Digital Innovation and Rebranding Fashion Week

1-oLsz68_56t0sKtFadaksbQParis Fashion Week wrapped up last Tuesday, marking the end of the Spring/Summer 2015 Fashion Week season. Over the past four weeks some pretty wild things happened in New York, London, and Paris: Miley Cyrus displayed her curated collection of neon arts and crafts during Jeremy Scott’s show, and Opening Ceremony staged a play written by Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill. North West, arguably the world’s most famous baby, sat front row at Givenchy in Paris and, of course, we (once again)witnessed Betsey Johnson’s infamous cartwheel finale. But the most innovative and exciting thing we saw over the Fashion Week season was the industry’s embracement of e-commerce and social media. With many big-name stores and designers such as Topshop, Burberry, and Rebecca Minkoff going digital, the historically ultra-exclusive Fashion Week experience was democratized and far more people experienced the events via screens than did those actually in attendance. New shoppable social media features, live streaming, and behind-the-scenes footage rebranded Fashion Week season into a digital event in which the masses could participate.

Topshop lived up to its reputation of bringing runway styles to the high street by partnering with Facebook to create “Topshop Unique Live.” The feature streamed the LFW show in real-time and allowed users to shop and customize clothes and accessories as they appeared on the catwalk. Another social media component allowed users to snip and share their favorite looks and moments from the show. Justin Cooke, Topshop’s CMO, commented on the platform saying, “it’s social, it’s commerce, and it’s entertainment all rolled into one.”

Fellow British brand Burberry also participated in the digital push by live-streaming the LFW show both online and in London’s Picadilly Circus. Burberry also teamed up with Twitter for its new “buy now” feature that allowed digitally savvy US shoppers to purchase nail polishes featured in the show.

Stateside, the growing use of technology manifested both in design and in a whole bunch of social media gold. Rebecca Minkoff’s models donned 3D glasses and the designer introduced her new Bluetooth-capable smart bracelets that double as lightning cables for USB connection. Michael Kors connected with fans via #AllAccessKors and #KorsLive, a social media campaign first introduced in Feburary 2014 that allows fashionistas to connect with each other and the brand, and get glimpses of behind-the-scenes footage from the show. It’s no wonder the brand chose to use the #hashtags again. According to the New York Times, Michael Kors was the most-tweeted-about designer of NYFW, followed by Ralph Lauren and Alexander Wang.

With the rise of wearable technology and the growing influence of social media, the question is not if the fashion industry will become increasingly digital, but how it will leverage technology to connect with consumers and in what ways this shift will change Fashion Week, and the industry itself, forever.

Written by Katy Phinick

BUPRSSA Member of the Week: Brianna Vieira

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Achievement-driven, results-oriented, and passionate are the three words that best describe rising COM senior Brianna Vieira. Over the course of her college career, Brianna has held ten internships in New York City and Boston at companies like Levo League, Edelman, and HubSpot. When she’s not busy running PRLab as the Co-President of Operations, interning at Jack Morton, or volunteering with her sorority Omega Phi Alpha, Brianna loves to see broadway shows, travel the globe, and mentor other young BUPRSSA members. I recently sat down with our member of the week to learn more about her take on PR and find out what advice she has to give to other young PR professionals.

What made you want to pursue public relations?
I actually wanted to pursue public relations after attending my first BUPRSSA meeting. I liked that public relations encouraged creativity and strategic thinking while still emphasizing strong skills in writing, editing and planning. I was also drawn to the group atmosphere of PR and how you have to work together with a variety of people in an organization.

What is your favorite aspect of public relations?
I love the fast-paced, creative, ever-evolving environment of PR. I’m someone who enjoys being busy all the time and PR requires that you juggle multiple responsibilities at once, so it’s a good fit for me.

What have you learned from your internships that has made you a better PR professional?

Honest and clear communication is the key to success. Whether you’re talking to a client, supervisor or co-worker, things run much smoother when you are honest and clear about the point you’re trying to make.

What is your favorite memory of being in BUPRSSA?
I’ve really loved being a member of BUPRSSA for four years so it’s hard to pick one favorite moment! I’d have to say my favorite memory was seeing last year’s PR Advanced Fuel the Future conference come together. It was my first year being on the conference committee and I never realized how much hard work and planning went into the event beforehand because it had always seemed so seamless. It was really rewarding to see all of our ideas and hard work come to fruition.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
In the future I hope to see myself busy and loving what I’m doing. I’m always seeking new projects so I know I will definitely be busy – and hopefully passionate about those projects. But, ultimately, I’d see myself working at a technology company doing public relations or marketing.

