K-Beauty: Lauren Lee from STYLE STORY shares her business journey & her top Korean skincare brands

<h1>K-Beauty: Lauren Lee from STYLE STORY shares her business journey & her top Korean skincare brands</h1>

Unless you’ve been hiding in a wifi-free cave for the past decade, you’d be well aware of the K-Beauty craze that has swept the globe – with no sign of slowing down. Korean beauty brands are celebrated for their innovative products, beautiful and oftentimes quirky packaging and unusual but effective ingredients, but in Australian and New Zealand, getting your hands on these cult brands used to be a major struggle. That was of course until STYLE STORY launched in 2014 and changed our beauty cabinets forever.

Based in Brisbane and with a full-time team in Korea, STYLE STORY showcases the best and most innovative K-beauty products to Australians. As the authorised distributor of the best names in Korean beauty like Benton, Elizavecca, Missha, April Skin, Lindsay and Tosowoong, STYLE STORY is also an incubator for emerging brands including Beauty of Joseon, Soroci, iUNIK, Polatam, Thank You Farmer, PACKage and many more.

Here we share our recent interview with Lauren Lee, founder of STYLE STORY, to learn more about her business journey and why K-Beauty is a skincare game-changer.


WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH STYLE STORY? WHAT WAS THAT JOURNEY LIKE?

I first discovered Korean beauty products while studying on exchange at university in South Korea in 2011. I was drawn in by the innovative packaging, as well as how different Korean beauty products were to anything I’d tried before. Not only were the ingredients and formulas beautiful and really unique, the quality was comparable to products five times as expensive back home.  I started bringing Korean skincare and makeup back to Australia for friends and family as gifts, but before I knew it I was filling “orders” for people all over Brisbane who had fallen in love with them and wanted more.

After graduation, I started working as a corporate lawyer at top tier firm Herbert Smith Freehills. I kept filling orders for people in my spare time, more as a hobby. I got to know their skin type and concerns and I’d research the best Korean products to ‘match’ them with. I didn’t charge any money for it as I was just having fun.

It was a colleague who originally suggested I start a “side hustle” selling the products for profit. I never had entrepreneurial ambitions and didn’t know a thing about running a business, so I laughed her off. It wasn’t until a year later, with the products basically selling themselves, that I finally took her advice and set up STYLE STORY.

Once we got online, the business exploded. I am now based in Seoul, Korea and our warehouse is in Brisbane. We have a team across Korea and Australia, and I regularly fly back and forth.

style-story-korean-beauty

WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?

I like to keep Australian hours so I get up early every morning to check our social media channels and touch base with the team in Brisbane. They give me an update on stock, deliveries, tasks for the day and any customer feedback or issues that have emerged. Once we’ve confirmed our daily check-lists we hit the ground running.

A large part of my job is communicating with our suppliers in Korea and organising everything on the ground in Seoul ready for export. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes that goes into importing products, especially cosmetics, into Australia. I also take the lead with researching new products, connecting with brands and reporting on the latest trends in Korea.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?

I realised early on that to be able to research our products properly and communicate with our suppliers in Korea I would need Korean language skills. I ended up learning Korean and although it has been a massive challenge, it has definitely given us a competitive advantage. It would have been hard for us to have grown our relationships with suppliers without being able to do business in Korean.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT K-BEAUTY? WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL AND WHY SHOULD AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND CONSUMERS GET ON BOARD?

K-Beauty has become a global phenomenon and I think its success lies in several key differences to traditional western skincare. Although the “10 Step Korean Beauty Routine” has been widely reported – more than a set of steps, K-Beauty really encompasses an entire philosophy on nurturing the skin. It’s a skin first, makeup second approach. Rather than concealing and covering flaws, Korean beauty focuses on treating the root cause of any problems. Rather than stripping away old skin to reveal new skin, the focus is on boosting hydration and reinforcing the skin’s barrier. It’s all about light layers of skincare that treat various issues.

With an estimated 13,000 skincare companies in Korea right now, the competition is fierce and everyone is vying to create the latest and best products. I think everything from the ingredients, formulas, approach and purpose sets Korean skincare apart, not to mention the price. It’s a really exciting market and as more Aussies and Kiwis are experimenting with different types of skincare I think they’ll fall in love with these products like the rest of the world has.  

Soroci-Skincare-Korean-Beauty

THIS WILL BE HARD BECAUSE YOU STOCK SO MANY FANTASTIC BRANDS, BUT WHICH BRAND OR PRODUCT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND TO ANYONE WHO ASKS?

Haha – It’s a bit like asking a mother to pick her favourite child!

A brand I’m really excited about at the moment is one of our natural beauty curations, Soroci [pictured above]. Everything from the formulations to the packaging is just perfection. The collection is a great fit for sensitive skin and comes in hygienic pump bottles that are ideal for travelling.  

WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE BEAUTY BLOGGER OR WEBSITE?

I love the talented Korean makeup artist PONY. She does incredible transformations and can even make herself look like Kylie Jenner and Taylor Swift!

WHAT 3 BEAUTY PRODUCTS WOULD YOU TAKE TO A DESERT ISLAND?

I’d take my:

  1. Tosoowoong Enzyme Powder Wash – it’s a cleanser that comes in powder form and can double as an exfoliator to get rid of any dirt;
  2. Scinic Honey All-in-One Ampoule – it’s a Toner – Lotion – Essence – Moisturiser in one. It cuts down on so many skincare steps and is massive so it won’t run out;
  3. I’d also pack my Benton Snail Bee Essence High Content Mask – I might as well chill out with a nice face mask while I’m waiting to be rescued(!) Plus, it’s great for getting rid of redness and calming the skin.

