Our evening at Cosmopolitan HQ

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On Monday night the KVA team rocked up to the Cosmopolitan HQ for free gin and a chat about how to nail PR.

Knock, knock, who’s there?

We heard from Laura Sinclair of DawBell PR, Emily Bendell, founder of lingerie company Bluebella, and Lottie Murphy, a health and wellbeing blogger.

We grilled the speakers for two hours on every aspect of their work, PR strategy and the story of their success. These leading ladies of business each had so much to tell the world and we asked all of them for their secret to success.

Laura Sinclair

After completing a degree in Chemistry, Laura found her feet in the world of PR. Working with artists such as Rihanna and Harry styles, Laura says the highlight of her career has been managing Craig David’s ‘return from the Bo Selecta days’.

Laura’s secret to success:

“Be where your customers are and be consistent.”

Emily Bendell

Emily grew her lingerie company from scratch in her spare room, focusing on her niche offering of a ‘fashion lingerie brand’. Bluebella is now super successful in the UK, acquiring the 50 Shades of Grey licence and beginning a move over to the US.

Emily’s secret to success:

“You need to work really, really hard and really, really believe in it.”

Lottie Murphy

Starting by posting pictures of her lunch in-between Pilates classes, Lottie has grown her business to include offering week-long yoga retreats as well as sharing sponsored Instagram posts.

Lottie’s secret to success:

“Stay authentic and true.”

The impact of Social Media

The biggest talking point of our Cosmo evening was how Social Media has risen to become the main event in PR. Over the past 5 years it has exploded and the speakers were no stranger to using social media platforms to their advantage.

Emily spoke about how businesses can’t really start in today’s climate without some sort of social media – it’s just about finding the right one for you. As a fashion business, Emily focuses on the highly visual platform of Instagram, allowing her to showcase her products and view how real customers have styled their Bluebella products.

Laura spoke about how social media phenomenon hadn’t been heard of when she started out in PR, meaning at first she mostly dealt in print publications. She warned to watch out for how quickly social media has come – we need to be prepared for this cycle to disappear and be replaced with something else.

Blogger Lottie Murphy said how every opportunity she had ever had had been through social media, but still runs her yoga retreats to form an offline world to prepare for any changes in the digital world.

Doing social media ‘right’

Social Media is the key to reach current customers and promote interest with new ones, although a mix of print and online PR is the best way to go. Keeping your brand at the front of your customer’s minds is the key to nailing your company’s PR.

Laura Sinclair highlighted two key lessons to using social media as a PR tool:

1. Strategy

Having a solid strategy behind your social media allows you to target a more specific audience, spread messaging out in an effective way, and also means you are able to benchmark and measure your success. Having specific objectives in mind for your social media is therefore really important. Whether it’s brand awareness or shifting stock, this will be a big player in shaping your strategy.

2. Storytelling

Not making things up, but presenting your story and your businesses story in a relatable and honest way will engage audiences and make them feel part of the brand. This candid view of the business makes it much more relevant to a customer and means social media can start to feel like a face-to-face interaction.

Working with a large PR agency, Laura also highlighted the benefit to brands of working with an external organisation when managing social media. External agencies have the expertise and resources to know who and where to target, as well as the contacts and know-how to make your goals achievable.

The key lesson of the evening was to be adaptable. By knowing the newest trends, getting the most up-to-date training and keeping on top of our customer’s whereabouts, we give ourselves the tools to reach them effectively.

Big thank you’s to Cosmopolitan UK for putting on the event and to all the amazing business women that shared their stories with us J

(And an even bigger thank you to Slingsby Gin for all the free booze!)