Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jewelry Trends for the Holiday Season

Tis’ the season to think glitz and glamour. While holiday fashions vary from season to season, one thing remains the same: people still want to stand out with statement pieces or accessories. And while it may be true that diamonds are a girl’s best friend; gold, silver, platinum, precious gems, and semi-precious stones are also high on the wish list for this holiday season. The jewelry business has been strong all year with sales up more than 11% from last year according to the Jewelry Industry Research Institute. Regardless of the recession uncertainties, which may put a curb on other retail sectors, purchasing jewelry and accessories is often seen as a way to spruce up one's style without having to buy a whole new wardrobe. According to the Jewelers Board of Trade, the total sales in 2010 reached $63.4 billion, with consumer confidence slowly increasing, this number is expected to be passed by the end of 2011.

In addition to the traditional jewelry styles, oversized cocktail rings, diamond studs of all styles, long earrings, blinged out bracelets, and long pendent necklaces are the grand fashion trends this holiday season. Gold is appropriately the metal of choice for fashion jewelry as, according to MetroWNY, this season is about dressing to impress. Faux fur, for example, is a hot trend for this typically cold season. InStyle magazine lists stacked rings and shoulder sweeping earrings as festive trends. Elle magazine cites electro neons, Disco fringe, and punked-out patent leather as the seasons best accessories.

Gold might be the go to fashion metal, but when it comes to fine jewelry, thanks in part to volatile gold prices, sterling silver is hot this season according to JCK. And, yes, even with high unemployment rates and as the housing market remains a mess, consumers with large amounts of disposable income are buying expensive items such as jewelry this season. Ken Gassman, market researcher, found data from the Commerce Department, which shows the jewelry sales were up 14.6% in September. Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co. have benefitted from vigorous sales, according to MSN Money. Wall Street analysts figure Tiffany’s revenue will rise 17.7% to $802.14 million in the chain’s latest quarter. Zales reported a 5.8% sales increase and Signet Jewelers, parent of the Kay Jewelers chain, posted a 14% gain in sales at its flagship business.

More resources:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Season Kicks Off With Record Breaking Sales

Fighting the tryptophan from Thanksgiving turkey, an estimated 226 million Americans headed out to line sidewalks, parking lots, and stores entrances (or visited websites) in anticipation of a Black Friday deal. According to the National Retail Federation, that represented a 7% increase from the 212 million Black Friday shoppers last year.

Total spending on Black Friday reached an estimated $52.4 billion. According to the NRF, one quarter of Black Friday shoppers were at the stores by midnight Thursday, either waiting for the store to open or visiting those stores that opened at midnight.

Cyber Monday deals, meanwhile, also drew in a record number of online shoppers, up 33% from the Monday after Thanksgiving last year. According to IBM reports Consumers spent an average of 2.6% more this year than last on Cyber Monday. As expected a record number—10.8%--of shoppers used their smartphones or apps to shop, up 176% from last year.

"Consumers flocked online, with shopping momentum hitting its highest peak at 11:05am PST/2:05pm EST," IBM said in a statement. This showcases Americans growing comfort for online shopping. The top deals on Cyber Monday included a Samsung laptop from Amazon, 32” TV from Walmart, and Giada programmable coffee maker from Target. Even high-end stores like Saks Fifth Avenue followed suit offering 40% off its online inventory. IBM found that Cyber Monday brought in 29.3% more online sales than Black Friday did (although more shoppers were in the physical stores rather than online on Black Friday).

Most people who did their purchasing online did so using an Apple device. And Apple was the 5th most visited online retailer this Black Friday behind Amazon, Wal-mart, Best Buy, and Target. And to no surprise, considering Apple broke all records this Black Friday. Their goal was four times more than normal and, according to Apple 9to5Mac’s source, they beat that forecast by 7 p.m.

While some analysts claim that this is the season of practical living, Karen Katz, Neiman Marcus president and Chief Executive Officer says their target consumers—affluent buyers—are confident and, therefore, spending this season. She notes how attuned upscale consumers are to the stock market and the broader economy, but that Neiman’s is “well positioned with luxury fashion and the latest trends.” Although business has been “good”, they declined to comment on the Christmas forecast or beyond. According to Bloomburg however, luxury goods are making a comeback. And the International Council of Shopping Center reports that sales at luxury stores open at least a year will climb 7.5 percent in November and December, faster than the 6.7 percent increase a year earlier.

For more information, check out these resources:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holiday Retail Trends to Watch

With only 16 days before Black Friday and 39 days until Christmas, retailers are scrambling to capture what is expected to be modest consumer spending. As such, we’re seeing mobile marketing, extended hours for convenience, and the need for added value from retailers shape up as among the top holiday retailing trends.

The hype over Black Friday, November 25th, is already reaching a fever pitch. Within the last few days big retailers such as Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Target have announced they will open for the first time at midnight of Thanksgiving. While many retailers extend their hours on Black Friday, many will be open 24 hours on November 25th. And it is most likely additional retailers will follow along in the next few weeks. Retailers are also offering online deals on Thanksgiving Day even if their store locations are closed for the holiday. It is all due to several reports that holiday spending will be less than grand. The NRF, for example, expects total spending during the holiday period to rise 2.8%, down from 5.2% increase last year.