Korean-Beauty-Favourites

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ‘WIN’ SINCE LAUNCHING?

So far we’ve tripled our sales every year but the biggest win for me personally has been turning what was a hobby and passion into my dream job!

WHAT ARE THE NEXT BIG THINGS ON THE HORIZON FOR STYLE STORY?

In addition to expanding our team, we’re also expanding our product range and services.

Due to the growth of the K-Beauty industry globally we’ve identified a real market need for a professional K Beauty Consultancy, which we have established. Our team has a diverse background in venture capital, health, business management and law, meaning we’re perfectly placed to help manufacturers, retailers and industry with their K-Beauty needs.  We have already begun advising several K-Beauty brands on their Australian market entry strategy.

I’m also working on several other projects on the ground in Korea that we’re hoping to launch over the next few years.  

AND ONE FOR US! WHY DID YOU NEED FLAUNTER? WHAT DID YOU USE BEFORE?

For a brand like STYLE STORY that is constantly curating new products, a resource like Flaunter is fantastic. We and our brands have so many photos of all our products but they are often under-utilised. Having a central resource that is easily accessible when media request them is invaluable.

Prior to Flaunter, we used to send photos to media directly – if the photos weren’t the right fit, they would photograph the products themselves. It was a lot more time-consuming for everyone!


 

…and just like that, I’ve booked my tickets on board the beauty train to Korea! Find an follow STYLE STORY on Facebook or on Instagram @style_story_au. Keep up with Lauren on Instagram @seoul_diary.

Calling all Journos, Bloggers and Stylists: instantly download hi-res images from STYLE STORY here.  Don’t have an account yet? Simply create one for free to start searching and downloading from our library of over 350 stunning brands.

A guide to gift guides – the “holy grail” of product PR

by Flaunter
<h1>A guide to gift guides – the “holy grail” of product PR</h1>

Holiday gift guides are the holy grail of product PR. When else do your lovely products get showcased to people hungrily searching for things to buy when they are also effectively promoted by the site or magazine itself? It’s rare, powerful and something you’ll definitely want to achieve.

However – it’s challenging to get your products into a gift guide because everyone else wants their products in there too so journalists have a wealth of options. But here are three steps to give your products the best shot to make it into the guides you want to be featured in.

SMART PITCHING IS ABOUT KNOWING WHO AND WHEN

You need to be very targeted with gift guide pitching to maximise your chances. A good way to get started is to make a list of every possible site or magazine you would like to be featured in, and then check which of those have gift guides.

Next to each listed publication, identify which of your products will most appeal. It’s a good idea to pitch a handful of optionsWe recommend choosing one hero product to lead with, but also offering details and images on three to five more just in case. Getting hold of previous gift guides will equip you with good insight into what they’re really after.

Once you’ve got your target publications and probable products, think carefully about what kind of lead time they need. If it’s a print publication, especially a higher end women’s or interior magazine, it may be as much as three months in advance.

The big gift guide is of course Christmas, but thinking more broadly will reveal a range of other options. Many online sites also run gift guides for events such as mothers and fathers days, Easter, Halloween, and even seasonal changes.

Once you know what and when to pitch, it’s time to work out who to pitch. Gift guides won’t necessarily have bylines on them, so it can be hard to know who to send your carefully prepared email to. If there is a byline, obviously you pitch them. If not, find the closest section or topic editor to your product or the event as possible.

If you’ve been covered by the target publication in the past, you can also email the journalist or editor you liaised with then. A friendly email asking if they or a colleague are working on the gift guide and here are some options can easily be forwarded on if you have an outstanding product and a bit of rapport to work with.

Gift-guide-target-media

BE SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE IN YOUR PITCH & GET IN EARLY

When suggesting your gift for the guide, keep your email as brief (yet personable) as possible. Name the publication, the section, and the gift guide you’re targeting specifically.

If you can reference a recent article or social media post by the journalist that is related to your product, it can help to build a connection. For example, your first lines in the pitch could be something like:

“Hi Sophie, loved your Insta post about your Sunday evening relaxation rituals/article and how taking time for yourself is important no matter how busy you are. It reminded me that you might be interested in our product [insert your lovely product’s name here] for your winter gift guide.”

We recommend sending your gift guides pitches a little earlier than a standard pitch. This means your product is top of mind and can be included into the page from the outset as the journalist or editor begins to create their collection in their mind before they sit down to prepare the actual guide. This also gives you the opportunity to follow up a week or two after the first pitch and have ample time to confirm its inclusion.

Samples can be a very powerful shortcut or deal closer for gift guides. If the journalist or editor has experience with your product, they’re much more likely to include it. Not everything can be sent as a sample, but think about if there are ways to directly connect and impress the journalist to your product or company.

Marie Claire Gift Guide Flaunter

IMAGES ARE MAKE OR BREAK

This can surprise a lot of business owners, because we so often think of journalism as a written exercise. But gift guides are primarily visual works. It’s very normal for a product to be included because it is a good colour or shape to run alongside the products that have already been selected (or in colours that complement the ad running on the other page in a magazine).

To give your products the best possible chance at making it on the page, you’ll need to offer high-resolution images at least 300 PPI (pixels per inch) that both show the product in an attractive context and deep-etched. The best way to send your hi-res images is of course via a trackable Flaunter link! Editors love being able to browse a selection of images and download them on demand with all the necessary details attached PLUS you’ll be able to see if they actually downloaded what you sent them 😉

Gift guides are usually comprised of deep-etched images, but occasionally the image of the product in an attractive context will be used, especially by online sites or by social media. The in-context image also helps you convince the journalist or editor or influencer about how lovely your product is (and therefore must be included).

