Promote Your Fashion Brand by Apparel Search - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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In this section you will learn about how to promote your fashion brand. 

Promote Your Fashion Brand
Is there anything more important then promoting your brand ???  Well, I guess the "quality" of your garments are more important.  However, for the sake of this article lets move forward on the assumption that the promotion of your brand is the most critical issue that you face.  With this assumption in place, lets now talk about some of the methods to turn your unknown brand into a brand to die for...
Clearly the best place to promote a fashion brand is at the Apparel Search website, but their are also many other very good resources.  Although the internet has become a mammoth in regard to advertising and self promotion, it is our opinion that offline brand promotion is still very important.  Lets segment this discussion into two primary categories of promotion.
1)  On-line Promotion
2)  Off-line Promotion
Off-line Promotion - Television, Magazines, Billboards, Radio etc.
 
In regards to fashion their is much to be said for finding your brand gracing the cover of a fashion magazine.  Even if you do not grab the cover, having your garments or fashion accessories listed in the body of a style mag certainly provides excellent credence to your brand name.  One question you may be asking is how do you get your brand listed in an important magazine such as Vogue, InStyle, Elle, etc.  Does luck have a role in getting into a magazine?  Probably not...  To get published in a quality fashion magazine it most often takes either hard work or money (some times both).  When I say hard work, you can spend ample time contacting editors and writers at the popular magazines.  This may eventually lead to having them agree to write an article about your brand.  However, more often then not, you may have to spend money advertising in their magazine.  Or spend even more money and produce your own runway show so that they are almost forced to write something about you or your event.  In summary, magazines are great for fashion brands to get recognized.  If you can get published in one, we suggest that you do so.
Similar to magazines, newspapers serve with an almost equal value.  I say "almost" because I think that the fashion and style "magazines" are more appropriate for pushing your brand name on the consumer then a newspaper.  Lets be honest, the magazines have a better method of providing color images.  Simply stated, fashion articles look better in magazines (when they include images).  When thinking about Newspapers, we have to look past the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and your local newspapers.  It is very important in the fashion industry to also consider the trade papers.  Newspapers like the DNR, WWD and Apparel News are clearly powerful resources for the apparel industry.  A good article can help you, and a bad article can possibly hurt you.  Keep in mind that store buyers typically read these papers.  It is important to impress the ultimate consumer, but it is also very important to impress retail buyers.  Although the internet provides a method to sell products directly to consumers, if you want to develop a brand name, you really want to have your product in the retail channel of distribution.  So, you better get yourself published in the trade papers to get yourself in the mind of the retail buyers.
If you have a great deal of money, you may wish to consider advertising on television.  That is all that I plan to say about TV advertising... Sorry, too expensive for me.
Although I personally do not have experience with Radio or Billboard advertising, my understanding is that this is a less expense form of advertising then television.  In my personal opinion, for developing a long term brand awareness strategy, billboards may serve you better then radio.  Please do your own research in regards to radio ads and billboard ads to promote your brand.
Well, I think that I have talked more then enough about offline advertising methods.  Do to the fact that the Apparel Search Company is an online media company, the on-line promotion is where we have the most experience.  Lets move along to the fun stuff...
On-line - Yes, we mean the internet.
Unfortunately, we can not tell you all of our secrets to online success.  However, we will try to give you a few hints to point you in the proper direction.  If you already have a brand developed and a website to go along with it, our very first suggestion is to try and meet either Larry Page or Sergey Brin.  If you are lucky enough to meet with either of them, we strongly recommend that you immediately attempt to seduce them in any way possible.  It does not matter if you are male or female, just seduce them and offer your hand in marriage.  For those of you that are not aware, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the co-founders of Google (currently, the most important online resource in the universe).  Anyway, with all kidding aside, if you want to promote your apparel brand online, it is important to have your website search engine friendly. 