According to Mashable Business, the busy holiday season has more shoppers buying online than ever before. They calculated that about 66% of shoppers are shopping online. National Jeweler, meanwhile, projects at least 50% of people will use their mobile phones in some capacity for holiday shopping, even if it is just to check store hours.

Whether online or in store, a key to consumer sales this season will be adding value. About 93% of online retailers plan to offer free shipping during the holidays, and brands like Amazon and Walmart are offering price matching.

More:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fashion for the Masses: Social Media



In today’s digital society, Social Media has undergone what seems like an overnight transformation from personal representation of profile pages to something far more elaborate. Now, you would be hard-pressed to find a news program that didn’t attempt to engage their viewers via Twitter, or invite them to ‘Like’ their page on Facebook, follow their blog… The list goes on. The result is a personalization and democratization of information. The fashion industry, is no exception to this, shedding its long-standing reputation of elitism, as was evident during New York Fashion Week.

For the first time since its inception, organizers made New York Fashion Week available to the masses by use of live video streaming through YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/liverunway). Here, on its own dedicated channel, spectators from far and wide can view the collections of every designer as they are shown at Lincoln Center, and are able to engage in a live conversation via Twitter feed below. By eliminating the barriers and exclusivity normally associated with this event, designers can effectively engage the global community in their brand. Instilling and maintaining a Social Media presence is crucial to the success of any business expecting to propel itself to the center stage in a marketplace with a myriad of competitors. Clearly, for any designer to experience organic growth, they must step outside of their comfort zone with the idea that they more that they share, and the more transparent they are, the better the relationship will be with the consumer.

Fashion week is also showing us that Social Media has changed not only how brands interact with their clients, but how fashion news and information is disseminated. Blogs have opened a new gateway to information on trends, style, and an unbiased opinion like never before; and they are more influential than any publicist ever imagined. The most sought after seats at each show are now occupied not by celebrities and editors, but by independent bloggers.

How has Social Media changed your own interaction with consumers and your public relations outreach? Do you have a healthy network of influential bloggers in your network?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekly round up: August 19, 2011

Make your Tweets stand out; digital marketing tips for luxury firms; a Google+ primer, and tips on writing press releases. Here’s our summary of this week’s top news in the world of PR and social media.

Sweet Tweets

The biggest complaint I hear about Twitter is the deafening “noise” of tweets that people don’t care about. But are your own tweets contributing to that meaningless chatter, or rising above it? The key to Twitter (as with all social media) is to engage. This is the best summary I’ve seen on how to sweeten your tweeting.

The luxury market’s digital lag

Too many luxury firms are still too focused on digital bells and whistles, rather than engaging content. Here are some of the struggles, and some of the success stories.


Google+ for beginners (and intermediates)

I’m the first to confess: I’ve dabbled on Google+, but haven’t found the time yet to immerse myself and really figure it out. If you’re like me, or if you’re a few steps ahead, here are a couple instructional videos to help you master this booming new social media tool.


PR 101: press releases

Whether you’re trying to write your own press releases, or providing a quote to your agency for a release, this is a must read. Love this quote: A common problem with press release quotes is that they’re full of lazy corporate verbs such as synergize, utilize, leverage, or facilitate. 'We are leveraging cutting-edge technology to meet our customer’s needs.' What does that even mean?”

Oxford’s new dictionary additions

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary added 400 new words this year. If you aren’t retweeting or sexting or cyberbullying, check out this article. Woot! Woot!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekly round-up: August 12, 2011

What happened this week? (I’m sort of wondering more: What happened to this week?!) Here’s my summary of the must-know news of the week for luxury, fashion and jewelry brands…

Social media’s influence on Americans

No analysis needed; the stats speak for themselves:

“The purchasing decisions of 38 million 13-80 year olds in the U.S. are now influenced in various ways by social media—up 14% in just six months.”

“Of the more than 149 million Americans actively using Facebook, 70% of these log on to the social network daily.”

Facebook ads now can target by zip code

I’m frequently asked about Facebook ads. Never been a big cheerleader, but this might be a game changer for regional brands…

Conde(Nast)Elevator Tweeter gets cold feet

The 8th grader lurking inside me was secretly bummed to see this Tweeter vanish and stop churning out gossip from Conde Nast. The grown up in me, however, knows there’s enough ugly gossipers out there to (sadly) fill the void.

Gold expected to hit $2,000

Hard to believe gold may hit this high. Expect to see even more fine jewelry designers/brands experimenting with new metals and materials. On the bright side, necessity is the mother of invention, so I’m looking forward to seeing the creativity this will spur!

Vera Wang endangering her brand with Zales collaboration?

Vera Wang and Zales are interesting bedfellows, indeed. While mass/luxury brand collaborations are certainly nothing new, Zales doesn’t quite have the “masstique” allure of brands like H&M and Target... Yet. Something to watch.

