Today kicks off Market Week – men’s fashion week in New York City where fashion / trade shows such as the Collective, Project & Blue will attract thousands of people from around the world – the media, retail buyers, designers and fashion gurus.
I am in Manhattan attending the Collective and supporting my client as they debut their Fall ’08 Collections at the New York Haberdashery Show. We have several interviews scheduled with trade and national fashion & lifestyles magazines.
When you gain the attention national press, the last thing you want to do is lose control over the interview. Because then, you could lose total control over getting a key (and strategic) message placed. Why not take a few minutes to prepare a BRIEF agenda (in your mind that is)?
Here’s a good place to start:
- Provide a brief history / background information – who you are, what you do, why people are attracted to your product / service / mission. Keep it brief. The history of your company is not going to gain you national public / media attention.
- Get right to the point about your key point(s) of differentiation. This should be a statement about what makes you unique and something that no one else in your industry is doing or mastering. This is what makes for a national story.
- Show what’s new in your portfolio (or product line), speak to the latest industry trends and what it is that is (that you are doing) that's creating a “buzz.”
- Discuss your channels of distribution (where your product can be found) / target audience.
- Be open and sensitive to the journalist’s agenda. If the journalist is working on a particular story, stay focused on that specific topic and provide supporting information. You want to position yourself as the authority on the subject so that you become the go-to person. Provide as much useful information as you can, because if he/she doesn’t get the right type of information from you (and enough of it) most likely your competitor will get hit up for it instead.
Your agenda should be simple and one that is flexible. It is supposed to keep you on track and not make you rigid (or panic if you don’t cover all of the items on it).
I've been told that the media isn't impressed by statements such as "the fastest, the best, the first, the most specialized, first-of-its-kind," because chances are that many others can (and are) claiming these statements too. These statements are just too hard to prove and therefore are hard to publicize with confidence.
I remember back to an interview with William Kissel, Senior Fashion Editor for Robb Report. He was probing (with all the right questions) during the interview to better understand my client's key points of differentiation. While my clients were focused on their product and production process, Mr. Kissel asked one simple question. He asked them how many suits they produced annually and how many customers they have. The number supported the fact that they do work with people on an exclusive and limited basis. That's where their tag line, the "Best Worn Secret in America," came into existence.
Sometimes your point of differentiation can be a simple message like how small and specialized of a company you are. Simplicity is a powerful thing!