Flaunter recently hosted a panel event on how to build an Australian audience for international brands, featuring Prue Thomas [Oroton], Alyce Tran [In The Roundhouse, LTK], Lauren Sams [AFR] and Emma Read [stylist]. These industry experts share how to pitch to Australian and international media. Hint? You need a guide.
F: What does it take for an international brand to cut through when you’re reaching out to an Australian editor?
There’s no magic bullet. It’s part art, part science, but one thing we all need, regardless of which country we’re sitting in, is a great hook. International brands need that connection to Australia. I’ve lost count of the times when I’ve been approached by brands that aren’t stocked here, and what’s the point? You need to have that hook, whether it’s a new store opening, Australian (or international) shipping, Australian celebrity fans.
As with all pitches, this seems really basic, but sometimes it’s good to have that reminder. Your pitch needs to be tailored. My publication is for the business community and I’ve lost count of the times where I’ve had a pitch that’s for a $3 makeup brush, or something that’s just not for us. It’s a waste of time to pitch those things to us because we’re just never going to run them. Having a local guide who really understands the media space in each country you’re pitching in is vital.
A great example of a brand that’s done this well is Everlane. They ship to Australia, but they aren’t an Australian brand. There’s not really a strong Australian connection, however when I spoke to the founder when they first started shipping to Australia, he talked about the fact that Australians were clamoring on social media to have Australian shipping. There was an Australian angle that he could speak to. He also understood the appeal of the easy, relaxed basics they offer and why they would suit the Australian audience. Understanding who the Australian or international customer is, what do they want and how can we provide that is essential.
In terms of having on-the-ground PR representation, it’s not so important for me as an editor, but that’s specific to my publication. I’m not sourcing samples, so the main thing for me is the time difference. If I’m dealing with someone in London, and I’m emailing them on a Monday morning, I know that I’m not going to hear back until Tuesday afternoon. Which is sometimes okay, but more often than not is really anxiety inducing. I wish people would understand the time difference in Australia more.
I’m actually engaged by a large US brand to implement their business in Australia. LTK is a huge platform in the US and in the UK and is tremendously successful. I’m working with Simon Willis, a really great PR guy here in Australia on LTK and my other brands as well but it is really challenging to do PR from another country. LTK had to invest in putting an office here. We’ve got a team on the ground to actually educate consumers, brands, creators, on this platform to then create these press stories. We need to actually regionalize this product, get some runs on the board in Australia, and then go and pitch to the press. There is quite a lot of work that needs to be done when you’re pushing into any new market on the ground to have that success from a PR perspective.
I’ve been on both sides of the fence, trying to market a brand from outside of Australia back in, and one of the keys is trying to find yourself a really good guide. If you don’t know the market, find an amazing PR or find someone on the ground who can really give you that quite pointed advice in terms of who to go for what. Unless you have that knowledge and those insights, we’re a much smaller media market and you can just cut out a whole lot of wastage.
There can also be a lot of wastage around influencers. The Australian influencer market is small and it’s important to get some advice because in the high-end fashion space you’ve got lots of influencers that do the same thing but there’s a lot of crossover.
I’m still quite genuinely surprised at how many PR pitches or new collection previews I get over email that have a 10 day turnaround for shipping for me to get samples in. While I would love those lead times, I don’t often have a 10 day timeline. I might get a brief on a Monday for a shoot that’s happening that Thursday. Having that local PR representation to navigate our landscape is important but also having product on the ground to allow creatives to get a look and feel for your product as this will generate more coverage.
Want more on how to reach an Australian audience with your international brand? Read the rest of the series here.