David Yurman cozies up to Foursquare

We constantly push brands to embrace social media for marketing purposes, so kudos to David Yurman for embracing Foursquare! Agree, however, that their Foursquare content is far too self-promotional/product oriented.

“In order to encourage actual luxury customers, not just aspiring, to participate, it’s important to offer real-world incentives, an area where luxury brands have a difficult time,” Tamar Koifman, a senior social media strategist at Digital Luxury Group in Geneva, Switzerland and contributor to Fashion’s Collective.

Baby steps…

The "Greening" of America’s affluent

This report is a personal favorite of mine… more than three quarters of affluent consumers are eco-friendly.

“76 percent of ecofriendly consumers have an annual household income of more than $150,000”

Proud to be representing a leader in socially conscious fine jewelry design: AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli!


How to come back from a social media gaffe

While we hope we never need to worry about it, here are some interesting case studies on the are of social media comeback



Miamore's News this Week:
  • Have had a wonderful time working with the Rhode Island International Film Festival (there's one more day, in case you've missed it so far!). Thanks to the Rhode Show, Newport Mercury, Boston Globe and Projo (among others) for the coverage!
  • Still drooling over the fall collection from Thistle & Bee... and over the stunning Lookbook we created for them!
  • AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli isn't just a client; nor just a socially conscious luxury company; nor just another "designer" name. AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli is the baby of Ana-Katarina Vinkler-Petrovic--one of the most talented and intuitive designers I've yet to meet. Bonus: she's also, put simply: a beautiful soul. Love her blog, where we highlight her custom jewelry creations.


Friday, August 5, 2011

The Advantages of Having An Interactive Brand Representative

From the public relations advice guru DKNY-girl to the behind the scenes fashion insider OscarPRGirl, online brand representatives are not only driving company attention but also increasing sales. By looking at two huge digital presences, the women behind social media for fashion labels DKNY (Donna Karen New York) and Oscar de la Renta, it will become evident why every company needs an individual leading the company in the interactive world.

We have discussed the benefits of social media in previous posts: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Blogger, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. Your company may even have one of several of these accounts. However, the questions that must be asked is, are you properly utilizing each medium? Are they consistent? Additionally, who is handling these accounts? If the tone or voice on several of your mediums is different, then your message will be viewed differently on each forum. Think deep down into the core of your business, what are you trying to provide your consumer? What good or service sets you apart from the competition in your given industry? Once you decide what message you are trying to promote to your target market, one individual needs to spearhead the movement into the interactive world. What keeps a customer coming back to a particular brand? Dependability.

In terms of how you can have a strong social presence like DKNY and Oscar PR Girl. Cross promotion is the first step. The two individuals behind these two accounts are using various mediums to promote the same message. No matter where you turn, whether clicking on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter, each forum displays the same voice and the same words (perhaps in a different format). Fans of these brands can turn to their web-savvy girl for help and advice, especially because these sites allow for fan/account holder interaction. What drives the success of these brands is not only the stable message they provide but also the fact that they stand in as 24-7 customer service representatives. Knowing that one can contact a dependable and stable member of the company is not only empowering to the consumer, but it makes the brand seem more relatable and personable.

What can you do? Be sure that your social media, PR and marketing messages are consistent in both content and tone. If you don't have an in-house PR/marketing team that can take on this task, find an agency that understands both PR and is social media savvy, in order to portray your one message across all channels and manage how the online world perceives your brand. “Social media is an invaluable tool for fashion brands and retailers,” says Rachel Strugatz, the online editor for Women’s Wear Daily. “Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs or branded editorial content, maintaining a dialogue with fans and consumers through authentic and engaging content is paramount in achieving success within the digital realm.” Over 1 billion of the world’s population is online, digital presence is serious so make your presence known!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Designers Blend Traditional Designs and Modern Technology: Social Media and the Fashion Industry

Various blog posts of ours dictated the way to create a fan base on Twitter and Facebook, Tumblr and Blogger. Usually, it helps to give step-by-step guides, telling each and every business owner the actions it takes to break into public relations, marketing, and social media. However, it also helps to learn from successful brands, ones that utilize the sources your company is trying to figure out. As such, we profile here two major fashion labels, Balenciaga and Alexander Wang, both of which are innovatively using social media to connect with their fan base and gain attention for their label.

Balenciaga is a company that dates back to 1914 Basque Country, Spain. How does a old-world brand merge into the 21st century? By infiltrating the social media market. For Balenciaga’s Fall/Winter 2011 campaign, the brand is paying homage to their heritage, hoping to fuse history and modernity. How is this possible? ”Some photos were shot in a Gothic Harlem church, with a futuristic world — the black and white tiles in a studio – that still showcases the iconic sense of what people have come to know with the Balenciaga brand.” But what makes it modern? Half of the campaign was shot in a bright, tiled studio set. This part of the campaign features “the same poncho-like dresses, with bright colors popping in a futuristic, 3D look due to the shiny, black-and-white tiled background.” You’re probably wondering what this has to do with your business. Well, this new campaign is showcasing the the brand’s effort to combine the classic with the modern as it takes its first leaps into the digital world. “Balenciaga’s new Web site is rumored to feature more than 200 video clips, 3,000 photos and an e-commerce section.” This shows you that it’s never to late to revamp your image, join the digital community and gain success and new customers/fans.

