Friday, June 25, 2010

CASE STUDY: StyleWeek Providence, launching an upscale fashion week in a depressed economy

The Client:
StyleWeek Providence, a start-up non-profit with the goal of launching New England's first Fashion Week to showcase upscale fashion designers to an audience of regional and national buyers and media.

The Goal:
To support the establishment of StyleWeek Providence as an annual event by creating brand awareness, buzz and strong public sentiment via editorial placements and media attendance at the inaugural event.

The Challenge:
To launch a high-end fashion week amid the worst economic conditions in decades; specifically in a state (Rhode Island) that has been among the nation's top 5 in unemployment stats for more than a year. Also, to create excitement about and put the national spotlight on fashion in a region (New England) that has long carried the reputation of being one of the country's most traditional, conservative and staid.

Our Work:
Miamore Communications came on to launch StyleWeek Providence's public relations and social media outreach in late 2009. Understanding the market and anticipating media resistance, we began our work by implementing a viral social media campaign, supplemented by a launch event for press in February. From January 2010 until April 2010, StyleWeek Providence's Facebook following grew by 500%. While we continued our traditional press outreach during this time, as expected, media placements were slow in coming and consisted of blog placements (18,000 impressions) and one local television outlet (approximately 150,000 impressions).

In May, 2010, we began an aggressive media outreach to earn both pre-event placements and media attendance at shows. We created a message that played upon the history of design in Providence, R.I.; and formulated the key message that fashion = business for a city with such a depressed economy. This message helped StyleWeek Providence earn the recognition of city and state officials, and we were able to organize a state-wide press conference in conjunction with Providence's mayor, David Cicilline.

The results:
From May 1, 2010 until June 15, 2010; StyleWeek Providence had more than 26 million impressions in print, broadcast and online media. This included two front-page articles in the state's largest newspaper, the Providence Journal, and a special daily column on their website,; a placement in Amtrak's onboard magazine, Arrive; mentions on and; daily coverage throughout StyleWeek Providence on the state's morning news show, the Rhode Show; articles in Rhode Island's premiere lifestyle magazines, Rhode Island Monthly, Providence Monthly and the Newport Mercury; a cover placement on New England's regional lifestyle magazine, Soco Magazine; and coverage by the top fashion bloggers in New York, Boston, Connecticut and Rhode Island. A breakdown of those numbers:
  • 10.5 million broadcast/video impressions
  • 12.1 million online (non-blog) impressions
  • 100,000 impressions from blog coverage
  • 2.4 million print (newspaper and magazine) impressions
The outcome:
Media coverage has helped secure both overwhelming public support and key financial sponsors. In 2011, StyleWeek Providence will be a twice-annual event.

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