Yesterday at Graduate Fashion Week, I witnessed something wonderful.
High street retailer, River Island (official sponsor of GFW) showed just how much they’re embracing the new possiblities for marketing strategies in fashion retail.
Already heavily and succesfully using online social media, such as Twitter, blogs and video broadcasts - River Island have shown their dedication to the new personality of PR and Marketing. But what’s even more amazing is the fact that they’re using their shop staff, to do it all! At first, the cynic in me thought, oh of course, cheap labour - they pay them £5 an hour, get them to work on the shop floor, tagging denim jackets and folding cardigans and then instead of hiring staff to do their new media marketing, use the same faces to fuel their online presence.
But while walking around, looking at portfolio’s, after the shows yesterday, I saw something that changed my mind.
At the River Island stand, Leanne who works at the Oxford Street store, was singing live for a barrage of cameras and fashion hungry visitors. This was not a hired celeb, or a well recognised contestant from X Factor - this was just a young girl, who worked as a shop assistant and had an extraordinary voice.
This was a clear example of the company giving something back to their staff. Of course, it’s also another means of PR for them but at the same time, they’re giving Leanne an incredible opportunity.
So perhaps integrating their in-store employees is not such a negative thing after all. They clearly know their staff - they communicate with them and they allow them all to bring their personalities to the brand, making it stand out.
A lesson to be learned by so many High Street retailers. Times are a’changing and so should your approach to marketing!
Check out their website - it’s bursting with personality and content from the people who work there.