Other types of social media being utilized include building projections. Yes, you read that correctly, images and videos placed on stationary towers. Apparel and accessories designer  Alexander Wang decided to release his latest campaign video on the walls of New York buildings. ”The young designer deployed several vans on July 13 to project the Fall 2011 ready-to-wear video onto the walls of buildings throughout Manhattan. The new video features model Raquel Zimmermann and debuted globally on the branded Web site the following day.” The vans that displayed the videos were located in SoHo, Union Square, and the Meatpacking districts of Manhattan. From 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., the designer was tweeting about his video, providing his fans with the exact locations to see the campaign live. Alexander Wang diehards are wondering if this marketing approach will spread to other cities, and others in the industry are awe-stuck, noticing the sales-successes and attention this has created for the brand. One article claims, “Certainly, other brands will take a cue from [Mr. Wang's] playbook and start promoting in this way in other cities.”

This post shows us that there is not only one way to approach social media or that it is only suitable for more “modern” companies. Balenciaga, a company favored by an older demographic, unaccustomed to social media and technology ,is branching out, reaching a new  younger demographic and making a huge splash. Alexander Wang is trying things no other designer has before, but likely things every designer will try in the future.

Whether these case studies inspire you to create a new website, launch a new social media campaign, or simply reconsider your marketing; understanding--and, thus, implementing--a new approach via technology can increase your fan base, bring attention to your brand and, ultimately, lead to increased sales.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Miamore Communications to Team Up with the Rhode Island International Film Festival!



Miamore Communications is thrilled to announce that we will be assisting the prestigious Rhode Island International Film Festival with their social media & public relations initiatives! Since its inception in 1981, the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) has attracted filmmakers, critics, and movie buffs alike from across the globe, showcasing numerous feature productions including short films, narrative features, animations & documentaries. The RIIFF also boasts its recognition as one of sixty-five Academy Award pre-qualifying film festivals worldwide.

This year, a collection of 175 films --many of which making their world debut at the RIIFF-- will dazzle audiences around the state of Rhode Island, and allow them the opportunity to experience every aspect of film production with workshops and meet and greet opportunities occurring daily. The RIIFF also offers a unique summer camp opportunity for young filmmakers eager to get in on all the [lights, camera] action!

Miamore Communications looks forward to promoting the Rhode Island International Film Festival, and is thrilled to be a part of its continued success! More information about the Rhode Island International Film Festival, including ticket information and event schedules, click here. For media inquiries relating to coverage of the Rhode Island International Film Festival, please contact Miamore Communications via email at carrie@miamorecommunications.com.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The art of promotion: providing product to Bloggers

From traveling to conventions and events to paying employees and suppliers, money can be tight and PR/marketing often falls off the bottom of the to-do list for businesses. Advertising can cost a fortune and traditional PR takes time and patience. But have you considered the new--and less costly--alternative of promoting your company with the help of bloggers? Whether your business is in the food, wine and spirits, fashion, or sporting goods industry, there is a blog out there that has hundreds or thousands, or hundreds of thousands of readers...readers anxiously waiting to hear about what’s new.

With thousands of blogs in the interactive world and hundreds in categories that your company would fall into, interacting with bloggers is marketing tool that is underutilized--especially by many small business owners. Many bloggers host giveaways, in which they promote a good/service in exchange for the product, which they will provide to one of their readers. After a review of the product on their blog, many bloggers will ask their readers to enter by commenting on the particular brands Facebook page, tweeting to the company and spreading the word about the contest and giveaway for extra entries. The result of those mentions/interactions with your social networking profile? According Adweek, “Facebook users who like a brand's page on the social networking site use its products regularly or occasionally and, after following the brand on Facebook, more than a third want to buy this brand's product more.” So, as those tweets and posts about your product add up, so does your army of brand ambassadors. The cost to you? Your product to give away.

With all that said, how do you find the right blogger? You probably already know the best ones in your industry. (If you’re lost in the blogosphere, your public relations agency can be determine which to target, whom to contact, and facilitate the giveaway).

From Dick’s Cottons sunglasses on the blog Sarafit.comSarafit.com to Pop Chips on A Knack for Nutrition, bloggers are making it easy for companies to get their names out there. According to Bizammo.com, a leading resource for small business owners, there are three major steps that are important to recognize when offering up a product to a blogger. First off, “think outside the box.” This may seem obvious to you--you wouldn’t create the same exact product as a competitor, right? Don’t decide to just give something away because you have tons of product left in stock, just sitting in a warehouse. Think about it. You want to find your target market, so find a blog that gets attention and traffic from readership that is similar to those who buy your product or service. Then, find something that your business produces that these readers would need, or desperately want. Second, make sure whatever you provide to the blogger is easy to find and purchase. “The whole reason the item is free is so that as many people as possible benefit from it and learn about your company – if the customers can’t find the product, you may as well be charging for it.” Lastly, give it time. In Public Relations and marketing there are no immediate results--but there is value in raising awareness and engaging potential future customers. As long as your product is useful and is being promoted through different mediums, attention will follow.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Allure of Social Media in the Luxury Marketplace

We’ve discussed before how massive the digital movement is, and with so many mediums to communicate a message it’s no wonder that the luxury market has “struck it rich” in social media. How can you “strike it rich” too? Look no farther than some of the largest and most influential businesses in the fashion industry--Bergdorf Goodman Department Store, Breitling, Bvlgari, Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabanna, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Marc Jacobs.

