Through the years, the Internet has allowed us to stay connected to special events and media coverage during the workday. We live in an age where we can watch sporting event from our desks and followed the Casey Anthony trial in between meetings. It is only natural that companies recognize the power of engaging their audience online, and are now making exclusive events easily attainable to anyone with an Internet connection.
Fashion Week is one of those experiences many of us will never experience, and for some, scoring a coveted seat at a runway presentation seems like a far-fetched dream. However, as Mercedes-Benz Spring 2012 Fashion Week proved, fashion houses have reshaped the experience from being completely restricted to fans being able to partake in the event from their homes and cubicles (not that I partook in this, of course).
Oscar de la Renta is a prime example of a fashion designer that has mastered the art of creating brand buzz via social media. Erika Bearman, director of communications for the brand (and also known as @OscarPRGirl on Twitter), consistently engages fans by posting behind-the-scenes photos, quotes from Mr. de la Renta himself and musings from around the office. While various other designers have adopted a social media presence, the mixture of brand representation and personality from Ms. Bearman make Oscar de la Renta a shining case study.
As the media landscape has changed, gone are the days of waiting to pull up photos on Style.com post-event. Now, magazine editors upload commentary and photos in real-time. With the help of the PR team, OdlR leveraged Twitter and Tumblr to encourage followers to use the hash tag #odlrlive. Instead of catching photos from the show or a video recap, viewers could stream the event live from simply logging on to Tumblr. More than 2,000 tweets popped up as a result, and Tumblr produced hundreds of posts utilizing the event-specific hash tag.
This trend seems to only be gaining momentum, as other major fashion houses try to get a piece of the action. Burberry announced their Spring/Summer 2012 collection would premiere on Twitter, even before the runway presentation at London Fashion Week.
As public relations professionals are planning VIP events, this is a great practice to keep in mind. For invitees who are unable to attend, leveraging a social media campaign in conjunction with the event can still allow them to feel as though they are a part of the unique experience.