Ever wonder what it’s like behind the scenes of the jewelry world? I spoke with representatives from four luxury PR powerhouses: Niki Ostin, principal at PR Lab; Jen Cullen, senior account executive at Luxury Brand Group; Rebecca Moskal, partner at Communiqué; and Katie Kinsella, co-owner of Kinney + Kinsella. They gave their thoughts on everything from social media and event planning to advertising tactics and celebrity endorsements.
JCK: What do you think is the most important element of building a brand?
Jen Cullen: Not just focusing on one area of branding, but making sure that all areas are cohesive. That means from the logo to the website, to all the social media platforms to PR—it all needs to make sense. Every brand needs to know who their market is, and when the target market changes, which it does, then you need to be able to adapt and rebrand to reach your target market.
Katie Kinsella: I think it’s coming up with something that’s unique, not cookie-cutter. I’ve told clients that [they] need to look at the big picture and ask where they’d like to be five years from now. A lot of people think a year ahead, but I always tell them we have to think five years ahead because it’s a journey. Overnight success is a minimal find in our industry.
JCK: How do you think social media has transformed the jewelry industry?
Rebecca Moskal: I think that social media has changed the face of marketing as a whole. It’s extraordinarily important in building a brand in today’s marketplace. Most people are not necessarily going to a brand’s website—they’re going to its Facebook page. So having a social media touch point is critical to many brands. It’s not the way of the future—we’re in the peak of it already.
Niki Ostin: One of our jobs as publicists is to get you the press, but it’s what you do with that press in your company internally that takes it further. You need to take that press and capitalize on it by posting it to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., and send those clips to your retailers, letting them know that this celebrity was wearing your product, because they’ll repost it on their website. And then it spreads.
Which social media platform do you think is the most important for the jewelry industry?
Niki Ostin: I think Pinterest is very, very important because jewelry is so visual. You need to see the product and I think Pinterest does a great job of that. Obviously, I think Facebook and Twitter are important—I don’t think that’s going to go away. But I do think Pinterest is gaining momentum and more people are signing on to it, so it’s clearly spreading.
Rebecca Moskal: A lot of our clients will put pieces out on their Facebook pages that haven’t even come out yet. All of their clients and their fans and followers will have immediate access to new products, knowing what goes on inside the brand. Four years ago, when Facebook was still getting popular, we were doing email blasts, but didn’t know if people were actually opening that email. It’s the instantaneous ability of Facebook to interact with the end user that I think resonates with a lot of brands.
Jen Cullen: I definitely think Facebook is the biggest, but I think Twitter is interesting, especially with celebrities. I don’t suggest using an intern—I suggest using someone who has strong writing skills managing your social media, because it’s basically your complete face out there.”
JCK: How important is it to have a celebrity associated with a brand?
Jen Cullen: It depends on the brand and it depends on the celebrity. I think it helps, but it’s not the only thing brands should focus on. You can get your piece of jewelry on a celebrity and that’s great, but you need to do more. It’s great to get a celebrity, but I don’t think it’s going to sustain your brand.
Niki Ostin: Celebrities are really important for getting the word out on a product. It excites the consumer because they want to wear what the celebrity is wearing. Sometimes we’re so ingrained in the industry that we think everybody knows what’s going on from the inside, but if we take a step back and look at the business from the consumer perspective—when they’re reading a magazine and they see a celebrity wearing a piece that I represent, it’s definitely worth it to generate awareness of the brand.
JCK: What are the most important things to keep in mind when coordinating an event?
Katie Kinsella: I think events have become more important because they really are an experiential form of marketing. Whether it’s a small event like an editor’s preview of a new product or a larger event for consumers or retailers, it’s all about making it an experience. Even if it’s a small luncheon where attendees have intimate time with the CEO, they can develop personal relationships and understand more about the brand.
Niki Ostin: Newsworthiness. There are so many events, so why would you to go one event over another? To me, it’s doing something that’s a little bit different. I personally like working on intimate events, like getting a first exclusive look at new jewelry. Also, [timing] is important. For example, I wouldn’t want to do anything that would conflict with fashion week.
Katie Kinsella: I think event planning starts with a strategy. What is our end goal? Are we launching a product? Is it a showcase event? Will there be selling? Once you put that together, you can have a better understanding of what the client’s expectations are. It’s very client specific. It’s very goal-specific. It’s about customizing the event to your client’s needs and goals. I don’t think there’s a magic word or just a single entity that works for all clients at all times.