 


GIFT GUIDE 101

1. Be super targeted with gift guide pitching. Get started by making a list of every site or magazine you would like to be featured in, and then check which of those have gift guides.

2. Study previous gift guides to get ideas about what type of products, price points and themes are likely to be planned for this year. Remember that if you miss the print publishing deadlines then you can pitch out to online publications instead.

3. Identify which of your products will be most appealing and then pitch a handful of options. Choose one hero product to lead with, but also offer details and images on three to five more just in case. Remember – this is not the time to send everything you’ve got!

4. Create a story that connects your product to the holiday/event you’re targeting.

5. Consider doing something special – limited edition holiday collection, bundled products, publication specific discount, gift with purchase or a charitable/cause element.

6. Be patient with your media contact – assembling Gift Guides takes time. When you do send follow-up emails, try to include something new such as a fresh image or angle.

7. It’s not just about the product. Ensure that your website and social media are up to date and that you have enough stock to meet demand after the Gift Guide is published.

8. Think outside the box and suggest a gift guide theme (an editor will love you for it!). We love “Gifts for your sassy single sister” and “What to get your boss without looking like a suckup.”

9. Images are key – offer hi-res images that are at least 300 dpi that show the product in an attractive context and also deep-etched. The best way to send your hi-res images is of course via a trackable Flaunter link!

10. Oftentimes media will jump on to Flaunter to browse the content library and start collecting images for their gift guides – make sure you put your brand where the media are looking!

 

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Images: Gift Guide by Louisa Parry; Kelly Sikkema via unsplash, Marie Claire Gift Guide Dec 2017

3 ways to visually curate your brand to stand out

<h1>3 ways to visually curate your brand to stand out</h1>

Bored with that same old image? Visual curation can breathe new life into your brand and set you apart from the crowd. If you’re looking for somewhere to begin, have a read of our ultimate guide to creating your own unique brand personality through visual communication.

Insta-Success: Be socially savvy.

We’ve all had that moment of joy during a casual magazine-flick when we’ve discovered a particularly dreamy spread. It’s something about how the images come together, how all those pieces in their individual simplicity meld into a cohesive picture.

The same concept has become part of brand marketing today. Elegantly curating your social channels will not only increase your fan base, but it also increases the creative opportunity. For example- specific collaborations are made possible with creatives such as artists or photographers who may design content for you. This may open up new doors into other industry areas and enhance your overall look.

Think: a milieu of beachy blue undertones in a colour scheme for a swimwear Instagram account.

Stressed about keeping it in sync? There are so many apps to help you out but we recommend you check out Plann and Unum. These clever tools allow you to visually curate, schedule and analyse so you can achieve the perfect insta aesthetic.

Out of the Ordinary: Don’t be a copycat…

Curating a brand means making something unique out of who you are. Stand tall against your competition rather than blending into that background of similarity. In this game, the winners are doing something bold and different. Think of creative ways to market your product that will get people talking (and by talking we mean liking, commenting, sharing and posting of course!).

Creativity in your packaging and tagging is a great place to start. Give customers something from your brand that is psychologically appealing and tangible. Cute labels that double as the product tag and a totally wearable item can turn your identification into a trend. Jewellery designer Samantha Wills uses this very concept by offering beautiful handcrafted wooden boxes with every piece.

Going that little extra is not only great DIY PR but it can be excellent value for money in terms of keeping your brand front of mind with your customer base.

Don’t Go OTT: Simplicity is key.

Consumers have been bombarded for decades with masses of ‘buy, buy, buy’ marketing (and they’re sick of it!). The mantra of ‘excess’ is used so loudly in retailing today and is far more likely to send your clients running…in the opposite direction…

Consider long-term planning much like how you would with your content, making sure your whole team is unified around who you are. This means painting your own philosophy and sticking to it no matter what creative direction you take. This way you can still have that individual voice whilst presenting in the right fashion. Don’t overdo it and don’t be a pushy salesman. It’s great to give your identity a refresh every now and again, just be sure to steer clear from all the chopping and changing – which could warrant a messy image!

Feedback is a good strategy here, helping keep on track of customer response and pinpointing the exact areas that may or may not be working. Remember: brand individuality should be encouraged, just be sure all decisions are also business favourable!

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Image: Sarah Illenberger for German watch manufacturer Nomos/ Glashütte – photography by Ragnar Schmuck

Editor note: This article was originally published in September 2016 and republished in April 2018 with updated content.

What’s your name worth? We take a closer look at Brand Equity

by Flaunter
<h1>What’s your name worth? We take a closer look at Brand Equity</h1>

Brand equity is one of those words that is thrown around a lot in PR, marketing and social media. For those of us who aren’t 100% confident in what it means exactly, it’s time to dive into this concept because understanding it (and increase your brand equity) is some of the most valuable long-term work PRs can do for their companies.

The quickest shortcut to understanding brand equity is to imagine the moment you finally get to buy yourself a bona fide Chanel or Prada handbag. They will all cost you several thousand upfront brand new. Are they radically better than other well made leather handbags that you can purchase for a few hundred? Maybe, but they’re not ten times better. What is ten times more valuable to their purchasers is the fact they are Chanel or Prada. It’s the value of the brand.

Another example is how the vast majority will trust an article in the New York Times more than a random blog. Again, it’s about the power of the brand and what it means or communicates.

WHAT EXACTLY IS BRAND EQUITY?