By zoning in and breaking down the approaches of each of these brands, we can explore what is setting each apart from their competition. From there, we can adapt these strategies to fit your business model. But before we start analyzing, remember: social media is not learned overnight. With a few changes and adjustments to your current social media programs, your brand can blossom and develop. 

To start, we will focus on Bergdorf Goodman, the luxury department store that is always at the forefront of fashion and “high-class” living. Bergdorf focuses mainly on Twitter and Facebook, which are two platforms that in our opinion attract the greatest audience due to the high volume of participants. On these sites, the brand engages with it’s fans, posting everything from makeup tutorials to style tips of the day. By answering the questions of their followers and appearing more like a person than a large company, they are not only approached by their clientele but bombarded by them. 

Swiss watch makers Breitling and Italian Jeweler Bvlgari focus more on Facebook than any other medium, and they are darn good at it. Ever think of promoting contests, offering prizes and creating games for your fans? If not, you can learn from these fashion dynamos. Breitling pushed a “Spirit of Aviation” photography contest on Facebook in which fans of the brand submitted pictures in an attempt to win flying lessons with the Breitling flying team in Dijon, France. The contest was also connected to the legendary movie-star and flying-enthusiast John Travolta. By asking their fans to “link-up” with the contest and spread word to Facebook friends, the brand got even more attention and contest entries. In a similar instance, Bvlgari teamed up with a celebrity, actress Kirsten Dunst. An Enchanted Garden Facebook app was launched which provided links to its Facebook commerce microsite where consumers could purchase jewelry and fragrances. The interconnectedness of the app to the commerce site displays the importance of cross promoting. Have at least two forums to promote your company? Utilize both and gain traffic. 

Lastly, Marc Jacobs may be the most inventive designer in the digital world. The brand took their company one step further and aligned themselves with bloggers. Bloggers are no longer the up-in-coming freelance writers of the digital world, they have staying power. Bloggers are gaining designer sponsorships, partnering with magazines and becoming just as influential as timely designers. The designer bought “advertising on NOWMANIFEST.com and held a photo-shoot with blogger Elin Kling to celebrate 10 years of the Marc by Marc Jacobs line.”  This social media move was so large that the Marc Jacobs website saw over 94,000 impressions after one day of advertising on Elin Kling’s blog! 

From these success stories it’s apparent that social media offers major opportunities to luxury firms. Whether your business is a corporation or a start-up, it is crucial that you entertain digital marketing. After all, luxury brands are selling not only products, but also a lifestyle, so engaging a client within his or her own lifestyle is imperative. Social media provides just the platform to do so.

Bergdorf Goodman makeup tutorial

DVF Facebook page

Marc Jacobs advertisement on blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Now that’s a Sparkler: Diamond Rings in the Forefront of Spring Fashion

Spring is the ultimate “new beginning.” After all the marshmallow snow melts, we are left with a magical season of sunshine, blossoming buds, and fresh starts--a perfectly romantic time to become engaged. And who does “perfect romance” better than a celebrity couple? Recent tabloids and magazines have been bursting with images of engagements; full page spreads answering the who, what, why, when, where questions, but mainly focused on the big, diamond ROCKS!

Judging by the success of magazines and tabloids alone it is safe to assume that the status quo of America is “I’ll have what he/she is having.” With tons of endorsement deals and promotions for products by celebrities, it is plain to see how much of an influence celebrity lifestyle has on the America public. So, let’s zone in on how celebrity culture is impacting the diamond industry this season.

The most recent high-profile celeb engagement announcement has been between reality television superstar Kim Kardashian and New Jersey Nets basketball player Kris Humphries. The ring presented to the future Mrs. Humphries is a 16.5-carat emerald-cut center stone flanked by two 2-carat trapezoids. Now, we could take the “emerald” cut style as a personal preference of Kardashian or we could look deeper into the trend. What other mega celebrity and recently engaged movie star received an emerald cut sparkler? None other than Kate Hudson. Proposed to by rocker beau Matthew Bellamy, Hudson proudly displayed her emerald-cut diamond, flanked by two sparkling baguettes, to the entire nation on the Today Show.
Kate Hudson
Kim Kardashian

A major trend? Yes, given the star power of Kardashian and Hudson, it would seem so. So, how can a jeweler or designer capitalize on this bridal trend? A seeming downside is that the broad, open facets of the emerald-cut diamond means that any inclusion or discoloration will be particularly obvious, and most individuals do not have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend for a flawless stone. However—carat for carat—an emerald cut stone is less expensive for a customer to buy and the extensive publicity about celeb emerald-cut diamonds, customers may be willing to increase their planned budget (the upside!).