If you could give one piece of advice to new PR students at BU, what would it be and why?
Don’t let fear or intimidation get in the way of you trying new things. Everything I’ve accomplished during my time at BU has been done because I was curious about something, took a chance, and did it. That’s not to say I was never afraid–I was. I still feel intimidated approaching certain projects, but I would tell myself to look at what the outcome could be, no matter how awkward or scary something seems.

A Group Destined by Serendipity

FormatFactorySons-6Just two weeks ago, a group of musical artists from the Boston University community achieved one of the greatest accomplishments possible – they placed fourth on America’s Got Talent.

The powerhouse quartet, Sons of Serendip, met here at Boston University while pursuing their graduate studies. The band consists of a lead vocalist, Micah Christian, a teacher from Randolph, Massachusetts; a guitarist and pianist, Cordaro Rodriquez, an attorney from Charlotte, North Carolina; a cellist and vocalist, Kendall Ramseur, a music teacher from Charlotte, North Carolina; and a harpist, Mason Morton, a music teacher from Atlanta, Georgia. The four men claim that serendipity brought them together. In an early statement, Rodriguez addresses the future the group: “Of course, nothing lasts forever.  We know that our group can’t or won’t exist forever–it’s ephemeral.  But that’s what makes it beautiful–we must cherish this experience before it fades away.  Likewise, serendipitous moments are only serendipitous at their beginning. After that, they get lost in the noise of all other moments.  So we want to make this experience worthwhile, win or lose.”

It’s evident that BU played a significant role on America’s Got Talent this year. When Sons of Serendip auditioned on AGT, Howard Stern bonded with the quartet after they revealed they formed their group at Boston University. Stern is a Boston University alum in the College of Communication.

The particular music style of Sons of Serendip is considered a mix of R&B, classical, and hip-hop. Their performances include covers of “Hallelujah,” “Don’t You Worry Child,” “Wicked Game,” “Somewhere Only We Know,” “Ordinary World,” and their last performance on the show, “Bring Me To Life.”

Although Sons of Serendip did not win the show, they were more than thrilled to have reached the finale. Micah Christian spoke for the group, “I still feel like this was a win. Top four, when we came together we didn’t expect any of this. For us to get this far is nothing but a blessing. We are so thankful for our supporters that we’ve had, our friends, our families and thankful to God.”

The journey of Sons of Serendip is just beginning. After all, they already have one fan ready to give them her business. Heidi Klum told the group, “I would buy your album now.”

My First Week as an Account Supervisor

public-relations 2This semester I am ecstatic to be an account supervisor for Boston University PRLab, the nation’s oldest student-run public relations agency. I couldn’t be happier to have an amazing client, be part of an awesome e-board, and be working with a great team of account executives. The past few weeks have been both exciting and a little scary. My initial enthusiasm did not make me impervious to self-doubt. Uncertainty began to settle in. What if I mess up? What if the client doesn’t like me? What if my team thinks I’m incompetent? For any other students who are also feeling nervous for an internship or leadership role, I have these few pieces of advice to offer.

Trust your capabilities. They picked you for a reason. 

When I first got the position of account supervisor, my first thought was “Yay!” My second thought was, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Don’t sell yourself short. If it is the first day at an internship or job, trust that you know what you’re dong (or at least that someone else trusts that you know what you’re doing). Whether you were hired by an agency for an internship or selected by an advisor for your position, someone picked you for the job. They think that you can do it which means you probably can (with a lot of hard work and a little help).

Use your support network and ask questions.

I am extremely lucky to be working with a team of awesome agency leadership, a stellar faculty advisor with years of experience, and friendly and enthusiastic fellow account supervisors. If you have a question or doubt at your internship or job, ask someone. He or she would much prefer to answer a redundant email than have you do something wrong.

Organization is essential.

Create a to-do list that you update frequently and a calendar that you stick to. Seeing tasks written down on paper (or typed into a smartphone app) makes them seem more manageable. A calendar will help you think ahead, which means you won’t be taken by surprise when deadlines approach.

I still feel a little nervous about being an account supervisor, but I’m looking forward to what the semester has in store. Don’t let new challenges intimidate you, if you manage your time and use your resources wisely, you can tackle anything your job or internship throws at you.