Brand equity is the brand’s value and how much more a customer would be willing to pay for the product because it comes from a certain brand. It’s that simple. The complex part is that your brand equity is not a fixed fact – it can rise and fall fairly rapidly. A key part of your job as a PR or founder is to sustainably grow your brand equity.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR INCREASING YOUR BRAND EQUITY?

Brand equity needs to be a whole company focus. The PR and marketing team does much of the heavy lifting making a brand well known and loved (and therefore valuable), but so to does the product team and the owners and leaders of the company.

THE 3 KEYS TO BRAND EQUITY

There are three elements of brand equity you can work on as a PR or marketer: recognisability and awareness, the perception of value, and your brand’s position in the competitor landscape.

Building brand awareness means more people recognise your brand, making it stronger and its impact felt more widely. This is why new products or brands will often start with mass campaigns before switching their focus to more premium outlets or influencers.

This is because the perception of genuine value relies on quality rather than quantity of coverage and testimonials. If you’re promoting a high-end lifestyle brand, one article in say Vogue or Harpers Bazaar is usually worth ten times an article on a medium tier lifestyle website. For the same reason, an article all about your product or company is more valuable than it being one of five mentioned in a roundup.

A key focus for those looking to increase their brand equity is to understand how it is positioned against its key competitors. Make a list of your competitors who have brands that are more valuable or ‘cooler’ than yours. Use this list to find the publications or promoters that have helped elevate those brands – now you’ll have a PR action plan to emulate or outperform to make your brand as valuable as possible. 

Brand-Equity-Tommy-Hilfiger

More industry terms you just can’t wrap your head around? Check out our PR Dictionary or learn how to spot the difference with our simple guide to brand vs. branding.

Fête Press x Flaunter: How a lifestyle publication uses Flaunter

by Flaunter
<h1>Fête Press x Flaunter: How a lifestyle publication uses Flaunter</h1>

Offering the solution to a simple, meaningful, well-designed life through curated interiors, fashion, well-being, travel and design features, Fête Press gives their readers so much more than a stunning addition to the coffee table.  We caught up with co-founder and creative director  Jane Cameron, to hear more about the Fete/Life journey, the importance of aesthetics and how Flaunter saves her sanity.

On the journey We publish a printed lifestyle magazine, Fête/Life – our byline says it all – it’s the solution to a simple, meaningful and well-designed life. We are a small team – my business partner, Annabelle Kerslake and I started the business five years ago with our own laptops and a camera. We launched a digital version of the magazine to build up readership before releasing a printed magazine 24 issues ago! We now have an accounts manager, two editorial assistants and a photographer on the team – not a lot of people but it seems big to Annabelle and me given it was just us a few years ago. There is a lot of cross-over as we are dab hands at all aspects of the business but Annabelle and I both work on editorial content, we plan our own shoots together then she looks after advertising and grand plans while I work on the design and digital side of the business. Our goal is to produce a magazine that will add value to our readers lives. Were all about a controlled, refined aesthetic, but everything has to have a purpose or a meaning rather than just being decorative. Fête/Life includes helpful stories relating to well-being, health, finances and travel as well as a curated collection of homewares, food and fashion-focused products. 

On finding the perfect picture Our editorial assistant, Jessica Smith and I work on the product pages in the magazine. Im a graphic designer so I am primarily focused on bringing together a range of products that fit the brief while still working well together on the page. Sometimes these pages come together easily but others take more thought and research. I cant give up until Im totally happy with a page and am often swapping out products the night before we go to print in an effort to make the page look as good as it possibly can. Its hard to explain but sometimes products should work together but when theyre put on the page next to one another, they dont. Jess and I spend a lot of time searching through websites, looking at new collections and stockpiling possible image choices for future editorial use. Flaunter is great when we are struggling to find an ideal pic and have exhausted our normal resources. It is like a smorgasbord of products all in the one spot. Flaunter has saved our sanity on more than one occasion!

On the importance of aesthetics We have a very controlled aesthetic in the magazine. It took us a while to develop and refine it to a place that suits our style. It’s very important to us that we maintain the integrity of the design and style we have established so we will work within that criteria when searching for images.

Jane-Cameron-Fete-Press-Save-Time

GET ACCESS TO 350+ BRANDS

On finding a better way Because we want to provide our readers with the best possible product choices we invest a lot of time into research. We would rather offer a few options that are spot-on and fit with our brand ethos rather than provide other products that arent quite right. This involves a lot of time, checking in with our extensive list of both advertiser and supplier websites to view their updated ranges. I have over 200+ websites on my list that I regularly check but this is becoming unsustainable. The search function on Flaunter helps us narrow down choices when we know theres a certain product or image that were looking for.

On discovering new brands There is an ever-growing range of brands which are regularly updated which helps us keep on top of whats newly released – it’s great because we’ve been introduced to brands we didn’t know before, that fit well within our magazine. 

On essential resources Well I dont know how we managed before the internet as it is absolutely integral to the product research aspect of our business. If we cant find what were looking for from our existing contacts, or a service like Flaunter, well resort to Google. Its surprising what it can lead to – quite often not what were looking for, but something interesting and unexpected.

On saving time and money I like how you can view images and then download high res then and there if its right. Oftentimes clients or suppliers wont have a great understanding of the technical requirements of imagery for print so we struggle to get the right file size or format from them. With Flaunter, the images are the resolution and size we need so it can be a huge time-saver for us. Occasionally well find a great hero pic on Flaunter which does save us the time and expense of hiring a photographer and setting up the shot. We always make sure to look through the lifestyle shots before planning shoots of our own incase there is something we can use straight from the site.

On Flaunter in three words Easy, valuable and helpful.  

 

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Purchase and subscribe to Fête/Life online at fetepress.com.au.

