LAND YOUR DREAM JOB. KILL IT IN YOUR CAREER. ROCK SOCIAL MEDIA.
In this blog post, I’ll be talking about one of my favourite fashion-related books that I read a few months ago (back in May when it was released) that just inspired me. LEAVE YOUR MARK is about Aliza Licht; a global fashion communications executive and was the voice behind the wildly popular @DNKY PR girl twitter feed. She actually left the brand this August 2015 following on the success of this book and all the tweets were deleted but I still feel like this is still a relevant source for my career inspirations.
This is a book that I have read a few times now, and still every time I’m blown away by her successful career and I like that it’s in a sassy, witty yet appropriate tone of voice which makes it more relatable for young people like me.
“Aliza changed what it means to work in public relations. Any professional who wants to be powerful, yet accessible, with a voice that is authentic, unique and engaging should follow her lead” Nina Garcia (creative director of Marie Claire and Project Runway judge)
“Reigning Queen of Social Media” – Women’s Wear Daily
It all started in 2009, when brands weren’t that familiar with social media but Aliza saw it for the incredible platform it can be. Aside from being in charge of the (now gone) twitter feed DNKY PR Girl, she follows style trends, celebrity red carpet coverage is a daily part of her job. Her tweets offered a juicy behind-the-scenes peek at fashion through the lens of PR.
She strongly stressed to her readers that the most important thing she can say is that YOU are your own brand, and how you manage your personal brand can make or break your career. Which mirrors what our FCP lecturers had told us.
From the very first chapter (‘Finding the right career path’), I was hooked. Maybe because I also went through what she experienced (the fact that I was actually studying Web Development at university then dropped out after a month). She actually studied Medicine for three years and after undertaking internships related to that field, she realized it was the wrong choice.
“I decided that I couldn’t live my life with regret. My dream had changed and it wasn’t my fault. That’s precisely why you intern – to test the water”
“We’re asked to make decisions that will affect us forever so early in life, and we often feel pressure to stick with the decisions we’ve made. But let’s face it, it’s not easy to find a career path.”
She shared tips on how to write a killer cover letter and CV, how to survive people and politics and to “Use your internship to start thinking and acting like you’re already a professional”. Aliza actually started on the magazine publishing side of the industry then later switched to PR. She embraced every aspect of her internships, even the less exciting jobs.
“You don’t get a promotion for doing your job, you get a promotion for going above and beyond your job”
She knew about PR based on how much she knew about editorial. When I was applying for internships this past summer, I followed her proper email etiquette rules and how to impress with your CV and I managed to get a PR and marketing internship for FABRYAN (which I wrote about in a blog post, too!). While it probably wasn’t the only reason why I got accepted, it certainly have made a difference.
“Don’t just learn your job. Learn everyone else’s.”
THE MAKING OF DKNY PR GIRL – 2009
“What if we took the idea of Gossip Girl and put a PR spin on it?”
The idea of the very famous twitter feed came from Gossip Girl (one of my favourite shows, the fashion is just gorgeous!) and as Aliza was working for DKNY now, she thought people would enjoy being a fly on their wall as the department worked with fashion editors, produced runway shows and dressed celebrities.
So the DKNY was a completely made up character. They came up with her likes, dislikes, hobbies. Soon people started responding to the brand’s tweets and it grew until she had half a million followers. Aliza loved the ‘insta-conversation’ and the fact that it was global and 24/7.
‘Before you start a blog, determine what your focus and point of view will be and stick to that filter.’
Aside from ‘how to skilfully manage a social media crisis’, Aliza also touched upon on how you are your own publicist.
CREATING A BRAND OF YOU:
A publicist always considers;
- 1. What are the best products or assets that I have to work with?
- 2. What’s my hook or story? (what will the media, and ultimately the public, care about?)
- 3. How do I create an emotional connection between my product/brand and the audience it’s intended for?
- 4. Where is the best place to launch this strategy? (print, online, socially etc)
‘Style is a visual extension of your personality’
I actually love this book and no doubt I will have a flick through it in the near future. It has no doubt opened my eye to PR (which I am now considering whereas before I wasn’t even sure what it means or what it stands for) and this has made me more excited and motivated for my future career.
‘When you get to the top, don’t be an asshole.’