So, this spring, brush up on this beautiful diamond cut to prepare for celeb-obsessed brides-to-be who will be inquiring about emerald cut diamond engagement rings. One beautiful example: this socially responsible and eco-friendly ring crafted by AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli.
AnaKatarina Eco Gioielli

SEO AND SOCIAL MEDIA: A PRIMER

Good vs. Evil, Light vs. Dark, Carbs vs. Lean Protein… all things that are essential and on going struggles to help find balance. Another recently evolving struggle that is creating a lot of buzz across the internet and business communities is the deliberation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vs. Social Media Networking for marketing purposes. The differences between the two are vast, but we often hear small businesses weighing one against the other in terms of where to invest. While SEO has a faster ROI rate on a website’s traffic than Social Media, a Facebook page with 100,000 ‘Likes’ and ongoing engagement has an amazing ROI as well. With that being said, let’s just get down to the brass tacks, nitty-gritty, and seedy underbelly about what these Internet marketing tactics offer.

SEO: WHAT IS IT?

What can be said? It predates the whole concept behind Social Networking, and is still vital to an overall marketing strategy regardless of what you’re promoting. What it is in Layman’s terms is basically search engine marketing: how to get your website to appear high in results when someone searches Google or another search engine.

First, there is pay for play SEO; you know that ‘suggestion box’ that comes up when you start typing in things to Google or Bing? Those brand names paid to be there; they also paid to be at the top of your search results or along the side in those ‘other search suggestions’ columns.

If you start typing things into Google, the Google Instant bar comes up and starts guessing what you’re typing. Unfortunately it searches just about the whole span of the Internet when you hit enter. That means that not only are you bombarded right off the bat with information that you don’t need, but then you see all these big name brands that you might not want.

Like all things we had to learn with the creation of the Internet was the thought process of navigating your search engine results. Depending on what I am searching for, I do not always look at the first link that comes up, in fact I don’t really look at the headlines that Google or Bing gives me, I look at the blurbs that are underneath them and if that information matches what I’m looking for then that is the site I want. Like everything else, people have different ways of navigating their search results, but most just haphazardly click where they see fit.

Because people are so consistent, they will continue to click one of those three links that come up, which means that those companies will clearly gain the most traffic to their website consistently. That is where SEO comes in, with keywords in your website copy, inbound links, and other things that help Google and other search engines rank your site higher. But the problem that too many companies over look is: once you get that traffic to your site, how do you engage and keep them there? (thus the argument in favor of focusing on social media)

SOCIAL MEDIA: TO ‘LIKE’ OR NOT TO ‘LIKE’?

What needs to be grasped about social media is the sheer volume and presence it all has. For example, just about everyone (500 million people, to be exact) has a Facebook profile used to interact with others in a different atmosphere than (crazy concept) speaking with them face-to-face or even over the phone. Side note: I had to find out through Facebook, twice, that a favorite cousin was getting married.

Now, the ever present Facebook, Twitter and the like have been emerging and growing faster and faster, have people really come to rely on them as a place to get new information? That answer might surprise you. Consider, for example, that Facebook has almost surpassed Google as the top visited site on the Internet.

The difference between Google and Facebook? (And, therefore, the difference between SEO outreach and social media outreach)… People go to Google when they want basic information or a phone number; people go to Facebook to form a long-term relationship with a brand.

The things you can do with a Fan Page on Facebook are essentially endless. But all have common ROI: an ongoing association with prospects and clients, and the creations of not just a visitor who clicks on your website once, but someone who becomes a brand ambassador.

SO WHICH IS BETTER?!

At the end of the day, there are different companies that can benefit from more SEO than Social Media, and vice versa. Both are completely different in their approach of finding new information and getting it to the public.

SEO and Social Media have their places, and greatly help each other. Without a search engine you can easily find out whether your favorite company had a social media presence on top of finding their website. Both feed off of each other and help give the other meaning. Essentially, both SEO and Social Media Marketing are good things to take part in, it all depends on the business and the marketing strategy you want to execute.

If your resources are limited, which to choose? When deciding, remember that people are using search engines to look for something that is in the moment; they want to find what they’re looking for fast and with little problems. When people are logging onto Facebook, they are looking to engage and connect… be it to see what their friends are doing, play games, or, increasingly: learn of news, promotions an updates from their favorite brands.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

P.R...What does that even mean?


What is "public relations"? Colloquially, it has become a discipline with an ambiguous job description that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. "If you ask ten random people what PR is, there will be 10 very different answers" (see here). Contrary to colloquialism, however, it is a very definite area of marketing. 

While—especially in this age of ever-changing forms of communication—PR is a somewhat open ended area of marketing, a basic definition of public relations is to "shape and maintain the image of a company, organization or individual in the eyes of the client's various 'public.' What is a 'public' exactly? A public, in PR terms, is anyone who ever has, or ever will, form an opinion about the client (more). Essentially: a public relations agency is there to present their client in the best light to their audience.