Follow the well-designed life of Fête on instagram @fetemagazine.

Inspired by Jane Cameron’s experience? Sign up for a free media account at Flaunter.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia Schedule & Content Registration

by Margot Reid
<h1>Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia Schedule & Content Registration</h1>

This week, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia released the official preliminary schedule for the upcoming season, with 45 designers set to present shows across the five-day program.

Some of the major highlights this year are Camilla and Marc – who are opening the event and celebrating their 15-year anniversary, Akira – celebrating his 25-year anniversary and Camilla who will bring the week to a close.  So far, the other designers that are set to show are; Albus Lumen, Bianca Spender, Lee Mathews, Anna Quan, Thomas Puttick, Double Rainbouu, Michael Lo Sordo, Macgraw, Jets, We are Kindred, Blair Archbald, Emilia Wickstead, Pereira Fitzgeraldd, Hansen & Gretel, C/MEO Collective, Romance Was Born, Acler, Deadly Ponies, Justin Cassis, Roopa, I.AM.GIA, Christopher Esber, Ten Pieces and Leo & Lin.  This is a seriously incredible line up and is sure to be an epic week!

PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE

MBFWA_PRELIM_SCHEDULE

CONTENT

Once again Flaunter will be producing behind the scenes and street style content that will be available as-it-happens throughout the week. Click below to register for our live updates or to create your free media account (accessing 300+ brands in our media library).

Register for MBFWA content

Register for a free Flaunter media account

 

ST GEORGE NEXT GEN

This year designers that were selected as Faces to Watch as part of Flaunter’s Emerging Designer Showcase were offered a chance to partake in the St.George NextGen project. We are proud to announce that 3 of the 4 NextGen prize winners are Flaunter Emerging alumni! In the lead up to the runway, media can browse and download images from Rachael O’Brien (OF RO), Gina Snodgrass (GINA SNODGRASS) and Alissar Hammoud (ALISSAR.H) via our curated NextGen Moodboard.

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MBFWA will run between May 13 and May 17 at Carriageworks in Sydney. For more information head to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

 

Images: Michael Lo Sordo & Albus Lumen captured Tim Da Rin for Flaunter at MBFWA 2017

 

 

Journos can’t stand it when….. Nine things to avoid to keep your media contacts happy

by Flaunter
<h1>Journos can’t stand it when…..  Nine things to avoid to keep your media contacts happy</h1>
Publication: Harper`s Bazaar UK September 2017. Model: Ola Rudnicka Photographer: Regan Cameron Fashion Editor: Miranda Almond Hair: Roku Roppongi

You work really hard as a PR to get attention from journalists and editors, so once you get it, your focus needs to shift to ensure they have a fantastic experience so they’re more likely to read your emails and listen to your story suggestions.

Journalists and editors work in high-stress, fast-moving environments. When you add the constant swarm of PR people trying to connect with them, it’s not hard to understand why it’s possible to really annoy a journalist and jeopardise your working relationship with them.

At Flaunter we love PRs (both in-house teams and agency) and have built our team up to support them as best we can. Yet as one journalist put it to us: “It’s like when you’re at the beach with a bucket of hot chips, PRs are the seagulls around you at all times”  😐 

We’ve rounded nine of the most annoying things that journalists go through to ensure our Flaunter friends always do a fantastic job pitching and building relationships with key editors and journalists.

1. NOT DOING YOUR RESEARCH

Every story a journalist writes is a clue to what they’re interested in. Yet they receive a huge amount of emails that are completely or mostly irrelevant to their publication, their section, or what they write about. When you’ve identified your target publication, invest a few minutes looking for the journalist most likely to be interested in your story, and be sure read at least five of their most recent stories so you get a feel for what excites them.

2. SENDING OUT A PITCH CARELESSLY

PR is frequently a stressful, demanding job. There are never enough hours in the day and for many of us, another coffee is always a good idea. But always always take a minute to read over your email and make sure everything is correct. This is particularly true for names – of both the journalist and the publication they write for. It’s surprising how many emails arrive in journalist inboxes addressed to another journalist on their team or even worse – a rival journalist or publication. So pay particular attention when you’re rapidly customising a core pitch for many different outlets.

3. NOT UNDERSTANDING INTER-PUBLICATION RIVALRY

This is a big one. Media is an intensely competitive game and many journalists underestimate how fraught pitching the same story to competitors or even choosing one over another can be. There is nothing a journalist likes less than seeing a story they worked hard on turn up a similar time (or worse, before) their own.

Battle-of-the-magazine

4. NOT UNDERSTANDING WHAT COUNTS AS A STORY

A fundamental challenge of being a PR is helping educate your clients or company about the difference between marketing and PR. The best PRs can think like a journalist, and identify when they’ve got a story rather than just an announcement. It’s a constant dance, but one you have to do to keep both sides of the equation happy.

5. PITCHING AT THE WRONG TIME

The most common version of this error is pitching a story that has already been written recently. For example, January is the perfect for personal transformation stories, especially health or lifestyle ones, because it is the new year. This means you want to be pitching these stories in late December or very early January, because by the time this trend of coverage is obvious, the journalists for their next focus. Another really common and frustrating pitch mistake is when PRs pitch stories that the journalist has just written about another company. Waiting a few weeks and finding a fresh angle will always deliver results for everyone.

6. INCESSANT FOLLOW UP

After two or three emails, it should be clear the journalist isn’t interested. It’s hard to move on when you think you’ve got a great fit for them, but consistently email and especially following up on the phone or on social media can feel very aggressive and ultimately be counter-productive.

