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DKNY PR GIRL Interview: How To Build A Social Brand With Style & Grace

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We, the women of FMM, have been on the hunt for articles and material that will simply knock our readers’ socks off. Recently, we delved deep into the topic of Facebook for fashion and beauty brands, and now we’re falling down the rabbit hole on the topic of community and blogger brand relationships.

In our discoveries, we consistently come back to one brand and one anonymous personality that is driving the fashion brand’s approach to their social media strategies — and that’s DKNY PR GIRL. Part inspiration, part aspiration and part “I’m a woman who runs New York and social media,” DKNY PR GIRL is a force to be reckoned with.

We will be honest, we’ve never been big fans of the PR or marketing department running social media; we firmly believe social is its own department.  However, we’ve also always agreed there are exceptions, and DKNY PR GIRL illustrates the perfect example.

We simply couldn’t figure out how to encapsulate how this woman is the exception to every rule and how she just gets it. We decided to have her tell us in her own words how she manages marketing, PR and social media with such grace, style and poise.

Macala Wright: DKNY PR GIRL is one of the most respected brand personalities among consumers and fashion industry professionals.  How did she achieve this?

DKNY PR GIRL: There was no big plan. Nothing I tell you will self-destruct in 30 seconds. I started with 0 followers just like everybody else. But just like with anything else, if you give it the attention and care it deserves, it will grow.

MW: Many brands are still figuring out their strategy and voice when it comes to social media.  How has DKNY PR GIRL managed to beautifully blend her PR, Marketing and Social Media knowledge together to create the balance she has?

DKNY: I genuinely love PR, Fashion and Social Media. It’s not a job as much as it is a passion. When you feel that way, it honestly comes naturally. I am also a very stream of conscious writer. Sometimes it’s all about #PR101 and the next minute I’m searching for a coffee IV or choosing a nail polish color.  Not every tweet is perfect; plenty are on the cutting room floor, but that’s why they make the scroll button.  If you don’t like it, skip it.

MW: DKNY wasn’t the first fashion brand or retailer on Tumblr, but the company has one of the most beautifully designed Tumblr accounts in the industry, with content specifically designed for the medium. Why did you approach the platform in the manner you did and why were you so careful about how you leveraged it to connect with online audiences?

DKNY: The idea to start a blog genuinely came from my Twitter followers who expressed that they would love to see my images and tweets on a more permanent, visual platform.  I knew there were many brands already doing a great job on Tumblr and I really wanted mine to have a reason for being. Hence the tag line “When 140 characters isn’t enough.”  When something comes from a real place people react well to it. Tumblr in essence is an extension of my Twitter.  I actually like to think of them as brother and sister, helping each other along the way.

As far as the design, I had very specific ideas as to what I wanted- even down to the font.  It had to feel like me. I am really lucky to work with amazing people and our graphic designer worked with me to bring the ideas to life.

From a content point of view, although I was forewarned that people on Tumblr ‘prefer’ visuals, I really felt compelled to write. I don’t write anything in advance. Every post is inspired by something real that has happened that day.  I love writing the posts and the response to them shows people on Tumblr also really like to read.

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MW: DKNY has worked with BigLive, a new technology related to video. How do you evaluate new technologies that you want to use for DKNY in the social space?

DKNY: Social Media is really the window to the world. When you are immersed in it as much as I am, you see things with very open eyes. I love trying to find new projects or angles. The walls are down. We’re not just “fashion people” anymore. Cross-pollinating is the name of the game and I think that companies are attracted to each other just like people are.

 MW: You are the fashion industry’s Twitter maven.  What advice do you have for creating social engagement and inspiration among your fans and followers on Twitter?

DKNY: I mean that’s just it right? Social media is about engagement. It’s not just me, me, me. It’s about genuine interest in other people. I have grown to sincerely care about so many people I have met through this medium and many have become friends in real life. I think if you ask most people what they love about Twitter it’s the fact that they have met such amazing people- people they would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

MW: How close to The Devil Wears Prada is the New York Fashion industry?

DKNY: I love that movie. When I started, I was an accessories assistant at a magazine. I can vouch for Andi’s job. When you are paying your dues, you run around ragged. It’s what assistants do and they love every minute of it even if they complain. No we’re not saving lives, but fashion inspires people and that’s a pretty powerful thing.

MW: What blogs does DKNY PR GIRL love to read, aside from her own?

DKNY: I follow all the magazines I work with and I love seeing how they cover editorial differently than in print. I also love “Bag Snob”. I love that they are actual luxury good consumers who practice what they preach.  Erica Domesek of “P.S. I Made This” does an incredible job with her blog- she is an amazing talent and Jamie Beck’s cinemagraphs on “From Me To You” make me stop and search for them.

We’d like to thank DKNY PR Girl for taking the time to speak with FMM. We’d also like to thank her, again, for the DKNY COZY iPhone app. As she’s mastered the art of “socialization” on the web, we hope to master the COZY one day. Thus far, we can style it effortlessly two ways, but there are many more to come.