Two days ago, I was invited to a product launch party for Sally Hansen’s new Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Polish. During my on-the-job training over the summer, I learned that as a Public Relations practitioner, a good reputation should always come hand-in-hand with a good consumer relationship. That being said, our company invited the editors of the country’s most prestigious fashion glossies (Zo Aguila, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Philippines and Cindy Go, Beauty Editor of Preview, among others) to try the product firsthand as well as cover the event, which included a mini-collection presented by renowned designer Tina Daniac. Needless to say, the event was a hit among the editors as well as to the distributor of Sally hansen products in the country, Unisell Corporation.
Now, how does blogging fit in to this picture you ask? Well, I had the privilege of being introduced to Miss Daniac at some point during the soirée and while we were having a little chit-chat about the evening’s activities, she mentioned that events like that should have more bloggers in the guest list. I was dumbstruck for a moment with her remark. At first I thought, “Us? seriously?” There has always been a long-standing hostility towards fashion bloggers in the Western world particularly because some can be relentless in their criticisms and given their fair share of regular readers, spell h-e-a-d-a-c-h-e to most designers, especially if they get scathing reviews. There are however, a fabulous few who actually have much respect in the industry in their blogging ventures, take Tavi Gevinson (The Style Rookie) for instance. Anyway there I was, conversing with a Philippine Fashion Week darling who was consequently disproving my earlier belief. Later I realized that, in the Philippine context, it made perfect sense.
It is common knowledge that the local fashion industry has yet to have the due recognition and loyal customer base it deserves from the Filipino people. In other countries, fashion is “big business.” Here, only those who know of the industry’s existence (beyond the mass-market brands like Bench, Penshoppe, and the like) are the ones who get to appreciate it and in turn buy from it. Given this dilemma, what better way to achieve sufficient publicity through a wide range of media? From the point-of-view of fashion designers, making money is necessary to strengthen their respective businesses. Publicity is a commodity for them as much as fabric and thread.
With fashion bloggers (and blogging, in general), they are able to tap into their target market who do not make much use of print media. We know that a blogger can be a potential opinion leader and in turn can convince his or her readers to take into consideration whatever it is that he or she recommends or gives an opinion about. In short, blogs step in where mainstream journalism stops. They reinforce what big-name journalists say about a certain designer but at the same time, can go against them. Regardless of what the reader chooses to believe, the publicity generated is valuable to any designer who wants to make a lasting impression in the local fashion scene. Needless to say, fashion blogging is Public Relations at work. Granted that at least one blogger (with a sizable readership, that is) gives a positive response to a product (or in the case of Miss Daniac, a mini-collection), it can possibly lead to more potential consumers.
I realized that this is very much an application of what we were talking about last Saturday during our OrCom 152 class. Nowadays, the broadcast model of communication is no longer the most ideal structure of communication. The playing field has been leveled off because of the current preference towards a more interactive model. One now has the liberty to choose whose opinion to adhere to. Also, putting it in the perspective of the Social Media model, the more people who share this information, the more likely will an organization (Unisell Corporation, for one) can flourish with the products and services it provides. With this new way of information exchange, building lasting customer relations just got a whole lot easier.
P.S. Sally Hansen’s new line of nail polish did not disappoint. Also, Tina’s collection was amazing! *winks*