Victoria-Beckham-prep

7. CLIENTS WHO DON’T FOLLOW THROUGH

This is a tricky one. Make sure the story you’re pitching is the story you or your client is ready to tell. Thoroughly prepping to be able to deliver interesting quotes or the right product insight is essential. Also, never leave a journo hanging when they have asked for more detail! 

8. NOT HAVING GOOD IMAGES

Having beautiful, high-quality images has always been important in media relations, but the internet and social media have made it critical. Magazines and many lifestyle sites are equally visual texts as much as written ones. Not being able to provide a range of high-resolution images can annoy a journalist, and get a story dropped. Luckily, Flaunter makes this process super easy with simple direct links that allow a journo instant access to your images. 

9. ASKING FOR NEEDLESS CHANGES AFTER PUBLICATION

Not every detail in stories you place is going to be right. Journalists aim for perfect stories but mistakes happen. Asking for corrections is an easy way to annoy a journalist – especially if it’s a context rather than a factual change, or a change that doesn’t mean very much. Whenever you can, resist asking for changes unless you really need to, as the journalist will be working on their next ten stories as soon as they’ve filed the one that starred your pitch.

 

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Images: Ola Rudnicka by Regan Cameron – Harpers Bazaar UK Sep 2017 (banner); Vogue Vs Harpers battle of the publications – Amazine.com;

How agencies are using hyper-personalisation to stay in the game

by Flaunter
<h1>How agencies are using hyper-personalisation to stay in the game</h1>

It’s been a stormy few years for agencies with huge waves of change sending many companies into the rocks. It’s not going to be smooth sailing anytime soon, but this period of rapid change and reinvention also creates opportunities for agencies that are nimble, innovative and willing to continually dream up new ways of getting results and keeping their clients happy.

The constantly shifting media environment and the rise of smart online solutions means agencies can no longer simply offer a standard media relations package and expect to thrive.

Good agencies have always known each client needs slightly different care and attention, but the hyper-personalisation possible with today’s technologies and the ever-competitive agency arena means PRs need to be constantly re-imagining how to serve their clients. This covers everything from fresh proposals and smarter campaigns to customised fees, rates and retainers.

Creativity and commitment have always been essential for top-performing agencies. But they’re even more important now because you need to hang onto clients in these choppy times. And win new ones. We’re lucky at Flaunter to get to work with many of Australia’s most innovative agencies, both large and small. This means we’ve noticed a few traits agencies will need to survive and thrive…

 

CONTENT MAY BE KING, BUT PERSONALISATION IS THE CROWN PRINCE

The first we’ve already hinted at: deep personalisation is going to become the norm, rather than an add-on option for top or new clients. As a PR, you already know that the best coverage comes from carefully targeting your pitch to each individual journalist or influencer. Sure, an email blast can get results, but a handful of stories written by journalists genuinely excited about the pitch you’ve crafted for just them to tell is far more likely to turn into the kind of stories your beaming clients will mention and treasure for years.

The same careful, painstaking tailoring of your offering will be required for each and every client. Fortunately, agencies have never had better tools to efficiently manage their work – think Slack for team communications, Flaunter for ensuring images and products get in front of the best targets and CoverageBook for tracking performance and creating reports.

 

EMBRACING YOUR AGENCY’S FULL POTENTIAL

Personalisation isn’t just about acing client management. It is as fundamental as what services you offer a client. A prestige brand and a high-growth scrappy startup want very different things from their agency, which has a whole range of platforms to use to deliver value.

The most successful agencies in the future will be those who deeply understand exactly what their client wants, what’s possible and know how to deliver that while building trust with their client by letting know which channels and services are worth investing in, and which aren’t.

The options keep expanding with agencies now able to offer media relations and outreach, strategic positioning consultation, community relations, community building and social media management, crisis management, content services, stakeholder advisory and internal comms, as well as integrated marketing services. By offering targeted sets of service, agencies will hold onto clients better and for longer because you’ll be hitting exactly the targets that matter to them.

 

GETTING TO THE HEART OF CLIENT NEEDS

Every PR with a few years under their belt knows what a client wants and what a client actually needs are often slightly different (and occasionally, so wildly different need so much tact you flirt with the idea of going into international diplomatic relations!).

The most exciting agencies right now are those who understand the heart of personalisation is in the buzzword’s first two syllables: person. Understanding your clients as humans and working to directly connect with their emotions will be critical to winning and holding onto them.

That prestige brand? They don’t just want to drive sales from their competitors to their products or services. They also need to know they are still relevant, and that their high-quality output has a long-term future.

That scrappy startup? They need lots of coverage to demonstrate momentum to lure customers, employees and investors, but they also need to stay true to their values as they grow.

Each client is going to have different press and emotional needs. Delivering results that achieve clients goals is essential, but understanding and meeting the human needs that accompany goals is how you deliver exceptional service, and get to enjoy the loyalty and success that comes from that – no matter how much the agency industry changes.

 

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Want to take your agency to the next level? Learn the secrets of why great company culture is the key agency success. Better yet, read all about how one of Australia’s leading PR agencies is using Flaunter to kick some serious goals!

Banner: Personalisation is key – The Fairfax Journal

The one thing that can turn a good PR agency into a great one

by Flaunter
<h1>The one thing that can turn a good PR agency into a great one</h1>

Running any company is hard work and PR agencies can be especially challenging. Not only do you need to kick all your goals, you also have to juggle looking after your existing client relationships while being constantly on the hunt for new ones.

Doing any of this successfully and sustainably requires a great team. Hiring driven creative A-players is the first step, but anyone who has launched a business quickly learns that keeping those team members who clients love and deliver results is key. So in many ways, as a PR leader, your staff are your most important clients to keep happy, fulfilled and challenged to always go for bigger goals.

