despite the low level of purchasing power of the average population, fashionable shops open almost every month, but the only the strongest survive. The one and only true step in these conditions is a customer-oriented approach. Therefore, it is required to know the exact consumers’ interests, guess their desires and have an influence to the choice when planning a PR campaign. Thus, it is required a shop or a brand available in the company’s assortment could be related to the so-called trendsetters so to be related to those who do not follow fashion but create it. For instance, clothes that are sold in Onward or Collette, boutiques in Paris, are acutely fashionable and most relevant. It is possible to see consumers from all over the globe in such a small space who trust the taste of the stores (Lee & Steen 2014).
Well-established public relations are a very important in the fashion business. In fact, the client-service of many boutiques uses some technology from the field of PR, including one of the main principles. It is communication with each audience in their own language, waiting and taking feedback into account. However, such a work often carries out for only one audience who are direct consumers. Business partners can also be included to that group of audience.
Today, the development of marketing in the fashion industry is taking place rapidly. Thus, the volumes of fashion advertising in glossy and business publications are constantly growing. It also contributes to the creation of new stores, boutiques and shopping centres, along with the conduction of special screenings or social events organised by well-known companies-manufacturers of clothing and luxury goods. The efficiency of these instruments of business has long been proved. However, it worth remembering about the media in a program promoting the brand or a company as it can become a reliable partner not only for the promotion of the brand but the establishment of a reputation as well.
There are several reasons contributing to this. Firstly, people is potential customers tend to trust more precisely the press, rather than advertising campaigns. Secondly, the reputation is a concept seemingly ephemeral. It can significantly influence the course of business. For example, the brand Hermes has become widely known not because of an active campaign. Its success lies in the company’s comprehensive policy in the field of public relations. Hermes builds its philosophy on the strategy of supporting the arts and new beginnings. The company pays great attention to the coverage of this strategy in the media, as well as talks about the art of the production of its goods at the same time. As a result, the brand name is rather the myth about which people know from the conversations and publications in journals. Moreover, the products of this brand are really famous all over the globe (Manlow 2007).
Due to the fact that the media not only reflects but also shapes public opinion, PR should be given a strategic focus. The media relations are of particular importance in the fashion industry since sometimes the press is the only channel of communication with the target audience.
Fashion campaigns develop PR strategy, which is a long process, aimed at building a continuous relationship with various groups and connecting a multitude of activities. This distinguishes PR from advertising. Thus, the development of promotions includes the following phases like setting the goals of a fashion campaign and the creation of a favourable image and brand campaign.
As for setting the goals of a fashion campaign, the phase consists of the choice of the segment of target influence, the development of the basic idea of the advertising campaign on the basis of the target company, a creative development of the individual advertising messages, like advertising texts, press releases and others, as well as planning of the media and a budget for promotions (Craik 2009).
As for the creation of a favourable image of the company and brands, the phase consists of the dissemination of information about the company, the brand through the media, campaigns and media promotion, organisation and holding of shows, presentations, as well as press conferences with a maximum coverage. Additionally, it includes the process of information provision of an attractive company’s image and its products, development and implementation of advertising and information campaigns, sponsorship, cooperation with other prestigious campaigns, a continuous expansion of the clientele, as well as a non-public PR like communication with various professional groups, the cooperation with which requires special technologies and approaches.
Getting to the description of the ways of building a favourable image, it is required to divide the concept of a boutique’s image and brand. As a rule, the focus is made on a brand image in case of a mono brand boutique. In this situation, not only campaign that is the official distributor of the brand is interested in the positioning of its positive image, but also its immediate foreign partners. Opening its brand boutiques all over the world, Valentino, Versace, Chanel and other companies, the owners of the campaign closely follow the policy shops, starting from dressing of rooms and windows to pricing policies. A timely receipt of collections and discounts, high consumer service regardless of the acquisition of a purchase, and cooperation with other campaigns refer to the attributes of a favourable image (Tungate 2005).
Another structural component of the image is the story or a company’s legend. History adds solidity, reliability, inspires confidence, promotes verbal and the inside tangibility of the campaign or a project, facilitates a dialogue between customers and the company. For example, the Gucci campaign gives one of the most striking examples. The tough of Midas, the legendary king of Phrygia, turned into gold everything what it touched. The gift of Gods killed the ruler but the lesson given by an Ancient Olympia was not in vain. Gucci that transforms even a set of repairing tools into a luxury item has remained to be one of the key brands in the world of fashion and design for nearly a century.
PR technologies in the modern fashion industry is consulting based on building relationships with different audiences, from professional to mass consumer ones. It is considered a serious profitable business in advanced economies.
Every product is created with the needs of the consumer audience. This is an axiom applied to fashion. However, the creative content in fashion is always more pronounced in case to formally establish PR campaign of a telecom company and a fashionable project in the same way. The creative content should be a clear continuation of a designer’s style and come up from it. Both the image of the brand and the correct positioning plays a dominant role in the fashion industry. To create a brand, it is required to form a buyer the right image, as well as create positive emotions. All communications in fashion, including PR, are aimed at all of this.