In order to keep your site search engine friendly (meeting standards set forth by the search engines; and internet standards groups), you may wish to consult an SEO company (Search Engine Optimization).  In our opinion you will need to be careful because even the SEO companies may not fully understand the most current search engine ranking methods.  Therefore, they may offer you advise that will ultimately hurt your search engine ranking rather then helping you.  Each search engine has different algorithms.  In addition, the search engine algorithms do not stay constant.  The bottom line is that you should do your best to make sure that your site is developed properly.  If you do not have the confidence that you can develop the site well yourself, you can search for an SEO company to assist you (Again, just be careful because I image that some of them would provide good suggestions and others may provide suggestions that will actually hurt your search engine ranking).  For your reference, currently we do not use any SEO services.  However, we may turn to them for advise in the future.  In summary, MAKE SURE YOU GET LISTED ON THE SEARCH ENGINES.
If you site is fully developed and ready to be promoted, we suggest that your first stop be at the Google site.  They are clearly the leader.   You will want to have your site listed on Microsoft's search engine as well.  In addition, you should also submit your website url (website address) to other smaller search engines.  In my opinion, start with the engines that allow "free" submissions.  You can later go back and register for search engines that require a fee if you think that is appropriate.  However, before spending money to get onto a smaller search engine, you may wish to investigate ways to get more exposure on the larger search engines.  For example, rather then pay to be on a small engine, you can investigate the AdWords program at Google. 
You can find similar programs at Microsoft and Yahoo.  If you have a budget to handle it, you may want to try all three.  From personal experience, I have this year tested Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft with their advertising programs.  It is too early for me to analyze the effect (I will try to do this for you for a future article).  By the way, the only reason that I use the Yahoo program is that I think that their search engine results "suck".  Because for some unknown reason, Apparel Search does not currently show up in Yahoo.  Therefore, the only way to have exposure on that site is to advertise.  Yes, that is super annoying and it makes me dislike Yahoo... (anyway, that is entirely another story).  Getting back on the subject, MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET LISTED ON THE SEARCH ENGINES.
After your fashion site is developed and you are listed on the engines, it is time to promote your brand on the fashion directories, fashion blogs, online fashion news resources, etc.  In addition to creating your own fashion blog, you can also promote your brand by asking other bloggers to post articles about your company and brand.  As a matter of fact, you are welcome to post fashion relevant blog postings at the Fashion Newspaper.  In addition to style blogs, you can promote your brand on news websites.  In my opinion, it may be easier for you to get listed on an online news resource then it would be getting published in an off-line news resource.  Actually, if you are interested, I would be happy to post articles about your fashion brand here at Apparel Search.  You can view our fashion articles section to see what we have done for others (at the bottom of this page you will find a method to contact us).  In regard to getting your company listed on directories, you can add a listing here at Apparel Search and you can also create a listing at the Clothing Industry Directory website.  You can also search the internet and find numerous other fantastic apparel industry directories to join.  None are as good as Apparel Search, but you will find many excellent resources.
Another way to promote your fashion brand is to join a Fashion Industry Network.  From a fashion business network, you can meet other like minded people.  It is very possible that they will offer better suggestions then I have provided in this article.
Don't forget to visit fashion trade shows.  Even if you do not register a booth at the exhibits, you can at least walk the show to try and develop business contacts.
If Apparel Search can assist you with turning your new brand into a "popular brand", let us know.  We are happy to assist if possible.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention.  You should look into the possibility of working with a Public Relations company (PR firm).  You may be surprised how well that would work out for you.  They can assist you with all of the issues discussed above in this article.
By the way, if you dreams fail miserably and you can not actually get your brand off the ground, you can still fall back on a career in fashion.  If that time comes, you should visit our employment section, the Clothing Industry Jobs site, or the Fashion Job Search site.

OK, I agree that much of what I have told you above is common sense.  However, I guess it could not hurt to have read this information.   

Good luck... We truly wish you the best.  Don't give up.  Hey, don't forget to invite us to your fashion shows when you are a famous fashion designer.  Thanks in advance.

Written by ML at Apparel Search July 11th, 2007

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