This is why building a great team culture is essential. At Flaunter, keeping our team and clients happy is an obsession for us, so we wanted to dive into some of the latest thinking and practical steps you can use to build the best workplace culture possible for your team.

 

WHY CULTURE MATTERS

When you’re flat out with campaigns and clients, it can be hard to find the energy to care about anything other than the immediate goals. But having a great culture is essential to ongoing performance. The highest performing companies in the world – everyone from Pinterest to Facebook to Airbnb – are obsessed with their team culture.

The good news is you don’t need their squillions in revenue to create a culture that enables your team to deliver exceptional results. As Airbnb’s cofounder Brian Chesky puts it this way: “Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.”

You went into PR with a passion and you’re building a team that gets along and gets stuff done. So investing the time to keep improving your company culture is key.

A good culture is the difference between a team member turning up to work on Monday clutching a coffee while sporting a smile that could pass as a grimace, and the same team member turning up full of ideas and heading out to grab their morning kickstarter coffee with colleagues so they can connect before a productive week.

It’s about creating a team that says yes to each other even when deadlines shift, goals evolve and suddenly success is going to take a lot more work. It’s a team that asks “how do we do this as best we can?” rather than “how can I get this done on time so I can go home?”. It’s the difference between a team member appreciating constructive feedback and stepping up, rather than getting defensive or withdrawn. And it’s about creating a team that’s nurtured and confident enough that staff come to you with ideas about how a campaign or your team could take it to the next level.

A good culture in your PR agency not only helps you get results, it also helps you hold onto staff for longer, while discovering and unleashing more of their talent for the team.

 

A GOOD CULTURE MATTERS FOR ACQUIRING & RETAINING CLIENTS

You don’t need us to tell you how much a good company brand matters. PR agency’s core business includes spending hours getting to know your client’s team culture or products, and the image they want to portray to the world.

Sometimes there’s a gap. But you’ll know how much powerful it is for any new or current clients to meet with a team that not only is on brand, but is genuinely full of bustling energy, big ideas and armed with the ability to get the job done. That energy and cohesion makes your job so much easier. As Simon Sinek, the powerhouse behind the Start with Why movement puts it: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”

A good culture helps your team members hold onto the clients you have, even when they’re being tricky or if a campaign hasn’t gone as well as you might have hoped. Because a good team’s energy and enthusiasm is magnetic in a business that is as people-focused as public relations. A great reputation is an incredible asset in the highly competitive world of PR.

 

THE TWO EASIEST WAYS TO BUILD A SHITTY AGENCY CULTURE

Workplace-bad-culture

We’ve got a three-step process for developing a great culture shortly, but before we do let’s take the time to understand why it’s so important.

Imagine you’ve been working your butt off to get good outcomes for a handful of the agency’s least exciting clients. You’re hoping to upgrade to the headline, sexier clients for the agency sooner or later, but your coworkers on those accounts are doing great so you need to be patient. You’re ok with that, and willing to work for your shot.

But every team meeting and every celebratory event, your work is either not at all mentioned or only barely. Your clients (and your work) are treated like an afterthought by the team. At first you don’t mind, it’s fine, you get you’re not on the most important accounts. But time after time it turns into a long, slow erosion of your self-esteem, as well as your commitment to the clients and the agency. It can easily fester and will make things uncomfortable for the team. And then all of a sudden your emerging star is working for another agency.

Here are the two most common ways agencies compound this and breed an unhealthy culture:

Oh, you’ve finished your project? Great because clients x & y need results asap…

Juggling clients is part of a PR agency’s job and you need people who are flexible. But routinely failing to recognise hard work and good outcomes as a whole team because there is always more work to be done leads to rushed work, unhealthy competition and resentment. Busy teams need to take the time to recognise good work and each individual’s role in that, or it inevitably leads to staff leaving and clients getting shoddy results.

The A-Team & The . . . Other Team

Not everyone gets to manage your agency’s headline clients. Not every team member gets the opportunity to step up into a leadership role. And frankly, some of your team are going to perform better than others.

These are inevitable tensions in a company. Companies that don’t take their culture seriously can fall into the trap of celebrating their A-players far more than others, and letting the rest of the team get nervous and hopefully try harder. Culture makes or breaks employee motivation, and this is a good way to break it. It turns a company toxic fast, especially if your most celebrated team members start to bend and break rules.

 

THREE STEPS TO CREATING & IMPROVING A GREAT CULTURE

The good news is that it’s not hard to steer your company in a great direction. Plus culture compounds: unhealthy cultures lead to toxic team behaviour and it gets worse, whereas healthy teams and positive investment tends to lead to a constantly improving team dynamic (and therefore, better results and a better bottom line for the agency as a whole).

BFF-Style-

1. DO AN AUDIT OF YOUR CULTURE

Make some time to open up your heart and mind to get a sense of what’s working and what’s not in your current company culture. Do this step alone first, so you can switch from identifying the cultural practices that make you love coming to work and then brutally honest about the behaviours you wish would disappear.

Once you’ve identified the highlights and areas for growth, talk it over with your leadership team. Let them know what you want to have a chat about, and then all head out for a coffee or a tea, or a conversation over a glass of wine or two. As the team leader, you may need to demonstrate how to raise areas for growth constructively, and you will definitely need to model how to listen to feedback on the less than perfect parts and not get defensive.