As a publicist, being tasked with making someone look good (despite a positive or negative situation) is no easy assignment—especially because PR is not pay-for-play advertising... a publicist instead focuses on gaining FREE publicity for their client. How? By drafting professional press releases and relevant pitches, a publicist is creating a compelling story for potential newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations. It is imperative for a publicist to not only communicate why their clients’ goods, services, and/or personal history is important—but, most importantly, to understand the mind of an editor. Thus, some of the best publicists are those who have served time as editors. 

A professional publicist or PR agency will also create media and press kits, along with look-books—crucial packages that must be written and designed with knowledge of what the press wants (and needs) to know. In sum, these kits "contains everything the journalist needs to understand who the client is and what the client does.” (more). 

Defining “public relations” is no easy task, but even harder for companies is determining what makes a great publicist. Think about it. You are entrusting your company, your welfare and business' image to another person or agency. A publicist must believe in what they are doing, who they are promoting and what is being asked of them from a client… but being a great publicist runs even deeper than that. A great publicist can "create opportunities for publicity from thin air...invent a story that the news media will eat up" (more). How do they do this? By keeping a pitch light, positive and relevant. 

Finally, when considering a PR agency or publicist, make sure they follow these 10 PR commandments:
  • All press is not good press: the easiest way to avoid bad press is to separate private and public life.   
  • Perception is reality: the first images the public sees are extremely powerful.   
  • Create a brand: What are your brands attributes? Who is your target audience? How loyal are they?   
  • The truth seeks its own level: there are no secrets, the truth is out there, don’t hide from it.   
  • Energize a base: define an audience and communicate effectively with it.  
  • The media will not wait for you: play offense not defense; do not wait for the media to come to you—pitch away! 
  • There is no wall between public and private: attend events because of the press line. Say good-bye to intimate parties. 
  • The medium is still the message: remember who you’re talking to and who their audience is.   
  • You can go home again: comebacks exist; the public loves someone who keeps on trying so don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work out the first time.   
  • They are only building you up to knock you down: Live your life like someone’s watching, because they are.
 
Remember: PR is a dynamic and ever-changing industry. With the constant creation of new and improved social media sites and broadcasting platforms, it is both easier and harder than ever to promote a company or deliver a story. Choosing the right medium is important and delivering the right angle on a story is necessary. 
When you hire a publicist, ask questions; among them:
Do they have contacts and credibility?
Have they generated successful campaigns in the past? 
Will they treat you as a person, not as just a giant enterprise? 

Is their approach custom to what you crave or do they follow the same approach for all of their clients? 
While P.T. Barnum said, "all publicity is good publicity" we must disagree...all publicity is good publicity only if you have a good publicist.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fashion Forecast: Earthy, Swingy, Delicate

What's BIG this Holiday season? Fashion editors, bloggers and designers have been focusing on all things tassels, stone, and lace. From fine to fashion jewelry, these trends can be seen everywhere from fashion editorials to the catwalks of Paris and New York.
Stones and bones which are polished and cut are one of the most anticipated trends of the Holiday season. Why so popular? From the palest canary yellows to the deepest ocean blues, stones offer a natural and relaxed vibe to any outfit. Additionally, stones connect one to nature--minimally processed, shaped by the elements, rough and asymmetrical. Perfect for a Holiday romp to the rocky beaches of St. Kits or the concrete jungle of New York City.


Lace...delicate, intricate, lady-like, elegant. What comes to mind--wedding gowns, dowdy Grandma-esque "schmatas," the Victorian era? Not anymore. The lace trend can be seen in many different capacities this holiday season. There are feather-light fabric earrings as well as intricately patterned and metal detailed necklaces and bracelets. The trend represents a type of sophistication that is easy to wear and able to make a statement.


Whether they are swinging, dangling, or jangling, tassels are making a major appearance. With all trends pointing towards an antique and aged aesthetic it is no wonder that fringe forms are predicted to be the biggest trend of all this season. No longer the oldest form of Western adornment, the tassel is the easiest thing to throw on to get noticed. Reflecting light in metal forms, and creating tons of swish-swish movement, tassels are the perfect piece to invest in.

So there you have it--predictions about the trendiest Holiday looks, straight from the horses Miamore Communications' mouth. Which of these looks will you be trying out this Holiday?


(Images: 1, 2, 3)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Social Media's Influence on High Society: The Royal Wedding

On April 29, 2011 the world witnessed history; a royal wedding between Prince William of England and his "commoner" bride, Kate Middleton. It is no mystery why this wedding is the topic of every conversation from the grocery aisles of a quite suburb in Oklahoma to the over flooded streets by Westminster Abbey, a real fairytale took place! What else is magical about this union? From a branding standpoint the wedding created a ton of coverage for various mediums. As speculated by PR specialists everywhere, "The marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton is the latest big global event which media companies are falling over themselves to cover with new digital products" (article here).

First off a Mashable.com article stated that news stories regarding the wedding (according to Bing.com) were up to 7 million searches/day. Additionally, blog posts "more than doubled from 46.7 million on April 5 to 102.9 million." What else? Tweets about the wedding quadrupled, about 5,000/hour over the last week.