In this conversation with your team, you’ll most likely start to notice themes in what your team cares about and how they express this. Keep a note of these, because these are about to become fundamental to your team culture work

2. IDENTIFY WHICH VALUES MATTER TO YOU & TAKE YOUR TEAM ON A JOURNEY TO EMBRACE THEM

Remember those few themes that you kept coming back to in your discussion with your leadership team? It’s time to distil those into short and punchy sentences as your articulated values.

The ongoing advice is to aim for only a handful, because more than three to five becomes hard to remember. Examples could be:

  • Clients are king.
  • Look out for each other and enable each other’s success.
  • Compete as a team, not against each other.
  • Work hard, get it done and then celebrate together.

This process is not about setting the rules for your company’s behaviour, although it’s useful to have these as pillars you can return to if someone is being difficult. It’s more about defining who you are and what matters. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg put value identification as a task through which you define “What are you willing to give up?”

3. LIVE IT, BREATHE IT & REVIEW YOUR CULTURE OFTEN

Now you’ve identified your core values, it’s time to continually reinforce them as central. This takes leadership and also, the kind of consistent campaign any PR agency worth its salt can roll out.

Find ways to explore these more deeply with your team, either one-on-one in everything from coffee runs to performance reviews, or as a team before or during a strategy day. Regularly reiterate them in your key documents. These values should serve as mantras guiding every decision. Many companies choose to make their values visible to their team constantly, such as turn their values into wall art, or computer desktop backgrounds, or emblazon them on mugs or similar.

“We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.”  Zappos’ founder Tony Hsieh

 

Your values, or at least how you articulate them may evolve as your agency does. A team of four creates focus differently to a team of 15, and a team of 40. So while you’re energised and excited about your culture fresh after your values-identification session, mark some time in your and your leadership team’s diary to review your culture and find ways to improve every three or six months.

 

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Images: Talisa Sutton (banner), broken culture via Pinterest, happy street style via Vogue.com

5 must know interior design trends for 2018

by Flaunter
<h1>5 must know interior design trends for 2018</h1>
Surfaces shoot, April by Florence Rolfe. Photographs by Sarah Hogan

Attitudes towards interior decorating are shifting. Now more than ever, people want need quality, substance and style rather than a mountain of cheap products that infiltrate the home or office for a fleeting trend-driven moment.

While this conscientious approach allows the consumer to buy less and therefore spend more on key ‘forever’ pieces, it in no way means that less expensive items are off the table. It simply comes down to purchasing truly beautiful items that will serve a purpose for years to come.

At Flaunter we keep a keen eye on what brands are producing and what journalists and stylists are searching for. Here we investigate the key interior design trends to look out for in 2018…

 

GREENERY

Building on the trend set by Pantone with the 2017 Colour of the Year, plants are e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Which is great because not only do they look incredible, they inject life into a space, reduce stress, filter the air and absorb backgound noise! Seriously what CAN’T Mother Nature do? This year small, minimalist and exotic plants are hot. On Flaunter we’ve seen THE most spectacular vessels that are perfect to show off your developing green thumb.

Plants-interior-trends-2018

Clockwise from left: Plant stand – The Staple Collection; Brass stand – Country Road; Bedroom – Linen House; Hanging Planter and Pott – Capra Designs; Plant stand – Melbourne Table Company

 

DECONSTRUCTED LUXE

Natural and raw materials such as wood, brick and cement will be widely used – a counterbalance to the sleek futuristic feel of the last 4 years. Wood is particularly versatile – easily working in most spaces with its warmth, texture and sculptural capability.

Natural-interior-design-trend

Clockwise from left: Chairs – James Said; Tables – Bastille & Sons; Dining table – Slabs by Design; Bedroom – Project 82; Concrete planter – West Elm

 

VELVET

Velvet was huge for fashion in 2017. Obviously, the feel of this fabric is irresistible, which is why interiors are now benefiting from the luxurious velvet treatment. Working in both masculine and feminine settings, velvet works best on cosy sofas, armchairs and cushions, but if you’re feeling particularly fancy, why not throw it across the windows as well 😉

Velvet-Interior-Trend-2018

Clockwise from left: Bedhead – Heatherly Design; Cushions – Sheridan; Stool – James Said; Cushion – Kas Australia; Armchair – TK Maxx

 

COLOUR INTENSITY

Like most trends, colour intensity is a clear reaction to the 2016/2017 love affair with pastels. This feeling was first cemented at the Milan Furniture Fair where we saw brands introducing seriously bold hues, and again with the announcement of Pantone’s 2018 Colour of the Year for 2018, Ultra Violet. This trend is both unexpected and confident and we love seeing more and more colour intense pieces entering the Flaunter library!

Intense-colour-interior-trend-2018

Clockwise from left: Table linen – Lovely Linen (Casa e Cucina); Cushion – Lekkel & Co; Glasses – Zafferano (Casa e Cucina); Artwork – Lumas Gallery; Living Room – James Said

 

TECH-SAVVY & INTELLECTUALISM

The ability to seamlessly incorporate tech into the home and office is a key priority for interior designers in 2018. The demand calls for smart spaces that cleverly disguise all the modern necessities that complement rather than distract. Adjacent to this trend, is the celebration of intellectual decor – think books, bookshelves and art. Again, these pieces are intended to blend comfortably with the rest of the space, plus they give a subtle nod to the sophisticated and learned occupants (ha! okay maybe that’s a stretch)

Technology-Interior-Trend-2018

Clockwise from left: Bookshelves – Handkrafted; New York Map – Outliving; Desk – Freedom; Charger – Ban.do; Convertible table – West Elm

 

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Want to learn more about what’s trending across our brand and media community? It’s easy! Simply create a brand, or apply for a free media account to get the inside scoop!

Images: Banner by Florence Rolfe, all other images via Flaunter.com