Live coverage of the wedding was viewable from the BBC website. However, on the wedding day the news channel reported a glitch-- too many people were trying to access the site and "Visitors were intermittently greeted with an error message saying the website was experiencing 'abnormal traffic' around the climax of the ceremony after 11am." Abnormally high numbers of attention to the Royal wedding is commonplace, in 1981 the "wedding of the century" between Prince Charles and Lady Diana attracted an estimated global television audience of over 750 million people--the most popular program to ever broadcast. Despite this impressive statistic, the 2011 nuptials had nearly 2 BILLION viewers according to a recent article on paidcontent.org.

The entire wedding was so covered by social media (SM) that it is as if SM was an invited guest to Buckingham Palace. The modern couple chose to share their wedding with the public...in a very modern way. First off there was a royal wedding website which informed guests and the pubic about every event that was to take place pre and post wedding. Additionally, there was an official royal You Tube channel that was expected to get over 400 million hits. If you didn't want to watch the live stream and preferred reading updates, there were official Twitter and Flickr accounts dedicated to documenting and covering the entire occasion. What if you had the urge to buy the handsome couple a gift? Social media made it easy to do that as well. With a royal wedding registry, guests could donate to multiple charities in the names of Kate and William themselves.
Social media covered almost every aspect of the royal affair--from details about the cake (made by Fiona Cairns Ltd of Leicestershire), to Kate's hairstylist (the talented Mr. Richard Ward), nothing was kept secret. Additionally, since guests were allowed to use social media while at the wedding, sites like Twitter updated the world about Lady Catherine's second wedding dress, also created by Sarah Burton, before the official pictures were even leaked says Forbes Magazine.

The royal wedding set world breaking records in the realm of social media. Besides tweeting, facebooking, blogging and posting about the event, individuals could download phone applications which connected them to videos, games, news stories, photos, etc. There was no shortage in coverage of the royal wedding; apparently intimate gatherings are no longer personal affairs in this day and age.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Giveaways: Give a Product, Gain Engagement

Giveaways are becoming an increasingly popular marketing tools on social media sites everywhere. As public relations experts it is easy to understand why: consumers love free stuff. Consumers are not the only ones benefiting from this promotional tool; businesses are also reaping the benefits. Giveaways are an easy way to draw publicity and potential business to a company. While everyone loves a free giveaway, as business owners the recent trend in raffling off products requires us to stay up to date on how to legally and effectively offer a giveaway contest. Sounds like a headache right? Not to worry. Here is our step by step plan on how to organize a successful giveaway via social media.


The very first step in organizing a successful giveaway is defining your goals. What do you want to gain from this giveaway? More followers? Increased sales? More publicity? Whatever these goals may be you will need to keep them in mind in order to track your success.


Before implementing such a sweepstakes a company must first decide on the product they want to giveaway. The product should be something that is of value to your consumers but it should also positively reflect your company. Raffling off an iPod may draw some attention to your websites, but if your business has absolutely nothing to do with electronics you are not gaining any potential customers. Take our client Thistle and Bee for example. This high-end jewelry company is currently offering a giveaway via their Facebook fan page. They are giving away two of their most popular bangles valued at more than$1,500. These products are of value to the participants, while beautifully reflecting the Thistle and Bee brand.


Once you have your product you need to pick the social media channel that best fits your giveaway. Giveaways can be done through Twitter, Facebook, or Foursquare; discounts through Groupon, Gilt Group, and Rue La La. Be aware when choosing a channel that you read the terms of service in order to avoid any legal implications. Many sites only allow a certain type of giveaway and you may have to follow strict guidelines in order to run the sweepstakes.


Now that you have chosen your channel you will need to find a third party application to run the contest. This is legally required by many social media sites. A third party application ensures that the winner is picked at random by an unbiased party.


Before you launch your giveaway you should drop hints that you will be offering a promotion to your followers. If you are using a blog to promote it you could do a post a couple days prior about the product and then hint at a possible giveaway in the future. If you are using a fan page you could offer a giveaway after you reach so many likes. This will give your readers an incentive to keep reading your page.


Finally, you are ready to launch the giveaway. Be sure to provide your followers with brief, easy steps on how to enter. If a sweepstakes is too long or complicated to enter, most participants will get annoyed and opt out. Inform your readers of the end date of the contest. Try not to run it for too long or your readers will lose interest. You can also allow your followers extra incentives such as entering them twice in the contest if they like your page on Facebook as well as follow you on Twitter. By having them participate on your other pages you are gaining more followers and attention.


The giveaway is over, now what? It is time to notify the winner! The third party application has selected the winner of the contest at random and now it is time to contact them. Contact the winner through email and ask them for their home address in order to send the product. Send the item in a timely manner and don’t forget to include a thank you note. Having a positive experience with your company, the winner will most likely become a loyal customer and recommend your brand to others.


Giveaways are a great way to gain more traffic and potential customers if done correctly. It’s a win-win for everyone. Companies receive publicity and often gain new customers, and consumers have the chance to win something and learn about a new brand they may be interested in. In other words: bring on the giveaways!